GORGEOUS pics! I'm just totally green over your location! The scenery, the weather, the hiking areas... if you'd throw in the shepherd, I'd be moving in a heartbeat! LOL! The boys look great together, and look like they're having a great time. Sounds like Sam's got enough poodle coat to be very helpful when muddy.
It's great that their relationship has gotten so much better. Lots of hard work on your part, but just look what you came out with!
Sounds like you need the boots with either a deep tread or maybe some mini-cleats (although with really bad mud, I dunno how much that would help). I hope you have walking sticks.
I love the stuck out tongues pic! I'll bet you had a tired pup! Also a very happy, mentally and physically spent pup which equals a VERY happy pup.