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BIG MOUNTAIN - and the hidden peak!
With many regular Hashers missing this week for a whole range of work, personal and other reasons, ‘Oh dear’, did they miss out on a lovely day!
We arrived at the 544 Tran Phu start point by taxi fleet from Offshore Bar 1, then followed a bit of an uphill trail, then a bit more uphill, then more - and so it continued uphill, fortunately with a "cooling sea breeze" wafting up from the ocean below.
Surprisingly, a new and real peak of Big Mountain was awaiting at the very top. "New" because this section of the mountain is not accessible in other seasons - but very good use was made of it today! It was an extremely picturesque uphill run for everyone and, looking backwards, the views were quite stunning. Not many Hashers look backwards when they're running uphill, but on this particular occasion at least, an exception would have proved very worthwhile!
Today's photo gallery contains a few shots of the trail and not many of the Hashers - because the Hash Flash and Hash camera became separated for most of the run owing to "other duties as required". It's also known as "Sod's Law", because this was certainly one occasion when the photos would have been quite something - so if anyone else has any, please forward for the gallery (but please see the notes below re photo sizes, because we're unfortunately not able to accommodate large files).
Anyway, back to the run and, having ‘peaked’ so splendidly, it was now downhill all the way. An easy run really.....until we ran into the downhill ‘jungley stuff’ that is, which surprised everyone except the Hares. Yes, it had been deliberately chosen because Hares come across this sort of terrain quite often and this week they thought, "Why not let everyone else experience such similar and really enjoyable terrain?". It was well marked, yet care was needed to avoid tripping or sliding in several different places.
To balance the "up and up" earlier in the run, this section went "down and down", with not an earth trail in sight apart from our eco-friendly red ribbon. The odd prickle was also available for those who wished to indulge, but most sensibly chose not to(!). To put it simply, this was "the real thing" and almost entirely untouched by human hand (‘un-gardened’, if you will).
Perhaps it was with some relief after a fair bit of going downhill on virgin trail, when the red markers showed the way to some steps. And not just "any old steps" either, this was Big Mountain’s famous "600 steps" that have been familiar to VT Hashers for the past two decades at least! On this occasion, we joined the steps at the lower level, about 150 high - so that also came as a welcome surprise!
After that, it was plain sailing through the pagoda grounds and across the street, to one of our favourite Down, Down locations: the beachside cafe at 83 Tran Phu.
Rowdy Water had been operating as Ailing Hash ("sweeper") so arrived last, and what a view awaited! Hashers one and all relaxing with super cool San Miguels, soft drinks and what looked like half the food in Vung Tau, against a backdrop of the East Sea with waves lapping gently on the beach. It was amazing to come down off a mountain and encounter such luxuries!
Many thanks once again to Mountain Goat and Ice Water for supplying all us hungry Hashers with such superb fare, including the fresh mangoes.
With the ocean waters only a mere step away, some opted to cool themselves down in its welcome embrace. It was all very relaxing and it's nice that it can be that way, but we did have a touch of official mis-business to conclude and so the Circle was called accordingly.
The run was awarded 8/10 by SamSon, with bonus points for "the jungley bit", otherwise perhaps only a 7.9 or even considerably less! The good news was no ice water being thrown (for a welcome change!) on the Hare and his judge, who had naturally joined in the obligatory "Down Down".
And it was ice-cold water, just ask Chris "Broken Spokes", who had finally managed to return after three long years of wandering the world in search of Hash runs and the money required to fund the lifestyle! It was also a delight to welcome Hieu as the only Hash Virgin of the day; we look forward to him returning, along with some of his colleagues.
Sadly, it looks like we might be farewelling ‘No Name Bob’ - who did such a great job guarding the eskies on those occasions when he wisely decided his 'Dicky Knee' perhaps wasn't quite up to the climb! Good luck Bob - we certainly hope you can return one day..........
And, talking of 'the future', we have a whole "family" of Hares planning to set the trail for next Sunday on Nui Dinh: one of our favourite mountains outside of Vung Tau City. It'll also be Father's Day, so here's an opportunity for a real family day out in splendid surroundings!
We'll meet as usual, 2 pm for 2.30 pm start: Offshore Bar 1 beer garden. See you there!
Hares: Rowdy Water, Falcon
Hash Flash: Rowdy Water and friends
All photo contributions are welcome, but please pre-set your camera to 1600x1200 pixels (sometimes shown in 'Settings' or 'File size' as SQ1 or 3MP), so each photo file is no more than 120-150kb/s. Alternatively, download Shrink Pic software and set for "medium compression". We'd like to accept bigger files, but it's unfortunately just not possible...