From Saint-Alban, Patrick sets off for 1,000 km with his donkey, Justin

Do you see the principle of the game of a thousand terminals? Well, Patrick Michel decided to do exactly the opposite. Speeding, very little for him. This Friday, May 3, around 8:30 a.m., the young retiree will set off from Saint-Alban, his stronghold, for a 1,000 km journey, in the company of Justin, his “little donkey” as he affectionately calls him. Cruising pace envisaged? Between 3.5 km and 4 km per hour.

If the rains accumulate too much, we will stop spending the nights in bivouac and take a guest room.

4 years old, Justin is a big black man from Berry, extremely adorable. Until then, he had only experienced short trips with his master on the coast of Penthièvre. A way to gradually get used to the two-person ride and the unfamiliar landscapes. This time, Justin is going to see the country. From Breton country exclusively. Initially, the duo will head towards Dinard by taking the customs officers’ path. Then, direction Rennes and Redon via the towpaths.

Around 35 kg on the donkey’s back

Following the canal from Nantes to Brest, Justin and Patrick will then head towards the Monts-d’Arrée. From there, they will reach Saint-Pol-de-Léon, before reaching the bay of Saint-Brieuc via the GR 34 and the equestrian paths of this sector. Their return to Saint-Alban is planned for around June 30. Justin’s hooves – and Patrick’s calves – will then display the thousand kilometers. A tidy distance achieved at an average of 20 km per day, with around 35 kg carried on a pack for one, and around 8 kg on the shoulders of the other.

Patrick Michel, here alongside his donkeys Justin and Hector. (Le Télégramme/Benoît Tréhorel)

Well versed in roaming travel, Patrick has already traveled through Portugal, Corsica, Cotentin, southern Brittany, and last year, the Cévennes. Always with one of his donkeys. Often Hector, in fact. This time, it is Justin who will taste the joys of a journey where the quest for a piece of meadow to sleep in constitutes the great daily objective. “If the rain accumulates too much, we will stop spending the nights in bivouac and we will take a guest room,” anticipates Patrick who sleeps in a very small tent weighing 1.2 kg.

Holiday pension for the other donkeys

Voluntarily disconnected, this nature lover, volunteer at VivArmor and the Bird Protection League, will only devote a handful of minutes to his smartphone in the evening, just to give his partner some news. He knows that with Justin, the trip will be unique. Unique in encounters, discoveries and wonders.

(Le Télégramme/Benoît Tréhorel)

“My donkeys and I are very close friends,” confides the man who has never forgotten this stuffed donkey given to him when he was a child. Since I retired, I have much more time to take care of them on a daily basis.” During these two months, his four other equines will be pampered by Dominique Moulin, owner of the Écuries de la Ville-Glé, in Plérin. Unfortunately, they will not be able to help Justin blow out the five candles on his birthday haycake on June 20.



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