Saturday, March 30, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,690; 30 March 2013

Another warm, sunny spring day, perfect for bicycling the W&OD trail out to Leesburg.  So why was it only Byte Me who chose that transportation method?  She got to Rough Cut's first, and perched on the beer cooler awaiting the arrivals, by car and a couple motorcycles, of about 25 hashers.  Rough Cut and Easy Strider actually were the third or fourth group to join the party, and the only ones to do so lightly dusted with flour.  The Chugger was the only one to do so heavily bandaged about the left thumb, with some kind of hand-and-wrist guard protecting his still-tender nerves and digits.  That took some of the surprise out of the get-well-soon card the Mufti was passing around, but as he pointed out, also saved the hash cash the cost of a stamp.  Plus, we get the pleasure of Chugger's company, so yay.

A whole lot of lessons to us all.

After about the briefest brief in history, which was mostly a couple of jokes about old vs. new flour (Hillbilly Hash had apparently run by recently), a single runner headed into Leesburg, while the other dozen or so stood about in the sun looking at each other.  Someone said, "get running," and the runners started saying things like, "Are we going?"  "What, now?" and "Was that it?", and gradually they all headed into the street.  Then it was the walkers' turn to confab, wondering if they should take the trail or head into town, and eventually they split up; some heading one way and some heading another.  To the best of my knowledge, no one headed straight for the bar at Tuscarora Mill.

Most of the walkers were back within an hour.  The runners spent more like 90 minutes, finishing up with a brief jog along the W&OD, staying well to the right to avoid the many cyclists enjoying the weather, and a short scramble down to the creek and a quick hop across it.  Per Air Horn, "It was a good trail - a bit long, maybe - but that's because we kept screwing up."

The thing is, if you actually run, you don't get to enjoy the weather for as long.
And it was a  good supper, courtesy of Papa John's, with supplemental snacks scattered around the office.  Many of them offered an Easter-y theme, with pastel-wrapped candies in abundance, and the usual beverages.  Mufti forced everyone indoors for the roll, which included the 1,313th run for Air Horn (double 13s) and 44th for Greg.  Ooooooh.  Plus we had three newcomers, though two of them had the sense to sneak away before roll call.  Shortly after that, Rough Cut remembered the cupcakes, each one decorated with a plastic ring (for your finger); some bunnies, some duckies and some lambikins.  What fun!

And now INDY has just shouted from another room that To Bea or Not to Bea phoned from Arizona to wish the GFH3, individually and severally, a happy Easter.  Seconded.  For photos, click here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,689; 23 March 2013

Valiant is, of course, king of our hearts now and forever, but on Saturday he was birthday king as well, and celebrated his 70th by inviting the GFH3 to his Great Falls estate to enjoy the sunshine and a great deal of shouting.  Suitably crowned, he convened the crowd in the back yard and began the brief -- and was not-so-rudely interrupted by a great round of cheering as the Bionic Babe limped her way up the driveway.  The hearty welcome completed, the runners headed down the street while the walkers mostly headed up.

The birthday boy set the last few marks by bike, after setting the runners off in the other direction.

Gorgeous weather and gorgeous scenery made for extra-enjoyable runs and walks.  And the neighbors were delighted that the runners weren't yelling so much this time, as it spooks the horses.  Remember, that, please, and try to use your less-strident voices when hashing through equine country.

Everybody wound up back at the house after about 75 minutes of strolling through the camp (and chasing deer for one participant who may not get off-leash again anytime soon) and zig-zagging through South Down.  And honestly, the weather was so good that they could have stayed out plenty longer.  However, the nice array of lasagnas waiting on the patio was a great addition to a gorgeous day, and the big crowd -- just over forty, I think, plus Peanut, Abby, Kylie, Lady Baggins, Cammy and a lovely lab whose name I didn't catch -- was an inducement to meander about the lawn and chat.

Grandchildren are a wonderful addition to a Hash.

For some reason, the roll call was especially robust.  Phoenix Rising took a few bows for his 666th run, but the greatest excitement (especially for the youngest youngsters in the crowd) was when the Mufti hollered Valiant's name, and the birthday candles burst into flame, and the Hash burst into "song."  One hates to walk away from such festive festivities, but, of course, eventually one must.  And so, eventually, one did.  Rough Cut boldly volunteered as hash hero for next week -- so see you in Leesburg.

Photos and two brief videos of dogs at play are available here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,688; 16 March 2013

The hash's finest, 21 or so stalwarts, braved the weather report and the cloud cover and zoomed (I'm Not Dead Yet and I made McLean to P.S. in about 30 minutes) westward, singing, "Paeonian Springs, oh Paeonian Springs/The joy that life brings in Paeonian Springs."  The snowdrops were blooming in their quiet way in north-facing pockets, and the daffodils had burst out in their gaudy excitement in the southern exposures, and the rain held off until the walkers finished their tour.

Honestly, it was pretty warm as we arrived to find Easy Strider stacking logs and finishing off the last of the maple sap.  You may be surprised to learn that this was a great year for sap, and E.S. had to bring in help to collect his brimming buckets as they were filling too fast for him to keep up solo.  So there is syrup a-plenty, waiting to be filtered and decanted.  But first, he had a hash to host, so he gathered the faithful and pointed them to the girder crossing the stream.  After jogging/slipping/crawling up the hill, someone - maybe Radar? - recalled, "He had us go left last time," and so headed right, with most of the pack behind him.  Mini Schlonga and Mitch checked the left-bound trail, and only added a quarter-mile or so to their run by doing so.  Then through a flock of chickens, and a brambly scramble up a steep and thickly-vined hill to route 9, and some fields and more hills as the clouds began to sprinkle lightly upon them, and after about six miles we're home again.  Down the hill, now, in a few great, erosion-inducing, sliding steps, back across the girder and up to the porch where the beer awaits.

Away we go!
And the walkers await, having completed a two-mile circuit just, as noted above, before the drizzle began.  And a rich array of sandwiches await, comprising what the Mufti called, "The most colorful meal we've had in some time."  Irene K. provided the meal, with a little help from Wegman's, and in addition to varieties of sandwiches with fancy flourishes like pesto marinade and artichoke-feta spread, there was an abundance of chef's salad and a plate of juicy, fresh melon and other fruits, plus a generous cooky buffet.  There was Irish and other beer, to complement Mitch's multi-greens sartorial coup de grace, and Black Box cab, and it seemed like pretty much everyone was awfully happy.

At least four shades of green; probably more.

The Mufti called a quick roll with great cheers for Irene and Easy Strider, and subdued excitement as someone - E.S.? - hit 665.  Several of the Great Falls contingent requested early departure for various silly reasons, and so... missed out.  Because the lingerers got a special treat in being invited to sample the first pressing (or boiling or whatever) of syrup, in little paper tasting cups.  It offers rich, deep color with an audacious bouquet and hints of chervil on the after-palate, dissipating into smoky, woodsy tones of tree juice.  Susie the Calico Cat dropped in for a visit, with usual suspects INDY and Air Horn making a great fuss of her.  I've forgotten why Phoenix Rising kissed Easy Strider, but I did take the photo, which you can see, with Indy eating a Spam Oreo and others, right here.

By the time we left, it was downright chilly.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,687; 9 March 2013

Man, oh man, is The (not very) Manic Mechanic going to be sorry he missed this one.  It was well worth the arduous trip to and from McLean.  But there, I'm getting ahead of myself.

You couldn't get a more beautiful day, now could you?  Not so true at 7:00am, as I'm Not Dead Yet and I set out with our flour, chalk and various busted joints to set trail - we were in layers and gloves.  However, by 10:45 the day had gotten a lot more spring-like as the hashers began to assemble.  The joy clearly shimmered in the sunshine as Radar returned to us, and the Mufti arrived with BC3 and a couple of emergency beer tubs, and Oral Advocate showed up with his younger offspring and a couple more beer tubs, the former for the purpose of training for a 10-miler (or a half-marathon?) under the inspirational influence of Mini Schlonga, whom I always think of as Sri Longa.  Anyway, by the time about 30 people and four dogs had gathered in the sunshine debating sleeve length, the beer was very well tubbed.

So off they went, the runners hitting a backcheck two in time to turn around and join the walkers for the first leg of the trail.  And I am delighted to report that, according to my sources, all the runners fell for the check that sent them into the woods on a trail to nowhere while the walkers strolled along the sidewalk.  Walkers got a 95% paved trail of two miles, turkeys got roughly three miles, almost all paved; and eagles got about five miles, also almost all paved as INDY didn't want to go the stream again.  (He does not believe in poetry, and hence holds the conviction that one can run along the same river twice.)

Everyone I heard from guessed that INDY designed the first half, but no.  *I* did.  And I had to argue him in to setting a backcheck early in the run.  And I believe everyone really enjoyed it.
We sent the runners into a construction zone, where apparently the FRBs got completely fouled up and, from what I can understand (which isn't much), wound up running back and forth across Kirby several times or something.  Meanwhile, Zipperhead, Chugger and maybe Valiant reminisced about trails of over a decade past, when someone named McInerney used to set in the same neighborhood.  Zipperhead says he recognized roughly 20% of the trail from those 20th-century runs.

Everyone made it back within 90 minutes or so, and refused to go inside where the food was because the beer and sunshine were outside.  In honor of the coming celebration of Hibernian snake removal, we offered a few bottles each of Guinness and Harp, all of which vanished pretty fast.  Meanwhile, the chicken and biscuits cooled a bit before being gobbled up pretty thoroughly in time for oatmeal cookies, warm from the oven.  I hope that schtick isn't getting old for anyone.

Mufti called the roll like a man who doesn't know what sick or injured are, and we celebrated Melanie's first run.  Thanks to Thanks for the Mammaries for introducing her.  The elite group shouted their  "presents" from the penthouse seating area, where Jojo joined them briefly.  And then, because exercise, beer, wine, food, witty conversation and divine weather just aren't enough for us, INDY offered a floor (driveway) show performing on his high-wheel bicycle.  The highlight, though, was Easy Strider trying his first ride on a pennyfarthing with great success, and his second ride with rather more shrubbery involved than is considered ideal.

Easy Strider getting the idea, INDY offering encouragement, and Dave G. apparently not clear on the concept at all.
As the hashers trickled away, a few of us draped ourselves about the rockery, basking.  Finally, Easy Strider and Flowerkraut gave us a hand collecting the recyclables before waving goodbye to get out and get their chores done.  Happy weekend, everyone.

For photos -- several by Radar! -- click here.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,686; 2 March 2013

The hash met under appropriately somber skies in a cold breeze on the day of Alan Marlette's funeral.  We had a good turnout of 34 despite the weather, with two members already in their dress shoes in preparation for the service.  With BC3 and the Mufti, our putative hosts, indisposed, Oral Advocate, I'm Not Dead Yet and Mini-Schlonga set what Oral A. called "a perfect trail," and they kept it brief.  Starting at Reston's Lake Anne Plaza, the trail headed in a westerly direction, rather than around the lake, and brought the runners back to the plaza after about three miles and 40 minutes of mixed road, trail and grass with a bit of light shiggy in the mix.  The walkers, on Oral A's advice, had a quick walk sticking close to the plaza.

Hash Brief for a brief hash
I may be wrong, but I believe that Blow in the Hole and Lezley were the FRBs (I know they were at one point), since Manic Mechanic and Easy Strider were too busy trying to knock each other down hills to focus on running fast.  I shan't tell my Cockpit Ejeculator story because I'm nice, and it's not a great story.  Dave G. showed up really late and got lost but made it to the On-In just fine.  I saw my first snowdrops of pre-spring and took several photos in excitement.  I also saw a majestic hawk, which Ole Fud identified as a red-shoulder hawk, who was very suspicious of my clicking pix as he was guarding his catch, which seemed to be an unlucky squirrel.  The hawk kept trying to fly off, but maybe he had trouble lifting the squirrel, as he only went short distances.

Two newcomers joined us -- Kimberly and Peter have hashed, mostly overseas, enough that he's called Blue Tit in other lands.  However, we lost them somehow.  Oh, woe.  They seemed lovely.  Maybe they'll try again next week, when THE HASH IS AT 11:00 AM.  That's AM, not pm.  Morning.  Sorry for the people who hate early hashes, and you're welcome to people who prefer them.

The On-In that our first-timers missed (99.5 to the cup!) took place at Kalypso's, where beer was plentiful and the wine list extensive.   I was the only one to order flaming cheese, which seems astonishing.  How does one look at a menu that includes the appetizer saganaki, "seared Kasseri cheese flamed with brandy," and think, "I guess I'll have a burger."  Everyone gasped and a few applauded when the waiter set fire to supper.  Plus it's yummy.
A drinking club with problems running, heh heh.

I took the roll with the help of a piece of paper and pencil kindly sent over, via BC3, by an injured and ill Mufti.  So apparently I'm demoted from clipboard-ing, and back to scrap paper, pens scrounged from glove compartments and pencil stubs.

Several left early to visit with Alan's family; others rushed away to change for the service; those who hadn't known him well lingered.  The Kalypso's staff did a great job with our erratic group.  We forgot to vote on whether the Mufti should get credit for the run, because at least he offered to host, albeit at a restaurant, but I think he should.  After all, he tried.

The people, as well as the lovely snowdrops, majestic raptor and unfortunate small mammal, are all shown in the photos via this link.