Courtesy of Brown Finger:-
Never before in the field of humane hashing has so much been owed by so many to so few.
Yes, reluctant as any reputable hasher must be to heap praise upon the heads of others, I am referring to the many hashers (twenty-six?) that signed on for the 2014 Chiang Mai Annual Ball Breaker, and the few, the two redoubtable hares (200 kilometers in scouting and setting the trail – phew!) that treated us all to an experience that will linger pleasurably, if not a little painfully, in the collective memory for a long time to come. I mention pain in the physical sense, of course, which in ageing bones and joints will surely have arisen at some stage during, or perhaps even after, the somewhat ultra-hashing distance – that is 20-24 kilometers depending on one’s involvement in running down the many artfully contrived checks that festooned the naked trail.
Now, whether “humane” can or should ever be used in the context of any hash, let alone this one, we shall see . . .
The morning started in positive fashion for me. After a plate of whole-wheat pancakes with maple syrup and a pep talk from Big Top over a couple of cups of coffee and at various precarious stages during our motorbike ride to the resort, I was well fuelled and psychologically prepared to face whatever the evil Doctor Byte and the inscrutable Shagless had to offer.
There was a quick hare brief: the trail set all on paper, plenty of paper; the usual V, Cross, and Circle checks and those damnable Skiddy Sticks; meals to be ordered, a choice of five, some ordered two, me included; bags to be left for transportation; an A-B-C-D run, beer stops and bail outs at B and C, circle at the D. Then we were herded politely into the songthaew and into pickups, and it was off for a short drive to the A, where Shagless took a name check, presumably so we would be able to salute the missing and the dead when it was time to circle up.
And then we were off, off and up into those fucking mountains. Recently I have been trying to convince myself that mountains are good things, good for my fitness, and that I liked mountains. Bollocks! I don’t like fucking mountains. I hate them. What’s good about experiencing one type of pain going up a mountain only to feel a different type of pain coming down the other side? But we were warned. Doctor Byte told me the first three kilometers would be the hardest, but he didn’t happen to mention that while the first three were indeed the hardest and most painful, the remaining four or so would be only slightly less hard and slightly less painful – ever so slightly less. There were loose rocks on some of the trails that prevented all but the most foolhardy from running them; there were trails for midgets only, running through long tunnels of looped over bamboo; there were more ups and downs than the Grand Old Duke of York. And then the paper started to mysteriously disappear, and then I found out why. It was my turn to check the wrong way down a mountain at a V check; half way down to the check-back I saw them, three hillbilly Thais with huge elephant guns picking the paper off the trees. “No come here,” they yelled at me menacingly through yellow teeth with gaps in them that held long, smoldering cheroots, which smelled fragrantly sweet, sweet of the illegal weed variety . . . and so I didn’t, go there, that is!
And finally we came down from the mountains and got to run a little. And it was good to be running with hashers I hadn’t seen for a while – Jungle Chim, Grease Gorilla – and with some I hadn’t met before – a guy with a hash name something like Slippery Nipples, doing the checks, sweating like a pig in a dessert; and the legendary Gorf, a finely tuned running machine, a natural born runner if I have ever seen one. Jealousy is such a degrading emotion . . . Then we hit the B, almost literally, well hidden just around a corner, sheltered by a tree. And there was Mr. Poo grinning broadly at our obvious physical distress. “You bastard,” I shouted at Doctor Byte, “That was at least 10k, not 7!” I asked Gorf what he had on his GPS, but he had been running so fast that it had overheated and switched itself off. At least that was his explanation. But it was only 7-something kilometers, and it had taken us about an hour and a half to run it; I was already knackered, and there was still another umpteen kilometers to go. Humane . . . ? Well I wouldn’t know about that!
And so Doctor Byte lied again. “The next leg is a short one.” Yeah, right! But I was beginning to feel a little better; beer, water, chocolate, banana. Yeah, much better. Ready for anything . . . except the savage dogs that chased me down to the checkback at a V, the one where None of Your Business refused to check because of those same savage dogs. What a smart young fella that guy is.
The second leg was running country, and so we got moving quite nicely, with Gorf out ahead checking, and the rest of us checking when he left us something to check. Fandango was running like a hunted gazelle, leaping and bounding, finely sculpted legs and arms, perfect for the job, until she got speared in the thigh by a long speary thing. I offered to lick it better, but she gracefully declined. Oh well, one can only but try . . . And then we hit the check that bought the pack together. We had to trudge though some waterlogged ground to reach a circle check on a good, wide trail-come-dirt road with possibilities all around. Some checked right up the road, through water and mud; some checked left down the same road; others went up a slope to take a look, but no paper. It was left to the wily old fox, Square Rooter, to go back along the trail a short way and to find paper. And when I reached the C, he was already there, eating a banana, grinning like a gummy Cheshire Cat.
And so back to the lie. A short leg? Not a bit of it. Skiddy had clocked up a total of 14+k on his GPS. Fuck! How long was the final leg? 8k according to Shagless. Easy running and short cutting opportunities, apparently. Well, by my reckoning some would end up running about 24k in all. And god I was feeling tired! Better have a beer! Ah, that’s better. Forget the pain . . . forget the pain . . . forget the pain . . . Is this humane?
The final leg. So many hashers running well up front: HRA and his gammy foot, still going strong, check-guarding, but hey, what the hell, maybe I might do some of that at some point; Sloppy Rod, the man who keeps popping up at the front, somehow, miraculously, how the fuck does he do it? Alice and Graven running strong with Gorf, checking, calling, and sometimes not even bothering to call, or so somebody else told me . . . Despite the good running conditions, I was hitting the wall, a wall so solid I thought it could dam the flow of the mighty Amazon itself. Humane? I should have let the hillbillies shoot me; there was no way through for me. But wait. Nobody is checking down here. And there is paper. Yes, and another bit. “On, on!” I couldn’t believe it. Another check; more paper; “on,on.” Another check; more paper; “on, on.” And then the mighty Gorf was almost upon me when we hit the final circle check. We both thought it was an arrow pointing left. So we both turned left. And there it was, a sign, “beer is near.” A shared smile. And then we saw those two magnificent words, written in powder over red clay. We touched knuckles and yelled together, “on, in.” Entirely for the benefit of the overly sensitive Doctor Byte, Gorf and I held hands as we ran together, happy but exhausted into camp, where the Happy Hash was waiting, ready for the circle.
Barbeque and other munchies and cold beer . . . perfection, I can say no more.
The joint circle with the Happy Hash worked, and it worked very well, or so I have been told. I don’t remember much about it myself because I was too busy drinking beer in an attempt to ease my pain – thank god it worked, thank god for the numbness that follows a decent quantity of the dear old amber nectar. But what I do remember, and what was quite remarkable when I came to think about it, was that GM Skiddy must have been so thoroughly overwhelmed by it all, by the excellent run, the beautiful countryside (virgin hashing territory), the well-oiled mismanagement, a feat of haresmanship seldom aspired to let alone achieved, that he utterly failed to slag off the hares for a lousy job – it’s tradition, right?
So guys – BMY, Shagless – you should be very proud of your efforts and the fact that you definitely set the best run of the year . . . so far . . . more or less . . . well everyone said so, didn’t they? Oh, there is only one thing, Doctor Byte. You couldn’t resist it, could you? You know, the wings? Your own son? Keep it in the family, huh? Well he gets my vote for avoiding those savage dogs. Smart kid that one . . .
And as for humane hashing – who fucking cares. You don’t have to fucking well do it!
Here is Graven’s Track!5th Jan - CH3 / CH4 - BMY & Shagless,