Personal Stories

Weathertop Milestone Reached!

Week 9: Weathertop Milestone

Tricia walked 31 miles this week | 1549 miles to Mordor
Rachel walked 30 miles this week | 1428 miles to Mordor

Walking Across Middle-Earth

Week 9: I Made it to Weathertop, Time to Get Stabbed!

I planned to celebrate my arrival at Weathertop (251 miles into my Middle-Earth journey!) by asking Rachel if she would care for me as though I’d been stabbed by a Morgul blade. This turned out to be more necessary than I’d intended, because I went to a full-body massage the same day and had one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life.

Some context: For the past six months or so, there have been chunks of time where I experience severe lower back pain when I first wake up. When I went for the massage (which I hoped would help with the lower back pain and with general carrying-anxiety-in-my-shoulders), the actual 60-minute session was lovely! I felt like a hot bowl of soup at the end, and the masseuse told me she would slip out while I got redressed. That’s when the horror began.

I tried to sit up, and my lower back spasmed, more painfully than it ever had before. I couldn’t move, it hurt so badly, and let me tell you: It is a unique terror to be naked and unable to move!! In desperation, I just kind of…rolled myself along the massage table to get nearer the chair full of my clothes. I tried to stand to reach them, but couldn’t. So I stretched my arm as far as it could go and nearly cried with relief as I managed to grab each piece of clothing and put it on. Next were my socks and shoes, but the floor was somehow further away from me than it had ever been before. I awkwardly threw myself to the ground so that I could reach them without bending over, put them on, and clawed myself upright.

By then, I had moved enough that my back was slightly less excruciating, and I was able to walk. However, I had taken far longer to get dressed than could be reasonably expected. When I opened the door for the masseuse to return, I said, “Um, my back hurt when I tried to get up, like…pretty bad.”

“Huh,” she said, “Well, try these stretches for your neck.”

“But I had a hard time standing up. It was like I described before the massage, how in the mornings my lower back hurts?”

“Hmm. You must have been so relaxed that when you try to move, your back spasms.”

“How can this…stop happening?”

The masseuse directed me to sit down in a chair and stand up while being conscious of using my core to do so. “Just do this today and help your body remember how to be a body.”

HELP MY BODY REMEMBER HOW TO BE A BODY? When did it forget?? No one told me that bodies could just forget how to perform basic functions!

“Haha, that’s uh, pretty embarrassing!” I said, shuffling toward my backpack so that I could make an exit out of this hellscape.

“Oh, don’t be embarrassed. Come back next month!”

Like heck I will, Witch-Queen of Massages! I hobbled to the skytrain station, and by the time I got home, the only thing that still hurt was my pride. I flopped onto the couch, and Rachel dutifully cared for my wounded spirit, which had left this plane of existence and was fully occupied with the horror of my 34-year-old body just…forgetting how to body with no real solution other than “sit while using your core for one day”!

Anyway, I made it to Weathertop.

Tricia’s Tracker

Massage horror aside, I’m pleased with my progress. I haven’t had any big weeks lately, but I’m happy with a slow-and-steady pace for now!

Rachel’s Tracker

Rachel is still going further than me each week, but with miles in the 30s it’s a breeze compared to her earlier records.

Join the Fellowship

If you want to join our Fellowship of five, let me know by emailing It’s never too late to join in – we want there to be walkers at every stage of the journey!

Tag your social media photos and stories with

#rcrhobbitjourney to encourage each other!

Download maps and spreadsheets for free at our Ko-Fi shop!

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