From Uncle Johnnie's, we first slack-packed with Josh (Mountain Yogi) and Anya (Smokin' Loon) — seeing our first snow; then hiked a bit in the snow and cold, and finally (owing to illness and cold-and-wet) skipped some trail and hitched-and-shuttled into Hot Springs.
The day before we headed out — while we were zeroing — it dusted a little; but the sticking snow fell the next morning.
Josh and I take turns holding the camera as we start from Spivey Gap.
The forest has lots of new things to admire, with snow.
We (after revision) planned a short two days' hikes, so we got to the shelter early and sat around the fire roasting s'mores and talking.
It was cold over night and the next morning.
Happy Birthday, Jo!
We eventually de-sleeping-bag and get ready to hike back down into Erwin.
After lunch, Josh and Anya drop us off up in the mountains again, and Jo and I hike on. We end up camping in the snow. (More cold and wet.)
The trail and day gradually get less iced over; by the end of the day we're on a southwest slope and it's warm and (relatively) dry, but we're ready to skip in to Hot Springs to nurse my cold and recover morally from camping in snow. (Many thanks to Taylor!, who we ran into just before a road, and who got us to Mars Hill where we then called a shuttle.)
In Hot Springs, we reinforce our winter gear (new shoes for Jo; sleeping bag liner for me; hats all around; etc), and stay at Elmer's.
Below, breakfast with another guest, Elmer (at the head), and Jacob (who hiked northbound last year and came back to work at the hostel).
Zeroing twice, while grudgingly appropriate for not aggravating a cold, seems inevitably to lead to craziness. Below, Jo tries out a new home for Pom. Monster (and matches the pose).
How can you go wrong with a town that puts A.T. symbols in the sidewalk? We are enchanted. (The library gets major points, too: fast connection, modern (if Windows) O.S., laptops for lend when all the desktops are full, allows running my NEF->JPEG conversion. Hooray!)