So I've been doing a lot of hikes in the woods over the past 6 years with my dog, Blair, who's a Chocolate Lab. I've always gone to places where I knew there were moose, bear, coyote, etc., and in all these years I've only seen a single moose. That is, until Friday.
I always wondered how I would react if I saw a coyote, but all the info out there tells me they're generally frightened of people and large dogs and will run off. So I really wasn't that worried. I figured if I ever saw a coyote or a pack, it would be their back ends as they ran off. Not so!
So I was hiking in Claireville Conservation on Friday with Blair, meandering around the various footpaths, playing fetch with the dog in the creeks. He (dog) hopped down a 3' embankment in one area to cool off in the water and I followed him. I noticed the very dead, decomposing raccoon on the shoreline and was having a look. Didn't even notice the coyote that was curled up under the embankment trying to stay cool in the heat.
It was 2' away from my face! Blair and I looked up and saw it at the same time as it bared its teeth and licked at them. Scariest thing I've ever seen! It was holding its ground and showed no sign of retreating. I just remember grabbing Blair by the collar and running! No idea how I hauled him up that embankment. Superwoman strength, I suppose!
I will not be going back to the conservation for a hike without a can of pepper spray.