Hadn't been hashing since the end of July's Christmas in July hash due to vacation, work obligations and the fact that two hashes started in the suburbs at a time while my car was in the shop. When the "operative" for the combat hash was posted late last week, I emailed Crystal and told her that we really shouldn't miss this one.
We started from the north end of Tryon Creek Park-one of my favorite places to trail run. After consuming some pre-race hydration and painting our faces with a sufficient amount of war paint, we were off. Spent about 3/4 of a mile on trail before veering off and down into a gully for the first beer check. Then up a rope out of a muddy gully and back onto the trail for another mile. Then into (yes, into) Tyron Creek for over a mile and a half. Parts of the creek are shallow, but there were many parts where we were up to our waists in cold, skanky urban creek water.
When I thought the whole thing couldn't get more ridiculous(ly awesome), we climbed up the creek bank and onto a drainage pipe that was, at most points, at least 20 feet off the ground. Mind you, at this point we were soaking wet, the bottom of our shoes were slick and we were rapidly losing the daylight. All in all a pretty safe situation.
The finale was a 200 meter drainage tunnel that ran under Terwilliger Boulevard and Highway 43 (didn't see any rats or dead bodies, but I also kept my headlamp firmly focused on the wall of the tunnel) and the spill pond at the other end. I finished soaked from head to toe in nasty ass water. It was spectacular. I might end up with cancer from whatever they are allowed to dump in that creek, but spectacular nonetheless.
Learned a couple more valuable lessons about hashing:
1) Knee high socks, although heavy when wet, are a must for off-road hashing. It kept the nettle burn limited to my hands, face and (I have no idea how this happened) right boob.
2) Ditto for waterproof headlamps. Because you never know when you'll have to swim through a drainage pond in the dark.
3) Pack a full change of clothes and dry shoes and socks in the dry bag. I had several dry layers to keep warm on top, but my shorts and shoes stayed soaked and I was really cold and moderately crabby by the end of religion.
4) A flask of bourbon is also an essential dry bag item for cold nights, and for times when there hasn't been enough beer on trail.
Damp nettle burn aside, a brilliant way to spend a beautiful summer evening.
Cyclocross clinics with Jeff and Dean started last night. Holy shit, I love cross.