Around 2 AM I awoke to the sounds of howling, squealing and barking. I grabbed a flashlight to investigate, opened my window and no more than thirty feet away was a pack of 12 or so coyote. Okay, its nothing more than a pack of coyotes having a feeding frenzy. A couple of them actually paused for a few seconds and stared into the light then returned to their feeding. This went on for about 20 minutes before they left my front yard to find other prey.
I went back to bed and, just as I was returning to my dream-state, I heard the yelping of a young pup, he had been left behind. Oh, boy. This pup carried on for, what seemed like, forever. I figured, with the pack just down the canyon, they would return to rescue the little fella. But, no! It was 6 AM when quietness finally returned to the canyon.
As soon as the sun was up, I went out to the front yard looking for whatever. Interestingly enough, the coyotes left no trace. No carcass, not a bone, nothing. Okay, at least they left the place clean. I went up to the porch swing to finish my coffee. I was watching a hawk hunt when I heard, "Hello to the house". Huh? Now, wait a minute, what in the hell is someone doing out here at this time of the morning? And, on foot?
I walked down the front steps and looked across the orchard towards the gate. I could see a young man dressed in cammies standing at the gate. So, I hollered back, "How can I help you?" He proceeded to tell me that he had high-centered his truck yesterday up in Walker's Gulch and had no cell signal to call for help. Well, no shit you don't have a cell signal; you are at least 45 minutes from the closest highway and you're surrounded by mountains. "Come on up", I invited him. As he approached the house, I knew he was harmless.
He was a clean cut guy in his mid-twenties; newly married, I figured, still wearing his wedding band. He told me it got dark on him fast and he had slept in his truck. I invited him in to use the phone to call his wife plus I gave him a cup of coffee. I offered to take him to his truck to give him the nudge he needed to start his way back home. He grabbed his backpack and, as he swung it over his shoulder, I noticed the .45 on his belt. Great, I thought! "I'll grab my gun and meet you outside." Once inside the truck he asked, "Seen many rattlesnakes?" Jeeeeeez!
We headed up the canyon and I played tour guide. "Yep, this ranch over here is 2460 acres and this one over here is 16,640 acres - largest operating ranch in Arizona." The road is single lane and winds through the main wash of the canyon. It's rocky and, in places, you hold your breath. We met up with a few cows along the way that were headed to the watering tanks. About a half hour later we arrived where his truck sat. I checked my odometer, good grief, this guy had walked 6.2 miles. We hooked a strap between our bumpers and jacked his truck up a bit to allow for clearance over the rocks. And, in a matter of minutes, he backed right out of the mess he was in. We then made our way back to the ranch without incident.
As I entered my drive, I honked and waved and he stopped to thank me once again. I came back up to the house, still a little dazed from the lack of sleep from the night before and this morning's adventure, I decided to rest. All-in-all, it was another beautiful, peaceful day.