Just a brief update – A new plan is in place. Friday 8.June the ponies are going in a trailer (again!) and we’re heading up to Forest Lakes, up at 8800′ altitude on the Mogollon Rim. We’ll head east into New Mexico from there, hopefully staying above the area of the fire. The Gila Wilderness forest fire (Whitewater-Baldy) is up to 241,701 acres and although it is now considered 18% contained we certainly can’t go through there, it’s past time to be moving on and the northern route is looking much more reasonable. It will take us through an area that burned last year – and thus has excellent graze this year (and significantly less chance of burning again). One important thing I’ve learned, looking at forest fire projections for this summer, is that we’re going to be much safer once we cross over the Continental Divide. I’m still working out how exactly we’re going to get there from here – but at least I know where we need to be.
Finehorn’s withers hole is almost completely closed. She still needs to grow some skin and hair and her pack weight will remain at 100# or so for quite some time but I’m feeling really good about her healing process and am confident that we can travel. Both due to the extended lay-up and the need for re-conditioning And the sudden increase in altitude (we’re going up over 6000′) we’ll be starting slowly, probably 7-10 mile days at first, but the area we’re heading into is absolutely gorgeous and finding water will be less of a problem than it has been since we were riding along Sespe Creek. I’m excited about the camping and very ready to be on the trail again.