Coyote in San Gabriel Mountains, photo by Justin Johnson
I often pass coyotes up on the fireroads climbing the hills through Griffith Park. I see them most early in the mornings, when there aren’t other people around and the senses of peace and freedom are greatest.
I’ve come to judge how good a ride or run is by the number of coyotes I pass.
The other day I saw a pair of them as I came down the hill. They didn’t look frightened or aggressive or hostile as I passed, but mildly curious. We shared the hillside as I passed through. Beautiful animals. They looked comfortable.
Friday I saw a coyote around the corner from my house, up where Cerro Gordo turns into Alvarado. It stood on the edge of the street, tail not quite tucked between its legs. Its mottled coat didn’t do much for camouflage against the pavement. The expression in its eyes was bewilderment, resignation and fear. Somehow it had ended up out in the open in broad daylight in the city, with pavement and cars driving by and it knew the situation was wrong, unnatural, and probably dangerous.
I often feel like that coyote.
The coyote has actually enlarged its range in the face of human encroachment. They’ve learned to coexist well with humans by avoiding them.