Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement!
Ended up just taking an overnighter on the 23rd with Joker and doing Christmas in the hotel...both great experiences. Sitting here with Joker while he plays his new Wii and typing up the trip report. Posted it here:
And the full one on my page at http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingPict...partRange.html
Gonna close this thread now so post replies on the new one linked above.