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March 13th, 2017

Black Oak Lodge

Posted on 2017.03.13 at 12:36
I always consider it a treat when I have the opportunity to visit a different area, or see a new site, or attend an event that I have never gotten to attend; and this weekend I got to experience all of the above.

Heading up after lunch on Friday, my hubby and I found ourselves in the slow and traffic-jammed roads north on the 405. After wanting to attend Black Oak Lodge for at least a decade, but always having a schedule conflict, this was finally the year! I knew that the site was in Darach, so I kind of halfway expected us to be around Thousand Oaks. But no, as we exited not far from the Getty center, I realized this was going to be different than I expected. And different it was! From the highway, we found ourselves heading west where you could just smell MONEY in the air. And as the houses grew from houses, to McMansions, to quite-the-real-thing-Mansions in the Pacific Palasades area; I found myself getting more and more confused. Where in the world were we going? From what I understood, the site was a scouting camp. But there aren’t any scouting camps in kabillionaire-row… are there? Finally passing one gorgeous old stone-surfaced gothic styled manse; we found ourselves heading down a road that gave way to a view and trees. But… but… but… the road was starting to get narrow, and turn to dirt. Was this a driveway? A private area? An access road? It couldn’t be right! But just as we were about to turn around, we saw a sign for the camp. Oh wow… we really WERE going in the right direction.

The road was… interesting. It was long and windy and not necessarily in the best shape. So we took it slow through the curves and winds along the Pacific Palisades Cliffside. And WOW, what a gorgeous view! On a clear day, I’m sure you could see to Hawaii if you wanted. (OK, maybe not). And overhead, the white blossoms of native shrubs not only decorated the hilltop, but perfumed the air. We still didn’t really know where we were going, but there was only one way. Eventually, after all the twists and turns, we found ourselves at Camp Josepho (since redubbed by moi as Camp Giuseppe). Holy CRAP! Had that site been there all along? In the middle of a flat valley, I saw a stream, and hills, and trees, and wild herbs, and green, green, green everywhere! And in the center, a lodge – an absolutely GORGEOUS barrel-vaulted hunting lodge! The event geek in me was going nuts. Finally! We didn’t have to deal with a school cafeteria, but we had an appropriate looking lodge for the events! ATMOSPHERE!

Getting checked in, we had a private tour of the site – the grassy field, the stream, the facilities, the lodge; and then we were taken to our cabin. SQUEEEE!!!!!!! Cabin events! The cabins there are just gorgeous! They are small, but very neat, very clean, very new, and very efficient. And we had the good fortune of grabbing one right at the top of the steps – most convenient in terms of finding where in the world we needed to be!

The event itself was small, but I didn’t mind that one bit. It reminded me of the SCA that I joined long ago where shire events typically ran around 50ish people, and were laid back, fun, and intimate. And that was much the case with this one. I saw smiling faces, classes, conversation, games, etc. I’m sure there was some fighting somewhere outside, but needless to say, that isn’t my forte. Rather, I enjoyed my time in another wonderful feature of this site – the kick-butt kitchen!

In a lot of ways, I feel like this event is one of those “best kept secrets of Caid.” But I’ll tell you one thing about it – I enjoyed it SO MUCH that as long as there are no schedule conflicts in the future, I plan to make it a regular thing. The event and the site are Just That Good.

But shhhhhhhhhhhh…. Don’t tell anyone. Let’s just keep that between you n’ me. 

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