Peter Yesawich, chairman of the travel marketing services firm Ypartnership, said affluent travelers whose household income is more than $150,000 are interested in "soft adventure."


"It's kind of an interesting psychology," Yesawich said. "They might like hiking and white-water rafting or trekking, but they want to return to white linens and fine Cabernet."

Beyond that, they're also getting nature on demand.

When the Bondicks went fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River, for example, they caught 20 trout -- after a guide expertly navigated them to a great fishing spot, taught them how to cast and selected the perfect flies.

Rhyne and Lisa Davis and their son, Jack, saw a herd of more than 350 elk. But it wasn't serendipity rounding a bend on a nature hike. Duggan, the butler, sent a scout ahead to track the animals on the sprawling property, then drove the family directly to the spot.

And on one hike, Paws Up guides dropped Rob and Alison John off at a trail head, then picked them up at a designated spot -- allowing them to enjoy the most scenic part of the three-mile hike without having to hoof it past the same view twice.

"We need to make the camping experience real and unreal at the same time," Duggan said.

Back at the tents, the only thing remotely resembling the hassles of camping -- not counting the ground squirrels scampering by and the bald eagles soaring overhead -- is venturing outside the tent to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Even then, it's not all that realistic, said Rhyne Davis, 42, whose family owns a North Carolina-based coffee roasting business that serves chains like McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts. "You get out in the cold to go to your four-star bathroom," he chuckled.

The bathhouses, a short walk from the tents, have heated slate floors, a rain-forest shower big enough for two, granite countertops and artisan mountain sage soap.

But even that is too much roughing it for some families. After two nights, David Blake, 46, of Boston and his family abandoned their tent in favor of more luxurious digs: a 1,440-square-foot timbered home on four acres.

After one night in his new house, Blake told former fellow tent camper Greg Bondick: "We're not going back."

"Traitor!" Bondick retorted.

The Davis family planned to follow suit. "We thought after three nights, we'd be ready for a little hot tub," Rhyne Davis said.

There is no shame here. True campers might scoff at the notion of sleeping on a pillow-top mattress in a heated tent with artwork on the walls, but glampers relish the luxury.

"It's OK to be spoiled, it really is," Gigi Bondick said. "It's nature on a silver platter."

kimi.yoshino@latimes.com