Hunting Zombies on Camp Pendleton

Zombie sign

Zombies Aren’t Real, or Are They?
I have always been intrigued by zombies, don’t ask me why.   Zombies are gross, ugly, scary looking and their only purpose it seems is to kill us alive and well humans.   Although I don’t usually like gross or gory movies, I love a good zombie flick. Maybe it’s because I know Zombies aren’t real. Things that are real and that can actually happen will creep me out more than any slobbering flesh eating half-human.

Case in point is the movie Jaws.   Before that film came out, I was a young girl that surfed every single day in the summer.   Not once did I ever even think of a shark or sharks when I was out in the water.   My feet would dangle over the side of my board while waiting for a wave and I never felt any kind of fear.   After watching the movie Jaws one night, I bravely surfed the next day as I have done many times before.

However, this time, as I was sitting on my surfboard, I kept looking nervously around as if a giant jaw was going to chomp on me at any moment.   A piece of seaweed skimmed by my foot and I just about flew off my surfboard to walk on water towards shore.

That is the power of something that is real, but zombies aren’t real. Or are they?

Eight of us decided to try The Haunted Grounds at The Paintball Park on Camp Pendleton. The park has a pretty extensive area for paint ball games and just for a few weeks in October they have set it up for Zombie hunting.

There are three different runs you can choose between. Only one run had it where you were separated in two groups and one side was designated as zombies and the other side the hunters. So basically you were shooting at each other. We watched the action from a hill above and were impressed by the large area that the game was played. There were plenty of places to hide, obstacles, hills to climb, and an old abandoned tank to add to the realism.   If you made it to the hill, you could sneak over to shoot the other team from their flank or behind.

It looked like a lot of fun but most of us didn’t want anyone shooting at us, we wanted to do the shooting only.

This was the case with the other two games which featured real zombies chasing us but they will be unarmed. Their only mission was to eat our flesh!   This was an easy decision as we would rather face the flesh eating zombies then to face the dreaded and painful paint balls.

Darryl and Crew After the First Zombies
So off we go on the first hunt. It was a big area with lots of different structures and terrain.   It was fairly dark which added to the fun.   The instructor kept us close to each other which I didn’t like at first. I wanted to run free and shoot zombies!   Although, I finally understood it as they didn’t want the group running off and shooting at everything that moved which could have, of course, been each other.

Zombie 1
A quick cell phone shot was all we could get while running from the zombies.

There were also sixteen in the group which I thought was too much. A lot of times someone was in my way when the zombies were attacking.   We were also with a group of young boys who thought they were junior Rambos.   It was cute at first until they started killing the zombies before we could.

Drifting off from the group a little, I saw a head poke out from a structure which was sitting on this small hill. So I grabbed a friend and we set out to get him. Finally he jumped out and we proceeded to shoot him down. The instructor wasn’t too happy with us wandering off but we didn’t care because we snagged us one! Why was the zombie out there anyway?

Towards the end we entered what appeared to be a castle.   Our commanding officer told us that our mission was to clear out the rooms of zombies. I proceeded to go to the farthest and darkest room to get away from everyone else and find me some flesh eaters.

I signaled for the same friend to follow me and off we went. I was feeling cocky and ready to face the ugly things when sure enough a zombie jumped out right in front of me!   I did what every great soldier would do, I shot him down. Oh wait, that wasn’t me, that was my friend that shot him. I was the one standing there screaming like a little girl. So much for feeling cocky.

Soon everyone saw him and the junior Sylvester Stallone’s starting shooting our way regardless of me standing in the way. Yes I did get shot in the back. Now I know why they didn’t let us wander off… serves me right.

As we left the area, they were still chasing us and by chase I mean in that funny little shuffle they do. We had a seventy- year old woman in our group that is a fan of the TV show “The Walking Dead.” She was wearing a t-shirt that said, “What Would Darryl Do” which is a reference to a cross-bow welding, zombie hunter on the popular show.   She was taking care of the rest of the hoard like an expert while we were all out of ammo and running away. The seventy-year old Darryl ,I mean Joyce, was showing everyone including the miniature soldiers how it was done!!!!!

Zombies in the Back Woods
On the next hunt we were seated on a trailer with guns attached in front of every seat. We were going into the backwoods to hunt a group of wild half-deads.   I really liked this as we ended up in a back area with bushes and old buildings and it looked like the perfect place that zombies would hide.

As we were entering the area you could hear groans and in the background a woman screamed. Perfect. So out they came and we shot at them as best we could. We were told to shoot at their heads and the zombies started dropping like flies. I was sitting at the end of the open trailer and just as I thought we were out of the woods, a zombie appears at the back and only a few feet away from me!   From way back deep in my throat and as if I was in some alternate universe, that little girl scream came back!

However, this time I was going to be the one who shoots him dead. Unfortunately, my gun couldn’t turn that way. The troop commander finally had to hit him over the head with something and off he dropped. About seven others were shuffling after us but going two miles per hour, we were just too fast for them.

Zombie trailer
The 2015 Zombie Hunters

The only complaint I had about that hunt is it was too short. I understand they have a lot of people to get through but it could have lasted about five minutes longer and that would have been just enough. I do applaud that they had plenty of zombies and a lone scary clown.

We also felt that a smaller group would have been better on the first run but also realized that they have to get people coming through and it is probably not feasible to do it with small groups.

For me it was perfect. When I go on a scary ride or go to a haunted house, I want to be scared. I want to be startled. I want to scream like a little girl. It takes you away from reality just for a moment. It is just plain fun. So with that said, they delivered for me.

The Paintball Park on Camp Pendleton is open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They now have guns that shoot at half the speed of a regular paint ball gun so it is better for younger kids and/or people like us who don’t want to be in pain after we play.  We have played with the regular guns before and let’s just say we all have had a few bruises and welts afterwards.

Through October go out and shoot the zombies…it is great fun.

After all zombies aren’t real, or are they?