Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yesterday we hiked about 5 miles through Canyonlands National Park, just 30 miles north of Moab, Utah, a park of canyons as far as the eye can see, with blue haze marking the distance. Here the distances are great, and the hikes take us along the rim of deep canyons, with drops of 1500 feet common. We're hiking in the Islands of the Sky district, to the west of the confluence of the mighty Colorado and Green Rivers. We hope to explore the Needles district tomorrow. We can't go into the Maze District; the only roads there are restricted to experienced four-wheel drivers! There, we could have visited even more ancient petroglyphs, some 4,000 years old.

We did see this coyote along the road yesterday at Canyonlands. What a intelligent looking animal, not at all afraid of cars. In fact, coyotes can beg, simulate injury or illness to motivate humans to give them food. We saw this young coyote early in the day, working the road with tourists eagerly taking pictures. We saw him again in the afternoon, looking a little tired and perhaps hungry, for the Park Service warned against feeding him. I had thought that coyotes lived in packs but found this interesting article giving a bit more background on coyotes. I learned that coyotes approach the "alpha" animal in the pack with ears lowered and tail down. This looks somewhat like the pose he took in approaching our car. Coyotes tend to travel in packs when together they can pull down a cow or deer. Because this coyote was alone, he most likely will exist on a diet of rats and chipmunks. No wonder he was scrounging food from tourists. Make it a good week. Beth

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