I had called Cotton Carrier and spoke directly to Joe Carrier, president and designer. A very knowledgeable and pleasant man, he addressed this issue by telling me I could reverse the position of the mounting piece as it sat on my camera body. Since the mounting piece is angled (to angle long, heavy lenses to rest against the body to relieve torque and strain on the mount and camera), he explained that by reversing the angle, the camera would now angle away from my side, and not angle into it. Since I'm using a light lens (Canon 17-40 mm ) there is no concern of torque damage issues with the camera angled out in this manner. So, I had my 7D, with a Singh-Ray 3 stop ND grad filter, totally hands free, while walking about 5 kilometers of snow-covered trail. The free lens bag that ships with the carrier (see their site; not sure how long they're doing this) wears on the opposite side the of camera, and was perfect for holding several more filters, cleaning cloths and car keys. Everything wears on shoulder and waist straps, so everything is exceedingly firm, comfortable and very, very secure.
A Canadian company! A clever innovation that works, and works well. If you have ever lugged a pro-series DSLR any distance on a neck strap, you'll soon realize that this is an ineffective method, which leaves the camera bouncing and unsecured. Consider a system that for a reasonable price puts your DSLR on a chest or hip rig, with ample, padded webbing to lock the camera on you in a way that's much more comfortable than you would think, and which is light years ahead of neck straps.
As for the shoot, well, the shoot went ok, not the absolute best light, and I'm a crap photographer too :)....but if you don't get out and shoot, you'll never know if that magical shot was there waiting in the woods for you.
Be safe all, and as of the 20th, Happy Hanukkah, and in two days, Merry Christmas!