Hashing: Outdoors, Fitness & Booze

Usually, most people I’ve told about Hashing have no clue what I am referring to.

You can think of it as a group of people who come together, mostly in a forest, to run through it. Afterwards, everyone socialize while having a few fun rituals.

You can have a look at My Video here. It’s about the last hash I attended, a few months ago.

Introduction to Hashing

Although Hashing is mostly for runners, there are some Hash House Harriers (a Hashing group) who have two types: Runners & Walkers.

And yea, expect a lot more testosterones in the Runners group, if you know what i mean. Many Runners are actually all about what rank they finish the hash and the bragging right that goes with it.

The Walkers group is usually for people who, like me, enjoy the outdoors without necessary wanting to run through it all the way. Vines, holes, cliffs, branches, …. Folks, that’s alright, I’ll speed walk.

The Walkers group also includes people who have small injuries/aches, preventing them from running. 

Make no mistake, Walkers don’t “stroll” through the trails (no, this is not a hike) but mostly speed walk, with a bit of jogging at times.

Indeed, the workout usually has an intense pace and the terrain varies (different levels of difficulties). 

Therefore, being with the Walkers still turns out to be a pretty good workout, no worries there!

Fitness for all, in the arms of Mother Nature 🙂

Hashing, Fitness
Photo credits: AQUACHARA

The Hash: During & After

–Types of Trails–

Unlike Hiking, the leaders of the hash (the Hares) prepare (think a few swings with the cutlass, lol) & set the trails by using flour or shredded paper, a few days and/or hours before the hash starts.

False trails are indicated by the shape of a big “X”.

Checkpoints are marked in the shape of an “O”. That’s where hashers will go back to, if they stumble on an “X”.

Correct Trails would be marked with blobs of flour (or shredded paper). Think “Keep going, you’re on the right path!”

Walkers would have to follow the Hare in charge of that particular group. Sometimes, Walkers are deliberately lead to the false trails, just for the fun of it.

Throughout a hash, people will from time to time shout ” On On” to indicate to other hashers nearby that they’re on the correct trail.

Sometimes, the trail for Runners is partially different to the Walkers’. Think tougher, more challenging terrain/trail. 

Trails could be in the woods, through quarries, agricultural crops, by the ocean, etc… they could also include crossing small rivers too. Lots of different landscapes/scenarios.

Obviously, all hashers have to find the correct trails to complete the hash. Fitness Fun!!

Each hash starts and end at the same spot.

There are systems in place to ensure everyone gets back from the woods and that no one is left behind.

–After Hash Ceremony–

At the end of each Hash, there is an After-Hash Ceremony (Down-Down) gathering all the participants. It is conducted by the Hash Master at the hash starting point.

A few traditions/rituals (& “chants”) take place before the crowd is able to resume socializing.

Rituals include, but are not limited to:

  • welcoming first-time hashers
  • celebrating birthdays
  • sanctioning hashers who broke some of the hashing rules.

What’s against the rules includes, for example, littering, holding hands with spouse/partner, taking too many pictures, etc…

When it comes to the Sanctions one can “face”, I can think of the chosen culprit  getting doused with beer,  wearing a muddy dress (even if it’s a guy) or t-shirt, among other things.

Very fun and laughable time! All in good spirit.

I won’t say more as I would prefer you check it out for yourself, as there are about 2,000 hash clubs (Hash House Harriers) worldwide.

Hashing. Photo by Andrew Spencer

My Experience

So far, I have only hashed in Trinidad. I can safely mention that I’ve seen alcohol being consumed before, during, or after (or all of the above) the hash!!

If you read about Hashing’s origins here, you’ll understand why.

I remember going to a hash once that had a “Beer Stop” set at the bottom of a very steep hill we had to “climb” (or conquer) afterwards to continue the hash.

Sorry, but I just can’t drink alcohol while exercising! (Water, thanks!)I actually don’t drink beer anyway, chuckles. So I totally ignored the Beer Stop and tackled the mean-looking hill instead, lol.

Funny how I still remember my first hash, as if it were yesterday. Hearing their Hash songs felt to me as though I was in the presence of (drunk) Pirates, lol!!

Anyway, it’s definitely a fun atmosphere throughout, no doubt.

The age group is quite wide (20s to 70’s) and there is also a wide variety of nationalities, in addition to locals.

The particular Hash I featured a glimpse of, in my video, is one which involved taking a boat to the Hash location. Of course, I thought a hash on an islet (Chacachacare) to be the ideal environment for me. (Water & Fitness, come on, I couldn’t resist!!)

Oh and I must admit that the boat party before and (especially) after the hash was a great feature to this particular hash. Cherry on top!

Prior to this hash, I only went to inland hashes, more or less isolated from civilization. My most memorable inland hash took place in Matura, Trinidad, in the vicinity of a quarry (I am assuming it’s this one here) where only the moonlight shined upon those who like me,  stayed to socialize later than most and until the end (9pm).

Oh how I wished I was equipped to take a shot of that gorgeous full moon!! Bummer!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been hashing or if you think it’s something you would consider trying.

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