On weekend mornings I enjoy getting up early to go for a walk in the woods. This gives me an opportunity to unwind and have some alone time which is important for all us busy moms. This morning I got up and my golden retriever, Allie and I checked out some of the Townsend Forest Trails, in Townsend MA. When I looked at All Trails I was surprised how many trails there are within the state forrest. I parked on Morse Road in Mason, NH to assess the trails. The beginning of the trail has been harvested in the last couple years with various skidder and four wheeler trails. I had a little difficulty navigating through this area but with help of the All Trails app to get me through the clear cut. With all the rain it was a little wet and muddy while walking up a slight incline. About a quarter of a mile into the trail, you are able to start meandering through the forest. There are various trails throughout here, that is another reason why I found the All Trails App helpful. My goal today was to fine a lookout with a cross on it that I can see from Route 124 in Townsend. Well Mother Nature had other plans for me.
I like to think if I ever came across a potentially dangerous situation while hiking I am equipped and educated enough to handle the situation. In my almost 35 years of being out in the woods, I have luckily never been in a situation that was potentially dangerous. While I was on my hike and enjoying my alone time I came around a corner and there was a fairly large coyote crossing the trail. Well I did everything you are not suppose to do. I panicked, yelled for Allie and quickly started walking the way I had come from, putting my back to the animal. All while texting my husband, “crap, I came across a coyote ,what do I do?” Ok I may have used some stronger words than that. At the advice of my husband I started making a lot of noise and picked up a large stick incase the coyote followed me. I also kept Allie close by, luckily she stayed with me. I kept looking behind me and the coyote did not follow me. No I did not get a picture of the animal. I got back to my car thinking, “you idiot, that thing could have chased you when you turned around.” At the time all I could think about was if the coyote came after Allie, there was nothing I could have done. There are a few times I have carried while hiking, but due to being in Massachusetts this was not an option. I know carrying can be controversial, but I feel it is a way to keep my family and I safe while in the woods. When I arrived home this sparked a discussion between my husband and I around what you should do if you come across a coyote while hiking.
If See a Coyote
- Grab a large stick in case the coyote comes after you
- Coyotes typically hunt alone or in pairs, so keep an eye on your surroundings.
- Calmly, but slowly back away and maintain eye contact. Don’t turn your back.
- Don’t run.
- Raise your arms or hold a jacket or backpack over your head to make yourself look bigger.
- Keep your dog next to you or on a leash
If You Are Attacked by a Coyote
- If the coyote shows signs of an impending attack, acts aggressively, yell loudly, and throw rocks, sticks or your belongings at it.
- Throw dirt, gravel, sand, anything you can find, in its eyes.
No this encounter will not keep me off the trail, but I did learn what not to do if I came across a coyote again and to always be aware of my surroundings. Do not let being outside scare you, just make sure you are educated and prepared.