Coyote Goes to NOLS

by Morgan Hite

One day Coyote said, "I will go to this National Outdoor Leadership School. I want to learn what this minimum impact camping is all about." But when Coyote showed up for his course the first thing his instructors told him was that he wasn't going to go camping right away. First, he had to spread all of his belongings out on the floor of the Bikeshed.

"But I have not brought anything," Coyote said. "I don't need anything."

"Silly coyote," his instructors said, "You need lots of equipment to minimum impact camp. First, you will have to rent a backpack."

"I do not need a backpack," said Coyote. "I carry everything I need in my medicine pouch. I do not need a spoon because I eat with my mouth. I do not need a sleeping bag because my fur keeps me warm. I do not need a stove because I eat everything raw."

"Silly coyote," said his instructors. "You will never learn how to minimum impact camp."

Just then coyote noticed that there was a beautiful woman who was another student on his course. I will do everything they say, he thought. I want to sleep with her.

"I will rent everything," he said loudly and walked into the Issue Room.


So Coyote was a model student. He wore wind clothes and ate with a spoon and slept in a sleeping bag. He took notes in class and acted interested in everything. But the beautiful woman would not even look at him.

One day Coyote had an idea. He was in a hiking group with the beautiful woman. I will get my hiking group lost so we have to spend the night out, he thought. Then she will see my beautiful fur and want to snuggle next to me. So when the hiking group came to a trail junction and all of the other students began to turn right, coyote pointed left and cried,

"No, no, it is this way!" But the other students only laughed at him and said,

"Silly coyote, you are just trying to get us lost."

The next day Coyote had another idea. I will cook a wonderful meal, he thought, and invite her over for dinner. Then she will see what a handsome coyote I am and sleep with me. But when he made the cous cous he burned it, and then he got sand in all the hot drinks.

"Silly coyote," said his tentmates. Just then the beautiful woman came over to invite his tentmates to dinner. But she did not invite coyote and he had to eat the burned cous cous by himself.

By now Coyote was desperate.

"Look at how friendly she is with the instructors!" he said. "I must become an instructor and then she will sleep with me." Just then he saw an Instructor's Course hiking by on a nearby trail. He ran over and joined them.

"Coyote!" barked one of the instructors over there, "teach a class on the constellations!" Coyote thought, I can do this. I put all the stars in the sky myself. So he began pointing out where the constellations would be in the sky that night and explaining the stories of why he put each where it was.

"Silly coyote!" roared the instructor, "This is all wrong! Where are the Latin names? You cannot be an instructor! Get out of here!" And so Coyote had to go back to his course.

Now it was time for evals. Coyote's instructors made him sit down in front of them.

"You have been a terrible student, Coyote. You don't bury any of your dumps, you eat wild animals and you never clean up your campsite."

Coyote had to go home after that and admit that he did not know how to minimum impact camp.

Choprock Canyon, 1991/10/21

  © Copyright 1991, Morgan Hite