Eventually as a member of the Hash House Harriers, it is going to be expected that you take charge and scout a trail to offer up to the rest of the team. This can be a very daunting task because it in incorporates venturing into the unknown and probably getting a lot of things wrong before you get it right.
In any Hash association around the world there are going to be a few places that get visited more than others and this is due to familiarity with the area and the fact that you either have permission to be there or because it has been established that the owners don't really care that you are technically trespassing. This can be a rather frightening experience for anyone that is new to the process and even more difficult if the Hares who are doing the scouting don't speak the language of the country that they are in.
There are relatively few members of our Hash kennel that actually are Thai and while most of us have some level of capability of speaking the language, few of us have what it takes to ask permission to enter their land for a run with our friends.
Recently, someone in our crew went out to scout "virgin trails" and that simply means, as the name would suggest, that no one has ever set a trail here before so no one knows what to expect. Some land owners get a bit nervous about strangers wandering around their property and I think rightfully so. Thankfully, there have only been a handful of times in the past decade that the owners of said land started acting violent towards us and no one has ever been attacked.
If someone doesn't want you on their land that is their call for sure and we don't violate this even though we know we aren't going to damage anything.
When you are scouting an area for the first time you can go ahead and plan on this process taking a while because the idea behind us using this land, most of the time without permission, is that we cause no harm to the area while being there. When you encounter a rice paddy, for example, these are normally simply raised walkways of earth that contain the water in the individual sections. If you break one of these, the people are going to rightfully get upset. Therefore, there are going to be a lot of dead ends on your initial scouting.
Plus the fact that you need to create a loop of some sort (ending at the same place you begin) and you need the overall trail to be between 5 and 7 km, can make this a tricky situation for all involved.
The good news is that if you pull it off and make an even substandard run for everyone on virgin trail, you are going to be hailed as a bit of a hero... at least for a few days.
We have a lot of technology using GPS to help out with route planning but mostly you gotta get out there and see the lay of the land to pull it off. Some scouts have spent several days planning a trail and when someone does that you know they are truly dedicated to the cause.
When you first start out in the Hash you will not be expected to set a trail until you start appearing with some sort of regularity. Once you do, you become a full-fledged member and it can be quite a rewarding event as it is a rite of passage of sorts.
Come one come all! If you are in the Chiang Mai area or are planning to be in the future, we do runs at least 3 times a week and anyone is welcome to join in! You can get full details on our website, here