A long, long time ago, in an online galaxy far, far away and now buried in the depths of, 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
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.”