I try to maintain a few friends (some are fellow IT guys who’ve moved away) by organizing an annual campout of geeks. I’ve dubbed it my ‘Geekout’ weekend. It happens to include my co-workers, so it also doubles as “team-building.” Where else can you discuss an iSCSI-based storage area network, while consuming a Smore?
I had arranged the date long in advance, using a nifty site called Doodle. It allowed us all to indicate which weekends were Yes/No/IfNeedBe. I picked the earliest that worked, as they ban fires & travel in the forest during fire season. (Restrictions went into place the week after, so it was just in time.) I had hoped this would mean cooler weather, but I was sorely mistaken.
Occupied by all her sports and things, QueenMarie hadn’t been over to visit since before Christmas, so we were both looking forward to this trip. Unfortunately, Birdy & her kids had other engagements and couldn’t make it. However, it was nice to get some 1-on-1 time with just our own kids for a change. I think that’s healthy too.
We headed out Friday morning, to reserve our spot & flag the turn-offs. We headed out into the woods past Salt Creek Summit. The hope was that folks could go fishing nearby, if the mood caught hold. I had scouted several options via Google Earth, then visited them on Father’s Day weekend to pick our final place. (The selection wasn’t easy.)
- Brush: thick enough to provide cover under fire, but thin enough to walk/run around. Shade-casting trees are very helpful in the summer.
- Defined boundaries: the more geological boundaries you have, the less confusion/lost people you get. We had a road on 2 sides, a gully & camp on the others. If someone wandered too far, they’d know it.
- Starting points: It’s important to walk your new territory, and mark some good places for each team to begin and/or a central place for a flag to be ‘captured.’
- Staging Area: Between rounds, players will need to refill, spectate, and rest. It’s helpful to be in the shade, so you can have paint at the ready. For us, this was camp, but I was prepared to place an easy-up in a convenient clearing if need be.
I brought my 4-wheeler, which made gathering firewood much easier. It also carried all our new firepit rocks to their destination. We played games and hung out for most of the day, as 96F is too hot to play. Folks started to trickle in that night, and we got a couple rounds out of the way.
Saturday morning we played some rounds in the morning, and waited out another 96+ day. I didn’t take the heat lying down, though. Thanks to my generator & snow cone machine, we were able to have a frosty treat!
That evening, we played some more, until the dark brought a campfire and smores for distraction. After shooting paint at each other, getting some adrenaline, and working as a team, my teenagers were getting along fairly well now!
Sunday morning we played, then packed for a quick departure. My kids were enthralled with one last game of Munchkin, so a friend (who also brought his quad) and I went for a ride. We tooled around the forest service roads for an hour or so. We didn’t see another soul, but we did find signs of heavy wolf activity. We both felt more at ease by being armed.
In all, we counted up a total of 14 rounds of paintball! Not everyone participated in each round, of course, but at the height we achieved 3-on-3. We played mostly team-elimination rounds, but the kids did some 1 on 1 with the pump actions, and we did a couple storm-and-defend too. (A log with bush does not make a very good fort…)
We only used about a case of paint, and with filling the CO2 tank, my total expense was under $75 + food & gas. I figure (for the price of dinner and a movie) that’s a pretty good deal! (Of course, I already have the equipment.) Still, if you haven’t tried paintballing, or it’s been too long, look up your local field and give it another try.
See you next time!
(Not many pictures this time, I can only shoot 1 thing at a time…)