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01 June 2014
LONG HAI MOUNTAINS - Monkey pagoda to Minh Dam
In stark contrast to the scorching heat of last week, it was a few degrees cooler on Sunday with a hint of rain in the air. And that was just as well, because - again in stark contrast to last week - Hares Rowdy Water, Ice Water (nee Purple Fox) and Falcon had set a tortuous trail to confirm VTH3's reputation as a testing ground for hill-climbers!
We're not sure how high this particular peak is, but there was no let-up as the trail climbed almost vertically to the top - alternating variously between boulder-strewn track and what must be several thousand steps carved into the side of the mountain. Every time the trail flattened out, it did so for no more than a few metres and then it was up, up again - giving 25 sets of leg muscles an extremely good workout! (and double for Mountain Goat's faithful companion Hashputin, of course...).
Not far past a few small houses in a very picturesque setting on the hillside (which many of us were too tired to appreciate!), the trail squeezed between two massive boulders - emerging on the other side into noticeably cooler air signalling the top of the mountain had been reached, much to everyone's relief!
The trail wound its way across the ridge between two peaks, then "down, down" to the Minh Dam museum car park via many, many boulders which made for some seriously slippery slopes to catch the unwary.
But we soon realised the workout had been worthwhile, with three eskies full of ice-cold San Miguels and soft drink to wash down Mountain Goat's Russian snacks, supplemented this week by Ice Water's Vietnamese delicacies and some delicious sandwiches from Marc and My's shop: where else but with VTH3 would you get a choice between Russian bread, pork and pickles, Vietnamese spring rolls, and crab and shrimp sandwiches on genuine rustic bread - not to mention imported French and German Black Forrest ham, salami Napoli, Brie, Edam cheese and lots, lots more; do yourself a favour and check it out at http://www.my-shop.vn (also shown on Trip Advisor as My Sandwich Shop).
The Circle was finally called and the trail awarded 7 points by Peter Rabbit, with an honourable mention of the cultural scenery dotted across the mountainside (unlike some of us, PR had obviously taken the time to look around as he climbed - and was clearly impressed!). Hares Rowdy Water, Ice Water and Falcon were duly congratulated - as were some very welcome returnees; Hash Virgin Ms Trang (aka Ms 'New') was 'deflowered'; Uncle, Ronald Reagan and Dolly were punished for sins too gruesome to mention in a family Hash report (which is another way of saying that I've forgotten what they were!); and the ever-smiling Ms Lieu was bestowed the entirely appropriate Hash monicker Miss Congeniality ('MC')!
Hares Rowdy Water and Falcon have set a local trail on Big Mountain for next Sunday - start point 544 Tran Phu (by taxi from Offshore Bar 1) and finish at the 'cafe on the beach', 83 Tran Phu, with lots of mountainside and ocean views to negotiate and appreciate in between!
So we'll meet as usual at Offshore Bar 1 beer garden, 2pm for 2.30 pm start. See you there!
Hares: Rowdy Water, Ice Water, Falcon
Hash Flash: Ronald Reagan
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