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13 July 2014
MAGIC MOUNTAIN - "The Holy Grail"
Some new and many familiar faces boarded the large bus at Offshore Bar 1 for the trip to Magic Mountain (west of Nui Dinh), in search of "The Holy Grail".
We took the usual exit off the highway towards Nui Dinh but then took the second left-turn after about 150 metres onto a newly-sealed road. A sharp right at the end of this road and we were heading towards Magic Mountain.
We pulled into a ground-level pagoda to park the bus, dismount and attend a chalk talk by co-Hare Rowdy Water - and then it was "On On" in very fine climbing weather (no rain...), up what quickly became an almost vertical, boulder-strewn slope. "On and On" it went, and went, and went - lots of different undergrowth along the way, but always the same boulders waiting to catch the unwary...
Many Hashers stopped for more than one breather as we continued up the well-marked, relentlessly testing trail towards the peak - where the climb finally started to level out somewhat, to widespread relief! One last short climb and there it was: a mountain-top pagoda comprised of a series of shrines in small caves, connected by many rows of steps around the peak to facilitate access.
We were greeted by the pagoda guardians, who proudly showed us around the various shrines and marvellous look-out rock with views all the way back to Vung Tau City.
It was also time to relax with a well-earned "water stop" from the esky which had "magically" appeared as if from nowhere! It simply wouldn't have been possible for anyone to have carried a heavy, ice-filled esky up that trail, so how did it get there? Maybe that's why it's called 'Magic Mountain'...
The "jewel in the crown" of this hilltop pagoda is a dozen or more shimmering gold figurines inside a large cave - the "Holy Grail" that has hitherto remained so elusive (see photo gallery below).
Now nicely refreshed, it was time to head back down the mountainside - a different and longer trail, but some very familiar-looking boulders and drops to test the knees and catch the unwary!
We finally emerged into the ground-level car park and carried the eskies and food - provided yet again by our culinary expert Ice Water - to the 'golden gates' of the pagoda.
The Circle was eventually called, and the trail awarded 9/10 (that's our interpretation of Harmen's original 2/10 followed by a hastily revised 7/10...). Old friends Mowgli and Rocket Rod plus Hash Virgins Harmen, Pru and Alex were welcomed, and a whole swag of sinners punished! This week's highlight was the Hash monicker of "Captain Hornblower" being bestowed on Irish John - whose "acceptance speech" was a model lesson in economy of words!
An announcement that registration is now open for Vietnam's inaugural Nash Hash (to be hosted by Nha Trang Hash 24-26 October 2014), and it was onto the bus for a rather noisy journey back to base camp!
Next week will be a "live Hare" trail up Jesus Hill on Small Mountain to mark the third anniversary of VTH3's "Re-Hash the Hash" program that commenced with a similar run on 9 July 2011. "Onwards and upwards"!
We'll meet as usual next Sunday in the Offshore Bar 1 beer garden at 2 pm for 2.30 pm start.
Hares: Rowdy Water, Falcon, Uncle, Anti
Hash Flash: Uncle. Circle photos Som Tum, Anti
VTH3 #637 PHOTO GALLERY>>>>>>>
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