#41 – The Magical Mystery Tour Rehashed

I walk to work each morning and on my way to work I look up at Laohe Shan and think, ‘I wish I was up there’. I did the same thing this morning but this time the thought ‘I wish I was up there’ was immediately followed by ‘gosh, up there doesn’t look as tall as it used too’.

It was a tall weekend, 7 hashers setting off on Saturday to attempt to hit all 14 of Hangzhou’s 1000ft hills in one day. We only hit 10 but it was as good a day’s walking as you’re going to get in constant, teeming rain. Despite the packs knowledge of the hills of Hangzhou it was sadly navigational errors that did for us.

Sunday we were off on Hentai’s Magical Mystery Tour, disappointingly 6 of the 7 from Saturday FAILED to show up on Sunday and DOWN DOWNs await them. So it was that a depleted pack (A, H, Pushup, PhoneBox, 7Up) made the long arduous journey out to Hentai’s secret location.

The secret location turns out to be a small village (some how villages in Zhejiang never quite manage to achieve quaint do they?) in the Daqing valley, a new location for all of us.

A well used tourist trail ran west out of the village and in to the bamboo forest, we were on chalk and away. But not for long. A few hundred metres in and we’re off chalk. Back to good chalk, no, we’ve not missed a touring. Spend ages looking round, exploring every possible turning off the trail before deciding the work-shy-fop of a hare hasn’t set a trail at all. Unanimously the pack decides that the best course of action is to follow the stone stairs all the way to summit which we did. The route up and the summit affording amazing views of the valley, mountains and the river, batteries being rapidly drained on cameras as the sun gets lower in the sky.

Nagging sensation in the back of mind that I’m missing something important here.

The trail emerged at a small, very communist looking concrete pavilion on a ridge that runs north-south (south-north if you’re Chinese). The pack quickly decide to head north up to what looks like the summit proper in search of views of the hills to the North and West.

From the summit I get my first true appreciation of how much more there is to the hills around Hangzhou, that we’ve just dipped our toe in with the stuff we’ve done that immediately borders the city.

That’s what it is, the sun’s going down! We’ve got about 20 minutes of day light left we’re at the top of a hill, off chalk and we need to get down quickly.

Push-up’s improbable-but-somehow-just-about-passable-trail detector goes off and we clamber over some rocks into the gloom of tree cover at twilight. It’s steep, very steep and as we make our way down I increasingly can’t work out the detail of what I’m stepping into. This is boar trap country and I now can’t look at what I’m stepping on even if I want to. The hills ring out to On On as the small pack attempt to track each other’s progress down the ridge. Somehow we manage to emerge at the bottom and back on to the tourist trail just as the light fails us completely. The timing couldn’t have been tighter. A short 1k run in takes us back to an awaiting hare.

The hare, in his defence claims to have set a trail that took a circuitous route up to the pavilion and then came down by the southern ridge. Down-downs were nonetheless awarded as we saw absolutely no evidence of this. 7Up appeared to be on a mission to get everyone wasted filling everyone’s glass except her own as full as possible.

The pack were rewarded with a dinner including wild boar (shot, not trapped, we wouldn’t to encourage that now would we) and we finally adjourned to Maya for 1 or 3.

On On
DoggieStyle.

Run #41 – The Magical Mystery Tour

Sunday 23rd of March
Hare: Hentai
Start Time: 16:00 (at the location)

It is STRONGLY suggested that runners meet in the city and travel together. Meet 15:00 at the junction of Kaiyuan Lu and Yan’an Lu outside of Carrefour (家??) . Call DoggieStyle if stuck.

Hentai’s instructions, for the brave, are:

Take the number 8 bus to zhuantang and need to rent a mini bus to Shang chen dai cun village which will cost you another 10 for all the people.

观光8?,从黄龙到龙?镇!308从开元路到转塘,到了以????钱?以包车到上城埭?就好了.

Run #38 – All Roads Lead to Rome

Run #38 March 2nd

Roman Square – Nanshan Rd – Hares Skidmarks and SevenUp There’s no other question of concern as much as whether Hangzhou hash will survive given the punishment inflicted on it’s membership by nocturnal activities other than running. Your scribe only stepped forth into the fresh air at 15.00 hours on Sunday after a period of introspection brought on by the end results of a default Friday night and then Doggie Style’s teppanyaki extravaganza on Saturday followed by a return to the Shamrock. This was all a little hard to explain to the LA based Chinese speaking ABC who accosted me for directions in Pinghai Rd and with whom I ended up breakfasting before the run. At about 15.45 I received a call from who I thought was Miki asking for directions to Roman Square. This inquiry was flick-passed to the hares who then rang a perplexed Miki who was not the inquirer. So started a confused discussion with Nicky from the Qingdao Hash who must have really wondered how low mismanagement could go. Well, Roman Square turns out to be a concrete re-creation of the forum, although it’s doubtful any senator of the day would feel at home there. Nicky, in the company of Renard, Lerry and Coco joined the returned Pelagic and Bottomfeeder, Karolina, Aaron, Phone Box, Battery Operated and scribe Pushup. On on; the trail initially lulled the pack into a gentle trot as it wound around the various lakeside garden paths. The arrows were ingeniously placed so to be hard to find, but the advantages of a larger pack and some energetic front runners meant that the pack remained on trail up to that stunning 3 way check at the gates to the Wansongling Academy. Well hares, it was effective, because by the time the correct trail had been located by Bottom Feeder in a completely different direction to any of the arrows there was plenty of time for the back markers to re-join. Then it was the steps, and then more steps and then more  steps to the top of Fenghuang Hill, then some 1000 year old Chinese verse, then more steps, and then more steps, after which there was more steps. There were steep steps, then not so steep steps, then really flat steps followed by 10 metre steps, soon to be followed by rather steep steps. Along the way, there a couple of Kodak spots (note that the power of Kodak’s brand does not translate into meaningful camera sales) where the pack happily regrouped. Another regroup was found at the mini temple at the saddle after the big root. Down still more steps was a prayer halt, where some of the pack prayed for a directional change, because as Pelagic pointed out, home was 180 degrees the other way. But, it all turned out OK, because those clever hares ran the trail back under the hill through a shortish tunnel, and about a 3km run in, with the pack arriving across the space of about 5 minutes. RA Bottom Feeder was back in his element with an inspiring message to sinners all, and there plenty to choose from. Hash infractions included using incorrect names, surreptitious assignations etc etc. Skidmarks suggested the classy looking restaurant across the road amid consternation as to the posh and expensive look of the place. The pack certainly looked a bit out of place in that grossly (there you go BO, appropriate use of the word) over decorated room (for the hash that is). Doggie Style and Acronymph mixed up their priorities once again and ended up at the Maya rather than joining the running department, but otherwise there was a full turn out and the bill of RMB25 was not too bad, although it was a beer free meal. The post On on was a fairly dry affair with only Aaron and Bottom Feeder making it to the Maya to join the recalcitrant there, others, without the reserves of health required, wilted and wimped. Well, the trail was well thought out, and well executed in some great country close to town, what more would one ask?