Castaic, CA, is under siege. Streets, towns, jungles, castles, and hills, all drip red from fierce battles and petty crusades that roll through the front lines of this unique theater of war every day. They also drip green, yellow and blue. And there’s a strict rule: no freezing your balls. Cuz’ that might hurt somebody.
We’re talking don the camouflage and neck scarves, snap the chinstrap to your helmet and fill the “magazine” to the brim with paintballs. And Castaic, CA, which is just barely north of Los Angeles in the Santa Clarita Valley and only 5 minutes from Six Flags Magic Mountain, is a haven for this unique Mancation. So, grab your buddies, it’s time to head to the high desert and feed the warrior within. The best part, even if your hit from all sides, is that you walk away with a chance for payback in the next round.
It would be cool to don the protective gear, mount a video camera on all your buddies’ helmets, and show the battle live on a big screen in the parking lot, or streamed on-line, as it plays out among the 37 acres of the California Paintball Park (CPP). A goal would be to land a paintball on the lens of a helmet-cam so viewers could watch the shot in slow-mo as the paintball approaches the unseen assailant. Yeah, that would be cool. We love the close quarters, room-by-room chaos and mayhem of the urban warfare zone on the outskirts of Castaic, CA. Oh, and bring a big, meat cookin’ grill. There’s a shaded picnic area, which we like to think of as a strategic fallback sector.
Warped Paintball Park has 2 “tournament grade arenas” for professional paintball warriors. For the rest of us Mancation-warriors, there are more than 40-acres of hills and valleys, and 6-themed battlegrounds devoted to paintball acts of heroism. The man-faves are a battlefield called Vietnam and the Town of Bagdad. Issue a challenge. Get your frat buddies, your work buddies, your-side-of-the-street-neighbors or your investment group and challenge your nemesis. The cross-town business competitors, the old high school bullies, the lawn guys that make too much noise when you’re sleeping in on Sunday. You know who they are. They’re going down.
It’s a few miles away from Castaic in Soledad Canyon, but it makes the third in your triple play of paintball warzones. This 25-acre splat palace has 5 battle zones the generals of Action Paintball euphemistically call a “gallery” -- as in gallery of bedlam, havoc and anarchy. But, it gets hot in Cali in the desert, especially in the summer. So, at Action Paintball they’ve installed water misters, those watery air coolers that dip the temp by 20 degrees so that you can cool your hot head between “gallery” action. It’s nice, and does wonders for the dirt-clogged pores, but the jury is still out as to whether a Mancation really needs a “chill zone.”
Perhaps all battles should be fought in the paintball arena. This mini-Mancation will let you take out some pent-up aggressions, feel that vengeance is yours, dust off and do it again for a quick weekend escape, or even a day jaunt from Los Angeles. If you’re feeling saucy and beneficent and want to ride the adrenaline highway for a couple days, head over to nearby Magic Mountain and take on the newest stomach bender, the Green Lantern. You can always mow the grass next weekend.
Travel writer Ty Sawyer once sat in a shadowy hole at a paintball arena in Cali and snipered 8 poor sods with headshots. Then his gun jammed and he ran like a baby and felt the sting of several projectiles of yellow #28.