Matterhorn Peak P1K SPS / WSC

Sat, Aug 4, 2001

With: David Wright
Brent Crookham

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile
previously climbed Sat, Sep 13, 1997
later climbed Sat, Aug 17, 2002


Sierra Emblem Challenge 2001 - Day 1


Continued...

I awoke to the soft but annoying beep of my watch alarm shortly before 5a. I had slept well from the previous day's hiking and gone to bed early enough, but I'm sure I could have slept another hour or two quite easily. I got up, showered, ate a few bowls of cereal, and did my final preparations. I didn't plan to carry much. I had climbed Matterhorn previously and found it not technically difficult. The weather was expected to be quite nice, so I only planned to carry a light jacket for additional clothing. If it got windy, it'd likely only be a problem above Horse Creek Pass, in which case I'd be more motivated to get up and down off the summit in a hurry!

As the organizer of this 10-day peak climbing challenge, I didn't want to be late for the appointed 6a meeting time at the trailhead parking lot, so I left the motel in Lee Vining at 5:30a and headed out to Twin Lakes. I had no idea who might actually show up there. Only David Wright had positively confirmed he would meet me, several others remaining "maybes" until the end. There might also be others who had not contacted me at all, as I had emphasized the non-structured aspects of it, particularly that anyone was free to show up for any of the hikes. It was a brisk morning drive through Bridgeport, and as I was taking in the scenic nature of the old mining town I passed the turnoff to Twin Lakes and didn't notice until I was out of town a mile or so. Oops. I turned around and found the turnoff, and headed out on the lonely stretch of road through ranch country with only the sleepy cattle around for several miles. The sun was just about to rise in the east over the Whites, and the horizon over the mountains there were colored with orange and yellow, fading to shades of blue and purple across the sky.

As I drove past the lower of Twin Lakes, the water was choppy from a stiff breeze that was blowing, and I began to wonder if I should also bring a heavier jacket (I'd tossed additional clothes into the trunk to give me options at the trailhead). By the time I reached the dirt & gravel lot at the end of the road, on the far west side of the upper lake, the wind had died down to a whisper, and it seemed the sun might actually come out and start warming things up. The parking lot is owned by the Twin Lakes Resort that runs the campground, cabins, store, and marina at this end of the lake. There were many cars and boat trailers in the lot, but still a number of open spots, particularly at the far end closest to the trailhead (and furthest from the bait shop and boat docks). As I drove through the parking lot and located a suitable site, I spotted a gentleman with a bushy gray beard. It had to be David, as he was easily recognizeable from the photo he had emailed me earlier. I shook his hand through the open car window before I had parked the car. I looked around for other souls stirring about but found none.

David had arrived in the lot the night before, around 1a, and slept in his bag on a pad just outside his car. So he must have had less than five hours of sleep and no time to acclimatize, but he didn't seem to be complaining. We only hung around the parking lot about 15 minutes or so, as I didn't really expect anyone else to show up. It was still rather cold out, but with little wind and a cloudless sky, it looked to warm up soon enough. The first part of the hike is straight up a series of switchbacks, so I was pretty sure I'd warm quickly. I decided to take just a fanny pack that could carry the light jacket I was wearing in addition to the other day's supplies: a map & compass, some granola bars, two water bottles, sunscreen/lipbalm/DEET, camera, and a flashlight. These would be my basic supplies for most of the hikes to follow as well. David was only a little surprised to find us the only ones on the hike - he seemed to sense from the recent emails that interest was waning at the last moment. At 6:15a we headed out.

Having been up Horse Creek Canyon twice before, I knew the trailhead was not obvious from the parking lot, but found it straight away after walking through the campground. We headed up the trail a short ways, maybe a couple hundred yards before I had my first inspiration for a diversion. A thinly visible use trail appeared at the first turn in the trail. I knew the trail headed east through a series of rather dull switchbacks that were generally dry, dusty, and much too flat to make so many switchbacks necessary. I guessed that the use trail followed closer to the east side of Horse Creek as it cascades down a thousand feet of the canyon wall. David was almost too easy to convince, not really having an opinion one way or the other and happy to let me lead him where I thought best.

Into the thicket we went. The trail wound through the more heavily forested area that enveloped the creek, sometimes coming right to the waters edge. It was wonderful watching the turbulent waters crashing down through the forest while we climbed up the hillside, around and sometimes over the trees that had fallen in the way. The trail braided into a number of other use trails, some rejoining after a short separation, others heading more east to join the maintained trail. I knew this trail was not welcomed by the Forest Service that maintains this part of the Wilderness. These "short cuts" are almost universally discouraged as they cause additional erosion and unecessary blight on the hillside. And in general I never cut switchbacks. But this rogue trail was just a better hike than the maintained one. Not better for stock (which the main trails are designed for) to be sure, but better for enjoying the Wilderness. At least that was how my rationalization went that day. Looking back several months later, I'm pretty sure I'll go the same way again next time. :)

Eventually we popped back on the regular trail after about a mile or so, avoiding the worst of the lower switchbacks. The trail moved away from the creek again as it winds its way up higher on the east side, through some dry, scrubby chaparral. Along this stretch we found a fairly nice ice axe lying in the trail. We briefly discussed the best course of action to increase the chance of returning it to its owner. If we took it with us, we might find the owner up ahead having camped somewhere overnight. But we didn't know if the axe was lost by someone climbing up or down the trail. If the latter, we might exasperate the owner who planned to return today to look for it. In the end we decided the best course was to leave it prominently displayed where we found it. At mile 2.3, the trail reaches the large, flat meadow area in Horse Creek Canyon and the sun made its appearance on Matterhorn Peak high above, and the surrounding ridge. The maintained trail heads east over the ridge to the next canyon formed by Cattle Creek. Our route to Matterhorn continued south over a fairly well established use trail that follows the creek upstream. It took a little less than an hour to get here, long enough to determine that David has a slower pace than myself. He had done a good job in keeping up, even if I had to wait now and then, but it was clear that we were moving at a faster pace than David would have preferred. Through emails previously, I had found that David was an ultra-marathoner, having run in the Western States 100 recently. I have run distances only as long as the marathon, and so have always shown a good deal of reverence for those that can run 2-4 times that distance. So I was rather expecting that I might be struggling to keep up with David, only to find it otherwise. Apparently, the distance one runs does not necessarily correlate with the speed with which one travels. Additionally, it was likely that David's lack of acclimatization was hampering him as well.

We continued up through the meadow, passing the sign indicating we had entered the Hoover Wilderness. The trail passes through some quite large rubble fields, formed as immense piles of rock had come crashing down from the east side of the canyon over countless eons (or maybe one really huge earthquake). It is easy to lose the trail in several places here, and indeed there are a number of weaker sub-trails that meander off above and below, some of them joining back up again, others lost into the netherlands of the rubble above or the heavy brush by the stream below. While we hiked, we continued to chat about the outdoors and our experiences to help acquaint ourselves. I was particularly interested in David's experience in the Western States 100, and asked him dozens of questions. David had completed 90 of the 100 miles before giving up, for what seemed like an odd reason - he was leaning heavily to one side and kept falling over. As David explained it, the mind and body do strange things after so many miles. Running and walking through the night do not provide the body adequate rest and recovery, and the senses are more easily disturbed, including one's sense of balance. In fact, David said he hadn't noticed this problem himself, but had to have it pointed out to him by another before he realized why he was falling over. At the end of the boulders which marked the end of the hanging valley here, a steep headwall presents itself. Previously I had made the mistake of climbing too far and too high to the left, so I knew it was best (easiest) to stick close to the stream and chose an appropriate branch of the trail in that direction. As we climbed higher David got further behind, but this time I made no effort to stop and wait at several spots. Instead I forged ahead and waited at the top of the headwall where I would get a longer break to remove my pack and sit for five minutes or so. There is an interesting knife-edge ridge that forms part of the west side of the canyon, called The Cleaver. Rated class 3, it looks much more difficult from this vantage point, but with such a name I just have to climb it someday. Later I found that the name isn't so unique, there is another feature in the southern Sierra called "The Cleaver" and another called Cleaver Peak.

The sun was just coming up over the east ridge, and I was somewhat ambivalent about its arrival. I was pretty comfortable temperature-wise hiking in the shade, and did not wish for things to warm up too quickly. And I really don't like putting on sunscreen, so I tend to avoid that as long as possible. Still, we were climbing higher, and the winds that had diminished to almost nothing might make their appearance again at the pass, so the sun might come in mighty handy.

When David rejoined me, we rested a few minutes more and headed out. I made a minor mistake in taking us to the right side of the stream and higher onto the lateral moraine on the west side of the canyon. The well-defined trail we were on soon petered out amongst the rocks, and looking back across the canyon it was soon obvious we could have saved ten minutes or so by a more direct route. We had to lose some elevation and cross a somewhat precarious boulder ravine comprised mostly of six to ten-foot diameter boulders that make one nervous when one moves, even if slightly, underfoot. Rocks this size don't just make you lose your balance, as they have the force to crush a poorly placed foot or hand when disturbed. Soon enough we were back towards the main trail amongst the last trees that we would find in the canyon. A smaller hanging valley is located here, though the preponderance of boulders of all sizes everywhere make it a poor choice for a camping location. We crossed the stream in a few places where it runs slow, wide, and flat. It would be a bushwhacking nightmare if the soil were better, but as it is the shrubs are low and more scattered, and navigation is easy. Ahead of us is a prominent peak that we mistook for Twin Peaks that lies east of Horse Creek Pass across from Matterhorn Peak. This peak is really just a sub-peak in the shadow of the higher Twin Peaks, but from here it makes a good impression.

As we start to climb higher out of this last stand of greenery, I noticed another hiker several hundred yards behind us. This surprised me as I thought our pace was pretty good, and hardly expected anyone else starting as early as we had. Brent caught up to us soon enough, and we all took a short break to introduce ourselves. He had started only 15 minutes behind us, and had seen us for quite some time now. I thought he must have been a late-comer who failed to meet us for the 6am start, but no, he had no idea what the Emblem Challenge was, and had driven down from his home in Tahoe to make a dayhike to Whorl Mtn. We learned that he was an avid peakbagger, and like me had a preference for the long dayhikes rather than overnighters. He had climbed some 75-100 peaks in the Southern California mountains while he lived there before moving to Tahoe. He had spent the last few years climbing many of the peaks in the northern end of the Sierra range, and was just starting to move into the High Sierra Region. He appeared to be in his early 30s, and seemed to have a great deal of energy. We invited him to join us for the next few days, and the thought of climbing Mt. Lyell the following day had a special appeal to him as he was very much interested in climbing that.

The three of us continued on, and as I continued talking with Brent we soon pulled away from David. I was impressed that Brent was planning to attempt Whorl, the next major peak south of Horse Creek Pass. It was a decent distance further than Matterhorn, and until now I didn't consider it a dayhike opportunity. Brent suggested we might climb Whorl, then Matterhorn, but I doubted that I would have the desire to do one after doing the other. I knew the next day to Mt. Lyell would be very hard, and I was planning on an "easy" day climbing Matterhorn first. At Horse Creek Pass we took in the magnificent views looking south into Yosemite, and waited for David to join us. All the while Brent and I looked at our maps, looked out Whorl looming to the south, and at Matterhorn reaching high above us to the west. I convinced Brent to join us climbing Matterhorn first, and perhaps we might see how we feel when we got back down to the pass before we decide on Whorl.

It was indeed windier at the pass, much as I expected, and Brent and I took what shelter we could in the narrow section of the pass behind a huge boulder. The view south into Spiller Canyon is quite nice from here, and there is much more green than on the north side of the pass. There are flowers here, and growing even higher up Matterhorn's Southeast Slope. David joined us soon enough and we went over the attack strategy for Matterhorn. The route from Horse Creek Pass is class 2 if one chooses the route carefully, but it can easily become class 3-4 if taken more directly or the use of poor route-finding. The key was to remember to climb the last several hundred yards to the summit from the south ridge which offers the only class 2 route up. We headed up, but didn't stay together. Brent and I went faster, David taking his time for this last assault. He was definitely feeling the altitude now, having gone from sea level to 11,000ft+ in about 14 hours. Brent took a more direct path up the middle of the southeast slope, while I headed to the right towards the east ridge. I was thinking strongly of taking a different route back, and wanted to check out the conditions in the East Couloir. The East Slope is quite sandy and steep to boot, a combination that generally makes for slow going. I was pretty winded by the time I reached the East Ridge. Looking down the other side, I found a very steep and narrow couloir with some very hard snow/ice for about 50 yards of the upper section. I had no axe or crampons with me, and I could see no way around the edges of the hard-packed snow. I climbed higher on the East Ridge, and another 50 yards higher up I found myself at the top of the real East Couloir. It was quite wide, perhaps 15 yards at its narrowest point. It was nearly as steep as the other couloir I examined further to the east, but this one had no snow until the very bottom. There, the glacier below reached up into the lower section of the couloir, but it was far below me and I could not judge the conditions or steepness of the snow there. I saw some gear about halfway down the couloir, and then noticed a couple of rock climbers who had just started the first pitch of the North Arete (actually they were doing the class 4 traverse out of the East Couloir, to the start of the route, but that's just a detail). I watched them for four or five minutes while I waited for the others, all the while they were unaware of my presence high above them.

Looking back down the Southeast Slope for my companions, I found that Brent was taking the direct tack towards the South Ridge (and not coming my way), and David was quite a ways below. I decided it would be better to wait on the summit (where I could enjoy the views more) for David, and headed up. As I began the traverse left over towards the South Ridge, the class 3 rocks above me got my attention and I stopped to consider them. It was a more direct and elegant line to be sure, but mostly they just looked fun. I couldn't resist. I removed my wool gloves I'd been wearing to keep my hands warm, to better allow me to grip the rock, and headed up. It was a fine 40 yards or so before I topped out just south of the summit. The scrambling on that short section was superb - scary enough to warrant my full attention, but not so hard as to make my palms sweat. Brent had taken the regular route up the South Ridge and joined me at the summit a few minutes after I arrived.

We were glad to have the sun out on a nearly cloudless day, but it wasn't enough to overcome the stiff breeze. We put our jackets on to keep us warm and I added my gloves, but it wasn't enough. On a cloudless day the views into Northern Yosemite were expansive. Twin Peaks to the east, Spiller Canyon to Mt. Ritter to the southeast, Whorl Mountain due south, Finger Peaks and Slide Canyon to the west (the famous slide for which this canyon got its name is just right of Finger Peaks). After about ten minutes on the summit signing the register and taking pictures, we sought shelter among the rocks just on the west side of the summit. There it was possible to be almost completely out of the wind, and we were able to lie back and relax while we had a snack. Our short break turned into a longer one, and after about 20 minutes we began to wonder where David was. We waited another 20 minutes, figuring he must have really slowed down. Finally, we decided that maybe David wasn't going to make it after all, and decided to head down.

A few hundred yards off the summit, and when we could first see down onto the Southeast Slope, we saw David sitting down at the top the East Couloir, in the same spot I had been observing the climbers earlier. It took about five minutes for me to reach David and ask him why he had stopped. Thinking that he had just run out of energy, I was surprised when he responded that the route just looked too difficult. I explained that by contouring to the South Ridge, it really was just a class 2 climb to the summit, and David then seemed interested in continuing. Brent meanwhile had headed straight down and was already well below us. I had no intention now of trying to climb Whorl too, but had instead planned to suggest to Brent that we descend the East Couloir (I was pretty sure David would want to return the same way we came). Oh well. It was easy to decide that I was more interested in seeing David to the summit than in catching up to Brent, so we let him go. I accompanied David back up to the summit, to ensure there would be no route-finding errors to keep him from finishing the climb. Seeing David's face light up in a smile was particularly rewarding, as he had not seemed to enjoy himself much in the last few hours. On the way back down, I explained to David my intentions to return via the East Couloir, which didn't surprise David much since we talked about it a few hours earlier. I wanted to make sure David felt comfortable returning via Horse Creek Pass, and he replied in the affirmative. It was hard to imagine how one could get lost that way, really, since the creek and gravity all flowed the same direction - down the route we had taken up. You couldn't climb into an adjacent canyon without scaling the walls for more than a thousand feet on either the east or west side. So at the top of the East Couloir I bid David goodbye, and headed down.

What is normally a pretty steep class 3 snow/ice chute was now just a steep class 2 sand/rock route. The top part in particular was very sandy, and it was easy to plunge-step down in a zigzag manner, losing several hundred feet of altitude very quickly. The chute narrowed and steepened further down. The right side (looking down) had some steep snow sections that further narrowed the non-snow options. I had to slow down considerably to negotiate these places. There was much loose sand and rock, heavily saturated, that made if feel like the whole mountain was coming down around me. I was thankful that there were no climbers coming up from below as I would have pummelled them with the debris I was dragging down. I was even more thankful there was no one above me doing likewise. My movements in several places were slow and deliberate as I searched for footholds that would provide some reasonable purchase. I used my hands to steady myself in the quicksand only when necessary, as they usually dislodged smaller rocks from above that would roll down onto my fingers.

I came to the place where the climbers I'd spotted earlier had started up on the East Arete route, and found that they had left some baggage behind, a few jackets and a small pack. It seemed they intended to return via the East Couloir once they reached the summit. A rappel sling nearby suggested that this couloir is normally more difficult when filled with snow. I continued down and soon came to the top of the glacier that lay below on the north facing side of the crest here. The slope was a good deal steeper than I had guessed from above, and the snow wasn't really snow, more like brick hard ice. At least for the first 50 yards or so. I had no axe or crampons though I was wishing I had carried them with me now. A few yards away were two sets of crampons and an ice axe. That would be a pretty mean trick, though the thought did occur to me to "borrow" them for a short distance. It seemed this was the party that had dropped the axe we found earlier in the day. It amused me to think that if I had taken it with me when we found it I could have left it here for them to find when they return from their climb - I'd have loved to see the puzzled looks on their faces then! But alas, they were still missing an axe, and I was simply wasting time. I really didn't want to have to climb the 700 feet or so back to the top of the couloir, and a glissade was out of the question. I found a few pointy rocks to use as "axes" and decided to attempt a cautious descent. Through the season a number of rocks had come loose, cascading down the couloir. Some of these land on the glacier where the sun heats them, allowing them to melt into the ice some. I used these widely spaced bits of rock for footholds to carefully allow me to pick my way down the glacier. I doubt the pointy rocks would have done much good if I had slipped, but somehow they felt reassuring clenched in my fists. It took about 15 minutes to go that 50 yards, but it was certainly much better than the alternatives. Eventually the slope lessened and the snow softened to where I could relax, walk, slide, and run down the remaining glacier. Near the end the snow gets pretty sloppy, and I can hear water running under the glacier. I use a bit of caution to keep from stepping into one of the underground streams. I looked back on my descent route and the Matterhorn Glacier, and noted that the peak looks impressive from this viewpoint, but still not worthy of its more famous European namesake.

At the end of the glacier the toe is buried under a pile of rock and boulders and I am soon on a boulder scramble. Down I climbed over what seemed an awful lot of very large rocks, and I soon tired of them. Below I could see some tufts of grass, the first vegetation in some time, and below that what seemed a verdant meadow (but really just a larger concentration of grass amongst the rocks). Once I reached the grassy areas things became easier. The grasses and soil help hold the rocks together much better so that one doesn't have to be quite as cautious in walking. I found myself in a small alpine meadow, still high above the main canyon to the east. There was a babbling brook running through the middle of it (fed from the glacier above), and a small lake off to one side. Between the creek and the small lake was pitched a yellow tent in what was the finest campsite I'd seen yet in Horse Creek canyon. In fact this was one of the finest locations I've seen anywhere in the Sierra, a hidden gem unsuspected from the main route in the canyon below. There were three climbers a short distance from the tent standing on a small overlooking knoll about 25 feet high. They had packs loaded with climbing gear, and though at first I thought they were the owners of the nearby tent, I found that they'd just arrived from the trailhead and were scouting out Matterhorn and additional campsites. The yellow tent probably belonged to the two climbers above, and these three were contemplating whether they should intrude on the isolated campsite or look for their own. I talked with them briefly, explaining there were no other campsites along the route I had taken, and asking them if they knew I could safely reach the canyon bottom by following the stream. Though they hadn't come up that way, one of them said he believed it was possible, and as I noticed a small use trail exiting off along the creek, I figured he was correct.

Not 50 yards along the trail, the meadow came to an abrupt end, as did the trail I was following. The creek seemed to drop off the edge of the world as I found myself with an expansive view of the canyon and surrounding peaks and ridges to the north. The creek didn't really just drop off as it had seemed, but began a rather steep cascade down some terrain I was not likely to be able to follow without finding myself among impassable cliffs. I let the creek go as it may (though I refilled my water bottles before saying goodbye), and angled down and right (east) towards the main canyon, following less steep terrain amongst the rocks and some trees that grew on this hillside. I ended up traversing quite a ways to avoid cliffs below me, and eventually found my way back to the more familiar use trails in the main canyon. I was sad to acknowledge that the adventure part of the hike was over, as I headed down the canyon towards the large meadow and back to the maintained trail. I had made pretty good time coming down and expected David was a good ways back up the canyon. But I would stop every ten minutes or so on my way down to see if I could spot him coming down from the rocks above. No luck. I didn't expect to see Brent ahead of me either, as I was pretty sure he'd be far ahead by now if not already back to the car. I seriously doubted that he had decided to climb Whorl, particularly after we spent as long at Matterhorn's summit as we did. Climbing down through the boulder fields again, I noticed many more ducks now than I had seen on the way up. They don't follow any main trail, many don't mark any trail or seem to serve any purpose other than to give hikers something to do. At one point I passed what looked like duck city (I didn't realize one needed to practice this art so thoroughly). The wilderness sign marks the end of the boulder fields and the beginning of the easier trails. I had one last view of Matterhorn before it was blocked from view as I continued down. I began to imagine how nice a hot shower was going to feel and how nice it would be to get out of my boots, and this helped propel me at a fairly good clip down the trail. The axe we'd found earlier was no longer where we'd left it. I was afraid the owner wasn't likely to be getting his property back. Where the long switchbacks began in the lower part of the canyon, I again took the use trails that follow the creek in the more heavily wooded area. How much more interesting this was than the maintained trail! After returning to the trailhead I walked back through the campground, now much more alive with the signs of civilization than it had in the wee hours of the morning. At 3:30p I was back at the car. Not as fast as I'd hoped, but not bad either. I still had plenty of time to clean up and relax back in town before the sun went down. David I expected might be an hour later, then we'd be able to head out to dinner together. I left a note on his car with the name of the motel and the room number, and headed back (after a quick stop at the resort store for some refreshing beverages).

David, meanwhile was not having a good time. In his own words:

On the return, Bob wants to take the east couloir; after looking at it, I prefer the approach route and we split up. Now, we just followed the drainage up, and all I have to do is to follow the drainage down. I had also looked back quite a bit to fix in my mind what the return looked like. But in spite of this, each canyon that I came to looked strange, and I was unable to find the trail. I bushwhacked down steep canyon after canyon, convinced that I had somehow gotten into the wrong drainage, although that seemed impossible.By 3 pm, I had become quite concerned. Nothing looked familar. I considered my position. I had food and a filter, and just had to continue down this drainage, eventually it had to cross highway 395, but I didn't look forward to that 30 mile hike. Finally I came across a trail, and, almost simultaneously, a hiking couple.

"What trailhead does this lead to?" I probably sounded a little crazed, like McCoy in the Star Trek episode "The City on the Edge of Forever", when he accosts the drunk in NYC, "What planet is this!!?"

"I don't know, but this is Horse Creek."

I was flabbergasted. "Then I'm not going to die. How far is it to Twin Lakes?"

"Down this canyon and around the corner to the right."

So I wasn't going to be walking all night after all. After walking for more than an hour I finally see Twin Lakes, and after 1/2 hour of wandering around in the campground trying to find the parking lot and my car, I'm back.

David returned to the lot around 7p, still with an hour and a half of daylight remaining. But why it took so long to return neither of us could later explain. At 7:30p a knock on my motel room signalled David's arrival. I had spent much of the afternoon downloading pictures from my camera to my laptop to the web, made slow by the large number of large pictures I was trying to squeeze through a dialup modem in the motel room. The process took nearly three hours and became a daily routine, often not finishing until 10p. My idea of providing real-time updates on the web of the adventure was more difficult than I had anticipated, and would probably have been best to just wait until the end to do all the uploads. Anyway, today I had plenty of time to finish before dinner, and I began to worry that I had lost David. I was happy to hear his knock, and when I opened the door I was greeted by a somewhat dissheveled and tired hiker.

David looked and felt much better after his shower, after which we went to the Mobil station just out of town for some fish tacos. In David's view the food failed to meet the high expectations my glowing praise had created beforehand, but I was once again happily satiated. We returned to try to get to bed as early as possible, knowing we would need as much daylight as possible for Lyell the following day. We went back to the motel and packed our stuff for the next day and loaded the car. David camped out on the floor on one side of my room while I took the bed all to myself (I didn't feel too bad about that arrangement since I had paid for the room), and by 9:30p or so we called it a day. One down, nine to go!

Continued...


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