If you’ve lived in Atlanta for a while then you’ve most likely crossed one our trails. You may have even seen us out running, riding, parading around doing a bar crawl, or singing songs in bars. Who are we? We are the Atlanta Hash. While hashing wasn’t started in Atlanta, our fair city has been hashing since 1982 and has become one of the most active hashing communities in the world.
But what is hashing?
Often described as “A drinking club with a running problem” hashing is an activity which combines exercising and drinking, sometimes at the same time. Each week a person (known as a “hare”) lays a trail in flour and/or toilet paper which is followed by the pack (known as “hounds”).
(image used with permission)
The catch is that the hounds don’t know where the trail will end, nor what they will encounter along the way. All terrain is fair game. In my ten years of hashing I have hashed in all parts of Atlanta including its roads, railroad tracks, woods, streams, swamps, and sewer tunnels (all of which, with the exception of pavement, are known as “shiggy”). It’s the pack’s duty to find and follow the trail to its end, where they are rewarded with beer and “orange food”. Along the way the pack communicates by chanting “RU?” (are you on trail?) and “On-On” (yes, I am on trail) in order to complete their mission. Atlanta’s hash trails range from three-to-six miles on average. One of the better things about hashing is that you actually don’t have to be able to run that far in order to participate. There is a motto in the hash that “Hashing is not a race” or as I like to say “There are no winners in the hash, we’re all a bunch of losers.
Hashing is an activity with an accompanying community. Hash long enough with one group and you will be blessed with your very own hash name (mine is “Wee Little Bit” — don’t ask) by which you will be called for the remainder of your hashing days* In general hashers put aside color, race, religion, profession, looks, and politics; when it’s time to hash it’s all about finding trail and drinking beer.
Interested? Here is a breakdown of some; of Atlanta’s hashes
- Black Sheep: Black Sheep hashes every other Sunday afternoon. Trails are challenging and usually full of shiggy. If you show up for Black Sheep remember the motto “You pays your money, you takes your chances.”
- Slow Old B@stards: SOB hashes on the alternate Sunday afternoons. Trails are easy, short, and have beer stops. If you show up for SOB remember the motto “There’s no trail that cannot be improved by cutting it in half.”
- Atlanta: Atlanta’s original hash — hashing since the Reagan Administration — hashes every Saturday afternoon. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare. If you show up for Atlanta remember the motto “Life’s too short to search for a bottle opener.”
- Pine Lake: Pine Lake, which broke free from the Atlanta in order to drink better beer, hashes every Saturday afternoon. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare. If you show up for Pine Lake remember the motto “Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.”
- Southern Comfort: Southern Comfort hashes on Friday nights. Trails are challenging and usually full of shiggy. If you show up for Southern Comfort remember the motto “I have nothing better to do on a Friday night?”
- Moonlite: Moonlite hashes on Monday nights. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare, but for the most part are not that difficult. Moonlite hashes usually end in a bar/restaurant so that you can get food after the hash if you so desire. If you show up for Moonlite remember the motto “I sure hope there are no small, impressionable children in this restaurant.”
- Wheelhopper: Wheelhopper is Atlanta’s cycling hash. Wheelhopper hashes two Sunday afternoons a month, one trail is more off road “mountain” biking, one trail is called urban assault. Trails vary in difficulty and often provide options which can be chosen to make your ride harder/easier longer/shorter. If you show up for Wheelhopper remember the motto “Got Wheel? Got Beer?”
And if you do any of these trails then let them know that “Wee Little Bit” made you come.
* unless you do something that warrants a renaming.