Sandpit Hash Run#12

s12-26a

Aarfabithore was having a birthday. One that involved a number that ended in a zero.

He likes camping in the desert and he likes drinking beer so he decided the best way to celebrate was to organise an overnight trip to Camp Jones, in the desert near Al Khatim. And since he also likes hashing, he opted to combine all three by hosting the 12th episode of the Sandpit Hash on March 22.

First, we had to get into the campsite, which involved some *actual* four wheel driving, as opposed to scaling kerbs at malls, which is the primary use most 4x4s get in the Emirates. Some people didn’t deflate before they tackled the short patch of tricky dunes leading to Camp Jones, only to discover their ego got deflated instead when they got stuck and had to be towed out.

s12-19

But in time twentysomething hashers from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain and Norway (!) were assembled in the desert, ready for a run at which TWO beer stops were promised to bring us back to the mathematical average of one-beer-stop-per-Sandpit-hash, which is, of course, the one and only rule of the Sandpit H3.

s12-01

Showing commendable balance, with a beer in one hand and a bag of straws to mark the trail in the other, Aarfabithore explained the run and without further ado, we set off into the dunes.

s12-04

There were the usual cries of “On on” and there were also groans of dismay as Apollo, the Jones’ horse-sized Great Dane, would bound up and down the enervatingly soft dunes without any apparent effort.

s12-05

Even Floyd (hash name: Cameltoe) bounded past people like me. But that was fine because I knew I was in possession of an opposable thumb, which would come in handy when we arrived at the first beer stop.

s12-21

This was sited under a tree and eventually all the walkers and runners converged on the site for a few frosty adult beverages.

s12-06

This included the Sandpit’s youngest hasher, Alayna, who will probably hold the record for some time, having done a few runs in utero.

s12-20

We headed on once more, buoyed by the prospect of a second beer stop to give us Pavlovian motivation.

s12-11

This took us back past Camp Jones, demonstrating what an awesome site it is.

s12-12

The sunset desert colours were doing their usual magic.

s12-13

But in the meantime we had another dune to climb, tempted by the campsite and the bathtub full of frosty adult beverages contained within.

s12-29

But our Path Of Righteousness led to the second beer stop. Yea, and the pure shall be rewarded!

s12-34

Between the beer stop and camp was a dune which made the perfect spot to watch the sun set.

s12-35

Aided with some frosty beverages.

s12-38

Which helped us set the world to rights.

s12-39

Until it was undeniably time to head down to the camp.

s12-44

A quick circle was formed, where transgressions were punished in the usual way.

s12-46

And we acknowledged the Sandpit 2, Jaws and Moby D!ck, who had been to all 12 Sandpit hashes.

s12-48

Then it was time for birthday cake, albeit with five toes instead of six.

s12-51

The birthday boy…

s12-50

Then it was time to carouse the night away.

s12-49

And in time the night counted its casualties… (This is the G-rated version of these pix)

s12-53

And this included your humble scribe…

s12-55

Result!

Thanks Aarfabit and Di!do for arranging it and hosting a bunch of dissolute hashers. Thanks too for All Ewes’d Up and Snow White for (unwittingly) providing the pix for this report.

And thanks to the denizens of the Al Ain Hash, who have offered to host the-lucky-for some Sandpit Hash Run#13 on April 26.

We’ll provide details about where and when, once we find out.

Sandpit Hash #14 will be on Friday May 17, possibly on Lulu Island.

And the season-ending Sandpit Hash #15 will be, as per tradition, a canyoning trip through Hatta Pools in mid-June, with the on-back in the aircon of Hatta Fort Hotel. Remarkably, this is feasible even in 50 degrees and is an adventurous way to sign off until the annual Mud Run at the back end of September.

Directions to Aarfabit’s Sandpit 50th

We’re only a few sleeps away from Sandpit#12, which is also Aarfabithore’s 50th birthday, where he’ll celebrate three of his four favourite things – camping, drinking and hashing. And he’ll probably celebrate the fourth favourite thing too but I don’t aim to be around when it happens. The run will start at 4.30pm and will include TWO beer stops! The usual Sandpit rules apply: the Dh20 run fee includes the beer stops and a few down-downs for the circle afterwards but otherwise it’s BYO food and adult beverages.

Directions: Camp Jones is near where the Abu Dhabi – Sweihan Road crosses the Dubai – Al Faya Truck Road. Reaching the camp will require a 4×4 but for those in 2WDs, we’ll ferry them from the end of the 2WD-suitable road to the campsite. We’ll be at the 2WD parking area from 2pm to 4pm to offer a lift.

jh2

From Abu Dhabi: Drive past the airport and follow the signs towards Sweihan. After the turnoff to Zayed Military City, the road goes down to two lanes in either direction. The next major junction is the Truck Road. Turn right onto the Truck Road and soon after you’ll go through a roundabout and within a couple of kilometres, you’ll see a Sandpit Hash drinking-camel sign pointing where to turn left off onto a good unsealed road. The turnoff for the road is at 22 23 46.53N 55 00 20.54E.

From Dubai: Drive towards Abu Dhabi on Sheikh Zayed Road or the E311 or E611 and turn left onto the truck road just as you hit the Abu Dhabi border. After you cross the Abu Dhabi – Sweihan Road, you go through a roundabout and a couple of kilometres on you’ll see a Sandpit Hash drinking-camel sign pointing where to get turn left onto a good unsealed road. The turnoff for the road is at 22 23 46.53N 55 00 20.54E.

From Al Ain: Drive towards Abu Dhabi then turn onto the road to Sweihan. At Sweihan turn left on the E20 heading to Abu Dhabi. At the Truck Road, turn right towards Al Faya. You’ll go through a roundabout soon after then a couple of kilometres further on, you’ll see the Sandpit Hash drinking-camel sign showing where to turn left onto a good unsealed road. The turnoff for the road is at 22 23 46.53N 55 00 20.54E.

From the good unsealed road: Follow the road until you get to a place with a sign advising 2WDs to park there. Those in 4x4s can follow the signs to Camp Jones, which is at 24 22 47.11N 55 01 27.93E. You’ll need to deflate. Those who’ve parked their 2WDS can get a lift from some of us 4x4ers from 2pm to 4pm. The run will start at 4.30pm.

If you get lost or need anything else, call shorth@ndjob on 050 561 7087

jh1

jh

 

 

Sandpit#12: Combined with Aarfabithore’s 50th

DSC_0097a

Aarfabithore likes camping… and beer… So for his impending 50th birthday, he’s arranging an evening of both in his favourite campsite at Qasr al Jones in the dunes of Al Khatim.

And it turns out that March 22 is the same weekend as Sandpit#12 so he’ll have the chance to combine three of his favourite things – camping, beer and hashing – by hosting the next Sandpit. (This was going to be near Qasr al Sarab in the Empty Quarter but we’ve deferred that option until later)

Details about the location will follow but it’s near the intersection of the Sweihan Road and the Dubai- Al Faya Truck Road and not too far from the Rehydration Run site. It’s not 2WD accessible but it’s not far from a road that is so we’ll shuttle people to and from the campsite.

The run will start at 5pm. And to make up for failing to fulfill the one and only rule of the Sandpit Hash – that there has to be a beer stop on the run – we’ll have TWO beer stops on this run!

Little Mo’s Sandpit Safari

Image

From Dubai, the word came from Little Mo that he was arranging his famous desert safari.
In his usual way, he arranged this one to suit those with and without 4x4s and those who, er, prefer their beds until well into the day on Fridays. And having proved to be an exceptional host for Sandpit#9, he was happy to make this a joint run with Sandpit#11.
Image
He immediately introduced us to some of the locals.
Image
And then more locals.
Image
We headed across the sabkha to find some dunes. After an hour or so of that, we decided to find some *real* dunes and…
Image
Oops, part one… Then…
Image
Oops, part two…
Fortunately Batman and Anysucker were on hand and soon it was back to business as usual.
Image
Which was immediately followed by Oops, part three…
Image
We managed to shift the car, which was bellied on a dune crest, with a lot of grunting and pushing and only later realised there were two passengers asleep on the back seat at the time.
Image
We cantered along the dunes, using a route Little Mo had found the previous weekend.
Image
While we tackled the big dunes, he took a short cut ahead to arrange a snack for us as we cross the Dubai-Hatta Rd. Emirati hospitality at its finest!
Image
We continued on. He’d cunningly devised a route following the grain of the dunes so we had a series of slip faces to go down, which were a little intimidating but fun.
Image
There was time for a group photo then we arrived at the campsite and set off for the run.
Image
What could go wrong?
Image
…other than being buzzed by some powered paragliders, one of whom had an engine stutter as it passed over the pack and the power lines…
Image
Round the rock the ragged rascals ran.
Image
…to the inevitable false trail.
Image
The real trail went up the hill to the left.
Image
Or was there a secret path around the side that avoided the hill?
Image
The extra effort by the hillclimbers was vindicated by making for some fun photos.
Image
But most preferred to head down to the short cut.
Image
We headed to the sunset watching site.
Image
The location was one of our best yet. Which almost made up for the lack of a beer stop, the presence of which was the one and only rule of the Sandpit Hash…
Image
The youngest Sandpitter was present, with Alayna’s dad, H@sh F@g, demonstrating his hands-free system. Parenting? Piece of cake!
Image
It was a sunset to savour.
Image
Then it was time to return to camp, where cold adult beverages were waiting.
Image
Gravity was our friend, finally.
Image
The fire was lit…
Image
The circle was convened…
Image
And the miscreants punished.
Image
Then Sheikha and Little Mo exceeded themselves by feeding the horde of 42 people, after which we settled into the familiar fireside story telling.
Image
The next morning, Little Mo continued his amazing hospitality by making us breakfast.
Image
Others chose a breakfast that suited them…
Image
There was time for some more interaction with the locals then we all headed away. Thanks Little Mo, your hospitality will take some beating!
NEXT SANDPIT RUN: 
On March 22, we’ll gather again in the dunes of  Al Khatim, off the Abu Dhabi to Al Ain Road. In the spirit of the joint effort with Little Mo, this will be combined with the 50th birthday for Aarfabithore. And to make up for the absence of a beer stop on Sandpit#11, there will be TWO beer stops on Sandpit#12! Which any statistician will tell you* means we keep up the one and only rule of Sandpit Hash is upheld.
(* In the same way that if you have your feet in the fire and your head in a freezer, you’re perfectly comfortable on average)
SANDPIT#10 SHIRTS: 
As anyone who obtained one of the collectable — cough — T-shirts for Sandpit#10, the shirts have not survived washing very well. But we made contact with the shirt company who have given us a credit which will enable us to do another shirt (which they promise not to stuff up!) in a  few more Sandpits’ time.
Image