Before we left Grenada, Dave and I had one thing on our bucket list that we needed to accomplish – participate in a hash.
Hash browns? Hash tag? Hashish?
Uhm… not quite.
“What the heck is a hash?”, you might be wondering.
We didn’t know what it was either until we did some research. It’s actually a pretty cool concept. Dozens of people, running or walking through the wilderness (or bush as they say in Grenada) following a footpath marked by trails of shredded paper. There’s a catch though – there can be false trails that lead you away from the correct path. Because of this, there is a lingo that goes along with hashing. Phrases like “Are You?”, “On, On!” or “On, Off!” are hollered by runners and walkers to let other participants know if they are following the correct path or not.
To add to this confusion/complexity there are also two different trails and signals left in paper along the trails where they diverge. One trail is for runners and the other is for walkers. Just make sure you pay attention though, because you could end up on the wrong trail (been there, done that).
Dave, being a former cross country runner, always took the runner’s trail. Meanwhile, I made a point to take the walker’s trail (except for that time I got swept into the runner’s trail by accident – which was my very first hash!)
Hashes can be competitive, but many people (like me) just go for a chance to get some exercise, see a different part of the island, drink a beer and mingle with other cruisers and island locals.
The great thing about the hashes are that the courses are always different. Sometimes they can be very challenging with steep terrain or slippery, muddy paths (especially if it had been raining) or they can be more forgiving and flat. The last hash we did was at Clark’s Court Marina and was much easier than the very first hash we did, which was up in the mountains of Vincennes.
In addition to the hike, there is always food (mainly bbq chicken and Oil Down), music and alcohol (Stag beer is usually on special 3/$12EC (which equates to about $4USD- woohoo!).
There are some crazy rituals too. For example, if you dare wear a new pair of running shoes, you WILL be made to drink a beer out of it for all to witness. The virgins (first time hashers) get a beer shower at the end of their hash and are given a certificate verifying your loss of virginity.
If you’ve been hashing for quite some time, you also get a nickname. They are typically kooky or somewhat vulgar in nature, but it’s all in good fun. Here are some examples I found from the Grenadian Hash House Harriers website that give you a better idea: ‘Yours for a Carib (a local beer), Wet Job, Fungus Amungus, etc.’
Also, if it’s your birthday, you get a birthday cake! However, the cake isn’t baked and you aren’t eating it. Instead, hashers break eggs on top of your head and dump flower all over you. Delicious.
I thought maybe hashing was unique to Grenada, but au contraire! There are hashing groups all over the world. Just google it. Seriously, it’s pretty incredible If you’ve never tried hashing, I highly recommend it. It’s great way to meet new, like-minded people and explore your city.
Perhaps farther on down the line Dave and I will try hashing somewhere else, but we’ll never forget our first time in Grenada. 🙂