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The next day Purdy appointed Dorgelo navigator, an appeasement that postponed any challenge to Purdy's authority. But by late afternoon, when everyone was tired, tempers flared; during a rest stop Purdy abdicated. "He said he wanted the privilege of showing unattractive behavior like the rest of us," reported Dorgelo. "But he finally, magnanimously, agreed to continue."
The next morning Dorgelo turned the map over to that day's navigator, along with advice which was largely ignored. After one more shouting match the group of seven men finally gave up arguing over the routes, and everyone simply went his own way at his own pace. They stumbled leaderless into the motel that afternoon.
Meanwhile, the smaller group was embroiled in a less verbal, but equally tense, struggle, as much with the environment as with each other.
The two routes had shared the same trail for the first five miles, and when his party reached a fork before the larger, slower group, Cullen wanted to make false tracks into the wrong canyon to mislead those behind. Breslin eagerly agreed and began making deliberate footsteps in the wrong direction and carefully backtracking in them. But Copen and Moran wanted no part of the scheme, and it was abandoned. But it had been an indication of Cullen's extreme competitiveness. By nightfall they were only three or four miles from the motel, yet still in a canyon.
Their mood was confident, and they unpacked their clean walking shorts for the next morning's brief hike home.
"Let's go in sparkling," said Cullen. "Our tails may actually be dragging, but I don't want the other guys to know that." Moran was so confident he threw his dirty, tattered jeans into the fire. "The zipper was broken anyhow," he said.
They broke camp an hour late, certain that they would be eating lunch at the motel. Moran was anxious to get moving, and in a display of youthful energy he began scrambling up a slope of broken rocks, possibly the result of a landslide decades before. It appeared to be a relatively easy egress from the canyon.
The others walked ahead on the trail.
"We're going around the corner before we go up," Cullen said. "It's easier this way."
Moran understood Cullen to mean they would be coming up to meet him, but Cullen was leading the others farther down the trail to look for another way out. Moran climbed higher. The other three walked farther.