SUNDAY, 04 AUGUST 2013
VTH3 RUN #588 - Mountain Goat Special #3: Big Mountain via C34
There was a “gathering of the clans” at VTH3 HQ (Offshore Bar 1) on Sunday and the reason soon became apparent: the popular “UXO” was back from sailing the high seas to join “OXO” and (soon to be) “We Told You So” for this week’s Mountain Goat Special #3.
The taxi fleet stopped to unload precious gold and silver bullion at the pre-selected Down Down location: a lovely sheltered café on the beach at 83 Tran Phu – then continued to our start point at C34 (near Ben Da, Ward 5), almost a complete half-circuit of Big Mountain.
A quick group photo while Hash Cash OXO settled the taxi fares, and then it was On On! towards the mountain.
By Hare Mountain Goat’s standards, the start was leisurely indeed – but the older hands could guess what was coming next and, sure enough, we suddenly turned left and found ourselves climbing vertically through dense undergrowth.
Just as everyone was wondering when it would all end, it did – for a little while, at least! The trail turned onto a picturesque dirt track around the mountain with lots of
photo opportunities and water stops.
But once again, we should have known better – another sharp turn and it was back to vertical climbing once again. This time the undergrowth was a little more forgiving, and then we found ourselves on top of Big Mountain’s second of four peaks – looking directly across at the highest peak: “radar hill”.
The descent was even more spectacular, with many hundreds of rocky steps hewn into the mountainside, interspersed with “slip-slide dirt slopes” – around a very old and hitherto unknown Jesus statue (not seen from ground level), and down through the pagoda gates to 83 Tran Phu – which a few Hashers somehow managed to miss, despite our stopping there on the way to the start point!
It was a relaxed group who populated the deck chairs and snacked on Russian bread and salted pork whilst satisfying their thirsts with our generous sponsor’s gold and silver bullets.
Time for the Circle and Down Down, where Mountain Goat’s trail was justifiably received with wild acclaim; virgins welcomed; returnees Robert, Smokey and UXO welcomed back; and various sinners punished for no good reason, as usual. Then everyone was reminded of our invitation to On On On! at a party to celebrate the grand opening of Offshore 2 at 8 pm, and it was back to the taxi fleet once more to hurry home for a shower and change of clothes.
Another fine day for everyone, made all the better by Mountain Goat’s excellent trail and the relaxed Down Down location on the beach - not to mention the major shindig afterwards at the newly-launched Offshore 2 Bar! Tourists pay big dollars to live like
Next Sunday will be an “away” run set by Hares Falcon and Hard Drive in the picturesque Long Hai Mountains (Minh Dam Secret Zone) – details to follow in the VTH3 #589 Hashflyer midweek.