March 30, 2002
I am standing along the bank of The Water about 6-7 miles southeast of Hobbiton. Bywater is almost due west of me and I think I can see lights from some of the houses, one of which must be the Green Dragon Inn. The air is crisp and dawn is still a half an hour away. It is quiet and I can hear nothing but the soft murmur of the river. As I wait for the pre-dawn light I cannot help but wonder at the events that brought me here.
Almost five years earlier while doing research for the DOD, I discovered the pseudo-random nature of the atmospheric noise that surrounds the earth. Actually, it was really an accident. I was tasked to develop new Pseudo Random Noise (PRN) codes for the next generation of Global Position System (GPS) satellites. I wrote some software that did just that. It seemed to work well and everyone was pleased. One Friday afternoon for amusement, I decided to stress test my software. I set a period length equal to the orbital period of the earth around the sun, and extremely high values of chipping rate and carrier frequency based on the earth's Astrodynamics and let the computer run over the weekend. On Monday morning I returned, saved the data and forgot about it until we got some real GPS datasets provided by the DOD.
After testing the various military-codes (M-codes) for the DOD on the real GPS datasets all week, I remembered the earth-codes (E-codes) I developed earlier. Over the weekend I ran the E-codes against the datasets. The following Monday I returned and analyzed the data. At first glance it didn't seem to do anything, but upon further examination it appeared to reduce the noise in the incoming signal. I had discovered a way to effectively reduce the assumed Gaussian White Noise (GWN) of the RF signal! Interesting. I decided not to mention my results, as it didn't seem to pertain to the current project.
The next stage of the project we were tasked to determine the worst-case cross-correlation properties of the various M-codes. Once again over a weekend I tested the cross-correlation properties of my E-codes. Surprisingly the worst case, with a correlation length of 100,000, was almost -1000dB! The E-codes were virtually orthogonal to each other, ideal PRN codes.
Eventually the years went by and we built a hardware version of the signal generator for the M-codes. Over a four-day weekend I used the prototype hardware to further test my E-codes. When I turned the machine on I observed a visible ripple. Intrigued I decided to video tape the effect and digitally analyze it. Using various image enhancement algorithms, I found that I had opened a portal into another world. Mathematically I had found a way to pierce the multi-verse, I had found a parallel Earth. Once again I kept my discoveries secret.
The actual process by which this phenomenon occurs probably is only of interest to Mathematicians, Physicists, and Signal Processors. To keep a long story short by varying the PRN E-code, and correlating it with the background RF-signal of the planet I was able to detect, view and enter other versions of Earth. One of which happened to be J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth. By varying the rate of change of the Doppler and phase of the generated signal I was able to change my location.
Needless to say those weekends not spent fishing in the Rocky Mountains were spent in the lab looking into Middle Earth. As the months went by I perfected my procedure and was awed by the natural beauty of Tolkien's World. I reread the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings and even managed to get through the Sarmarillion. In January I eventually concluded that I was observing the Fourth Age of Middle Earth. As the days warmed up and my thoughts returned to fishing I decided to combine my passions of fishing and my discovery of Middle Earth.
I planned every evening for next two weeks. Assembled my gear, and eventually decided to fish my way through the rivers mentioned in the Hobbit and if things went well, fish my way through the rivers mentioned in the Lord of the Rings.
My musings are interrupted by dawn's first light glinting off The Water. I rig up as I wait for the light to improve. As I do I began looking for various insects on rocks along the streambed and around the bank-side foliage, nothing. Next, I enter the stream and use a fine mesh net to collect debris as I disturb the stream bed. After sifting the contents in the net I discovered some small nymphs that looked like size 20-22 nymphs. I rinse out my net and proceed to tie on a size 22 mercury midge, then eye-to-eye using 6x tippet a size 22 RSII-sparkle. I suddenly realize that it has been two-years since I last got my eyes checked. I think I need a new prescription. With better light and some patience I finish rigging up with a strike indicator and a micro-shot a foot above the mercury midge.
Wow, what a sunrise, simply gorgeous. The glare on the water mirrors the sky as I put on my amber Action Optic sunglasses. It only takes a minute and I spot a nice brook trout about 20 feet away in a small run. I try casting and drift the line past him about a half a dozen times. I then add a bit of weight and try again. On the third drift he takes it. I set the hook too quickly and only manage to frustrate him and myself. I decide to move a bit upstream. The Water isn't flowing that much, the runoff has yet to happen. I try some short-line nymphing to another fish in some riffles. On the sixth cast I feel the strike and I gently move the rod to the side and the reel begins to sing. I adjust the drag a bit on my Ross Gunnison 2 reel and play the fish.
For the next two hours I practice my short-line nymphing techniques, when the alarm on my watch goes off. Looking around I realize I have walked upstream and am almost to the outlet of the Bywater Pool. Standing on the shore of the lake is a hobbit staring at me. The hobbit is holding a cane rode, bare of foot, wearing blue overalls and a lemon yellow shirt. We stare at each other for perhaps a minute when I realize I only have 10 minutes to get back to my entrance spot. I start splashing towards the bank and I notice the hobbit youth begins running towards the nearby town of Bywater. I stop in my tracks and look to the northwest. I can just make out The Hill on Bag End. Walking briskly down stream I just manage to make it to my spot when the air begins to shimmer.
Within moments I am once again in the research lab, laughing. I wonder who was more surprised me or the hobbit youth. I bet I really looked strange dressed up in my Simms GoreTek waders, dark glasses, hat and wind-stopper jacket. Not to mention my fishing vest with literally dozens of items hanging from it. Smiling I change my clothes and clean up the sand and dirt left from my felt soles. What a morning, I saw the Hill where Bilbo and Frodo once lived, I saw a hobbit, and I fished The Water. Not to mention catching three nice brook trout 17-20" and four greyling. Not a bad morning.