Easter Hike Along The Ninglinspo
On Easter Sunday we decided to go hiking in the Belgium Ardennes. It was my first time in the Ardennes and I was quite amazed by the nature. From a colleague I have heard about the hikes along the Ninglinspo and after I saw some pictures on the internet I new that I had to go there. We took our Garmin with us but in the end we didn’t needed it because the trail was really good marked. We decided to walk the 6km trail (number 21, blue rectangle) which took us about 1 1/2 hours. You can walk it faster without a dog I guess. We walked this trail up the river which was very nice and also easier for the dog because he had to climb up instead of down.
The hike starts at a small parking lot in the village Sedoz next to the street N633. From this point you can choose between several hikes of various length and difficulty. At first I drove past the parking lot because it was so small and we were quite lucky to get a parking space, too. Despite the cloudy and rather cold weather the parking lot was full and cars had to park on the road. If you plan going there you either have to start really early in the morning and/or plan your trip during the week. Personally, I prefer hiking in areas where I meet no or very few people. However, it seems to be impossible to not meet others in this area and I get why. The nature is so nice and the trails are very adventurous. You have to cross small parts of the river, walk on old, narrow, wobbly wooden bridges and mind your step which makes it so much more fun. I could walk hours in such a place. Depending on the way you start the 6km trail you either will walk alongside the river at the beginning or at the end of the hike. We started at the river side and I would recommend it to everybody. It is not only much more fun to walk but also easier for dogs. You will walk up the river until you reach the top of the “mountain”/hill. After you have reached the top you walk down the hill on a wide sand path. This second part of the hike gets way easier but also less adventurous. Either way you will benefit of good hiking shoes in which you can cross water and walk on some time. Take also in consideration that you will stand in a cue and have to wait for people that are walking in front of you. The trail can get very narrow where it is impossible to place one foot next to the other.
When bringing a dog with you the dog should be able to jump and climb steeper stony parts. There is one part in particular where you might have to carry your dog because the stones are so steep and wet that it gets very difficult. Bobby did very well but at that point I had to carry him. Unfortunately I have no photo’s of these parts because they looked so adventurous. But I was too occupied with my dog and myself that I didn’t thought of taking pictures. Also very important (!!) your dog should walk very well on the leash otherwise it is not safe to walk this trail. Luckily Bobby walked very good on the loose-leash however, occasionally I had to hold him back because I couldn’t catch up with him. When holding back your dog you should be very careful not to bring him off balance. In general dogs can keep their balance very well and when walking on rough, steep paths they need their freedom of moment. A pulling dog cannot only cause you falling over but also is dangerous for your dog.
Bobby didn’t trust the older bridges but after some time he dared to walk them and I was very proud of him. There are very few of the narrow, wobbly bridges. Most of the time you can walk on bigger, firmer wooden bridges which look quite new.
During the hike we saw a cute Bassett hound which unfortunately had big troubles walking the trail. Due to his short little legs he wasn’t able to jump nor to climb. He also seemed afraid of water and refused to walk through it. Instead of helping him or even carry him his humans just pulled him by his leash. It was so sad to watch and I really had the urge to take the dog myself haha
All in all I very much enjoyed the hike. The nature is beautiful and the trail is anything but boring. I will definitely go back there and try out some of the other trails. Do you have some experience with the other trails? Are they suitable for dogs?