Monday, November 16, 2009

A Hash House Harriers Hash

We heard about the Hash House Harriers from Manuela and Sid in the Testigos. It was new news to us, but this is a fascinating organization that's been around since 1938. I highly recommend you check out the Wikapedia entry by clicking on phrase Hash House Harriers in the first sentence. It is very funny! The organization is one of drinkers who have a running problem! There are over two thousand local kennels in the world (one is in Burlington, VT).

The Constitution of the Hash House Harriers is recorded on a club registration card dated 1950:
To promote physical fitness among our members
To get rid of weekend hangovers
To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
We attended our first Hash on Saturday, leaving Crew's Inn at 3:3O PM. Other cruisers who often attend arranged a maxi taxi for about 10 of us and a few others took a car.
We joined the hundreds of people gathered at a nearby beach in the Chagaramus National Park. Free bottles of water were given out and then the Kennel Grand Master gave the Chalk Talk introducing the types of markings on the trail for us. Ours were made of shredded paper or occasionally flour. The hares had already been out marking the trail which is then followed by the remainder of the group (the Pack or Hounds). \
The trail often includes false trails, short cuts, dead ends, and splits. These features are designed to keep the pack together regardless of fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down to find the "true" trail, allowing stragglers to catch up. Basically we Hounds were either runners of walkers - our group was mostly the latter.

We got talking with Rick, Sue & Mike, whose boats were at TTSA and the story of Rick's partner Rob came out. He had been at a previous Hash and got lost. He spent the night in the jungle! When Sue showed us her portable GPS, I decided to keep her in view! Getting lost turned out not to be a problem on this run. The trail, for us walkers, was pretty clear. The runners did a lot of the backtracking already by the time we showed up.

We started straight up a steep hill with lovely views of the bay and beach. For the first hour we could see the ocean off and on through the trees, although way down. Then we cut back through the jungle and then down to the golf course. We stayed along the greens for awhile and then cut into a trail through a bamboo forest. The sun had already gone down by the time we emerged back at the start.
Most people were already ahead of us in the drinking section of the hash. We weren't by any means the last ones out however (everyone did return this time). Our cruiser group reassembled for some cold beers and laughter. It was a LOT of fun and exercise. We did however miss the Circle and the Down Downs as our taxi returned before it started. As virgins we would have received free beers with immediate public consumption requested. If you can't down the beer, you end up wearing it. Well, next time...

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