Saratoga Battlefield Hash Trash
Or, more aptly, the Hound and Mud
Hash Scribe: June Bischoff
Date: Saturday, May 13th 2000
Place: Saratoga Battlefield/National Park
Hares: Adam and One Mad Hatter
And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down. Not, fortunately, the day of the run, but for most of the previous week and all the previous night.
And what do May thunderstorms bring, boys and girls? That's right; really schmeggy running conditions. We are talking M-U-D-D. (Trust me, if mud were a woman, this run would have been a double D.)
The park seemed innocuous enough from the paved parking area where we gathered. We had the returning hounds from the first run; Ron, Laura with Super-Pup Skyler, and myself, as well as two New Boots; Steve and my S.O. Musashi, who had managed to break a toe about two weeks before and looked to be a sure bet for Dead Ass Last.
Sometime during our Chalk Talk I noticed that our hares' legs were mud-spattered well above knee level. Bad sign. Adam and Hatter had decided that since, on our last run, we had such problems with the checkpoint marker that indicated how many trails led out from it, this time they were going with checkpoints that only indicated that there was a split, not how many. Thanks, guys.
We gave them their fifteen minute head start and trotted along the path after them into the woods.
The devilish minds of our hares manifested at our first checkpoint. Ron and Laura continued along the beaten path, while Steve followed powder offroad down the ravine to our left, and Musashi and I hung out around the checkpoint looking for any signs of powder in the woods to our right.
Sure enough, Steve found the true trail marking, and down the ravine we went. The powder trail led across a stream on a log, but given the way the rotten supporting logs collapsed when I stepped on them, I'm not convinced that the hares didn't just ford the stream, dropping flour on the log in an attempt to convince us to climb the precarious thing.
We climbed back out of the ravine and ran along a horse trail through the woods. We came out into a field, where the path split. Steve and Laura took the high road, while Ron took the low road. Musashi wandered off to the left, reporting no powder but a whole herd of deer led by a truly impressive buck. We dandled around the checkpoint for a while, then, when neither party returned with news of a bad trail, I took off after Ron. Musashi shrugged and followed me, apparently under the assumption that I knew what I was doing.
OK, OK. My theory was that the low road, with two inches of standing water atop three inches of mud, was MUCH more likely to be the true trail. Plus, Skyler and I were in a heated competition to see who could slosh through the most mud puddles, and this looked to put me well in the lead.
I rapidly gave up the idea of running through the horse-churned sucking muck, and removed my shoes before I lost one. (This decision had nothing to do with wanting to feel the mud between my toes. Honest.) Musashi and I had actually a rather pleasant walk through the slop, and fell ridiculously far behind the pack.
At length, we climbed out of the muck, and into the merely muddy woods. At this point running became possible again, and I discovered how impossible it was without my sneaks. When the guy with the broken toe started to get a lead on me, I decided to stop to put them back on. Yes, that was about as much fun as it sounds, and during it, I commited the Crime of the chase. I looked at my wet, muddy socks, and left them to their fate in a national park.
("Whatcha in for?" "Litterin'." And all the mother-stabbers and father-rapers moved away from me on the Group W bench. "And creatin' a public nuisance," I added, and they all moved back again, and we had a good time filling out the forms and playing with the pencils.)
The remainder of the run proved fairly uneventful, at least to those of us far enough back not to have to scout out any of the dead trails. Eventually, Musashi and I caught up with Steve and Laura and Skyler, who had been walking and waiting for us while Ron was up front trailblazing. We went through some lovely woods before coming out to paved road again, and "BEER NEAR" across it in chalk. Having conserved our energy during the actual body of the chase, Musashi and I sprinted the last portion, managing to beat Laura to the picnic area and thus stick her with the title of Dead Ass Last.
Ron was deemed the Front Running Bastard. Musashi and I were both considered for the Ha-Shit plunger award, but Musashi ended up winning it due to his refusal to drink from his new sneakers. (After that run, they certainly aren't new anymore.) For my crime of littering in a national park, I had to stand atop the picnic table while the crew sang "Alouetté" at me, although I don't remember learning any of these verses in school.
And now, having put off writing the hash trash for the full allotted week, it is bedtime for yours truly.
Kudos to first-time hare, Adam, for staging a very enjoyable run. Even if he did have to sell his soul to the devil to get it to rain that hard beforehand.
Oh yeah - next time, I want operable cannons.