From 2003-2020 we inhabited Camp Dude, a very special place in the Sierra foothills. It served as the home and creative studios for us. It’s situated a half hour from the west entrance to Yosemite National Park. The five acre property sits at 2,800 ft elevation, is set back via a half mile drive and is surrounded on three sides by federal land.
We love the mountains and Yosemite. Lucky spent 15 years working in the park, including the beautiful Ahwahnee Hotel, and Jeff worked for the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Village.
The acreage tiers down to a vortex where the original gold mine is located. The gold-fevered original owner claimed the mine as The Spanish Bit. We don’t know if he ever found any gold but maybe someday we’ll stumble across a nugget. There is a quartz vein bubbling from the earth leading to the mine.
As you come onto the property you would see the building site for a pool house and gallery designed by our friend Kris. We decided that it made sense to build the pool first, and we were right. We have had a blast swimming and playing music up there.
We never got to complete the gallery structure but the new owner is already making moves to complete it.
About another 2 acres down the drive is the residence. It’s a late 50’s cement block number that we have nearly completely remodeled – from collapsing ceilings and missing windows transformed into a comfy country home.
Behind the house is a great outdoor slate patio and barbeque area.
For most of the year the back acres and greenhouse are busy with a very prolific vegetable garden and beyond that are grapes, pears and apples.
Down below is an old barn with a loft where Lucky constructed wood oddities from recycled wood and found objects. Finally, below the barn is the old mine.
The terrain there is rugged. There are plenty of old oaks, manzanita and pines. The soil is a rich red with chunky rock outcroppings. Camp Dude gets 4 full seasons: Winter is cold with occasional snow; Spring comes in big bursts with crisp to warm weather and a parade of hundreds of bulbs and wildflowers; Summer is hot, hot, hot and the pool is the savior; Autumn is wildly colorful and the weather perfect for harvesting the fruit trees and the ritualistic blackberry jam making.
We hosted guests for a while and this was our pitch. “We’re Jeff and Lucky, the masterminds behind the Camp Dude experience. The last time we hosted guests we were on Kauai operating The Aloha Dude Vacation Rentals and The Aloha Dude Internet Hut. It was a blast and when we set to work on this remote mountain retreat we kept the remodeling of the existing house and the “in process” creation of a pool house and gallery with visitors in mind.”
When we’re not in the mountains we’re in Los Angeles or San Francisco wreaking havoc on the local population.
Jeff and Lucky