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A Mushroom Hunter's Outrage: Colorado Hotel Offers Guided SUV Mushroom Trips

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August 16, 2012

A Mushroom Hunter's Outrage: Colorado Hotel Offers Guided SUV Mushroom Trips

By Chad Love

A long, long time ago, in an online galaxy far, far away and now buried in the depths of FieldandStream.com, I wrote a blog post about the then-new trend of "glamping"--that privilege-swaddled activity for well-heeled, not-so-rugged outdoorspersons who want to rough it, but softly.

To each their own, I say. If the One Percent want to camp out all Downton Abbey style, who am I to speak ill of them (laughing at them, however, is another matter altogether...). But this? This is just a slap in the face to true mushroomers everywhere. In the immortal words of The Dude, "this aggression will not stand, man!"

From this story on cbsnews.com:
Mushroom hunting has never been as easy—or comfortable—as this. For $200 a person, the Four Seasons Resort Vail is sending out guided expeditions in luxury SUVs to look for mushrooms. The Mushrooms & Mercedes program includes a lunchtime break with wine, cheese and prosciutto, and ends with a three-course mushroom-themed meal back at the hotel. "We have gorgeous forests and mountains. We want the guests to get out there and experience the best in Colorado," said Angelica Palladino, director of food and beverage at Four Seasons Resort Vail.

No, what you have are a bunch of wealthy, self-absorbed posers who want to experience the reward of 'shrooming without earning it. Wild mushrooms are the woods' gustatory fairies, fleeting, ephemeral treasures that are always hard to find. And when they are found, their location is never, ever revealed. There's a very good reason why mushroom hunters are the most secretive, tight-lipped, suspicious and willfully deceitful group in the woods. Illegal pot growers have nothing on 'shroomers when it comes to trying to hide their tracks and keep people away from their favorite spots. But we have to. Those spots are hard-earned, coveted, paid for in shoe leather, sweat and the sting of countless brambles and thorns.

To paraphrase a famous Norman Maclean line, if mushroomers had their say, nobody who did not know how to find a mushroom would be allowed to disgrace the mushroom by being guided to it. And especially like this...

From the story: At the first session, participants gathered at 10 a.m. in the back of the hotel's Flame restaurant for complementary coffee and pastries. They chatted up guide Larry Evans, a tall, tan former University of Montana mycology professor prone to wearing his white hair in two skinny braids, and examined the multitude of mushroom shapes he had collected a day earlier. After Evans gave a short, lively presentation on what they might find, the group set out in two Mercedes SUVs for Shrine Pass off Interstate 70. Each hunter was sent out with a basket holding a mushroom-cutting knife, energy bar, apple, water and whistle to blow for help. The SUV drivers brought sunscreen and umbrellas for shade.

I just threw up in my mouth a little. Am I overreacting here? Am I just being an angry SOB? I mean, in a world where it seems virtually any object or goal can be obtained with minimal to no effort if you just have enough disposable cash, the lowly little wild mushroom (in all its incarnations) seemed like one of the world's last true barometers of class-neutral, individual effort/reward. And now we've got luxury mushroom hunting.

What do you say, 'shroomers? Is this a travesty, an abomination? Or no big deal (until the luxury SUV's pull up next to your favorite 'shroom area...)? And what should we call it? I vote for "glooming." 

Comments (8)

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from Steward wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I'm not a shroomer, but understand the sentiment. "The SUV drivers brought sunscreen and umbrellas for shade." Makes me think about the staged hunts and formal picnics in my wife's British costume dramas as comedies. My only real concern...can they keep people from sampling a poisonous mushroom?

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from fezzant wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

While I understand the culture of secrecy in 'shrooming, do you actually think that's a concern in this situation? These people couldn't find their way back to those locations with a map, compass, GPS, flashlight, hound, and a little line of fluorescent flagging leading the way. Let them have their little "adventure," it will keep them out of the real wilderness where I am hiking/hunting/fishing.

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from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Maybe a bit too Hollywood, but it sounds like a great anniversary date idea. And it won’t last, Unless of course the hotel has been “salting the mine” so to speak. If they are (and you know they have to be) Then why does it matter.

A few years ago I was patterning a big buck that I thought no one knew was there. On opening day of the cold and raining rifle season, the teeny backwoods road had more hunters that a Wal-Mart parking lot. There was a guy directing parking for pity’s sake. I said screw that and climbed a near by ridge. I could hear them in the valley driving for that deer before the sun was fully up. They did a mass drive on opening morning. No fuss, no muss no one gets wet, no one gets cold. By 10 Am and a a few rifle shots later the noise died down. I wandered back down by noon, worried about my climbing stand I had left up. They were all gone. All of them. Nota car remained. Back in their beds and bars and 1 guy to the butcher. Deer hunting became a lottery and I bought the wrong ticket. Is that what they call Glam-hunting?

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from Koldkut wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

That's what Colorado has become.

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from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I once met a guy who guided morel mushroom hunters on muleback out of a lodge in southern Illinois. It takes pretty good eyes to spot a mushroom from the back of a mule!

As for this trip, sounds like harmless fun to me. If I was staying at that hotel, I'd do it. Every once in a while it's fun to see how the other half lives.

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from katokoch wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Well they'd still have to get out of the Mercedes and into da woods if they wanna get some shrooms, so there's still some effort they gotta put into it.

They can do what they want as long as they stay away from my morel grounds!

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from Bubba Knush wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Chad, you forgot to mention the 'ticks'oh the ticks, I don't think they move so fast as to hop in a Mercedes.

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from Chris Pohlson wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Yes, you're over reacting.

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from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I once met a guy who guided morel mushroom hunters on muleback out of a lodge in southern Illinois. It takes pretty good eyes to spot a mushroom from the back of a mule!

As for this trip, sounds like harmless fun to me. If I was staying at that hotel, I'd do it. Every once in a while it's fun to see how the other half lives.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steward wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

I'm not a shroomer, but understand the sentiment. "The SUV drivers brought sunscreen and umbrellas for shade." Makes me think about the staged hunts and formal picnics in my wife's British costume dramas as comedies. My only real concern...can they keep people from sampling a poisonous mushroom?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fezzant wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

While I understand the culture of secrecy in 'shrooming, do you actually think that's a concern in this situation? These people couldn't find their way back to those locations with a map, compass, GPS, flashlight, hound, and a little line of fluorescent flagging leading the way. Let them have their little "adventure," it will keep them out of the real wilderness where I am hiking/hunting/fishing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Maybe a bit too Hollywood, but it sounds like a great anniversary date idea. And it won’t last, Unless of course the hotel has been “salting the mine” so to speak. If they are (and you know they have to be) Then why does it matter.

A few years ago I was patterning a big buck that I thought no one knew was there. On opening day of the cold and raining rifle season, the teeny backwoods road had more hunters that a Wal-Mart parking lot. There was a guy directing parking for pity’s sake. I said screw that and climbed a near by ridge. I could hear them in the valley driving for that deer before the sun was fully up. They did a mass drive on opening morning. No fuss, no muss no one gets wet, no one gets cold. By 10 Am and a a few rifle shots later the noise died down. I wandered back down by noon, worried about my climbing stand I had left up. They were all gone. All of them. Nota car remained. Back in their beds and bars and 1 guy to the butcher. Deer hunting became a lottery and I bought the wrong ticket. Is that what they call Glam-hunting?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

That's what Colorado has become.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from katokoch wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Well they'd still have to get out of the Mercedes and into da woods if they wanna get some shrooms, so there's still some effort they gotta put into it.

They can do what they want as long as they stay away from my morel grounds!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bubba Knush wrote 1 year 35 weeks ago

Chad, you forgot to mention the 'ticks'oh the ticks, I don't think they move so fast as to hop in a Mercedes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Pohlson wrote 1 year 34 weeks ago

Yes, you're over reacting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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