I really enjoyed hiking out in the snow for the very reason your mentioned. It felt like the seasons had changed from summer to winter overnight and it was a different hike on the way out. It scenery was appeared entirely different and it seemed like there was a lot of animal activity in the morning after the snow. Perhaps they were also caught a bit off guard. I saw three separate sets of bear prints along the trail and also my first wild bear sighting while hiking. The bear was on the trail, about 50 yards from us and took off running the opposite direction It ran along the mountain, plowed through a large plant and was out of site in seconds (it was to quick for a picture).
Most of the Emigrant Wilderness in an area that is inaccessible in the winter. It felt like to real treat to be out in the snow.
My Boss handled the experience very well. He stayed clam through the weather, although he admitted in the morning the thoughts of snow and possibility of not getting out kept him up most of the night (it kept me up for part of the night too). He was worn out by the end of the trip, particularly the last 2 miles, but I let him know that 25+ miles over 3 days is definitely respectable. He can hike with me anytime. Perhaps he will come along to an upcoming BPL meetup in the area.
The only piece of equipment I wish I had was my canister stove and a windscreen. Instead, I brought a homemade wood burning stove and a supercat stove with 2 portions of alcohol. The woodstove was fun to play around with but I struggled with it once the winds from the storm kicked up and I didn't have a windscreen. I used the alcohol stove in the morning after it snowed to heat up water. It took all the alcohol I had to heat up about 2 cups of water due to the low temperature. It was enough water for either coffee or oatmeal. My boss chose coffee. The hot beverage was heavenly but it meant eating a powerbar for breakfast.
Perhaps my two favorite pieces of equipment are my Monbell down jacket and Patagonia baklava. I wore both of them in my sleeping bag and stayed warm though the night and into the morning, despite high winds, lows in the low 20s and a 32 degree bag.
Ken, this one was a breeze compared to the North Lake to South Lake trip. I really want to do the JMT next summer over about 15 days but the last day on our trip this summer seriously made me doubt my ability to do consecutive 15+ mile days that include a 12k+ pass. It is my motivation to improve my conditioning over the winter. Next year we will have to plan a late season hike. How is your health these days? I am looking forward to meeting up and getting out in the snow.