Saturday was pretty much the first sunny day since the snow storm. It had not gotten above freezing in a week. We checked the GSMNP road report and 441 opened that morning.
Heading up the mountain it was clear that we were going to be in deep snow. At Newfound Gap there were a dozen or so cars, and it looked like everyone was gearing up for a big day. Some had XC skis, some with snowshoes.
Somehow me and Brian ended up breaking trail for most of the morning. Whoever was up front ended up working twice as hard as whoever was further back in the line of hikers. We stopped a few times to let someone else get a turn up front.
Our plan was to make it to Charlies Bunion, but it was eventually scaled back. Our first real stop was going to be Icewater Springs Shelter. I had packed my DSLR and wanted to get there first so that I could get a few pics before the snow got tracked up. I hustled like I was in a race to make it there. After taking the pictures I wanted, it was a great place for lunch.
After finishing lunch around 2:30, we had officially ruled out Charlies Bunion and decided to head to The Jump Off. It was amazing. We stayed for a while, I didn't care if we had to hike out in the dark.
Ice Water Springs Shelter