Freer Park Hash Trash
HOUND AND HARE: A (mostly) true story.
Hash Scribe: June Bischoff
The Time: April 15th, 10:00am.
The Place: Freer Park, Troy.
The Hare: One Mad Hatter, Dirtbag Chris.
The day dawned bright and clear. Or so I assume, not actually being awake for that part. It held the promise of excellent running conditions and some serious sunburn.
We gathered in the park and pounded M&Ms as our race preparation. We are nothing if not serious. The Hounds were fivefold; myself, Ken Bikowicz, Brian Nilsen, Amiee Poulin, and Colby, who, being an actual hound, had the edge of experience on the rest of us new boots.
Whilst waiting around for Ken to show up (this will reflect on your review, Ken) we began our Official Hash Aerobics, which consisted of chanting a fine piece of songcraft and dancing around in an ever-increasingly silly fashion. Ken arrived during the worst of this, and would have just kept on driving had we not recognized his truck.
All arrived at last, Hatter gave us the Chalk Talk, explaining the various signs used in marking the trail, to which we responded in intelligent, informed fashion. ("Huh?") He then took off, tossing down little puffs of flour, and we proceeded to fill the 15 minute period before we were allowed to start chasing him by not paying any attention to where he was going. In retrospect, this was probably poor planning.
We did just fine along the paved path for the first quarter mile, until we came to our first checkpoint, just after a little curve, indicating a choice of three possible directions. Ken took what appeared to be the middle path up a steep hill (more fool him), while Brian checked out the left hand trail leading across the street and to a creek, and I wandered around on the golf course to my right, completely unable to find any flour dots. (Did pick up a few golf balls, though.) Ken and Brian returned, reporting their paths ending in the marks meaning a false trail. We spent a solid thirty minutes fanning out and retracing our path, trying to find marks along the mysterious right hand option, which, because of that curve, appeared to double back along our previous trail. We have deemed Brian responsible for missing what turned out to be a semi-left hand trail, and Hatter an ass for not putting the checkpoint on straighter. Eventually, after the van cruised by to make sure we were ok, and Hatter laughed himself silly from his place of concealment up on the ridge, we picked up the trail again, more or less by accident. Passing strangers were helping us look, at this point.
We made much better time from there out. Thank god, or we'd have been there till dark. (I'm not known for speed on golf courses anyway.)
Further down the trail, another three-way checkpoint lead to two road options and one woods option. Since I was the person wearing the least clothes, I logically elected to clamber through the underbrush looking for flour. Little did I know that this was to be the closest hound/hare encounter of the run; had I looked up the hill instead of examining the trees and ground, I would have seen the object of our chase, watching us and wondering what the heck I was doing tromping through the bracken.
Soon enough the trail left the pavement and took to the woods for real, with a Turkey or Eagle option. Amiee, with the dog, had been advised to stick to the Turkey Trail, and the rest of us, given our piss-poor start, also decided to go with the trail that followed an actual footpath instead of heading directly into a thicket. The two paths rejoined, the Eagle climbing the sheer cliff that the Turkey gently circled, and we congratulated ourselves again on our wisdom.
From there, the trail took to the streets of Troy, where we collected odd looks from the citizens. Particularly the ones we passed multiple times, checking out false trails. Brian did much of the front-running and trail-checking, establishing himself as the only one stupid enough - I mean, with energy enough to jog back and forth over the same ground. Amiee and I were more prone to walking once we were on uncertain ground. Because the dog was tired, don'tcha know.
The only real difficulty we encountered was in the interpretation of the true trail sign with "TO YATES" written under it, which was supposed to carry us in the absence of flour marks. We ran for several minutes on general principles before we started wondering, "What's a Yates?" Then, when we actually encountered Yates Street, we were so excited we took off down it rather than look for powder further along the street we were on. Although we managed to find the trail again by virtue of aiming in the general direction of the park, our two-block detour meant that we tragically missed the beer van.
Once we reentered the golf course, flour dots became more plentiful, apparently as Hatter realized how much he had left over after gypping us at the start. (Bastard.) We passed a chalked-on graffiti going over a bridge that said, "Where's Corey and his B-Ball?" leading us to believe that Hatter had a little too much time to mark his trail.
Colby did a little trail marking of her own, and Amiee and her panting pup tried to hitch a ride from a passing golf cart, to no avail.
Kenny had a near-death experience cutting across the 13th hole. Ducking flying golf balls right and left, he sped down the hill and managed to blow out his knee. (But he did catch a golf ball between his teeth.) Heroically, he soldiered on to the heartening sight of "BEER NEAR" scrawled on a patch of cement.
Finally, we reached the finish, a lovely picnic area consisting of some gravel, some grass, and a beautiful view of a gas company cement hutch. I floured the hare in a most non-regulatory manner, regardless of the legality considering we didn't actually catch him. Muchos beer was consumed (by the dog), animal crackers were eaten (by the dog), and I was pelted with M&Ms and threatened with salsa. (That's hard to get a cop to buy - "I was in fear for my life, officer! They threatened me - with salsa!")
A fine time was had by all, and the next run is being planned in a month for the Saratoga Battlefield, with Brian as a first-time hare.
And, yes, I sunburned nicely.
Chris "Dirtbag" Hatter, Grand Master
Brian Nilsen, Joint Master
June Bischoff, Hash Scribe
Amiee Poulin, Hash Cash