I took a deep breath, letting the humidity bring life to my lungs. Kona made her rounds to the abundant smells brought by the morning dew. We haven't had substantial rain in over a month. While lasts night's moisture was trace on the record tables, all life at dawn soaked up the overnight mist.
For the first time in weeks, I felt the crisp air against my nose. Kona had an extra bounce in her gait. Relief settled into my stride as I felt Winter for the first time this season.
We started at a steady run, but when we reached Kona's preferred side of the fireroad, we became a pair of hares, running and stopping as Kona followed her nose. Our run would take longer than planned, but I didn't care.
I stopped to watch the sunrise.
In a rare moment of calm, Kona stopped with me, perhaps contemplating the scents carried on the whispering breeze.
As we started the final leg of our run, adrenaline jolted my senses as a blur dashed across the trail in front of us. The coyote stopped just off the fireroad, no more than 10 meters away. Judging by her puffed fur and the raised hairline across her back, her adrenaline spiked as well.
It took only seconds for the coyote to relax. She soon came back onto the fireroad and trotted away. "Away" happened to be the direction we were headed. We jogged behind her for awhile until she decided to move down the canyon.
My encounters with coyotes are often up close, but their behavior always follows the same pattern. They freeze when I freeze, move when I move, move when I'm frozen if they don't feel threatened. And while we essentially chased this coyote off the trail this morning, we saw her again during our return trip. Coyotes who live so close to neighborhoods need a certain boldness towards humans to survive. I was glad to see this one seemed to be thriving.
I walked the final stretch to the car, trying to stretch out our trail time. With happy lungs and a happy dog, it was hard to say goodbye to the morning.