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jeffpeng

Thatch, the Timberwolf Sasquatch

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As my rather popular series about Kermit, the Timberwolf Hermit got a little out of hand as Kermit was (and is!) hugely more successful than I anticipated he could ever be - and actually approaching HRV on day 75 already - I though it might be a good idea to throw a new contender into the ring - with a new set of rules, to boot.

Welcome Thatch, the Timberwolf Sasquatch!

My original rules, which basically resemble the popular Snowball series by @Drifter Man, were:

  • Vanilla Interloper
  • No Feats
  • Survive 30 days without leaving TWM

The new rules are:

  • Vanilla Interloper
  • No Feats 
  • Just survive, but don't leave TWM, period
  • Don't sleep in or directly adjacent to the Mountaineering Hut

I have a very specific idea how this maybe can be achieved. If I can achieve it? I'm doubtful, but what's a challenge without some doubts, rrright?

Let's get to it!

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Thatch 1 / Day 1 - Harsh Lessons

I start on the ramp, yet again. Probably the best spawn to have. 6 am, -34°C. I'm freezing faster than I can breathe. I hastily pick some reishi and get down the rope as fast as I can, no time to waste. Not a moment.

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I'm already freezing when I reach the rope. This is no time for caution. The Wolf of the Woods north to the lake is dangerously close, but he disregards my presence. I make haste towards the lake, and into the fishing hut. A cotton toque at 49% - well welcome! My head is already developing frostbite. No hammer - which means this run will have a hacksaw somewhere. In the Mountaineering Hut it is blazing cold with -9°C FL. This early I can't even exist here.

I pick the matches and firewood, sports vest, work boots, antiseptic, 2 soda, sewing kit, news paper - and the hacksaw! I loot the place and go. No time. Before I can warm up here my firewood is wasted, and I'll be too tired to make the climb. But finding the hacksaw means I will get to loot the container on the way. So at least fatigue is no immediate concern.

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I spot the Bear - Kermit named him Harvey - at his Cave near the Ravine. I try to pick up sticks as I go, but I have no time to lose until I reach the cave between the Deer Clearing Climb and the Fallen Tree Bridge - also known as the Halfway Cave. I reach the Wing take both containers and realize my hacksaw is just 80% - well now 70%. That's the opportunity cost for finding it at the Hut I guess. Well, shoot. But let's not think about day 10.

I know that Kermit deemed the Beans and Peaches (no idea the %, no time) not worth the 5% hacksaw condition. Thatch disagrees. Right now every bit of "pocket heat" is valuable. I leave the wing at 72%. Almost at the Halfway Cave .... I eventually contract frostbite on my hands. That's ..... disappointing, to say the least. But I can't change it anymore, and who knows if it will be of greater consequence.

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I make fire on the second try. Then I see my beans are at 22%. Hum. Well. What could go wrong, right? I warm up a can and boil some water. Outside a blizzard announces himself and I believe this is the end for me already. I cannot dare to go out there - all I can do is sit, wait, hope. The blizzard subsides but I lose way more firewood than I had anticipated. At least I spend the time boiling coffee. I take a torch and go.

Too late I realize I didn't make rose hip tea. Dammit. Anyways. Too late now, let's just hope we don't sprain anything. I eat my beans on the way - no food poisoning! - and drink a coffee upon reaching the rope. Another goes upon reaching the top. I hold right, towards the cave, but turn left behind the first big rock. I have no time to search the cave an find just a lot of nothing.

I open the containers. 3 tomato soup, 2 cloth, 3 scraps, which are of little consequence right now. I approach the hike to secluded shelf.

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Doing so I sprain my wrist. Just great. That means another match and more time will go when I reach the rope. The stars do not align for me, and I make mistakes I cannot afford. At least I can make a fire. The winds are calm. I even mess up part of the hike and lose more minutes retracing my step. I feel off my game. Pull it together Thatch!

I even cooked away all my water. So I need to boil some first. I lose an entire hour. I sacrifice a cedar to pull torches. More coffee and a rose hip tea later I get going.

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My fatigue bar is dangerously low. But there is no turning back - and where to, anyways? I make the climb. Up there I gather some sticks - which I never do, but this time I am so low on firewood I have little choice. I enter the cave. At the corpse I find Field Dressing Your Kill, Vol. I. I chuckle. I save firewood "undressing" in the dark. I make 8 coal in the cave, not making the detour for number 9.

The two cloth from the container allow me to keep more cloth than usual. I lose my sports vest, my jeans and my socks. The rest I can actually keep, which is more than I can usually say. Already freezing again I sprint to the small cave I call the Summit Prep. 

I find a lump of cedar and Survive The Outdoors. Lots of literature for a dead guy. Well, maybe not dead yet? I make a fire and warm up my good 58% peaches. I don't want to chance either the 22% beans or 30% soup just now. I warm up, eat my peaches, boost the fire and build the shelter.

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I'm at 45%. I've got a frostbitten hand. I had bad luck, I made mistakes, my timetable is off. But I am alive - and the summit beckons.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thatch 1 / Day 2 - More Harsh Lessons

5 am. I wake up almost freezing. My fire died. I had banked on the outdoor bonus..... which I don't have in the shelter. It's a comedy of errors. To make matters worse I take three tries to get the fire going again - and lose valuable condition for it. Thatch 1 really isn't born under a forgiving star. When I look my condition is 60%. I craft tinder from the newspaper I still have and sleep two more hours. 

With the fire still burning I dismantle the snow shelter. I won't have time to pick it up when I return. I pull torches and head for the rope. Harsh winds brush up. Amazing. I make the climb, but I'm losing condition fast. Nevertheless the first stop is the cave. I need the firewood I hope is there.

I take a cedar, a lump of coal, the antibiotics and the rope. I will need it later. To the plane!

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I enter, take the stim and make a fire in it's place. I warm up my 20% beans while I get to work on the first container, pulling out shoes and clothing. I eat my beans - and no food poisoning. The next container has my 4 crackers, 5 herbal tea and 10 coffee. I break down the two small crates I always break - and neither of them has anything. So is it a loot table thing? Or are there somewhere else?

To make things worse a blizzard rages outside. Soda and can's in the next container. I decide to leave the container with pelts and medical supplies where it is. My hacksaw is already at 30%. But not finding the extra matches .... bugs me out. The next small crate doesn't yield anything as well - but I find a hammer next to it. I chance to take a leap and learn for future generations of Thatchers and break the last small crate at 35%.

It has the rope and the scrap metal. So .... my theory that it might be somewhere .... could hold true. Nothing but time, right? I break the crates next to the fire. FOR SCIENCE!

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Nothing. It's 7 pm and I kinda start to write off Thatcher 1. With no matches here and no mag lens ... making it to day 30 is impossible, making it to day 15 a big maybe. I end up smashing every single last crate on the damn plane. Nothing. Then .... I remember that under the big metal shrapnel in the middle of the plane I found the accelerants..... and there they are. I missed them in the dark. I wasted so much time and resources just now - but I learned a valuable lesson yet again. They are guaranteed. But they have alternating places.

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It's 4 am. I'm down to 27%. No sleep for me this night. I will attempt the descent tomorrow - regardless of the probable outcome.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thatch 1 / Day 3 - Die Hard

Having found my matches I certainly question what they will be worth for me. I know, in any case, that I will need three more cloth, and at least here ... I'm warm. The newly found socks go with the newly found vest, as well as the sweatshirt I was still wearing. I make coffee to cheat fatigue a bit longer, and to stay warm. What I attempt now I know can be done. But I've never done it. 

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The only way for me .... is down. Straight down. It's maybe not the hardest goat in the game, but most certainly the longest. Behind the container I didn't open I find a 82% fire striker. Irony strikes yet again. But I've got no time to lose. I begin the descent. 

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The climb to the ramp would be shorter - but where would I sleep then. No, the only destination for me can and must be the Three Way Cave. 

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I make progress, good progress, and I almost begin to hope. Might my life be salvageable after all? Then .... suddenly I'm on a ledge where I don't know how to continue. I have to take a jump. I survive unscathed, but just looking down a ledge I sprain wrist and ankle. Another jump. I'm hurt badly.

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I stim up but I have no more "decent" options left. 

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I take another fall. But I make it.

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I reach the Three-Way-Cave and get a fire going with the accelerant. I'm below 10%. I attempt to build the snow shelter with the last juice I have left in me. I just dump stuff into the fire, pour soda into my face and tumble into the shelter. I sleep ..... 9 hours. Or so I hope.

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I'M ALIVE.

I loot the place. Matches, dog food, firewood. Nothing else. No can opener.

My clothes are a wreck. My underwear is so badly damaged I stuff it into the container.

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I transfer the fire to its actually designated position, right in front of the shelter, so that I can cook while in the shelter if I so wish to. This part of the plan has worked out. Safe to say: almost anything else hasn't. I actually got a rather good hand to play, but mistakes and lack of knowledge cost me so much recovery is unlikely. 

I boil me some nice water and head out to the nearby rabbit run. I find one tiny measly rabbit, but even if all else fails, my aim is true. I come back, harvest the meat and cook it, make some herbal tea and boil some water while taking the gut. I let the fire die. I eat my rabbit, drink my tea and water, and off to sleep I am again. I aim 9 hours, but it'll be more like 6.

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Edited by jeffpeng
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5 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

the cave between the Deer Clearing Climb and the Fallen Tree Bridge - also known as the Halfway Cave.

Good name.

I'm curious about your plan for this non-MH project (food, firewood, crafting?). Another chapter of extreme TLD is being written here :)

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4 hours ago, Drifter Man said:

Good name.

I'm curious about your plan for this non-MH project (food, firewood, crafting?). Another chapter of extreme TLD is being written here :)

I'm learning as I go. From raw theory:

Food: Rabbits between TWC and HWC, plus deer driving with the lone wolf up on deer clearing. 

Firewood: I should need a lot less. I will have to see how the temperatures develop in the cave. Since being technically a "warm part cave" (okay, it's a cold part cave ...), they should be fixed, and I should be good inside the shelter except for maybe 1-2 hours a day and blizzards ofc.

Crafting: Making the trip for mittens is feasible. Pants ..... entirely different beast. Probably three trips per pants. OR just suffer through the fatigue. But that makes the return trip a living nightmare.

Edited by jeffpeng
Added something, corrected wrong assumption

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Thatch 1 / Day 4 - Disappointments

4 am, 59%, blizzard. I'm slightly cold in my snow shelter, but I stave off making a fire as long as I can. Two hours later I finally succumb to the cold and light up my last sticks and fir. Huddled inside my snow shelter I boil some water.

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While doing so I deliberate if making the descent the hard-hard way really was the right call. Couldn't I have made it through the cave? Maybe, but the wolf on the way from secluded shelf was too much of a risk for me at that time. Running into him in the dark ..... no escape. And I had no time to wait for daylight. So, yeah, I guess the decision was the right one - but it was trading losing an arm for losing a leg. It's good to know the goat down here is even possible, although I think it's to risky and costly to generally make it part of my strategy.

The blizzard ends, and I let the fire die at 8 am. Weather outside still sounds daunting. So I stay in my shelter and read a bit. Survive The Outdoors it is. After that, outside, I realize for the first time that the three way cave really is just all cold part. No "indoor" part. Which is probably the reason building a snow shelter is possible in the first place. No curing of guts or pelts, and frankly I am not sure how temperatures will develop here over time. Another learning exercise. While exploring the cave ... I sprain my wrist. 2 hours of sleep to fix this.

At noon, I get going. First order of business is getting the container in the Gorge of Engines. I need "some" clothing or my stay here will be cut even more short than it probably will be already. I pack the guts and the remaining rabbit and go. Despite favorable weather ... with my current clothing condition I can't make long trips. -11°C FL, not counting winds. I attract the wolf - as planned.

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I chase the wolf and make a beeline to the container. Not even looking what I pull out of there I loot. When I am done the wolf is on me again - there goes the rabbit. I escape unharmed. I'm already freezing heavily, so I make it into the Cave of Engines. It's warm enough here, if just barely. I take stock.

26% hoodie, 32% jeans, 30% thin wool sweater, 2 wool socks at 35%, sport socks at 40%. Adding to that 69% leather shoes and 28% work boots. Disappointing, again, but I gain about 1°C, which is better than nothing. Just not as much as I had hoped. My hacksaw has also just 20% left. Every swing at a carcass now is a chance to ruin it, and I don't think I can find any tools out here. I wouldn't know where except for the hatch in the Hut. I harvest the socks and repair my 54% wool toque. Another 0.96°C. It's as much as I gain from all of the other clothes. I light a torch and explore the cave.

The backpack yields some crackers. I find two coal on my first pass and exit the cave to the other side and make it up to Andre's peak ... but disappointingly Andre isn't home, so all I find are 3 cedars. I kill a rabbit, which will be my food today, and look back. I will come here again, and if it's just for the cattails. While this place was pretty far away for Kermit, Thatch basically lives next door.

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I make two more coal on my second pass, a total of 4, which I do believe is the maximum for this cave. I manage to carry the flame home and make a fire with it. I need water anyways, so I can cook the rabbit while I'm at it. I realize I've been hauling around two ropes since the summit. Really? Anyways. This run is so cursed, it doesn't even matter. I make another rabbit on the stretch towards the Halfway Cave, so I keep the fire alive a short while longer. I notice that the rabbits here are all bordering on anorexia, not one of them so far having more than 1000 grams of meat packed on them. Another disappointment. 

I harvest, cook and eat the little fella, drink my herbal tea and  water, and then I'm off to sleep for 9 hours. 

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Thatch 1 / Day 5 - Sasquatch On A Leash

After a total of 11 hours of sleep I wake up at 7. 70%. Inside the shelter it's cozy 7°C. I have 0.70l of water left. Is that a sign? And if it is: for what?

Having taken the rabbits with me into my cozy shelter didn't keep them from freezing, sadly. So the shelter just counts for me, not what I have on me. Another thing I've learned. It's amazing how much there is to know about this game. I eat some crackers and the rest of my rabbit and read two hours.

With the weathers being calm I decide I want to go out and see if there is a body down in the ravine, but from up here I just can't see it. And I'll need bait to come back up anyways, so I cancel that for now. I pick up some sticks and have to return. The winds are just too cold. My firewood situation is very different to Kermit's:

I don't need firewood to survive the night - at least not yet. Snow shelter and cave are enough to keep me warm 24 hours of the day, except for a blizzard, of course. But even then it's an entirely different game. I however still need firewood to sustain me, especially water is hard to come by since it takes 40 minutes for just a can, and one can is all I have. So, assuming I need two liters of water a day, I still need my 3 hours of fire a day. I'm just a bit more .... free when I get to make it.

After sleeping two more hours I decide to make a run to the Halfway Cave. I make a fire and warm up soup. It's going bad fast, so it won't be much use to me soon. I keep the fire up for two hours, using my match decently, and get going at around 1:30 pm. I bring a rope. Maybe I can make it up to deer clearing.

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Hardly out of the cave I sprain my ankle, so that plan goes right out of the window. But I still keep going. I leave the rope at the Halfway Cave and head towards Broken Tree Bridge. I find 14 sticks and two rabbits. Another day of food is safe. As the Halfway Cave is not warm enough for my sorry excuse for clothing I hobblewobble back to the Three Way Cave freezing. I pay with some decent condition for a few branches, but when I'm home I've got 28 sticks. 42% condition isn't great, but it's better than dying from thirst.

I harvest meat of the two rabbits and guts and pelt of one of them before they turn frozen. I opt out of making a fire tonight and eat cracker and cold beans for dinner. They are also going bad quick. I drink my last water and go to sleep at 8 pm. I'm not tired enough for more than 6 or 7 hours.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thatch 1 / Day 6 - Little Steps

I wake up at 4 am. As expected I was nowhere near tired enough to get a decent night of sleep. Just 54% condition. I read an hour about how to set fire to innocent wood, then pop my penultimate soda and read some more. Fire Starting II is the reward.

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One more hour about how to apply heat to proteins properly and another hour of sleep. I spend some time preparing tea and crafting the Old Man's Beard Lichen wound dressing that will replace my disinfectant. Not that I have a bandage yet. But in my current condition I cannot hope to survive a wolf anyways. Then I have no choice - I need to boil water. Picking up the tea I left in the can yesterday I also gain Cooking II.

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These skill improvements might seem to be minuscule in value, but every little bit stacks up in the long run. 10% longer fires? 10% less firewood I need to acquire - some % condition per day saved, less time I need to stave off starvation, more food available, less hunting for food, less condition loss, more exploration, more loot .... you catch my drift. When all you do is scrape by by the skin of your teeth, every margin gained, albeit oh so little, skyrockets in value.

I keep the fire alive long enough to cook 3 liters of water and harvest most of the remaining rabbit parts. I sprint down to the cave of engines and drop them off into the dark. Maybe I'll still live to make some mittens - we'll see. I pick up my hot tomato soup and herbal tea and head for the Halfway Cave again, pick up the rope there and head for the Deer Clearing climb. Eating tomato soup and drinking tea en route I even stay well above freezing.

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This time I get the rose hips. I spot the wolf close, but he doesn't see me. I hold right again and head for the cave. Two pieces of cedar and a lump of coal. Not totally a waste, but good is something else. I'm still not sure this cave can even spawn some valuable loot. I head out again and aim towards the container as a landmark. Being short even on tinder I pick up a few birch barks on the way. I get up towards the hike to secluded shelf to gain high ground and much needed vision. From there I make it to the climb to Three Way Cave, deploy the rope, but goat down being encumbered due to exhaustion from the previous climb. Doing so I sprain all limbs yet again. Well, whatever. My day is done anyways.

Reaching the cave I'm fully exhausted and down to 33%. I harvest some of the still not completely frozen rabbits. It's 6 pm, I eat my rabbits from yesterday and drink up, and go to sleep for 10 hours.

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Thatch 1 / Day 7 - Tom Clancy's "Hunt for some freezing cattails"

I wake up at 70% condition. Considering my previous 32% and the 12% I gained from herbal tea that's 26% from sleep. So while I do take some damage from thirsting, it's still a net gain to sleep 10 instead of 9 hours if time or temperature isn't of any concern. You see ... I'm really learning as I go here. I drink and sleep away 72 more calories.

I get up shortly before 6. My food reserves are down to a good can of dog food, two good peaches, some 31% beans that will have to go rather soon and a can of soda. Plus maybe 2000 or so calories worth in coffee and teas - but I'd love to use them for other purposes. I recycle dead torches and prepare tea while I wait for some light. I quickly head out to the rabbit run, but it there are some ... I can't see them.

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But I hear crows announcing a corpse down in the ravine. Maybe I should take a look down there today. And if it's just a pair of ruined mittens or something like that. I pop my can of soda and read and hour, then sleep another. 8 am I pack a gut and a left over rabbit that still has its skin and head towards the goat down to the ravine. I will have to trick the wolf yet again on the way out, but it's doable. 

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The corpse ... yields nothing. Dammit. The cave also just yields a single cedar. I trick the wolf again and make a few sticks on the way out - but that's it for my troubles. Grumpy I head back home. I end up paying 10% condition and a gut for 9 sticks and a cedar. Nothing to do I tear up the two newspapers I still have for tinder and then make a fire. I need torches, and I'll need to light a fire in the cave anyways. I might as well do it now and get some water done.

I boil 1.5 liters of water, and pulling high quality 47% torches I actually spend most of my sticks. I leave the fire with enough on to boil another can and head for the Cave of Engines. It's 2 pm already and I still have no food. I utterly rely on those cattails now. I chain torches through the cave picking up old burned out torches from my last visit. You know things are dire when you collect dead torches.

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On the other side I spot the wolf on the hill. Just when I decide to head towards the rope he turns around. I kill my torch and head towards the absent container. Then he turns around yet again. I feel trolled. I wrap around the hill to maybe circumvent him and pick up sticks on the way. But I am already freezing. Halfway around the hill the wolf still doesn't let me pursue my goal.

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I stay crouched and wait, losing condition by the minute. 45%. Finally the wolves leaves towards the hill again. I keep hopping from cattail to cattail, crouched, the wolf in sight, the flare gun ready. If he turns around now, I might be toast. At least I'll lose a flare shell. I forfeit 2 cattails near the hill - but I get the rest: a total of 25. 35% and dropping. Time is running out - I head back. A rabbit is waiting at the cave entrance. How nice! He basically picks up a stone and kills himself. That's the spirit!

I make it into the cave with 30%, but I made 25 cattails and sticks each, and all the tinder I'll need. I light up and chain torches through the dark again. I even find a piece of coal that has already respawned - or there really are 5 coal in that cave. What do I know. I reach home at 26%, but feel that for the first time in forever I got snow done. Food for 5 days, and firewood to make a decent amount of water. But just as things start to look up.... it's blizzard time!

Blizzards here are nowhere near as threatening as in the hut - usually. This one is cold! But I had planned to use the flame to boil some water anyways. So as long as the blizzard doesn't persist indefinitely I don't lose much. 

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With the rabbit again having only 0.8 kilograms of meat I kinda wonder if there is a general food shortage on TWM. The blizzard rages on and on and on until things almost become problematic. I need to put in an hour of intermittent sleep to stave off fatigue damage. When the blizzard finally subsides 7 hours later all of my newly acquired firewood is gone, and then some, but I've stockpiled water for 3 days. So in a sense .... if the next 3 days are blizzard free I probably saved a few matches today.

I kill the fire, eat the rabbit and some cattail - and sleep 9 hours.

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3 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

frankly I am not sure how temperatures will develop here over time

I have bad news for you...

3 hours ago, jeffpeng said:

disappointingly Andre isn't home

Don't be disappointed. I searched this guy maybe 20 times and never found a thing. Either he died broke, or someone got to him before us.

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Thatch 1 / Day 8 - The Importance Of Being Idle

I sleep in. 11 hours total. It's already noon when I leave my shelter at 51% condition.

Temperatures are icy. The temperature gap between the cave and the outside is 8°C. Wasn't it like that on day 3 already? I begin to doubt that the cave scales with the world getting colder. I get back into the shelter and read two hours about the appropriate way to prepare food without anything except your bare hands. After that I head out looking for a rabbit or two again.

Nothing at the run, so I put some spring in my step and head towards the Halfway Cave. I make some sticks there, and then go looking on the way to the Fallen Tree Bridge. Nothing as well. I curse something in German that sounds really threatening and head back. I reach the shelter just as I am starting to freeze again. I eat another cattail and finish Wilderness Kitchen. I spend an hour preparing tea, and then decide that I want to take at least a look up on deer clearing.

But upon reaching the top of the rope light fog has turned into thick soup and I realize the futility of my plan. I head back the way I came.

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Goating back down I sprain limbs left right and center again, so yeah, that's it for the day. To do at least something exciting today I eat the dog food - but contract only a bad taste in my mouth. Annoying by my very existence I sleep 10 hours.

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Just now, Drifter Man said:

I have bad news for you...

Yup I begin to see that. But I don't have a better idea when it comes to shelter outside of MH. If you have a suggestion - I'm all ears!

Just now, Drifter Man said:

Don't be disappointed. I searched this guy maybe 20 times and never found a thing. Either he died broke, or someone got to him before us.

He can have a cotton toque and wool mittens, that much I know. But yeah - it's rare.

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Thatch 1 / Day 9 - Of Mishaps And Misfortune

I wake up at 4 am and have nothing to do but spend two hours doing nothing.

I consider my options. I need clothing, badly, and my best bet for that are corpses and caves - my only bets actually. And it'll be 2 days until food will be of concern again.

The Waterfall Cave seems too far away, but it has a cattail farm. Maybe via the Secluded Shelf, through the cave where I could get some coal, down from the Summit Prep Plateau? But that's two climbs up, one down .... for maybe not a whole lot. And back? Down to the Cave of engines and back maybe. The other, shorter, easier option is the Forest Cave. But no food there. And also wolves, at least one, maybe two, plus a possible moose. Also: with the world getting colder I will have no option to reach Waterfall Cave later than in a few days. And either trip will warrant at least a day of recovery. I light up the fire, I need coffee. A lots of it. 

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The Waterfall Cave it is. I take the rope I still have from the Summit and go. I reach the top of the rope, but make a huge blunder trying to cut ways short and actually fall. I lose some % on clothes and 2 % condition, and sprain ankle and wrist. There go my rose hips already. I make the hike flawlessly and climb up to Secluded Shelf. I don't freeze, but I am pretty tired already. I enter the cave, light my torch and make haste. 2 coal, one of them the one I left last time I was here. I make a fire to warm up myself and beverages. 

I spend half an hour, then drink my next coffee, reignite my torch and leave. Outside my torch dies in the wind while I pick up sticks. I climb down, another coffee on the ledge, both to stay awake and warm. A wolf to the right makes me wary. First I deploy the rope down to Hide'n'Seek Hill, as I have named the area next to the Western Engine. My last warm coffee goes and I make my way to the cave, picking up cattails on the way. I approach the cave, enter .. and what happened next.... will blow your mind!

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No boiled goose, just 3 sticks and a lump of coal for half my coffee reserves. At least ... I make 15 cattails. So it isn't a complete bust. I make my way back, but have to detour because the wolf is blocking my path. Then I make it down the rope. Down there I collect some sticks and decide I will make being here at least worthwhile and collect on some more firewood near the engine. I'm at 48%, which is still within margin of what I expected. I make my way halfway to the ramp, and collect on a nice amount of sticks and some reishi. I make it to the Cave of Engines, almost fully exhausted .... at just 30%.

I light my torch and make my way through the cave once again. As expected no new coal has respawned. When I exit ... a blizzard is raging. 

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I make it back home, and waste yet another match lighting a fire. 2 hours worth of fire equalize the blizzard. I put on water, eat a cattail and sleep an hour. When I wake up I look up my condition ... 20%. I keep boiling water, and also make a herbal tea to get back on my feet tomorrow, and sleep another hour two more times to prevent more damage from fatigue. When the blizzard subsides it's already near 9 pm, and I have used 42 of the 69 sticks I had. At least I kept the water coming.

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If I didn't have my blunder at the start of the journey I could try to book this day as zero balance. But I had it, and so it's a red number at the end of business. Having made the trip, which was easier than I had imagined, however, is an accomplishment in and of itself. It's just not worth a dime.

I kill the fire, eat my cattails and sleep 10 hours. 

 

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Thatch 1 / Day 11 - Nothing To Write Home About

I wake up a 8, 58%, and take a peek out. Light green fog. Maybe I have some luck with some rabbits? I have, at least one. I go back, hide in the shelter and tear the little animal apart. After that I eat a cattail and sleep two more hours, and then make a run to drop the parts of this and a previous rabbit in the cave. The countdown is set: In three days my last pelt is ready. I make it back to the shelter before freezing. Two more cattails go and I read two hours. Deciding that the best use of my time on this quiet day of recovery would be to check the stretch between Halfway Cave and Broken Tree Bridge I get going.

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Indeed I find another rabbit and 6 sticks. I run back home, destroy the little mammal, and turn in. That's it.

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Thatch 1 / Day 12 - Journeys, Snow And Undead Clothing

I wake up at 4 am, 72% condition. In the green. I prepare tea until I run out of tea to prepare, then kill torches until I run out of those worth tearing up as well. Then a blizzard starts. I hide away from it in my shelter integrated bedroll, but then it gets to cold even there. 

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I keep boiling water and making tea, and cook all my rabbit meat. I even sleep one hour in between. When the blizzard finally ends I keep the fire alive long enough for another hour of sleep, then grab hot tea and torch, and get going in cloudy but calm weather. -14°C FL is as good as it'll get for me. To the Forest Cave!

Halfway to the Broken Tree Bridge stiff winds come up. I hug the rock face to stay warm and keep my flame alive a bit longer. I make it all the way to the cave without contest and the flame still going, barely even freezing. Look what I find:

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Not what I came for, but it's a start, isn't it. I make a fire in the warm part of the cave and think about what I can reach from here. The only thing that comes to mind is Echo Peak East. Not really a high % loot location, but I decide to at least collect on the 12-14 reishi in the forest. I dump the coal I brought for this occasion into the fire and warm up properly.

I head out, make some reishi, and head back in to warm up. Getting out again my ankle gives in. With potential wolves in the forest I cannot afford that. A rose hip tea goes. I spot the wolf on the prowl, forbidding me two rose hips. I head back to the cave, warm up and get moving again. Echo Peak East sounds like a waste of time, but then again .... just for the firewood. Weather calms with basically no wind. In the back of my head something murmurs It's a trap! - but I don't listen.

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Harvey patrols the Wing. So I'm safe up here now, but I'll need to be wary. All I find are sticks and 2 rose hip bushes. Not even a lump of cedar. I goat back down to Broken Tree Bridge and make my way home. On the way I spontaneously decide to cash in on the deer carcass. Calm winds and the onset of fog are a opportunity I maybe won't get for days. I make a fire. Since I don't dare ruining my hacksaw just yet ... I wait.

I take the hide, the meat, contemplate taking a gut, opt in - and get surprised by a blizzard. Everything comes together: The futile trip to Echo Peak West, overstaying in the Forest Cave, harvesting against mission protocol and even taking the stupid gut. My cotton toque dies to celebrate. Freeze! I run. I don't lose my way, but I'm losing condition hard and fast. I'm at 31% when I reach home turf. When I finally got a fire rolling ... 24%. Dammit Thatch. Never take the gut!

I put on water, fetch my 2% underwear from the box, give the toque a proper burial and create.... Frankenwear! With my jeans about to kick the bucket, too, I need something to keep my Sasquatch-parts from freezing off. Boiling water the wind rages on ... and I'm out of sticks.

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10 minutes before the fire dies I dump a lump of coal into the fire. Half an hour later .... the horror ends. I tear up three less quality torches to repair my battered snow shelter. 77% - too close for comfort! As a last order of business I cook 2 herbal tea, drink one, eat my 0.8 kg of deer and wait until the residual heat of the fire has dissipated to make a correct estimation about how long I can sleep. It's just 5 hours.

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This is absolutely brutal, and brutally fun to follow. :coffee:

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Thatch 1 / Day 13 - The Good, The Bad And That Firewood

I wake up around 6:30, and today is officially the first time it is too cold to just hide in my shelter with no blizzard outside. Well fed and just one degrees to cold I sleep another hour, but I expect it to get one more degrees colder. I'm playing slim margins here.

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Luckily ... the thermometer turns it around instead of dropping more. I pounce and get 4 more hours of sleep. So .... 6 am really is the coldest hour? We'll find that out eventually.

I get up at 11 am. My biggest problem right now is: I have nothing to make a fire with except tearing up torches. Two blizzards in one day have depleted my reserves so much all I got left is torches and coal. Food isn't totally terrible, as I have about four days left plus beverages, but it's nearing my alarm trigger. But, like I said, for now the alarm is screaming firewood. If all else fails I can always go and shoot the wolf and eat him - but I cannot shoot the wolf and burn him, can I? 

I get going towards Deer Clearing. It's my best chance for firewood, really. And maybe a rabbit, even if that is dancing with the wolves. It's far to cold for comfort, but I left my comfort zone about 13 days ago. But a few steps away from the rope I get barked at. So let's forget about this one, shall we? I retreat back down the rope. I hide back in the shelter and sleep two hours to warm up.

Contemplating what to do I ask myself: What if I shoot the wolf, eat him and burn his firewood? I pick up the gut I paid so "deerly" for, ready my flare gun and go down to the Engine Gorge. 

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I hit. Not immediately fatally, but he is donezo. 

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I pick up sticks while I let him run down his last legs. I make haste and run back home as fast as I can. Life is oozing out of me in tiny little frozen tears. I made 24 sticks, but I am also down to 27%. I sleep another hour to warm up. I make a fire. I cannot go and get the wolf in this condition without some form of tea, but I also cannot wait forever until he's frozen.

I warm up some herbal tea and reishi and pull a torch. I'm not overly confident it will survive, but I have to try. Then, already sprinting ... the winds calm. All I gotta do is find my price. A second murder of crows (the first is for the useless corpse that has not even its dignity) readily announces the wolf's location.

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39% frozen. I pop a fire and get to work. 4 kilogram. 4 steaks. I take my first steak and get Carcass Harvesting II. Very welcome! I keep working and cooking simultaneously. When I got the steakd the fire has enough juice left to finish the third steak ..... and for me to harvest the gut. I bite my tongue .... and take the gut. When I'm done night has fallen on Timberwolf Mountain. 

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I run home, and after repairing my snow shelter I have 5 sticks left. I haven't solved anything today. But I staved off execution - and I will live to fight another day. I eat one of my 770 calorie wolf steaks, drink up and try to sleep full 10 hours.

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Wow! Great story, very intense.

The printing press is churning out thousands of copies of the next issue of Interloper Monthly Magazine, featuring Sasquatch on the title page.

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Thatch 1 / Day 14 - A Day In The Life

I wake up to a blizzard rolling in. I drink hastily and pass time until 11 am - it works. If I had had to fuel a fire through those hours .... it would have depleted all my coal. I realize that another reason things get colder at night is that my clothes are disintegrating as I go. My rabbit pelts still have a few hours to go. Let's see if we can't find some firewood first. I'm at 52%. I head towards the Halfway Cave. 5 sticks is all I get, and I pay 9% and a broken wrist for them before I slip back into my shelter. I eat some rabbit and sleep it off. 

I consider making the trip to the Hut, but decline respectfully. I will have to get going early if I want to craft my mittens. So today is out of the question. I will also need decent condition to make the trip. So no big trips today. But maybe today the deer clearing wolf won't spot me. I have better luck this time, and make a total of 29 sticks. But as I decide to turn back the wolf spots me and my only exit strategy is the far climb, so I have to seriously detour. When I reach home I'm yet again down to 26%.

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The wolf up there will probably befall the same fate that was his cousin's demise: death by flare shell. But for now the area is pretty dry of firewood and food isn't my immediate problem. Water is getting scarce, but it's enough for another night. I decide to turn in early at 5 pm, eat the last of my rabbits and drink some herbal tea, and sleep 10 hours.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thatch 1 / Day 15 - Familiar Grounds

I wake up at 3 pm. 63%. Time to prepare some 12 reishi tea after which I sleep some more. Something around 1:30 hours. Time to light up and get tea and coffee for the road. I also cook my last beans. They are 21%. If I don't eat them now I won't eat them, period. No food poisoning. I pick up the fresh animal parts I have, take my coal, pull a torch and go. It's already noon. I'm late.

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Sadly my torch dies right out of the gates. I enter the cave and pad through the dark. I find my 4 rabbit pelts and 3 cured gut and drop the rest. Having killed the Engine wolf makes this part easy, but harsh winds do not. Luckily as soon as I enter the Ravine I can hug the rock face and escape at least the winds. The cold however ... I cannot escape. It'll be a costly trip. Coming up on it I spot Harvey at the mouth of the Ravine.

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Again to my luck he's headed away, so I can slip through safely. I steal his reishis and take to the hills, picking up all the sticks I can along the way and spraining my wrist doing so. When I reach the Hut I'm at 49%.

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And snow! It's too cold for me to even be here. I had feared as much, but hoped I would be wrong. What can I do? I light a fire. I find a piece of cloth on the work bench. How could I have missed that on day 1? RNGeezuz almighty. That first two days really were a fail fiesta! I get working boiling water simultaneously. When I'm done.... night has fallen.

I contemplate what to do. I can't stay here all night. I'll be freezing in the morning, even if I hide in bed passing time (which isn't technically forbidden, just sleeping), and by morning I'd by completely fatigued in addition to starving. I will have no choice but to make the trip back home in relative darkness and unfavorable weather. I make tea and gain Cooking III doing so. Yay. I'll celebrate this and my mitts later. I sip my rose hip tea to fix that wrist and get going.

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At least the sky is mostly clear. I stick to the hills to avoid the Wolf of the Northern Woods. Then I cross the field and slide down into the Engine Gorge. With the wolf still dead I'm home free! I reach the cave barely even freezing. I repair my snow shelter, gobble up some wolf. I bank on the fact that 6 am really is the coldest hour and sleep 10 hours. In the end.... it was a successful day.

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Thatch 1 / Day 16 - Comical Error

I wake up at 8. Several things to celebrate. First, as every morning: I live and breathe, and that at 78%. My assumption about 6am seems to be right. Then I got my rabbit mitts. I also got Cooking III. And: Hooray, we've made 15 days. That's halfway to 30, which still is my goal, somehow. My Jeans party so hard they die. Shuckz. I tear them up, also my fleece mittens and with the cloth I found I have 3 to spend. I get to the container, pull out some shoes and look at my clothes.

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My work boots I ruined on day 3 are actually better now than the ones I'm wearing. Repairing them will yield a full °C. But also cost me a cloth. The trail boots I could repair fully without using cloth - but they only yield 1°C in total if at perfect condition. Repairing my socks or the hoodie is out of the question. They go when they go. And as you can see: pretty damn soon. Repairing the ear wraps will yield 0.6°C, repairing my underwear and sweater 0.4°C each. Also repairing the underwear is kinda mandatory now I have no pants. While I would love to repair my ski jacket .... it's just not the smart call. I start tearing up shoes. I will use the trail boots, but keep the 27% work boots in storage.

The wraps, underwear and sweater succeed, but I take 4 tries to repair the boots two times. The boots are still frozen, but with them I should be bordering 8°C now. My firewood situation is dire. One stick, 5 coal. With night already falling I make a quick run towards the Halfway Cave, but weather has other plans. 

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I quickly break a branch, but at my current firewood situation I have no choice but to seek refuge in the Cave of Engines. At least now it is warm enough for me to stay in, but my water situation is dire. I pass two hours, look outside, but the blizzard is still raging. I pass another hour and now I'm taking thirst damage. I run back to the cave. 4 sticks. Not much to make a fire - but I've got a reclaimed wood from breaking a crate at the hut. I drink a residual sip of reishi tea I had saved for medicinal purposes to stave off thirsting. That's when I realized .... I left the can at the hut.

I LEFT THE CAN AT THE HUT.

So this is how it ends, aye. A stupid error. Thatch one ends like thatch one started. I'm embarrassed and mad. It takes me minutes to regain composure and think. Think. Think dammit!

I put on my two peaches and "drink" them. Enough water for a bit. I put my three cups of coffee to warm up. I sleep two hours in the blizzard.

Edited by jeffpeng
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Thatch 1 / Day 17 - The Night Is Dark

When I wake up the blizzard is gone. I need to make it to the hut. It's a Hail Mary, but it's my only choice. I eat some wolf, pick up my coffee and go.

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I goat down to the ravine. Harsh winds hinder me making ground quick, but my flame survives. I pray Harvey is sleeping. He is not.

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I run, lose my torch, lose my way, stumble down a ledge and can't get back up. The goat down to what I suspect is the Engine Gorge is impossible from here. I light my flare and attempt it.

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 I fail. I accept the inevitable, drink my last coffee, sit down and die. "I don't feel so good" are my last words.

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Thatch 1 made it 16 days. Considering how terrible he started that was more than anyone could have hoped for. That he made such a stupid mistake at the end kinda fits the picture. Slight miscalculations, simple oversights and errors made being in a hurry were the overarching theme of his life. It also depicts very well how unforgiving this challenge is. Your margins are so slim you cannot afford many mistakes, especially no big ones.

On his tombstone everyone can read "I think I can."  for all eternity. For your grit and bravado, Thatch 1, you will not be forgotten.

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Thatch 2 / Day 1 - A New Hope .... ?

Down the ramp, 1 am. Holy smokes.

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I'm freezing faster than I can say "turnuptheheat". I pick a few reishis and then make it down there. Reaching the lake I get barked at, but I walk him off reaching the fishing hut. I pad through the dark... driving gloves. Excellent. I find no hammer, but I'm not sure. I pick two cattails for tinder and reach the hut. It takes me forever to find the matches in the dark. I have no choice but to make a fire. I succeed on first try, dump the fir limp to join the cedar, put on water and pull a torch. 

I find a sewing kit, 2 granola bars, the maglens!, The Frozen Angler, Ski Jacket, Newspaper. That's it. I prepare and cook two reishi teas, put them to warm up, warm up an hour in bed, drink one reishi, take the other, pull another torch and leave into the darkness.

I meet Harvey at the lake.

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He doesn't care much for me, but he prevents me from picking up more cattails. The 4 I've got will have to do.

When I reach the Wing I start freezing again. Right before the Broken Tree Bridge I make a fire en route to keep the flame alive and pull torches. Another cedar goes. I'll be short on wood at the summit if I'm not careful. I only score 4 rose hip bushes. Harvey prevented me from getting the two at the lake. Dammit. One will have to do. I make camp at the Halfway Cave. I need to seriously dump firewood to get positive temperatures. Also my fatigue bar is also reaching dangerous levels. I cook 1 reishi tea and 1 rose hip tea, drink the reishi on the spot, pull torches and go. I'm at 59%. I make the climb to Deer Clearing, but my fatigue is going haywire.

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Seeing Derrick McDeer on overwatch I feel confident to cut the way to the hike to Secluded Shelf short. I have no time to lose. I solve the hike flawlessly, but now the moment of truth beckons. While I make the climb frostbite claims one of my ears. Well.... I will have to live with that again, or will I? The climb doesn't look good.

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I slip. Once. Twice. Thrice. I'm not going to make it. But what choice do I have. I keep going. Eventually.... I fall.

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It's the end.

Thatch 2 didn't live half a day. The climb to the summit was too much for him.

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