I think I have officially conquered my coyote fear. Where I come from these guys are scary. They eat little moving things: cats, small dogs, and even little kids on occasion. We had a real bad bout of coyotes a few years back. They were in our back yard daily. I was afraid to let my little man, who was 2 or 3 at the time, play in the yard.
We were hiking today at Lake Calavera, and there they were. A family of coyotes. When I saw them my heart sunk and sheer panic rushed over me. We had to get out of there quick, without running. I didn’t want us to be chased. I stood…frozen…watching the coyotes, as they watched me. I scanned the ground searching for a large branch, a rock, anything that I could use as a weapon. Nothing was there, but my little man had a stick in his hand that he had picked up a ways back and was whacking trees with as we navigated the trail. I quickly took the stick from him. Some locals turned the corner on the trail just ahead of us. What a relief… more people…power in numbers! They were pointing to the coyotes. They must have seen the terror on my face because as they approached us, they chuckled, “Don’t worry, they won’t come after you.” They told us that they walk this trail frequently and the coyotes don’t bother anyone. I believed them. I snapped a photo of one of the coyotes, then stood and watched until the coyotes walked off. Then we continued along the path. I can’t say that I’m completely comfortable with them, but I no longer feel that there is a reason to fear them. I think that there is a big difference between the city coyotes that I am familiar with, the ones that eat pets and are fed by neighbors who condition them to become brazen and unfearful of humans, and the rural coyote who lives in his natural habitat and eats small wild animals and doesn’t view people as a food source.
So, on with the hike…
This was an active volcano at one time.