As a new resident of San Juan County New Mexico, I’m getting to know some of the life long residents of this area. Lori and I met one the other day while we were out on a run through the BLM land adjacent to our house.
B.L.M. stands for Bureau of Land Management. It’s a federal agency that manages huge tracts of public land for agriculture, industry and recreation. I haven’t seen much evidence of agriculture in the land behind my house and that’s probably because there is neither much grass to graze nor water to grow crops. There are, however, plenty of oil and gas wells; not enough to make the landscape ugly, but enough to remind you about who rules the San Juan County economy. Other than those wells, and the roads connecting them, you might not know there was human activity out there.
We’ve only been living here for a few weeks and I’ve already established a bit of a routine for running. Run easy to the second gas well then hit interval number one. Run easy to the split in the road then turn East and start interval number two.
The other morning, Lori and our dog, Rosco, came with me and I decided to break that routine by turning West at the split in the road instead of East. By the time the sport watch reported two miles (our turnaround point), we had run behind some tall hills that lay between us and home.
It was just after this turnaround that I noticed the coyote crossing our path. Had I kept my mouth shut, maybe she would have kept going on with her morning routine. But, no. Out of excitement to see wildlife, I exclaimed, “Look!” She stopped and looked… at me, Lori and Rosco.
Most coyotes that I know are afraid of people and will run away when confronted, instead of running, she stood fast. We made noise. She stayed her ground. We stared at each other a bit longer. Then she yipped that well known coyote cry. At the time I thought maybe she was calling reinforcements to take down these new intruders in her domain. That’s all it took and we headed in the opposite direction over the hills to our house.
Lori was bent over holding Rosco’s collar and running. I was walking and holding a couple of rocks and a stick just in case I had to protect my own tribe. And the coyote was trotting after us. She tracked us for at least a half mile before I lost sight of her, but that half mile was the most intense exercise either of us have had. It wasn’t that we ran fast. It wasn’t that the coyote was on our heels. It was just fear. Lori was afraid of the coyote and I was afraid Lori was going to have a heart attack. And Rosco? He wasn’t afraid of anything. He was just tired from climbing the hills and being drug along.
As you can guess, we reached the safety of our home without further harassment from the local wildlife.
Lori and I have run out there several times since and haven’t seen that coyote. In fact, we haven’t seen much wildlife at all. However, I’ve been told there are bear and mountain lions here!
“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”Dorothy
Until next time…
Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling