Indigo became a forest dog

As a former gamekeeper, Antal Puskás often walks the forests, he has had the national Blue Trail for a long time, but he continues to set new goals with his partner Gabriella. The last time they did 100 kilometers in 3 days around Baja with Indigo.

Antal lives with his partner and his guide dog in Császár, Komárom-Esztergom county. They tour the country starting from here.

The name Pörböly titan was given to the black poplar (Populus Nigra), which grew three trunks from one stem, with a trunk perimeter of 16 meters. We stopped near Baja, next to the country’s largest tree, with Antal Puskás. “It’s a good feeling to meet such an old tree. I felt around, there were a lot of cracks, a small burrow, and there were ants on it. What would it tell us if it could talk? A mystery hangs around. It saw so many things, deer, hikers.”

Antal lost his sight as an adult, but he did not want to give up walking in the forest; since he got a guide dog from our foundation, Indigo has been leading him on the trails. There is plenty of time for that. “I can already see that he is getting older. More complicated, but very persistent. In the summer heat, we start early in the morning, while it’s still dark, and we stop before it gets hot. I also take care of him by making him swim when we go near water so he can cool off. I made him drink often.”

For Gabriella and Antal, the length of the distance is not the point. They listen, relax, and talk while hiking. In their relationship, they must be good hiking partners. Indigo likes to stay with them, he became a real forest dog.

Antal experiences the miracle of nature as a thorough, experienced observer: “The forest comes alive in spring. Birds sing, frogs croak, insects buzz. In the evening I heard the circling sound of the European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), which is not exactly pleasant, but it was good to hear how it was because it disappeared at the foot of Vértes. I love the forest that comes to life at dawn, Gabi often sees roe deer and deer. When we go, I pay attention to the sounds of the forest and I beckon to stop for a while, there is something there. In such cases, Gabi tells us that a fox has come very close, or that she sees a deer. It’s always a great experience for me.”

Antal considers the situation of Hungarian forests to be depressing based own experience and the opinions of forestry workers:

“The forest is shrinking faster and faster. This rate has been increasing since the current energy crisis, even though wood is already much more expensive than gas. If the elders saw these forests they planted, they would weep. There is a great hunger for wood, too much is cut down and replacement is ineffective. Forestry is not the same as it was when I was a child. Back then, in addition to forest workers, there were enough foresters who knew their profession, today one forester does as much work as five in the past. I find that despite the fences built against wild animals, they are not maintained in many places” – said Antal.

Tower Search

Tower searching is popular with hikers. The cylindrical geodetic viewpoints were built for land surveyors 40-50 years ago, now GPS has taken over their role, they have become unkempt areas visited by metal collectors, but there are still some that you can go up to. Anti and his partner also collect the codes that can be read on them. During their visit to Baja and its surroundings, they visited the towers of Mélykút and Katymár. The patrolling border guards stopped them at the latter, but they were not considered dangerous.

Mentioning GPS reminded us to ask Antal how he finds his way. “I used to hide in the maps before, I was very well informed. Nowadays I am interested in the embossed versions, but unfortunately, they are not detailed enough to have hiking routes on them” – he answered.

Bucket list

The hike continues. Antal and Gabriella’s bucket list looks as follows for this year:
– to see the spectacular swarming of Long-tailed Mayfly
– deer roar in Gemence
– 80 km tour between Szarvas and Dévaványa