16 Dec 2018
Nui Thi Vai - "Up The Back Way"
Hares: Mr. T., Secs, Flying Finn
Hash Flasher: Secs
The excitement is palpable amongst the fourtyish Hashers aboard the Hashmobile speeding towards Ba-Ria. This week we are returning to a conquest we conquered for the first time back in April - Nui Thi Vai - famous for its magnificent pagodas, 1200 steps and 400m jaw dropping views.
Instead of turning left at Ba Ria on to Highway QL51 as we normally do, we continue directly in to Ba Ria town. For many of us Ba Ria is typically the place we bypass on the way to other places - so it was interesting to see what was behind the Co-op Mart, extravagant new government buildings, and never ending construction projects that we usually see from QL51.
We exit Ba Ria town to the north and soon we are flanked by rural countryside. On our left we are treated to a new perspective of our favourite stomping ground Nui Dinh. The Hares amongst us eyeing up its potential for future trails.
It's not long before Nui Dinh is behind us and our attention turns to the mountain looming majestically ahead of us - Nui Thi Vai. For those of us that remember last time we were here, our thoughts return to the punishment our legs took the last time we climbed the 1200 steps to the top.
Mercifully, our Hares have promised that this time we’re taking a different approach where we will descend the steps instead of climbing them. The anticipation of a new trail has our Hashers on the edge of their seats anxious to be unleashed.
Luckily we are near our starting point and the Hares direct our driver to pull up on the side of the road. Disembarking, we look up, feeling pleased to see the cloudy, overcast sky providing welcome shade, and apprehensive to see the same clouds effortlessly caressing the top of our mountain.
Mr. T delivers a concise chalk-talk: we are to walk together until we reach a quarry, where we will ensure everyone gets across safely and then enter the mountain forest and follow the trail to the top, taking time for selfies along the way, visit the pagodas at the top, and then follow the steps all the way down to the carpark where we have the down-down.
After having been cooped up in the bus for an hour it feels great to stretch our legs as we enthusiastically march On-On along the road. As we turn on to a country lane some of our more eager Hashers dash off ahead of us.
After a pleasant walk through a rubber tree plantation we gather at the quarry - no sign of FRB Terminiger - we can only hope he managed to spot the red ribbons marking the way through the quarry.
Our Hares guide us through the quarry as we clamber over rocks and slip our way up over the dry gravel. At the top of the quarry we are shown a narrow entrance cut out of the bamboo in to the forest. We follow the red ribbons until we emerge into a beautiful forest glade lined with ancient boulders, magnificent trees and graceful bamboo.
The glade leads up. And up. And up. And we realise - we still need to go up, to go down those 1200 steps. But it's a beautiful walk, clear underfoot with natural steps from the cascading rocks. Red ribbons mark a detour that takes to a spectacular viewpoint atop a large flat rock - we marvel at the vertiginous landscape before us.
Eventually we see sign of civilisation, man-made steps cut in to forest floor, and a curious stone throne guarding the way forward. As we ponder its purpose, it provides the perfect selfie prop.
We know we are close to the top when we find ourselves on a flat area cleared to build an new pagoda and garden, giving us unfettered views from 350 meters. A welcome breeze cools us as we take a breather only to have it taken away by the breathtaking views.
Finally, we pass through a gate and a short walk along a well kept path takes us to our first pagoda. We’ve made it! We take time to explore the various pagodas before finding the legendary steps down. Gingerly we begin the relentless descent, our legs still recovering from the climb up. An overwhelming feeling of elation, achievement and relief overcomes us as we see the below carpark and the promise of refreshments spurs us on down the final steps.
Ice cold San Miguel and Bahn Mi beckon as we rest our weary legs. Socialising begins, and we notice that our Hash Flash, has disappeared - apparently on some spiritual journey to Nirvana - well, the top of the mountain at least.
Just as all hope had been given up and someone else would have to take the team photo a somewhat bedraggled Secs staggers down the steps. He inhales a bottle of Revive and now rehydrated takes the photo. And the circle begins.
Our Hares are up first and the trail is rated - bidding starts at 10/10. The Captain gives a chucklesome 5 out of 10. Ultimately the trail is rated 13.5/10.
Next up we have four newcomers. Three Virgins - a lady from St. Petersburg, Russia and a Vietnamese lady and gentleman from Vung Tau. We also welcome Allen (AKA Handbag) a Brit from Singapore Hash. We welcome them in our inimitable way - ice water baptism. Ms. Thuy from Vung Tau tackles the tube of doom with aplomb.
No Returnees this week, so straight to the sinners. A bewildered Termininger is charged for finding a completely different trail - but still managed to find his way to the down-down. HBO is back in the circle for the second time charged with always being late and almost missing the bus again.
Finally we close the circle with the announcement that next week will be a sedate home trail - so we all have plenty of time to head home to the begin the process of preening ourselves before donning our glad rags and heading to the VTH3 Christmas Party.
With daylight almost gone we board the Hashmobile and continue the convivialities all the way back to Hon Ru Ri.
VTH3 #868 PHOTO GALLERY