We’re in Mercantour for a week of hiking. We have the option of being accompanied on our walks by a donkey to carry our stuff. Today we did a half-day hike to try out this donkey thing.
More work than it’s worth, was our clear conclusion. Libellule, our donkey, was good-natured and a good walker, but it was like having a third kid whom you always needed to be aware of. And a kid whose needs are totally orthogonal to the other kids. You had to keep her walking, but not too fast so she gets uncomfortably close the kids; keep her from eating grass all the time; find a place to tie her up when taking a break; make sure you’re not behind her where she can kick you by accident.
The final straw was when our path passed through a donkey grazing area and we (or she) were accosted by loose donkeys. She didn’t like them and aimed a few kicks at them, but they kept crowding us, to the point where we started to get worried about them accidentally pushing us off the rather narrow path. Eric had to hurry ahead with Libellule while I fell behind to push back the other donkeys, so the kids could walk without worrying about falling off the path.
Afterwards we could look back at the incident as an exciting adventure, but it was more stressful than fun at the time.
No more donkeys for us. Carrying our packs is just a bit of extra work for the body; managing a donkey is work for the brain which is not what we want from this vacation.