Sometimes I wonder why I bother to pull on my tired and crumbling running shoes and head on out to the hills for yet another Chiang Mai hash. There have been many times when the hare(s) has not made much of an effort setting trail, has sent us on a boring 20 minute road run, or had us all lost in the forest in the dark before sending out a few local Thais with shotguns to find us and lead us home – yes BD, you know who you are, buddy. But in more recent times, there seems to be a resurgence of those hashers and hares that take pride in their work, who actually enjoy scouting out good areas to run, laying fine trails that take in the delights of the bountiful, gorgeous scenery that Chiang Mai has to offer. And today, my happy Chiang Mai hashers, today was one of those days that makes you want to hash every fucking day!
The run was in a familiar area, near the large Doi Saket dam. We were in the area for the ball breaker in January and, probably unsurprisingly, the hares for the day were a duo from the quartet that set the ball breaker who intended to use some unused trails found when scouting said BB. A lot of hashers congregated at the A site, which was in the parking lot for the local
primary school. Now, a group of old, grisly men in a primary school car park at closing time would usually raise an eyebrow or two, especially from the parents who had gathered to collect their precious little darlings. But this is Thailand, and it it seems that we are considered as more of an amusing fair ground show than anything. At one point, circus clown Graven Image was seen attempting to climb on the back of the almost full school bus, but thankfully his wizened old legs meant he couldn’t get his leg over the tailgate . . .
ooh, er, missus.
Anyway, with the promise of a 7k plus run and bright orange paper to follow we set off along nice dirt trails heading towards the big old dam wall. There was some trail through shiggy, but not the skin-shredding kind; there were fine dirt trails that skirted the hills and at every turn I felt this strange urge to head towards them. And all the time I was looking for the false trail opportunities that had been promised but never materialised – a clever ploy hares – bastards! And then finally we did head north, as it were, and up onto that weird layered terrace overlooking the dam in its entirety. It looks like it has been chiselled out of flint. I have been up there on a few occasions, most notably when scouting for the 50k run we did a few years ago. I remember the views from then, and they are still as magnificent to behold: winding, spring-green hills as a backdrop, acres of blue water sparkling like sapphires in the late afternoon sun. God I love hashing like this. But then we had to come down, down from our lofty perch via a chalky slope that had TMB, Grave, Angry and I slipping and sliding like Olympic ice skaters.
Son of Robin Banks, Camel Toe, came to join us at the front of the pack and he took the lead heading across the dam wall – glorious, even though the running was on the dreaded hard mix – until he missed the paper at the end of the wall going down a steep flight of concrete stairs. TMB was first down and called a Circle Check. I followed to ensure that I could help her back up again when the onon was called from above – huh, humm! But nothing doing, TMB found paper going all the way down the stairs and we were on again, the youthful Camel Toe, Graven and Angry still up aloft.
And from there it was a fairly straightforward run back home, some of it along the out trail, where we found Alice half way along what I would describe as a low earth sea wall, or flood defence, waiting at the OnIn to photo-capture bedraggled hashers on his well-used mobile phone.
A great run Blows Herself and Alice, a lot of effort and beautiful results. Let’s hope that this positive trail setting trend continues to evolve so that we can all enjoy the wonderful Chiang Mai countryside every dam time we hash – hooorah!25th Jan - CH4 - Alice,