Trail Guide

A Quick Guide to Marking BFM Trails

Think there’s a chance that you’ll pick the short straw? Well you’re right there is, but it’s no cause for alarm. Don’t sweat it, with a few tips from this guide, you’ll be ready to toss down trail like a champ. Asking yourself why we do all of this? Duh, it’s all in the name of BEER!

The Marks

  • • (Mark, blob)

    a standard mark (usually a dollop of flour). Three in a row will have harriers screaming “On-On” for true trail.

  • X (Check)

    the trail can go in any direction.

  • F (False)

    go back to the Check and try a different direction.

  • ← (Arrow, True Trail)

    used to keep harriers headed the right way. If you’re crossing a street, or turning a corner and aren’t using a Check, you should put down an Arrow. Use these any time the trail direction is a bit confusing (unless you put down a Check).

  • BC# (Back Check)

    accompanied by a number (i.e. 5). Harriers retrace this number of Marks, treating the final one like a Check. Hares may mark CB, it’s the same thing.

  • BN (BEER Near)

    rare mark on a BFM trail this mark indicates a BEER check. Harriers will look for a close bar with an Arrow pointing in, or a pre-arranged spot with a stash of beverages.

The Methods

  • Dispensing container

    Most folks use some sort of bag, typically we’ll have a plastic grocery bag or two that work just fine. If you’ve offered to pre-lay a trail, you might choose to use a detergent bottle or a more creative dispensing device.

  • Ball

    A tennis ball makes laying trail easy. Dip it in chalk and bounce it. If you’ve got enough chalk on it, it’ll leave a perfect circle on the ground. It’ll also make it easy to keep r*nning while you lay trail.

  • Colored Flour (Chalk)

    We always try to color our flour. We don’t want to create another Wolfman incident. We typically mix the flour with carpenter’s chalk so it doesn’t look like a dangerous white powder. Color 1 and Color 2 work best. Jello and Cool-aid also work pretty well. BTW, Chalk typically refers to all kinds of marking materials.

  • Chalk

    Actual chalk (sidewalk chalk) works pretty well if the trail is on pavement, concrete, etc. It’s really good for making quick Arrows and Falses. It’s not so good if you are trying to mark trail on grass or dirt.

  • Ribbons

    Red, pink, orange, or yellow construction ribbon works pretty well if you are marking trails in woods, fields, etc. They especially work well if there’s a lot of rain, snow, or wet/muddy trail.

General Rules

  • Two a block

    Hares should put down at least two marks per block. Any fewer than that and we’ll have a very lost pack. They’ll be a very sullen pack when they traipse back to the bar, quite frustrated; giving up on what could have been a great trail. It’s best to toss them down every 30 50.

  • Arrows

    If you’re crossing a street or turning a corner, and aren’t using a Check, you should put down an Arrow. Use these any time the trail direction is a bit confusing (unless you put down a Check). The mob gets spread out and lost enough without out any help from a lackadaisical hare.

  • Don’t cross back over

    Creating a full loop in the trail, before getting back to the bar, is a bad idea, unless you use subway stations, bridges, or other means of physically separating the two segments of trail (it’s best if harriers can’t even see the two segments). If you violate this rule, you best be a hare of great ability and stature, like the might G.

  • Falses

    Okay, we’re a live, five minute head start hash. We’ll understand if you don’t mark all of your falses appropriately. No big deal. But, if you do start a false and don’t mark it with anF’, then don’t put down more than two Marks down. Also, try to space your marks consistently. Laying two marks off of a check with 50 yards between them will piss off the mob. Try to space all of your marks consistently.

Extra Tips

  • Don’t go straight

    You stand a better chance of eluding the mob, and creating an interesting trail if you don’t lay a bunch of straight sections. Three to five blocks in a row are plenty.

  • BN

    Want some extra time, or be known for good trails? Toss in a BEER check (or two). Slapping down $30-40 to cover a round will buy you 10-15 min and a lot of friends when you get back to the circle. (You might only get one down-down).Try to have enough money to cover a round and at least a $5 tip (take a rough count before you start laying trail). If you’re nice you might even get some hash cash or donations to help defray the cost.

  • Hidden marks

    Want some extra time? Toss marks on the backside of objects or just behind them. Try to make sure your marks are spaced consistently. If not, the mob will get frustrated and lost, and eventually short cut back to the bar. This is a good way to conceal true trail out of a check, but I wouldn’t use it for the whole trail.

  • Length

    Two to four-and-a-half miles are about right (excluding falses). Much less than two, isn’t a big deal, but you could get a name for it and we don’t need the extra drinking time. Much past five and: (1) you’ll drink for being an overachieving ass-clown, (2) the mob will be prepared to short cut the next time you hare.

  • Getting back to the bar

    Don’t know where anything is at in the city? Not to worry, pay attention to your cross streets Front Street and Columbus/Delaware Ave. are next to the Delaware River, the numbers go up as you head West some where around 30th you’ll cross the Schuylkill end up in University City. South to North major streets are Snyder, Washington, South, Market, Vine, Spring Garden and Fairmount. Get lost? Walk into a bar or store and ask them to point you towards the bar cross streets.

  • Catching the hare

    Should you get apprehended by a FRB, keep your pants on (if the FRB doesn’t get to them first), chill out, and give the new hare a five (three) minute head start.

  • Moderate your use of chalk

    Five to ten pounds of flour should be ample for a trail, try to avoid dumping it all out when you mark a Check (if you have actual chalk this is a good use for it). Don’t be too stingy though we’d rather find the marks and have a short trail than end up trying to follow crappy marks made by some a**hole scratching out things with a rock 😉

  • Volunteer

    Want to participate in a good hash? Check out the area ahead of time and volunteer to live hare, just don’t tell anyone you scouted things out (you’ll have to drink for that). Want a whole lot of time? Volunteer to set a dead hare trail. Scout it out a day or more in advance, set it a few hours early, and have a BEER. The mob loves a well-laid trail with a BEER check or two.


  • Don’t know the neighborhood?

    No worries, if you’re new to the area, talk to the GM you’ll likely get someone to lend a hand.

  • Concerned about safety?

    Talk to the GM, you’ll likely get a trail laying partner but try to keep your trail away from the ghetto. The mob is concerned about their safety too.

  • There’s so many things to pay attention to?

    No worries, we’ve r*n good trails and bad. Try to follow some of the tips and have a good time. If you do, the mob is sure to have a good time too.


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