Adventure to Forgotten Lagoons
Leaving Bordeaux in the early morning, we arrive at the meeting place in Villandraut on the edge of the forest. Nicolas and his dogs are already there. First of all, we stay at a distance so as not to disturb. We have been looking forward to this experience for several days already, but also a little anxious because we do not know exactly what the cani-rando consists of.
I will immediately break the suspense (and yes, it's stronger than me, dear reader): I came to practice an activity, I left with a real passion! Nicolas is no stranger to this: his love for his dogs is palpable. There are the essential technical explanations and guidance in the forest… but above all we find in him the desire to build a real bond with the animal, and the permanent concern for its well-being.
Moreover, from our first exchanges, we get to know the dogs better. “They are of Husky breed or for the youngest Alaskan Husky” explains Nicolas. Then, each is assigned “his” dog, obviously taking into account the morphology and character of the future pair. I then meet Noatuk. It's funny: he too seemed impatient to meet me.
We are told how to put on the harness, how to behave and give four simple commands: “Forward, left, right, stop”… It seems obvious like that, but you have to get used to it! After a few messy exercises, here we go. It is certainly the most exhilarating moment of the hike, it pulls hard, that's for sure, but we're already getting caught up in the game.
Once the cruising speed is reached, you commune with your dog and with nature. Our getaway makes us discover five types of landscapes and leads us to the famous forgotten lagoons: magnificent ponds in the middle of the pine forest. And there… watch out! Dogs know that a healthy break awaits them in the streams, so they show their enthusiasm with an acceleration that may surprise their companion for a day.
After an hour and a half of walk, return to the starting point for a time of grooming and care of each animal: I look Noatuk in the eyes one last time. He seems grateful for our shared time just like Gandalf the White, Ninja, Nedd Stark or Nunavik. Completely won over, we'll be back in the fall, that's for sure, to try the adventure again just a stone's throw from home.
En bonus: The local agency Solidarity paths offers stays to discover “The Gironde Otherwise” which include cani-rando activity. What else do you want ?!