Thursday, April 30, 2015

Hill walk 5: Is it a mountain yet?

Google Earth not at its best! Days 1 and 2 in shades of red, day 3 in mauve. The white-knuckle ride back to civilization in 3  shades of blue

There have now been 5 hash-associated hill walks although last weekend's walkers included only 2 of the 12 who climbed Kao Luang in 2009 and only one person has done all 5 of the walks. This time around, there were 14, split evenly between old hands and first timers, who were guided up and down Kao Sam Poo by 8 guides. 

Everyone assembled on Thursday evening in Pa Bon and most were up bright and early on Friday morning ready to walk, although a late night card session lubricated by a case of Leo left one or two nameless members somewhat the worse for wear. Despite this, by 8:30 we were being loaded into a pick up and driven to Ton Tok waterfall where we posed for the first of a million photographs before setting off up the track onto what we were promised was a virgin trail across the hills to Trang.

During the morning we walked steadily upwards for about 3 hours, crossing the river several times on heart-stopping bridges consisting of fallen trees, then at just over 400 meters stopped to eat our packed lunches on a waterfall. From there the afternoon’s walk was shorter but steeper ending when we reached a broad dry river bed at 625 meters and set up camp after a total distance covered of 8.3k.

 At that stage it became apparent that we only had about half our compliment of 8 guides with us and that the contingent who weren’t there were carrying most of the food, so dinner was fairly light with the result that the first order of the second day was to provide us with an enormous breakfast before we set off for the top of the hill. The route up was steep and followed tracks forged by wild pigs and tapirs, and probably would have been difficult had it been raining but the 2k trip took less than 2 hours. 

Is that the Cosmos I see before me?
We camped that night at about 970m. The rain which had held off during the climb, hit just as the leaders reached the peak, a cold misty cloud enveloping us accompanied by heavy drops of soaking rain. At this point Palm Job showed his true mettle by producing a bottle of Martel VSOP insisting that everyone took a shot, before presumably drinking the rest of the bottle himself! Tents and hammocks were then erected in brief drier interludes  but after dinner before it was dark, most people just slunk off and tried to stay as warm and dry as they could, in Pii Laek’s case by wrapping himself in a black plastic bag  provided by Buk Toy to keep out of the water in his less than waterproof tent.

Not quite a mountain, The morning of day 3 and it's stopped raining.
By morning the rain had stopped but it was a damp world that greeted us. After breakfast the walk took us back along the ridge we had traveled the previous afternoon then off on an undulating ridge until we at last reached the highest point of the walk, recorded by the GPS as 999 meters – not quite a mountain! From there we plunged steeply down again following mostly animal trails until at length reaching a waterfall at about 600m from where the track was more gentle, eventually leading out to a broad shallow river at which the walk was declared finished, a total distance of a modest 17k and a total ascent of 1350 meters. 

From here the road was still another 12k distant but the guides had arranged a fleet of motorcycles which took us on a white-knuckle ride along a narrow trail for 5k to Ban Trak, a communist village we were told, where cold beer and  warm food was provided, then onwards another 7k dropping 300 meters to the road and the bus back to Pa Bon, eventually reaching there just before 9:00 a.m.

Another memorable weekend, perhaps not quite as spectacular as some walks we have done but then certainly not as challenging as others. There was, I have to admit, just a moment at the top of the hill on the second day with the wind and rain beating at a pathetically inadequate waterproof and with no obvious site to pitch a tent, when I would rather have been anywhere in the world but there, yes, even in the Cosmos! But there were other moments of perfect contentment standing high above the world looking out over the sunlit hills on a cool morning when I wouldn’t have swapped my place with anyone. Number six? Bring it on!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Four days in the life of a hasher

Good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a Full Moon H3 run tomorrow night (Thursday, 30th April 7:00 p.m.), the bad news is that the camp-out has been abandoned because the HH3 fit young things have to be somewhere for some serious running on Friday morning.
Therefore the location has also been changed and the details are now:

Hatyai Full Moon Hash House Harriers run #118, Thursday, 30th April, 2015. 7:00 p.m.
Hare: Sex Printer
Misdirections: From the Ko Yo intersection take the old Hatyai road for 4.7k and turn left for 6k then turn left for about 4.2k to the run site on the left in front of Sai Kao Resort
Usual stuff applies: Bring a hand-light if you intend to run and some food if you feel like it. Beer is up to you although there will probably be limited stocks on sale at the run site.
Saturday's SH3 run is in the same general vicinity as the full moon run but on the opposite side of the road. Details are:

Songkhla Hash House Harriers run #1768, Saturday, May 2, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Hare: Sex Sprinter
Misdirections: From the Ko Yo intersection take the old Hatyai road for 4.7k and turn left for 6k then turn left for about 5.2k and turn right (opposite the road up Kao Long). Follow the road/track for a kilometer or more to the run site.
For the benefit of visitors and new runners,free  transport to the runsite is available from the Bai Meang Vietnamese restaurant in Thanon Sadao which is immediately in front of the two hills at the northern end of Songkhla City. The beer truck leaves there around 3:30 p.m. and returns there after the run.

Between those two runs, on Friday, there is a quiz night at which the Hash team will be burying the hatchet after their little spat at the end of last months quiz, and attempting to set their sights on defeating the mighty teachers who knocked them into 3rd place last month. The quiz master is Patrick, the inspiration behind the victorious Auld Alliance last time round so they should be a spent force ripe for the picking! Needless to say with so many of our intellectual cream overseas or otherwise engaged, there will be a spare berth for anyone feeling that they are up to the challenge!
Venue: The Office Bar; time 8:00 p.m. All receipts donated to the blind kids so its all in a good cause.

Finally on Sunday, the HH3 run will be set by the sex people: From the Ko Yo intersection take the old Hatyai road for 4.7k and turn left for 8k then turn right (into Poonakan at Wat Keow Kloy) for 5k then turn left just before Wat Tung Nai and go less than 2k (i.e. it is before the Khuan Samroot turning) to the runsite on the left.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The silence of the lambs

In case you were wondering: our northern Isaan correspondent reports that today's Hatyai run will be somewhere around Gaem Ling, which is the lake behind the abbatoir on Punnakan Rd.

#1767: Beer tokens, beers, beer bars, and bargirls

Hare Stick Insect (right) and half of the long runners.
Let the record show that SH3 Run #1767 did take place, though the numbers were a bit on the low side. Long runners were Lanky Yankee and Beavershot, while on the short run were Crackwurst, Wildflower, and Thorny Hing. R2D2 did a bit of both runs.

The run got off to a most excellent start when LY took off at high speed in pursuit of the first beer token, hidden somewhere around the customs post near the mermaid. Unfortunately for him he didn't know where the customs post was. Beavershot meanwhile, using the stealth and cunning gained on dozen of Sadao beer-token runs, got there first, found the token, and was enjoying the an icy cold beer by the time a chastened LY appeared from the direction of the Samila Beach restaurants. 

It carried on up Khao Noi, at which point the ladies detoured, then to the Corner Beer, and finally back to the starting point at Bai Meang, where we all had dinner. Then on to Part II, a pub crawl determined by the throw of a die by each participant in turn. We will leave the unsavory details to your imagination. Oh, and yes we did spare a thought for our colleagues trapped up on some dreadful mountain in Phattalung, no doubt wet, muddy, and being fed upon by leeches. Whatever works for you . . . .

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This is becoming a habit!

There are a number of habsentees this week, either engaged in the ANZAC 100 year commemorations in Kanchanaburi or climbing up a mountain in Phatthalung. So after managing to avoid town runs for almost a year,  the third one this year is in prospect this Saturday.
But Stick Insect is promising a different experience from the recent wet one and something much less demanding than last month's full-on tour of Bor Yang. Crudely there will be a mild run to work up a thirst, which will start at Bai Meang around 4:30 p.m. and will end in a bar somewhere in the vicinity of the dark side where refreshments will be taken. There will also be a beer token hidden somewhere in the bar, the lucky finder of which will be bought a drink by Stick Insect. The runners will then decide on the next bar to be visited and Stick Insect will quickly go there to hide the next beer token, while the rest of the pack make their way thence in a more leisurely fashion. The process will be repeated until no one can stand up or until Stick Insect runs out of beer tokens and/or money!
Details are:
Songkhla Hash House Harriers' run #1767, Saturday April 25th, 4:30 p.m.
Hare: Stick Insect
Misdirections. Go to Bai Meang on Sadao Road and await guidance!

As far as is known, Hatyai H3 will be going ahead with their normal run on Sunday but at time of writing there is no information available about location or hares. Details will be appended to this post and/or sent out by separate email if they come to hand before the mountaineers move beyond the range of the Internet.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Puppy love

Help! I'm trapped in a house infested with rodents and I can't take it any more. Someone please adopt me!

1766: The politically correct version

Here, for the benefit of our under-worlders, is a South-on-top image of yesterday's sadly under-appreciated SH3 run. The long run was just shy of 7k  for those who followed the paper, nearer 8k with all the Fs and for those who didn't quite follow the paper, took 1 hour and 7 minutes. It hit a maximum height of 56m and had a total ascent of about 180m. The swamp at the 5th check claimed a second victim - the hare having succumbed on Friday, when Conebrain discovered that all that is green is not solid. The short run, which took about 45 minutes, was declared to be too short at 3.3k; suggestion: do the long run guys!
At the circle Ryno was named Short Horn and the Pinky-Perky family were sent off on their travels. A small but select group went on on! to Tung Jaeng and enjoyed more wonderful food and just a tad more beer (ok, that's a lie, it was a lot!)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Caligula's favorite vegetable

Perfectly disgusting: From a textbook on the evils of the carrot.
Far from being an aphrodisiac, the carrot (Daucus carota) has undeniable links to that most infamous of natural poisons, hemlock. They belong to the same family (as does fennel, but don't blame it) and, above ground at least, are strikingly similar in appearance. Indeed there are a number of recorded cases of poisonings, some fatal, among foragers who mistook hemlock greens for carrot greens. Even carrot greens themselves, according to some sources, contain toxic alkaloids, with effects ranging from elevated blood pressure to death. And you want to put the root of that into your body?


This is a public service message brought to you by The Vegetable of the Devil Foundation.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

1766: business as usual

Thanks to Beaver for the suggestion below. The map now shows the direction which Songkhla-sourced Hashers will come from (top left hand corner) before turning LEFT (i.e Eastwards - towards the sea) into the 14k turning.
Plans to locate run 1766 at a riparian site near a seafood restaurant, and for a scenic run incorporating an unusual ending which did not involve getting wet, have had to be temporarily shelved following Tuesday's rain which has turned half of the intended run into a lake!

So it's back to the old Yala road this Saturday, although at a site we haven't used before and in a bit of country we only run once a year  - normally at about this time, before it too disappears under water.

Details are:
Songkhla Hash House Harriers' run #1766, Saturday April 18th, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Hares: Egghead and Harram (with honorable mentions for White Meat and Ma Mick)
Misdirections: From The Kao Seng intersection take the old Yala Road for 14k and turn left for 1.2k, then turn right and follow the track. After 350m, turn left at the end of the concrete pipe sections by the side of the track then follow the track for a further 850 meters to the run site in the quarry.
Anyone coming from Hatyai should get to the Tha Kham crossroads, via either the Nam Noi traffic lights, or Poonakan Rd. and Wat Keow Kloy, then take the road eastwards past (straight ahead at) the big tree to Wat Khun Tong and turn left onto the old Yala road for about 2k, then turn right etc.

For anyone who didn't make the Songkran weekend runs, but would like a T shirt, there are a few M's remaining, but Sex Sprinter will be producing a few more so other sizes can be ordered this weekend; - it's a classic, don't be left out!

Hatyai H3's run this Sunday (19th April) will be set by Robocop and will be from the run site behind Nam Noi School.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Back to college

Here is run 1764, which for those who missed it was the first run to be sited inside the Gor Sor Nor for about 3 years. In our honor the Director turned out along with a number of other dignitories, to welcome us back, which meant that the start of the run had to be delayed to allow for photographs of the occasion (see below)  followed by a presentation of T shirts to the Director and his predecessor to mark the occasion. But that did allow a few more of our visitors from KL, who had been held up at the border, to make the beginning of the run.
The run itself graced the occasion as we performed a generous 8.4k circumlocution of the reservoir climbing a total of 297m to a maximum height of 203m, before emerging South of the water and being treated to a glorious view (of the beer truck!) before plunging back down to complete the run in about an hour and 15 mins. The short run was a modest 3.3k but still involved a 130m climb and the short runners arrived back at about the same time as the long run.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Everything you need to know about Songkran

Hard of seeing? Click to make it enormous

It's Songkran again and with the holiday itself conveniently falling on Monday, that means there are 3 runs to contemplate this weekend culminating in SH3's 15th (count them!) Annual Songkran Town Run on which we will be joined by a bunch of our friends from Fukawees H3 in Kuala Lumpur. This year the run will start at the Hot Bread Shop and as usual there will be free beer and soft drinks from the beer truck during the run, and lunch will be provided at the Hot Bread Shop after the run.

Before that, there will be Saturday's regular SH3 run and in between there will be a Hatyai H3 run, for both of which some or all of the Fukawees will be joining us.

To mark the occasion there will be a sartorial addition to your wardrobe which will be included in the combined registration for the Saturday and Monday SH3 runs which for both active SH3/HH3 runners will be 120 Baht with guests at 500 baht (kids: 60 Baht and 250 Baht respectively). The HH3 run on Sunday will be a flat 50 Baht (20 Baht for kids) for all comers.
Details of the 3 runs are:

Songkhla Hash House Harrirs run #1764, Saturday 11th April 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Hares: Yardstick and In-u-Endo
Misdirections: from the Kao Seng intersection take the old Yala road for 2.9k and turn right at the traffic lights into the road leading to the zoo. After 650m turn left at the Mom and Pop store and follow the road for 1.5k through the gates into the Gor-Sor-Nor (non-formal education college) to the run site adjacent to the lake. Park on the road - be careful not to damage any of the new palm trees planted alongside the road.

Hatyai H3, Sunday 12th April 2015, 4:23 and 40 seconds p.m.
Hare: Sex Printer
Misdirections: From the Ko Yo intersection take the old Hatyai road for 6.5k and turn right immediately after the C P factory for about 1k to the run site behind the community center on the right.

Songkhla Hash House Harriers 15th Annual Songkran Town Run (run # 1765), Monday 13th April 2015, 11:00 p.m.
Hares: R2D2 and Ork Dork
Run starts from the Hot Bread Shop in Srisuda Road

Monday, April 6, 2015

Tips from a real geezer

This training business is getting a bit depressing. Whenever I try to look up time goals etc. for people in our age group, well, we're practically off the age scale for marathon and half-marathon runners. So here's a nice little video: running tips from a 95-year-old champion. That's even older than Egghead!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Gan Yao's excellent adventure

A hound's eye view of yesterday's run #1763, only slightly retouched to include the extreme loop which intelligent checking caused the hound who recorded the run (who shall remain nameless lest he should be accused of the dreaded 's' word) to miss. Stick Insect recorded 6.3k which included some unintelligent checking. Mr. Garmin suggests it was probably about 5.7k with a maximum height of 93m which is, despite what the hare says below, somewhat above his own height!
An innocuous enough looking run which took less than 55 minutes for most of the long run pack to complete - OK, Perky got lost and had to be rescued by no less than 3 motorbikes. But for the short runners, who failed to detect the subtle shift from white to yellow paper and so blundered onto the long run before heading decisively in the wrong direction, the trip was more like 2 hours and was only terminated by the arrival of Buk Toy's truck which transported them home just as darkness fell and we were all standing around  gasping in beer-struck awe at the eclipse of the moon.
Following a raucous circle, almost everyone repaired to Tung Jaeng and enjoyed more beer, some great food and some questionable company (i.e. each other!) before bidding a fond farewell to Kiiling who promises to be back anyway in a week's time!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Full Moon 117

Not too many takers for this one with the runnerometer eventually ticking over to 7 and another 5 ladies attempting the 4 1/2k short run. To say there were no hills was an understatement with the total ascent only 47m, At 7.2k it was judged to be slightly ambitious for a full moon run but the 7 checks and 5 Fs did a good job of keeping the pack together and all runners and the hare were home between an hour and an hour-5.

Wait for it...wait for it...

This week's run directions are:
Songkhla Hash House Harriers Run #1763, Saturday April 4th 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Hare: Gan Yao
Misdirections: From The Kao Seng intersection take the old Yala road for 11k and turn right at the Ang Thong intersection into the new Yala road for 1.5k to the runsite on the left about 100 meters past the Tung Jaeng restaurant.
This will be Kiiling's farewell run as she is off to Bangers next week. After the circle those who can are invited to dine at Tung Jaeng to commiserate with her.

Sunday's HH3 run will be from the football field behind Sai Kao village and will be set by Robocop.  A Map is available below, from the post "The back of beyond" of September 19th last year, which also gave these fairly accurate directions: "From the Kao Seng intersection take the old Yala road for 16k and turn right just before Wat Kun Thong. Go 3.5k and turn left just after the big tree, then go 800m (straight ahead at 150m) to the run site. "