December 29, 2021

We're Broadmoor Hotel Guests, Get Us Out of Here

Cloud Camp lodge, above the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado Springs
Known its golf courses (plural), tennis club, riding stable, and other amenities, the sprawling Broadmoor Hotel on the edge of Colorado Springs has recently expanded into more "wilderness" experiences.

Naturally, the hotel is being sued. From the Colorado Springs Independent:

The posh resort certainly did deliver on that promise in October 2019 when a Broadmoor guide leading three couples on a 2½-hour morning hike got lost and then allegedly abandoned them as the sun set and temperatures dropped.

The party was located by El Paso County Search and Rescue (SAR) teams at midnight — some 14 hours after the hike began. They then had to hike another six hours to a trailhead before returning to the The Broadmoor hotel.

Now, one of those couples, Victor and Annamaria Mitchell, has filed a lawsuit against The Broadmoor and Emerald Valley Ranch, alleging negligence, negligent supervision of the guide by the two entities, and “premises liability for breach of duty to exercise reasonable care to protect guests from danger.”

The suit claims that toward sundown, the guide, who had his own food and water,  "took off running and left the Mitchell’s [sic] and the other three couples behind, lost and stranded in the unfamiliar wilderness."

A "three-hour tour." This could be the plot of a long-running TV show. 

UPDATE Jan. 12, 2022: The hotel paid unspecified damages.  How much is diarrhea worth in court?

December 26, 2021

A New Chainsaw, with a Hidden Cost

Santa Claus dropped off a new Husqvarna 120i battery-powered saw this year.
A 1980s Husqvarna chainsaw, rear, with a 2021 batttery-powered saw of similar size.

Santa Claus dropped off a new Husqvarna 120i battery-powered chain saw this year.
In back, that is a mid-1980s 49 cc “Rancher” saw, originally Dad’s firewood saw, but mine for some years now. It still works well. It has a 15-inch (38 cm) bar and weighs (without fuel) 13.2 lbs. (6 kg).

The battery-powered saw has a 14-inch (35 cm) bar and weighs 11 lbs. (5 kg). It is, however, longer overall because of the space needed for the battery. And lithium batteries require mining lithium by cutting down rain forests in the Philippines or wherever. Just search on "environmental cost of lithium mining" before you feel virtuous about foregoing gasoline.
It is supposed to run for 45 minutes or so before dying — I have not yet tested that part.
I cut up some small oak and pine for a test, no problem at all.
So this will be the saw for quick jobs, especially those close to the house, and it gives me a backup in case the gas-powered saw has a problem. And it is quiter, probably because the old saw's muffler is kind of rusted out.

Good Husqvarna quality — but not necessarily any more environmentally virtuous than burning gasoline. Californians, however, won't have any choice after 2024.  (I bet all the wildland firefighting sawyers wil hang onto their gas-powered saws as long as they can. Forty-five minutes is not very long on the fireline.)

December 15, 2021

Take the Camo Lifestyle to the Next Step

In a recent post about what feels like an overall decline at Cabela's outdoor stores, I mentioned that they were showing more varieties of camouflage clothing than I had ever seen – although deficient in warm winter hats.

But you need those varieties if you are going to match your camouflage clothing to your part of the country! (Source)

Click to embiggen.

Click this one too, I dare you

What this tells me as a Southwesterner is that  the "Six-Color Desert" pattern, also known as "chocolate chip," is a good bet almost year around. I started using it for waterfowling when I realized in the 1980s that the Woodland pattern or its civilian variants were mostly too dark for southern Colorado marshes. (Simple khaki would better than those.)

Six-Color lost favor with the Army when they realized that while it worked in the American Southwest, it was less than perfect in places like Kuwait, Iraq, and Syria. So we gave away boatloads of it to our valuable allies and switched to the  Three-Color "coffee stain" pattern. (Here is a YouTube on the history of the Six-Color Desert pattern.)

As they say, it was developed for the American Southwest. I like it for brushy or scrubby enviroments too. And remember that 80 percent of camouflage is holding still and sticking to shadows as much as possible.

I wonder what patterns people wore to the Camouflage Cotillion last month in Eden, Texas. Unfortunately, I was passing through Eden the day before, or I would have checked it. For research purposes.

From what I hear, if you go to one of those Texas private-hunting ranches and don't wear camo, you will have committed a social blunder. But camouflage only really matters if your quarry can see color — in other words, birds and humans. 

Otherwise, it is a cultural statement.