Hobbiton Adventure: One Does Not Simply… by Rachael Ashdown
Continuing on her Hobbiton Adventure:
Day 2: One Does Not Simply…
Drive into Mordor? In reality, it is that simple. Our day started with eggs and po-ta-toes (a meal certainly fit for a Hobbit), and then began questing once more. Shadowfax flew through the countryside, but had to stop when we came across a somewhat familiar sight. While it wasn’t exactly where Mr. Jackson filmed for the Barrels out of Bonds sequence, it was part of the same river (the Waikato River). It wasn’t the Falls of Rauros either, but Huka Falls was pretty cool. And it probably offered some inspiration for the wilder CGI sequences. While you can look up Hobbit filming sites online, they are not yet in the guide books; I can’t wait to come back to see all those sites, too!
All too soon, we were on the road again, flying faster than a Nazgul’s mount south, heading towards Mount Doom itself, known in the local vernacular as Mount Ngauruhoe (Fun fact: the actual filming locations for Mount Doom where on neighboring Mount Ruapehu; Ngauruhoe just looks more like a stereotypical volcano). As Sam said, “Mordor. The one place in Middle-earth we don’t want to see any closer, and the one place we’re trying to get to.” Personally, I was really excited to see the mountain. Though our tight schedule kept us from getting up-close-and-personal with the domain of Sauron, we did camp in the woods nearby, feeling very much like Faramir and Gondor’s rangers on the edge of Mordor as we settled in for the night on at a Department of Conservation camp site, right in the shadow of the looming peak. Hoping for sunset photos of the mountain lit up red from behind, we trekked through the forests, having little luck as me made for the Pillars of Hercules. However, on the way back, we took a slight detour on a little-used side path and found a spectacular view of the mountain, silhouetted against the fading light. I can imagine that sight was far more pleasant for me than for Sam and Frodo when they first laid eyes on Mount Doom.
About Rachael Ashdown:
Rachael is a freelance writer fresh out of college with a taste for fantasy, science fiction, and adventure. From Lord of the Rings to Doctor Who to Terry Brooks, she loves fictional worlds and the lore that inspired them. She has circumnavigated the globe, visited five continents in five years, and recently sailed aboard a tall ship in French Polynesia. She has a degree from Sweet Briar College in International Affairs, but her passion is writing, anything from sports articles to fan fiction to analyses of military theory. In her spare time she dreams of being one of Tolkien’s elves, practicing archery and wandering through forests wherever her travels take her.