Keep the pics coming! I can't wait. I dream day and night of "crossing one mountain after another." Heading for AZ this month to see my folks. Dad and I plan to do a couple short day trips while I'm there. Maybe an overnighter or two. They live in the White Mountains. I'll post some pics. Apparently things greened up after the fires, but there is still a lot of dead standing wood and a lot of areas are still closed.
There is no place out here in VA to get a horse "legged-up". Hopefully I'll be able to get my mare out west for at least several months before the trip and get her into shape for the hills. Starting out at the Mexican border near Douglas, AZ will help as well. The first week or so will be at fairly low elevations. From what I see of the trail map, knowing something of the region, very few portions of the AZ Trail will reach 7000' or higher. That should help get the horse ready for northern Utah and north of that.
I'm starting to look at saddle trees. I don't think my old Hamley will make it without a total restoration, besides the fact that it doesn't fit my mare well. I'm thinking about building myself a new saddle. There's nothing like getting ready for a big trip...except for the trip itself.