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NUI DINH - "On top of the world!"
We were promised that this week's run would take us to the "Top of the World", courtesy of Hares Ronald Reagan, The Gardener, Ms Banana and Rowdy Water (aided by a navigator, translator and two woodsmen) - and we were not disappointed!
The weather was much cooler than usual, which was good news because it was a long 30-minute walk from our dismounting point near the end of the sealed road to the start of a gruelling 200 metres climb to "The Stone" (the highest point in Ba Ria-Vung Tau at 502 metres), followed by a very tricky descent that tested everyone's "downhill skiing" techniques!
We had held the Chalk Talk near the lake without Chippy, Yu Bok and Ms Ngoc because they were nowhere to be seen - and in fact didn't show up until the finish, despite Ronald Reagan and Ms Banana's best efforts at finding them. They must surely be the most successful "SCBs" in the history of Hashing!
The climb was a good trail in general, but not easy for anyone "out of practise" because there were many narrow stairs covered with slippery rocks and leaves. We turned left at the top and followed an escarpment/ridge to the next mountain, which is the highest one. Up what was, by then, little more than a small hillock, and then you're on a rocky "top of the world" - or at least those who managed to find the way despite many missing markers were! The Hares were in great demand and each took a small group to "The Stone" - with lots of whistle-blowing and shouts of "On On" to guide the way!
Much discussion took place about "the mysterious disappearing markers", with the consensus being that they must have been removed by the "predator" from two weeks ago ("Get To Da Choppa") when it realised The Terminator was back on the prowl!
A couple of small groups managed to "regroup" - and gingerly descended the steep, slippery hill that was also covered in thorny vines for good measure! They made it to the coffee shop by the lake as darkness began to gather - to be greeted by the "missing" Chippy, Yu Bok and Ms Ngoc who had brought some potato chips and nuts to complement the delicious Russian snacks and ice-cold San Migs and softies!
The Circle was called without delay and Hard Drive awarded 8.5/10 for the "difficult and long" trail, but then deducted a point for the missing markers - "boo, hiss"!
Returnee Som Tum (aka "Mrs Taffy") was welcomed, and Alex and Anna were farewelled after a short but enthusiastic stay with VTH3. No sinners today (despite the aforementioned SCBs!), so duty Ring Master Rowdy Water called for an "honest"(!) show of hands from those who slipped most of the way down the mountain and Ms Van Anh, Ronald Reagan and Mountain Goat were duly toasted as "honest slippers". The "slipper" tag caught on, and Ms Van Anh's proposed Hashtag was embellished at the last minute to become "Eco slipper" - which will take quite a bit of explaining in times to come!
And so ended an excellent, interesting and very challenging day on Nui Dinh - at the "top of the world". All that was left now was for our driver (the first we've ever had to successfully negotiate the dirt road to the lake) to earn himself a good tip by getting us home safely in the blackness - which he promptly did!
STOP PRESS: Our hosting arrangement with Offshore Bar 1 has been discontinued. Our new host venue, effective immediately, is the lovely waterside Sao Bien 3 restaurant in the cable car complex at 1A Tran Phu (about 400 metres west of Royal Hotel, SOS Clinic, etc). Hares The Gardener, Ms Banana and Rowdy Water have set a new trail on Small Mountain for Sunday.
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Hares: The Gardener, Ms Banana, Ronald Reagan, Rowdy Water
Hash Flash: Flying Finn. Additional photos: Radio Wave
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