Mule treks are far from being nonsense…

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Hiking with a donkey is a great experience, but hiking with a donkey out of season is even better! It is to ensure a walk in peace to discover the most beautiful corners of nature in France. And with a donkey, a change of pace is required. At 3 or 4 km/hour, it invites you to slow down to walk, observe, enjoy… a total reconnection to the essentials. The stays developed by the donkey drivers of the National Donkeys and Hiking Federation (FNAR) offer unique moments.

Going on a hike with a donkey in the off-season is bound to be a wonderful vacation!

Walk quietly on a small path, nose to the wind, head in the clouds, eyes amazed by the beautiful spectacle of the landscape, ears on the lookout for the songs of birds, hand on the donkey that accompanies you… pure moment of fullness!

The National Donkeys and Hiking Federation

In France, about sixty donkey keepers gathered within the federation concoct adventures, sometimes not very far from your home, to make you experience a return to simplicity and nature. Outdoor enthusiasts love to walk in both spring and winter. Nature wakes up in April. In May, many flowers illuminate the paths. The great evenings of June make it possible to prolong the marvelous day during the bivouacs. The contemplatives appreciate the off-season, the days are beautiful, less hot and stretch out with magnificent lights. There is something for everyone, nature has done things well!

The 60 donkey owners of the National Donkeys and Hiking Federation (FNAR) are located throughout France and offer several formulas. Whatever the time you have, your budget or your project, there is bound to be a hike that will meet your expectations.

A serene holiday

Hiking is well known for its many benefits, it is excellent for morale, it clears the mind. With the very calm environment of the off-season, families with young children benefit even more from the stay to recharge their batteries.
The donkey, which is a great traveling companion, brightens up the hiker’s daily life and becomes the engine of the walk. Grandparents know that even their grandchildren will love walking thanks to the animal. At a rate of 30 to 40 kg distributed on either side of its sides, the donkey can also carry the bags. “Hiking with a donkey is above all enjoying traveling slowly, the donkey adopts a rhythm that allows you to soak up the beauty of the landscapes” specifies the group of retirees fond of stays outside school holidays. Contemplating a beautiful landscape, breathing the fresh air, noticing the beautiful bond with the donkey, sharing this moment of walking with friends or family are an accumulation of little things that do you good.

Different hiking formulas

First choose your destination, rather the wild coast of Brittany, Haut Languedoc park, Sologne forest, fine sand beach or Vercors mountain?

For hikers eager for adventure, students who want to close the year by sharing an expedition, girlfriends who want to get together, the “free ride” is ideal: your donkey driver will provide you with a packsaddle, a topo-guide and will give you a donkey for a day or a few days. Each evening, the arrival takes place in the accommodation defined with the donkey driver upstream (guest room, campsite, gite, unusual accommodation, etc.) or bivouac for the more adventurous. Food and water for the donkey are provided on the premises upon your arrival.

Of course before departure, the donkey driver will take a moment to explain how the hike works, what you need to know about the donkey, the package, how to feed, groom, brush, clean and water the animal. Easy and simple gestures, no knowledge is required before the adventure.

As for those who do not want to worry about the organization, the “accompanied hike” formula…

… is made for him! For a day or several days, your guide, holder of a recognized diploma, will be happy to help you discover the thousand beauties of his region. And for the ambitious who dream of traveling a long mythical path, or the four corners of the regions of France, they are not left out: different donkey drivers allow you to hike as part of a “long route”. The leitmotif of all the formulas is to take advantage of the present moment.

Donkey, link creator

In the off season, it is also easier to have contact with the inhabitants of the region. People are more relaxed and chat more willingly. By hiking with a donkey, you will not only discover a sociable, clever and above all bond-creating animal. It becomes the subject of discussion of all meetings, real moments of exchange with others. And it is certain that there will be unforgettable anecdotes and adventures to tell on your return!

Catherine Mills Avatar