South of the University of Illinois Arboretum I came upon this most excellent climbing tree. (A couple of those branches are dead, so be careful.) Sharing to remember it’s precise location.
The arboretum doesn’t have a formal geezer hour the way grocery stores do, but we figured it wouldn’t be too crowded early in the morning, which turned out to be correct. I posted 6 other photos, but this one is by far the best.
A few years ago Jackie and I undertook to walk to Rivendell, replicating (the mileage of) Bilbo’s journey. We started, but we found that tracking the mileage in a notebook or spreadsheet didn’t really suit, and our venture rather petered out. (We got plenty of walking in that year. We just quit tracking it against Bilbo’s journey.)
Recently our friend Ashley Price started a walk to Mordor, replicating the mileage of Frodo’s journey from The Lord of the Rings, and it turns out that now there’s an app for that. You enter your mileage for each leg, and it tells you as you reach each milestone along the way. It also has a mechanism for “friends,” so you can see as they reach their milestones.
So Jackie and I are taking another stab at it. I installed the app, and for several days now have been entering our daily mileage.
If you want to join us, feel free to install the Walk to Mordor app yourself and friend me! (I’m in there as Philip Brewer, although perhaps I should have had some hobbitish name.)
Today we walked some in the University arboretum.
Unfortunately we got started just as the weather turned awful, so we haven’t been making very many miles per day so far. But as soon as it gets a little nicer, I’m sure we’ll start racking up miles as fast as our little hobbit feet can move us along.
Edited to add: We are also re-reading the Lord of the Rings. We meant to read along with our walk, but so far we’re reading quite a bit faster than we can walk. Maybe we’ll catch up at Rivendell where there’s a bit of a pause in the walking, but the prose carries on.
On a stewardship work day clearing garlic mustard at the arboretum, Jackie spotted this guy just out of its chrysalis—a Cecropia moth still trying to get its wings pumped up enough to fly:
Jackie and I have continued to work up toward being able to take our planned very long walk in mid-June.
Our previous outing was planned for 15 miles, but we actually did about 17. For yesterday’s outing we came closer to hitting our target distance—planned for 20 miles and came in at 20.61 miles.
It was a pretty good walk. The temperature was a bit cool, but stayed steady for the duration, so we weren’t having to adjust clothing repeatedly.
We walked through Robeson Park and then to our old neighborhood where we had lunch at El Toro. Then we went up the Greenbelt Bikeway and visited our old garden plot near Parkland College. Then we angled our way to downtown Champaign, passing near both our summer place and our winter palace, pausing for coffee at Pekara Bakery. Finally, we walked to the University of Illinois Arboretum (where the cherry trees were just blooming) and then headed home through south campus and the research park.
We held up pretty well, perhaps because the distance was only 3 miles beyond our previous long walk. My plan is that we’ll do 26.2 miles for our next walk, sometime towards the end of April, but we’ll see how things go. We have time in our schedule if we want to take that jump in two steps.
We haven’t been getting in as many of the medium walks as I’d hoped, mostly because of problematic early-spring weather. With the weather shifting to more of a late-spring pattern, I’m hoping that won’t be a problem going forward.
One thing I’d like to do is start including some faster miles in those medium-length walks. We can walk fast enough, but we tend to slow down late in the walk. That’s fine, but if we have very many miles at 20+ minutes per mile, it will make for a very long day on the Kal-Haven trail.
Here’s the details on this walk:
And here are the details for the previous one: