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01 February 2015
BIG MOUNTAIN - "A perfect world!"
Last week's mission was "Get To Da Choppa", and this week we were to follow popular Hares Mountain Goat and her k9 assistant (and renowned "San Miguel slurper") Hashputin in search of "A perfect world".
We left the Offshore Bar 1 and headed to Vi Ba before turning left into Hem 14, walking past two villages to Hem 105 Le Loi - having done our best to help the villagers practise their English!
We reached the access onto Big Mountain and Mountain Goat was fortunately able to steer some potential FRBs in the right direction (why is it that so few Hashers have the patience to wait for a Chalk Talk?).
So that was it - forget the Chalk Talk and let's go, "On On!": Queen Mountain Goat led the way up an 80(!) degree incline and her "subjects" obediently followed. It was difficult for newcomers and some of the younger set, but we all eventually arrived at the pagoda to discover that, rather than being the "high point", it was just the tip of the iceberg!
The trail became progressively narrower as we moved along and into the bamboo bush - requiring most adult Hashers to "bend in the middle like a one-string fiddle" to get through! We continued on up and then began a slow descent, happily thinking we'd overcome the worst - but she's not named Mountain Goat for nothing, and the trail suddenly started climbing again!
Through more dense undergrowth and then down again. It was particularly difficult for the youngsters but, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going", and Chippy's young fellah, Yu Bok, showed his mettle by refusing to give up. Instead, he emptied his water bottle and kept going - up, then down, then up again, down again and, finally, up and into some bush that was covered in thorns like cactus, but with longer needles. It was here that Basil decided to carry Yu Bok for a while, to make sure he didn't reach out and grab any of the thorn-covered branches.
Eventually it was down to a flattish area near the pagoda and Mountain Goat's "short cut" through another clump of trees - but this time her trail markings were nowhere to be seen. Basil asked a local for directions and continued on, to discover that the familiar red eco tape was "camouflaged" by leaves. "Clever girl", he thought!
Down through the house and past the barking dog, a few more twists and turns, and we finally reached Vi Ba again. From there, it was just a "hop and a skip" to the eskies in Lam Son Park - just in time, too, because it was already 5 pm and darkness was looming.
But what a day! We'd followed a new trail that only Hares like Mountain Goat can find. We'd passed many interesting spots including wells, ancient buildings, pagodas, scenic outlooks and squatter sites (with their associated rubbish tips) - and we'd well and truly challenged ourselves to the point that most knew their muscles would be aching tomorrow morning. It was a truly masterful trail - all credit and full marks to Mountain Goat and Hashputin!
Back at the eskies, we used ice-cold San Migs and softies to wash down the excellent snacks nd sandwiches prepared by Mother Teresa, Ice Water and (the multiskilled) Mountain Goat. The younger set had already started tucking into a pack of chips that somehow appeared out of nowhere!
The Circle was eventually called, with Ronald Reagan as duty Ring Master. He called returnee Chazz to rate the trail, but forgot to mention that anything less than a 10+ was going to be ignored by the collective power of "Hash veto" - because it's simply not possible to score "A perfect world" lower than 10+! And so it came to pass: we can't remember the score, but Mountain Goat is still the undisputed Queen of Big Mountain! The Hares' Down Down that followed was nothing short of hilarious - see Tiny Tim's close-up at the end of the photo gallery below. Hashputin certainly loves his San Miguel!
Some confusion came next, with "Peter" introduced as a Hash Virgin when he was, in fact, a visitor from Phuket Hash! Chazz was welcomed back to VTH3 after an absence of six years (he claimed to have forgotten his Hash name - but that was clearly an attempt to obfuscate because no-one ever forgets their Hashtag!). The very charming Rita was also a returnee, as was SamOnHash and Tiny Rabbit, but all somehow managed to evade "capture"!
The Gardener, Ms Banana and Viking were then charged for talking in the Circle - with a double Down Down for Viking, who was also charged with the cultural "no no" of pointing at people!
Next week's run will take us from "A perfect world" to "Top of the World", courtesy of Hares Ronald Reagan, The Gardener, Ms Banana and Rowdy Water who enlisted the aid of a navigator, translator and two treecutters(!) to lay a trail at the top of Dinh Mountain ("Nui Dinh") that will take us to the highest point in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Possibly not eligible for The Guinness Book of Records as suggested by one of the Hares, but certainly a major "first" for VTH3 - even as we enter our 23rd year!
We'll meet next Sunday, as usual, in Offshore Bar 1 beer garden at 2 pm for 2.30 pm start.
Hares: Mountain Goat, Hashputin
Hash Flash: Flying Finn. Additional photos: Tiny Tim