Slowing down on a Donkey Trail Challenge
Serenity, enjoyment, surpassing comfort zones ... Five tricks that can be seen when leading donkeys through the mountains.
One day before the longest, hardest and fastest mountain run of Kleinwalsertal, I put my focus on a slow movement. While Herbert, Ida, Lilly, Milan and I meet for the first time and get to know each other, they already have a few days of altitude training behind them. They look strong, well-balanced and ready for any outrage. Four lowland donkeys and five donkey guides are off to hike!
At least the wooden bridge, which the donkeys would not cross on the first day, is now feasible. The first hour of our trip is already the first stretch for the patience threads. It takes until a while the donkeys get into a routine and feel comfortable. If one of the donkeys stops, the rest of the group do so aswell. If you are inattentive, the donkeys immediately use the opportunity to graze. So pay close attention to the donkey on your rope. They feel your authority, and they also need it.
The instructions of the donkey leaders are calm but determined. You may give in occasionally, when the strong head pulls back towards the edge of the road. But not every time. Soon you will learn about their favorite foods: mineral rich Horsetail, crispy withered beech leaves from which they are almost as hard to break free - like me from a bag of potatoe chips.
Finally we reach more exciting terrain. This requires surefootedness, for all of us. But Ida gets nervous on the narrow paths. We are about to turn back, but then we make one last attempt: we let Ida walk off the rope. She likes the newly aquired freedom. She rarely stops, follows the others, has a good view of the next steps. It's so much fun!
The donkeys take the 180° turn with stoic composure. Anyway, I have the feeling that the trip to the Walser wilderness was not so bad for them. Out of the comfort zone - off to new paths! I take an example from them and enjoy the last minutes through the exciting terrain, until we get back on the well known country lanes. And despite everything: Back at the Mahdtalhaus everyone seems very satisfied.