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Sweeping Trail

If the pack gets lost on trail, it’s the hare’s fault.  If the pack misreads trail marks, it’s the hare’s fault.  If the pack ignores a true trail arrow and runs over a cliff, it’s the hare’s fault.  So argues Larry at Global Trash, and if he hadn’t hidden his screed behind a members-only wall I’d link to it.

I disagree. Oh, sure, if there’s a problem it’s usually the hare’s fault – the hare either did a poor job marking trail or did something clever that confused the pack. But again and again – we’re all guilty – the pack runs right past a perfectly visible trail mark and disappears into the shiggy. How, exactly, is that the hare’s fault?

One thing I do believe: it’s the hare’s responsibility to sweep trail when hashers go missing, no matter whose fault it is. When I hare, I know I might have to skip down-downs in order to round up lost hashers. When others hare, I expect them to do the same. That’s how I was brought up in the hash.

But not all of us were brought up the same way. What, sweep trail? Bullshit, I’ve done my job – gimme a beer!

I’ll never forget the time three hashers didn’t make it in after a night-time hash near Honolulu. Earlier in the evening, while there was still some light, we’d scaled cliffs. Now it was pitch black and it was easy to imagine the worst. When we told the hares about the missing hashers, they jumped in their car and took off. Only later did we realize the hares weren’t sweeping trail. They’d gone home! Another member of the pack and I retraced our way to the cliffs, found the missing three – alive, thank G – and led them on in.

Something similar happened two weekends ago in Tucson. A hasher didn’t come in. Trail had gone through a rocky ravine choked with thick mesquite sporting inch-long thorns, a great place to break an ankle or get bitten by a snake. If the hares were concerned, their concern didn’t extend to looking for the guy. I found two members of the pack who were willing to help, and between the three of us we finally found him, safe and sound back at the start. Fortunately, he’d had the sense to turn back when it got dark.

Generally, though, I think most hares still accept sweeping trail as one of their duties. I can think of many times when the hares have done exactly that, and I myself have been found and led in by hares who did their job.

I’m curious, though: is sweeping trail going the way of the fainting couch? How does it work in your hash? What do you do about lost hashers? Who, if anyone, goes to find them?  Please share your experiences.

- Flying Booger

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