In New Zealand last fall, I got to visit Mt. Victoria, which stood in for parts of the outer Shire in the Lord of the Rings, specifically when the hobbits are chased by the Ringwraiths:
Stand back, Nazgul. I got this.
"Get off the road!" Frodo knows something's up.
I wasn't as worried as Frodo. More amused, maybe. It's hard not to look stoked when you're in New Zealand!
Time to duck and cover . . .
Except the actual tree is gone now, and there was nothing scarier than a spectral jogger on the road.
After all that excitement, I had to stop for a rest in the Frodo tree.
What's this? Just a shortcut to some mushrooms.
View from Mt. Victoria. Would you believe Wellington is really just a stone's throw from Middle Earth?
Next stop: the Gardens of Isengard (really Harcourt Park)
My guide Wendell kept a stash of wizard's staffs for tour groups in the bushes nearby. So here I am in the Gardens of Isengard with my very own wizard's staff. Oh yeah. I'm totally legit.