When we were at Yosemite National Park recently, there was a coyote who had staked out a spot in a turnout on the road into the park, from which he begged treats from motorists. We saw him begging the first day that we entered the park. The next day, he was in the same turnout, but there were no cars stopped at the moment. He was just lying there, looking handsome and trying to lure a motorist from whom to beg.
We had driven past him and planned to turn around and go back to take some pictures. Doug found a place where he could pull off the roadway until traffic cleared enough to make a U turn. But the coyote had seen us stop; and, just like a hitchhiker running to catch a car that has stopped for him, the coyote got up and began trotting to us.
Of course, that caused more cars to stop. The coyote had to investigate them first, because they were closer. When they moved on, he continued on his way toward us. He approached the driver's side of our minivan first but soon saw that no treats were forthcoming from Doug. So he came around to my side. Of course, I offered him nothing, but I did get this photo of the little beggar before he moved on to another car that had pulled off a little further up the road.
Of course, aside from my pleasure over the photo opportunity, it was disturbing to see that this animal had apparently become dependent on humans for its food. It's a behavior that the parent will most likely pass on to its offspring, and the result may be a generation of coyotes who will never learn to hunt their natural food sources and who will put themselves at risk of being hit by a car on the busy roads of Yosemite National Park.
On a lighter note, you know all those "You know you're old when..." jokes? Well, Doug came up with his own version of that today: "You know you're old when you use your pill organizer for a calendar."
I believe our more than three weeks on the road, living out of suitcases and pill boxes, may have prompted that profound thought.