@chip88angel - Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us. It is great to hear that Asheville - both its trails and the REI store - treated you so well! Getting onto the Appalachian Trail is always a special experience. We'd love for you to keep us updated on how your next trip that way works out and what great spots in nature you are able to find.
We love seeing your photos! Glad to know you were in warm gear with that snow on the ground.
Thanks again for sharing. Happy hiking!