As many park visitors know, it’s sometimes possible to see coyotes in our parks. Tony Holiday, a San Francisco hiker and blogger, was one of the lucky ones on this hike through Glen Canyon. (Go to his blog, Stairways are Heaven, for more hikes and photographs.) This photo-essay is one of our Park Visitor series – first-person accounts of visits to our San Francisco Natural Areas. It’s abridged from the original post, Canyon Coyote, on Stairways Are Heaven.
The #52 Excelsior runs along Elk and Diamond Heights Blvd a short distance with a nice view of Glen Canyon’s treetops below. Such a uniquely beautiful forest down there…
Sometimes I walk over from the Glen Park BART station, winding up on the way, usually crossing the skyway over Bosworth.
There’s a stairway down into the Canyon from Elk St. just past all the construction still going on in the lower part (where I never go anyway). Sometimes I take the bus up to the Diamond Heights Shopping Center to descend from the west edge of Christopher Park next door, or come back up this way to get something at the Safeway after my hike, then wind down the narrow streets on the bus.
Opalo Lane (83 steps), is just behind the Safeway and conveniently leads up to Gold Mine.
Really like the newer stairway on the north side of the rocks with 68 steps. The extended stairway on the south side (61 steps) still has that black fencing next to it.
So down at the Canyon floor looking for berries. Not finding many, headed for “my” less-traveled northernmost trail.
To reach it, I have to first climb to a slightly higher trail at the end of the main Canyon tree-limb trail, then go back down again after a short distance …
… stepping over Islais Creek and several tree limbs to get to the trail that runs along a school’s playing field and dead-ends in a tangle of bushes.
No sooner had I scrambled over the first trailhead limbs than a young coyote came galloping round a curve towards me. He or she stopped short and stared for a few seconds, like “What’re you doing on this trail?” Unfortunately, by the time I’d dug my camera out, distracted by that beautiful face, off it went back the way it came. Continued picking berries for a short time, assuming it was probably curiously observing me from some off-trail spot.
After climbing back out from the trail to continue south along the higher trail that’s just below Diamond Heights stilt-houses on Turquoise, the coyote young’un had come up the same way a short distance behind me and was now out in the open. My impression is that it wanted to play. I tried for a couple of shots. Sorry it’s not very close.
Again, we looked at each other, then it turned tail and loped away. Too bad I wasn’t quicker the first time as it was considerably closer then. Back up the new stairway and onto a different trail (36 steps) …
… instead of the longer stairway/trail, 86 or so steps down from Christopher Park, that I descended earlier (from the view bench at the top).
The shorter one will take you to the through Canyon-top trail that starts at the west edge of Christopher Park and continues out to Turquoise, Amber, and the Coralino stairway.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony Holiday likes meandering around on San Francisco’s park trails and public stairways, sometimes taking photos, and enjoying nature and the outdoors.
Tony Holiday’s collection of photographs of trails in the San Francisco Bay area are awesome. It is a good omen to see a coyote because to me it means humans haven’t completely destroyed their habitat and they are good for the ecosystem, often eating rodents. Thank you for sharing Mr Holiday’s great pics with the rest of us along with his narrative.
Beautiful photos great story and trails …urban forests are so important …thanks Tony
Thanks for the reprint! This gorgeous Canyon is one of the few wildspots left in our city. Let’s *keep* it that way. I can never go there too often, but am concerned about too many future “improvements” planned for the park. It’s already very disturbing to see all that openspace down at the south end where all those trees were cut down.
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