Monday, April 2, 2012

A Hashing We Will Go

Did anyone out there turn off their lights at 8:30 Saturday night? We did, why not, but had plenty of light from our neighbor's security lights so doubt we looked too impressive from satellites. We did our part! I hope no one was too pranked on April Fool's Day.

For our April Fool's Day excitement, we hashed.  We had been wanting to set a hash ourselves at the Black Rocks, but couldn't figure out the logistics of how to do it. Plus, every time we go to check it out, we miss the turn - can you see this sign?!

Thank goodness the hash master put out the orange cone or we would have missed it again Saturday. Mike (different Mike) and Andrew figured out a way to traverse the area and set a great hash.  There were a lot of terrain changes, which made the hike very interesting. Unfortunately, the markers which were plentiful but blended in so were practically invisible, caused a # of people to get lost, miss parts of the trails, and complain. When you're setting trails, things seem obvious to you and you think your trail markers are obvious too, but it's a different story when you have people walking/running, talking, watching their dogs, taking pictures, and unfamiliar with the area. We all survived though, so come on along.

While we waited for everyone to arrive, we got to ooh and aah at the black volcanic rock formations - one of them a Bart Simpson look-alike.


The ass whisperer.

You know you live on an island when someone standing behind you says "We used to have a donkey. I miss 'em." When we asked what the heck one does with a donkey we learned that they're great for the kids to ride on. Fair enough.  Look at the # of people we had for the hash this weekend.

Over 175!  I believe it. We saw people we hadn't seen in months and had lots of newbies. Way to get the word out. Enough talking - let's hike!

We walked up to this church (I was determined to stay in front so didn't go inside for a picture), but I have no idea what the church name is and neither does anyone else I asked. Googling gets me "a church and mausoleum." Yes, I knew that - especially when this sign says "Estridge's Mausoleum." Estridge was a sugar plantation owner.

I'll use this landmark to show you how our trek went perspective-wise.

We walked by and over (literally) a few graves, and someone near me said "This is why you can't take yourself too seriously - no matter who you are you die, are buried, and then get trampled on by a bunch of hashers." Too true.

Then we were headed down the cliffs.

Then we were amongst the usual ocean-side garbage and some not so rough waves, scrambling across rocks.

You must do this - click on this link
The rocks were smooth (which would be expected), but oddly oval or round shaped. When the waves hit them, it sounded like firecrackers going off or maybe snapping that addictive bubble wrapping paper.

And then we were heading back in toward the volcano that created the beach.

We ended up in someone's backyard - someone with a pigpen. A couple of occupants had surprisingly long hair and even the little grey guy wasn't what I'd call adorable, but...smooches!

We went in and out of various Saddler neighborhoods and even got to witness an arrest (we think for drunkenness, but it seems the cop wasn't so sober either). A typical Saturday afternoon in St. Kitts.

We eventually ended up on this meandering, asphalted, trail that was absolutely awesome. I would like to walk this road again sometime.

It took us by this sugar mill (minus the windmill part) that had been engulfed by a tree/roots.

And then we were meandering again.

We walked across a thankfully dry ghaut.

And meandered some more.

We passed a very tucked-in hideaway.

And continued to be mesmerized by the views until we started heading toward the water again.

We then slapped palms with Michael as he ran past - all by himself. The rest of the group was waaaaay behind waiting for him to tell them if it was a valid "scent" (hares set false trails on the runner's/hound's path).

Then it was time for us to head off into the woods. Unfortunately, this is where the markings started to blend in and things got very confusing. I don't think I've ever been on a hash that was this vocal - "Are you?" (Where the F is everybody?). "On! On!" (Follow my voice and keep moving forward!). I even yodeled a bit. I don't think that helped anyone (nor is it in the hasher's handbook), but it made me feel better when I ended up by myself for 10 minutes.

An ancient petroglyph from the dingbat tribe.

I followed these tiny ties (normally you have long tendrils to catch everyone's eye)

toward a cliff we had to climb using a strap.

And then I almost went face first into this barbed wire.

The next thing I knew I was all alone...Aaaare Yooou?! Yodel? Anyone? Mommy?

I kept freaking out as I barreled through several spider webs - a) no one else went that way so I'm lost; b) aack! I just walked through a frickin' spiderweb! Just when I was having a Blair Witch Project moment (the worst movie I've ever seen, by the way), I came out of the woods and caught a glimpse of some fellow hashers and we made our way back to the start.

I told one of the women that I hoped she didn't mind that I had a number of butt shots of her because it was about to be made famous on my blog. It turned out she was from Dominica. We got to talking about hiking there, especially to the Boiling Lake. I told her how lucky we were to have such a great guide - Octavious/Sea Cat - and she looked at me wide-eyed and told me that was her cousin. Pretty cool. I guess not as rare as one would think considering the history of the islands, but I was surprised none-the-less. I mentioned that I raved about Octavious and the hike in a book I just had published and that they need to get a copy (excerpt of that hike here). Another copy sold! And we kept walking...Saba and Statia were looking rather otherworldly off to our west.

About 1 1/2 hours after we began (a bit longer than usual), we made it back to the start. The runners started to come in at the same time too. Their hike was similar to ours (only in reverse).

They even had their own sugar mill-engulfed ruin (or it was the same, but different side).

Except they got lost so missed the beach part and faced this:

This, after being forced up what looked like a true trail up a steep hill (ha ha! - run back down - hear Michael's knee pop!). It took some people over 2 hours to complete this thing - and I think this sums it up.

It's been awhile since we've had hash injuries, and this one had one of the hares down for the count suffering from dehydration, a bum knee for Michael, scraped elbows for Tina after a spill, and lots of scratches and itchies from razor grass and thorny things. Yep - that was a true hash (not because of the injuries, but the varied terrain). Seriously, if it had been marked better (pink or orange ribbons) it would have been on one of my top 3. Once the ceremonies began, we attracted the attention of the local kids, who sidled up to me and hung out (and played with my hair).


Yeah, I looked like a dufus in the one picture, hence the smiley face. The kids asked for money or tickets so they could get some soda (Mom is going to wonder why the kids are bouncing off the walls later), but weren't too beggy about it. Wait til they go home telling stories of dogs with painted toe-nails and crazy people pouring beer over the poor animal's head for the offense.

Another new-shoed hasher having to pay the price, except that she fought back hard. As a matter of fact, she was forced to take another down-down for beating up the hash master. 

Then it was dark and time for a long-ish drive home. I'm pretty sure the villagers (and donkeys) were happy to see us go.

Yes, a family that shares a knee brace together, stays together.

This injury did not stop Michael from playing at the beach though.

Anybody notice something wrong with Michael's paddle (front)?

Pat and Heather doing it right.

You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Note to you A Sail of Two Idiots readers - just remember this paddle issue when you read for the 3rd time about Michael and me oaring ourselves in circles in our engine-dead dinghy (Spud)...i-d-i-o-t-s.