The time has cum for you to set Trail at the next Hash.  Before you panic or contact the Boston Marathon Committee for advice, here are some tried and true suggestions  which can help you lay a great Trail. 

Even a veteran Hasher can be intimidated when setting Trail.  Many times, we catch ourselves asking questions like "Is my Trail as good as last week's?", "Is there enough beer for everyone?", "How do I make Trail interesting downtown?", "How long should the Trail be?", and a string of others.  

Remember, as a Hare you aren't out to outspend the last Hares' beer budget, nor should you be trying to run the Hounds into the ground.  The following should provide some helpful hints on how to set a great Trail.  While it is geared to a basic Trail you may find anywhere, the basic ideas can be applied to any Trail you set for your Home Hash.
  • Keep it simple!  When planning your Trail, figure out the True Trail first and then decide where to put Intersections and other Beer Stops.

  • Keep it interesting!  Most Hounds do not want to run long, straight Trails.  Set numerous Intersections, Check Backs, and other diversions on your Trail. 

  • Keep it interesting (Part 2)!  Many Hash Houses get in the habit of setting Trail in the same areas of the city.  When it's your turn, try to find new routes and new places for Beer Stops.  You don’t have to stick to the roads.  There are plenty of fields, woods, parking garages, and industrial areas in downtown areas.  Look for some undeveloped areas that haven't been used before, or try some different neighborhoods.  Wherever you decide to lay your Trail, rememberto make sure you have adequate chariots (and sober drivers) at the On-In to get everyone back to the On-Start.

  • Keep it interesting (Part 3)!  If you liked last weeks Trail, don’t copy it this week!  Wait a few weeks, and then try to incorporate the cool parts into an entirely new Trail.

  • Keep the Pack together!  Intersections, Beer Stops, and Check Backs all force the Front Running Bastards to slow down, allowing the slower Hounds to catch up.  Being part of the Pack is much more fun than running alone!

  • Do not run Trail back across itself!  Crossing Trail can lead to the Hounds either getting lost or missing whole stretches of your Trail because they turned the wrong way.  Crossing Trail tends to confuse and anger all the Hounds and can ruin an otherwise great Trail.

  • Don’t hide your Trail Markings!  There is nothing worse than wandering around in the dark (or alone) because Trail has disappeared.  The goal is to find the True Trail and the On-Home, not spend 10 minutes searching for the next pile of flour.  This, too, will make the Hounds very angry.  Keep your Trail Marks out in the open, not hidden under bushes and mailboxes or behind trees and in doorways.  

  • Use plenty of Trail Markings!  As my buddy CHEMO says: “When you think you’ve laid enough flour, lay twice as much!”  Generally every 20-30 feet works.  As a rule, you shouldn’t run past more than 2 telephone poles without leaving a Trail Mark.

  • We are a Drinking Club with a Running Problem!  The Pack expects to have Beer Stops on Trail. If the only thing we wanted was to get some exercise, we could find more effective ways to get it!

  • We are a Drinking Club with a Running Problem (Part 2)!  But that doesn’t mean that every run needs to be a Pub Crawl.  One or two Beer Stops is plenty for most Trails. If you ARE setting a Pub Crawl, the Beer Stops should be within a block or so of each other.  If not, your Pack WILL end up the On-In looking for your ass!  The best places to lay a Pub Crawl are on a mile-long strip which has several bars in easy walking distance.

  • We are a Drinking Club with a Running Problem (Part 3)!  When setting Beer Stops, bear in mind the size of the Pack.  Ten Hounds do not need (or really want) 4 pitchers waiting at one Beer Stop, a 24-pack at the next, followed by another 5 pitchers at the next Beer Stop!  There is plenty of time (and Nectar) for drinking at Religion, so try to leave just enough that everyone gets some…we can always share if there is an extra Hound or two!

  • Don’t screw the Pack!  If your Trail requires something special from the Pack, let us know ahead of time!  If there is a theme, a need for flashlights, a water hazard, or other special requirements; or if it is going to be a Pub Crawl, let us know a few days ahead of time so we can come prepared.

  • Save the workout for the gym!  If you fancy yourself an “average-to-good runner”, you are probably a better runner than most of us!  A “quick jaunt” for you can easily turn into a death march for the Pack.  Try to keep your Trail around 2 to 4 miles, and designed so that even a walker can finish in about an  hour.  Generally, your Trail is well set when the DFL enjoyed it as much as everyone else.  If you feel you need more exercise, then go to the gym or try jogging to the Hash instead of driving your car.

  • Be ready for Hares-Away at 4:00 PM sharp!  You may have to wait a few minutes for the Hounds to get organized, but the Pack should never have to wait on the Hares!  Make sure you bring flour, chalk and everything else you’ll need on Trail.  Don’t forget, Hares should bring enough chalk to hand out to Hounds who want it!

  • Remember that Hashers only have half a mind!  If a Hound has to use more than that to decipher a Trail or a Clue, then they WILL get it wrong.  When you think you have a really clever idea you want to use, try explaining it to a 5-year-old first and see if they can figure it out.

Take these simple guidelines and see how they apply to your own Trail ideas.  Realize that the rest of the kennel may have different expectations and athletic abilities than you do.  Try to ensure that your Trails have a little something for everyone, and are not just your idea of the “Perfect Trail.”  Check out our Trail Markings page for additional information on how to lay a Trail.

Another great place to find Trail Laying suggestions is SMUT MUTT's "How to Lay Trail" page on the Dallas/Fort Worth Site.