This wasn’t the first time a coyote and I had walked along the creek together. I usually let them take the lead by quite a distance. There was something different about this coyote. Its long legs and big feet carrying it across the ground covered in brown oak leaves and into the underbrush without a sound. I knew where it was heading, down the hill to the creek, so I followed on the park accesses road. Sure enough when I arrived at the bridge, there it was, taking a drink from the creek. My approach must have been muffled by the water, the coyote did not notice me until my camera chimed as I turned it on. The coyote lifted its head and looked at me. I could see it had made its decision, it jumped the creek, went up the bank and into the underbrush. I followed along on the access road. About 20 feet pasted the point I thought the coyote was hiding I stopped, turned around and waited. Soon I could see the crown of its head and two ears, cautiously moving along a fallen log. A gold-brown eye peered around the end of the log. We stood silent and still, studying each other. The coyote’s winter coat was thick and full. The rim of its ear was a cinnamon brown color fading to nutmeg then to a creamy tan color on the cheek fluff. I don’t know what it saw, a gray haired lady in a 4-H sweatshirt and faded black sweatpants, what did it make of that?
I heard rustling in the brush to my left; the coyote flicked a glance in that direction and then back to me. It turned; re crossed the creek and walked along the bank toward the road and into the brush again. I moved about 5 feet further up the road and waited again. I could feel the coyote waiting and thinking. It stepped out onto the road, crossed and disappeared into the brush on the other side, never looking my way again.
There are no pictures of our encounter, after the first attempt to take one, I just decided to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I know they are wild animals. They have come into my yard, killed two of my cats and dug one up after we buried her. There was just something about this coyote and the few seconds we spent watching each other on a frosty November morning that I will remember for quite a while.