Frozen Dick knows his area rather well, which usually means good runs when he sets and major fcuk ups when he’s a hound and decides to shortcut until ravines, barbed wire and other unexpected surprises detain him until nightfall. With Cumlord as paperboy, this was the chance for Frozen to educate the lad on the terrain and possibilities thereof, and boy did he do a decent job.
We started off from Frozen’s country dacha and went right to the main trail. One if the last things the hares said was that they’d cleared any old paper they’d found, so didn’t expect us to see any.
I decided to push myself a bit today and jogged off decisively left at check1. The pack mooched right or mostly hung around. Just as I got to 100m with no sign of paper, I heard OnOn called from the opposite direction. Blast! Just as I was about to turn, I saw paper 40m ahead. My eyes lit up. Maybe they done a clever loop around right, up over the property and back down to this trail. If so, I was quids in and a few hundred metres ahead. Aaaaaargh! Old paper! Drat and double drat! I was now a few hundred behind. Taking my chances, I ducked up a connecting trail with a 50% chance of reconnecting if trail turned left off the valley. Hearing shouts coming closer I was in luck. Shrek lead the pack and Chucky was close behind. “How the bloody hell did you get here?” Inquired the lanky Sandgroper. It wouldn’t be the last time he was nonplussed on this run.
Another check and given the twists so far, I chose the path less travelled up towards the farm next door. Wrong. Back and along the main higher level path with so many options. Turkey, Emma and others passed me and the next check was right, up the second valley as I call it. Here Frozen pulled a surprise left up into the forest, a totally new path for me and we dragged ourselves up through the bush to a tricky check that took us at least 5 minutes. There were two other pearlers to come!
Emma went left, Chucky straight, I hit the forest off trail when these two found nothing. Turkey and Shrek scoured the bush either side of me while Does Nothing called anxiously ‘Are you?!’ The tone suggesting he meant, ‘Have you found trail and run off silently Turkish?’
Eventually trail was located on a small path left front towards the edge of the forest and followed familiarish route along the fence line, we inside and Chucky outside. Here another check confused Chucky as the paper to the circle went left but paper from the circle went right back into the wet,greenery. Even more confusing, the path snaked through the forest to a check on the top of a rise which was called a False Trail by Turkish. Everyone turned and started searching. Eventually paper was found beyond this False Trail and we were off again.
Turkish was going well and thankfully well visible in his blue top. A check was faintly called right and paper dropped along a narrow path to the right of a gulley. The FRBs weren’t sure and TD was back in SRB mode. I recalled a left hand tiny track here that FD and Chucky had used on a set a year ago
and pushed through until I found it and paper. Turkish was ahead and checking silent until he was aware of me and started pathetically quiet ‘Checking!’ calls. So drole, so predictable.
The hares lead us a merry dance through the woods until a killer check that had ABB yelling OnOn and retracing his steps back into the forest on our out paper! Despite Does Nothing yelling for him to come back, ABB was convinced he’d found trail and took off. Presumably half a km of paper on the wrong side of trees finally awoke him to the terrible truth.
Trail went left back up the valley and AWAY from home. Frozen had stumped me here but found a totally unknown to me cut through path through the hills to the next main valley. It had to be right here but the first checker found nothing. More confusion. It can’t be left I cried exasperated, not left or front through the bush either. I wondered if Frozen had found the little path that snakes behind the first range of hills to the left of the main valley trail, heading all the way back towards the first main trail we’d hit at the start. As the pack circled and spread, confused and chuntering, I bashed bush for a bit until I saw the telltale FD CML paper strips as the homeward trail took shape. I yelled and put my foot down. I was really pushing myself for the first time in ages and Chucky’s calls behind spurred me. It was leafy and rocky and narrow, I hurt my toe and nearly tripped half a dozen times but I aced the check by the fence knowing the next runners would flail about in the property and find impassable wire and gate.
I hit the main path for home and saw On In. Yes! Victor cum laude! Frantic calls behind suggested I was heard but not seen and I nearly blacked out with effort. There were torn paper strips on the deck and my eye suddenly caught hanging paper some way ahead. Bad hares. This was sadly out trail paper and I ran past the turn and had to come back. Turkish saw me and even accused me of short cutting. Oh the irony!
Near circle’s end Frozen finally fished a very disconsolate lost Snowballs back on his bike. He’d gone missing at check 1 and kept missing. Strangely this has been his MO for 3 out of 4 times I’ve seen him this past year. Maybe the wacky baccy is winning the battle. Frozen gave Rooter the wings for best comment, when Alice said he’d found a Lyons St in Port Melbourne honouring former resident Superman. ‘Was it a dead end?’ quipped Rooter to steal the show.
Top trail, well marked, just need rather more joining paper at checks if trail goes bush. What did Cumlord learn? We’ll see when he takes on his first set. Looking forward!