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09 February 2014
BIG MOUNTAIN - "Stepping up in the world"!
Nearing the end of the Christmas/New Year/Lunar New Year festive season, some familiar faces returned to the fold on Sunday - among them Hung Low, Uncle, Mountain Goat, Hard Drive, SamOnHash, Tiny Rabbit (now not so tiny...), Tiny Tim (never was tiny!) and Blackhawk.
Registration over, it was "On On" along the familiar route to Vi Ba via the residential area stairs. A Chalk Talk (run briefing) by Hares Falcon and The Gardener stressed the need to follow the red eco-markers and turn back at the yellow ones (remember that bit, Butch and Kurt?).
A long jog/hike to the end of Vi Ba, then sharp left through another residential area until we reached the mountain itself - and that's when we really started going up in the world: one step at a time for what seemed like a very, very long time over a vertical, rock-strewn "trail".
We finally emerged at one of the many shrines/pagodas we were to encounter this day, and then enjoyed a short respite from all the rock clambering by strolling along a reasonably level track before hitting some "real" steps - all 132 of them!
And so it continued: up, along, up some more, along some more - until we finally came to the small but very well preserved shrine at the top of the ridge overlooking Vung Tau Bay to the south and the shipyards to the west. A quick stop to revel in the scenery and take a few photos, and then it was "Down Down" the familiar 872 steps to ground level!
Our usual beachside resting spot was full to the brim with Tet revellers, so we adjourned upstairs to munch on the salted port, Russian bread, meat and fresh vegies provided once again by Mountain Goat - all washed down with gold and silver bullets courtesy of our major sponsor San Miguel, and delivered by our still-injured but nonetheless dedicated Beermeister, Ronald Reagan.
The Circle was eventually called by guest Ring Master Hung Low, and the trail was awarded 14/10 by Uncle - who deducted 4 points for the Hares accidentally leaving a "potentially confusing" handful of red and yellow eco-tape on the trail, but added 8 for the "interest factor" - many thanks to Hares Falcon and The Gardener for yet another superb effort!
Hash Virgins 'Susan' (Vietnam), Pete (Canada), Elena (Russia) and Gary (Australia) were welcomed in style. "Foot fault" sinners Susan, SamOnHash, Elena and SamSon were punished accordingly. And Mountain Goat was toasted by the Circle for her continued brilliant efforts as unofficial, unpaid Hash Caterer!
The highlight of today's Circle was the "Hash-naming" of two popular Finns - Pekka and his good friend Vesa. Using "shampoo" kindly donated by San Miguel, Hung Low announced that Vesa will henceforth be known to all Hashers as Marathon Man (he runs 24 km every day), and Pekka was given the very apt monicker of The Flying Finn (if you've ever seen him loping along with his hiking sticks, you'll know what we mean). Sadly, Vesa leaves us this week to return to the land of the midnight sun - "Bon Voyage, Marathon Man"!
Here's one for the VTH3 trivia bucket: our 2.5 Finns (Uncle's Dad was Finnish) have 212 years of life experience between them - adding credence to the saying that "Finns don't grow old, they just keep walking...".
And then it was time to head back to base, drain the remaining silver bullets, stow the blue bucket and adjourn to the beer garden for "On On" after an extremely enjoyable day!
Next week's run #616 will celebrate the end of the festive season and a return to "business as usual" with an away run in the Long Hai Mountains (Minh Dam Secret Zone), to be set this week by Hares Falcon and SamSon.
In the meantime, a final "Chuc Mung Nam Moi!" for the year ahead to all our readers, everywhere!
Hares: Falcon, The Gardener
Hash Flashers: Pekka, Hung Low
VTH3 #615 photo gallery>>>