Andy, This is a great trip, one of my favorites. A couple of thoughts... one is consider adding miles and getting to the summit of Cold Mountain. The way I do this is reverse your trip. Start at Big East Fork parking and follow Shining Creek Trail to shining rock then head north up art loeb and take the summit trail to cold mountain (day 1 = ~12 miles). You can camp up top just below the peak. You can watch the sun set and rise on top "The Cold Mountain" it is pretty cool. There is even a fairly reliable spring on the way up. Here is a pic of sunset on Cold Mountain.
After camping the night up top you can hike back recovering the portion of the Art Loeb to Shining Rock then continue past all the killer balds. It really a great section. But my experience is don't expect much water. Hit Graveyard late in the day and hike to Big East Fork trail (this day will be like 18 miles). If you do this push past Graveyard and camp on Big East. There are a number of places, one is right at the bridge and waterfall. Water is obviously abundant. This leaves you something like 4-5 miles back to parking lot.
I will say I seem to get myself lost every time I do this trip, but always find my way back. The first time I climbed up shining rock and think I spent an hour trying to figure out where the Art Loeb trail was to keep going north. But this is probably just me.
Even if you don't do cold mountain, this is a great trip and this should be a great time of year to do it.