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BIG MOUNTAIN - Blackhawk's birthday!
Plenty of cloud cover greeted the Hashers as they gathered for registration at Offshore Bar 1 - so the temperatures were a little lower than usual at this time of year, which was very pleasant.
A quick group photo and then it was "On On" by taxi fleet to the Ganh Hao restaurant where we were joined by a late but keen Hasher to make the day's total a 'respectable' 29.
Basil gave the Chalk Talk while co-Hare SamSon dashed on ahead saying something about needing to "reorganise" the trail(!). He was soon followed by an enthusiastic band of Hashers, although they slowed down fairly quickly after the initial vertical climb which had been made more difficult than usual because of the lack of rain - but everyone lived to tell the tale!
It was a long climb from Tran Phu to the coffee shop at the top of the sealed road on the mountain, and certainly a much shorter route than by following the road!
There are usually lots of pigs around the coffee shop, but most of them wandered off with the arrival of so many noisy Hashers so that, before long, the only sound echoing through the forest was a village dog barking at Mountain Goat's faithful K9 companion Hashputin!
And then we were all on the move again - soon to reach our major challenge of the day: which trail to choose, long or short? The Gardener and Ms Banana stood "guard" over the access track to help ensure everyone went the right way.
The short trail was once known as The Adventure Trail, having been set by Rowdy Water and Ice Water during the rainy season - but with the onset of dry season the grass had been cut short, so it was easier to see the markers.
The long trail headed up to the temple, so on we went. But it was somewhere along here that things got a bit confusing - someone (not a Hasher!) had chalked over our trail, which didn't please The Gardener at all (he and Ms Banana had spent several hot and sweaty hours cutting this trail earlier in the week!).
The trail was long and difficult going in parts, through thick vegetation - but Titanic and Tiny Tim found what looked like a tube with a valve on it, so they turned the handle and, "Eureka!", nice cool water!
When those who'd taken the long trail finally reached the Circle location in Lam Son park, they discovered to their amazement that none of those who'd opted for the short trail had arrived yet! Radio Wave came running up and informed everyone that the short trail wasn't very short at all - most of the old "Adventure Trail" had vanished, so they lost their way!
Just then, a taxi arrived and out came Blackhawk and Luda - obviously keen to make it back early because it was Blackhawk's birthday!
Everyone finally made it back and the Circle was called, with Peach Melba volunteering for Ring Master duties as she'd "done it once with SH3"!
Radio Wave rated the long trail 10/10 because it was indeed very long (mind you, he ran both trails - short AND long - so it's little wonder that he said it was long!). Mother Teresa was going to give the same score to the short trail but deducted 2 points because she got lost!
Hash Virgins were called into the Circle but Ciprian's partner and regular Hasher for some time now, Ms Vy, was somehow delegated to receive an ice shower instead - yes, we know, very confusing!
And then Peach Melba showed us what she'd learned with SH3 by calling everyone into the Circle who wasn't wearing a Hash t-shirt - which was a lot of people because we ran out of t-shirts earlier this year and haven't yet managed to find enough sponsors for another batch! (any volunteers?). And just to prove she likes to deal in "big numbers", the next lot to be charged by Peach Melba were those who chatted while she was talking - cue five more Down Downs!
After all the frivolity, the Circle was unanimous in thanking Mother Teresa for once again providing much-appreciated nourishment - conveyed to the Circle on the back of Terminator's motorbike!
STOP PRESS: Hares KFC and Basil have confirmed a trail in the Long Hai Mountains for our next outing, and a 45-seat bus has been ordered. We'll meet on Sunday, as usual, in the Offshore Bar 1 beer garden at 2 pm for 2.30 pm start (Offshore 1 is temporarily closed for renovations, but that shouldn't affect our registration for run #658).
Hares: The Gardener, Ms Banana, SamSon, Basil
Hash Flash: Taffy. Additional photos: Radio Wave
For more photos, by Radio Wave, go to:
OUR HARDY BAND OF HASHERS LINE UP OUTSIDE OFFSHORE BAR 1 FOR A GROUP PHOTO BEFORE HEADING OFF BY TAXI FLEET TO THE START POINT OPPOSITE GANH HAO RESTAURANT ON TRAN PHU.
< < < < < < < AND THIS IS THE ROUTE THAT MOST OF THEM FOLLOWED. OTHERS WENT DIFFERENT WAYS AND SOME EVEN FINISHED BY TAXI - BUT THEY ALL EVENTUALLY MADE IT TO THE CIRCLE IN LAM SON PARK!