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On arrival at the majestic Majestic, we admired the Art Deco, Native American, Middle Eastern and Arts and Crafts interior and settled in on a terrace with shady tables where we could look across a wide green lawn to the meadow at the valley bottom and the towering rock walls beyond. A uniformed waiter brought us cocktail menus and, in due course, cocktails. This being Yosemite, our hiking clothes and boots were completely in keeping with the ambiance, and we were relaxing into our afternoon when another member of staff arrived to entertain us.

Like our waiter, she was in uniform, but in her case the uniform was smart sandy fur shading to grey, accessorised with long sharp teeth and a big bushy tail. Ms Coyote came trotting round the corner of the hotel, stopped for a moment to get our attention, and then moved forwards to take up a photogenic pose right in the middle of the lawn. She looked for all the world as though the manager had just said to her “Celeste, do those accounts later, would you – we’ve got a lot of guests around the lawn and they love it when you do the noble pose thing”, and she’d replied “No worries, Sal – I could do with a breath of fresh air”.

Getting up close and personal with animals at Yosemite is not unusual, as our hotel’s bear and raccoon had already amply illustrated. Humans everywhere are a reliable source of food and many of the local fauna hung out with the homies* in the hope and expectation of a free meal. The park authorities severely discourage approaching or feeding them, as one does not want to be getting into a conversation with a disgruntled bear or coyote who is insisting that they ordered the steak and trying to take one by force. This was well illustrated by Ms Coyote, who was cool as a cucumber whilst we all kept a polite distance. However there was a large tour group with a guide on the far side of the lawn from her, and as she seemed so relaxed and confident they started to approach closer with their phones and cameras. Once a few brave souls had closed nearly half the distance she sat up with a disgruntled “Please do not touch the girls” expression, and eventually took herself politely off back to her double entry book keeping. In the meantime, though, Leslie and Terry had taken some lovely pictures of her. Enjoy!

More tomorrow.

*homo sapiens. Sorry (not sorry).