About Me

Me & my shadows on the summit of Grand Central Mountain, New Mexico

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011.

Mary is currently traveling the backroads from New Mexico to Alaska, writing and living out of a tiny Teardrop camper. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside — hiking, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.

About the blog name: The Blonde Coyote is my trail name, which I use to sign trail logs and summit registers. Like most good trail names, mine was given to me by a fellow hiker after many long, hard miles. The Blonde Coyote also pays tribute to one of my favorite non-human traveling companions: a deaf coyote-cattledog hybrid named Freckles who has been a great ally in my desert wanderings around rural New Mexico.

The Blonde Coyote

Questions? Comments? Requests? Contact me at theblondecoyote@gmail.com.

121 Responses to About Me

  1. Beautiful ally you have. How rare to come upon a mix between coyote and dog.

    • A couple of weeks ago I went to a lecture on “Living With Coyotes” hosted by REI in Santa Fe. I asked the speaker if Freckles (my blonde coyote) could be deaf due to cross hybridization and he said it was entirely possible. He then went on to say that coyote-dog hybrids are actually quite common in some areas of New Mexico, but that they generally do not make good pets. I agree. Freckles is a amazing animal and an awesome hiking companion, but she’s no pet. She’s highly intelligent, and also skittish, sensitive and almost ferally independent. There’s something quite wild about her. She chooses to live outside; she can come in the dog door anytime and does on rare occasions, so she knows how to use it. I can’t shut her in during bad weather. I don’t think she would take to that or any kind of restraint. I’ve never even tried to leash her. She’s lucky she happens to live way out in the open desert. So am I. :)

  2. loba pacífica says:

    What a beautifull creature. It has to be a free spirit!!

  3. I love your dog. He is beautiful.

  4. Thea Swengel says:

    Nice blog! I love the southwest so look forward to following your adventures.

  5. foinaven says:

    Great blog, Mary. I’ll look forward to your future posts.

    All the best,

    Dave

  6. Really enjoyed reading your post and look forward to more!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Lee

  7. seekraz says:

    Hello Mary – I stumbled upon your blog the other day and have rather loved your writing and photography. I’m not the writer or photographer that you are, but I was wondering if you would mind if I listed you on my blog-roll so that I can share your gift with my family, friends, and other readers. Thank you, again, for sharing your work.

    • Hi there! Glad you found me and that you’re enjoying the Blonde Coyote. This blog is a great creative outlet for me and I have a lot of fun writing it. By all means, pass it along! Thank you!

  8. seekraz says:

    Hello again – I am glad I found you, too…and thank you for allowing me to share your work. You are most welcome!

  9. Nuttige informatie, hier kan ik zeker wat mee bedankt!

  10. frank says:

    I can’ believe I’ve been walking around this planet 60 years and only just now stumbled across your site! Well, I guess the first 30 or so you weren’t born yet, but that aside. A kindred spirit, to be sure. Although, obviously, a spirit who has stayed true to her calling unlike me.
    It was like coming home browsing through your images.

  11. seekraz says:

    Hello Mary –

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award…I hope you will accept it as a token of my appreciation for your blog and what you share with your readers. If you’d prefer not to accept it, I will understand. Please see the link below for the “terms” of accepting the award:

    http://seekraz.wordpress.com/2012/01/03/the-versatile-blogger-award/

    Scott

  12. Hello,

    Nice website. I came across your blog while looking up information on White Sands. It seems like you’ve traveled the Southwest with dogs and done a lot of it in the winter. I’m heading out there in February and was wondering if you had any recommendations for winter camping/traveling/dog friendly around the time.

    • Hi Michael! Glad you found me. Winter is the best time for a dog-friendly Southwest road trip! You should definitely stop at White Sands and Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, which I’ve also written a post about. Both are very dog friendly and extraordinarily beautiful. In Arizona, the canyons around Sedona are amazing and also dog friendly. In the winter, National Forest campgrounds are usually open, always dog friendly and often free!

      The best planning advice I can give you is to get a National Geographic Adventure Atlas: http://www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-Road-Atlas-Adventure/dp/0792289897/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326911742&sr=8-1

      It’s less than $20 and by far the best resource for planning an off-the-beaten-track road trip. Accept no substitutes! I won’t leave home without mine. What’s your route? I can give you more specific ideas if you know approximately where you’ll be going.

      Thanks for reading! M

  13. So excited to have found your amazing blog.

  14. Max Reynolds says:

    Because I enjoy your blog so much I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award; http://www.versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com.

  15. Hi Mary,

    I just wanted to say Hello. Becky FB’d me a link to your photos from your Grand Canyon Birthday hike and I was impressed with your stunning photographs and exciting journey. I’m an outdoor girl and photographer, too. Nowhere near as talented as you, but I so enjoy reading about others journeys and learning about this fascinating and amazing world we live in. Your blog is very nicely done and easy to read, and I’m going to enjoy settling in with a cuppa tea and reading from the archives.
    Oh and I’ve always been fascinated with EarthShip living, too. Hubby insisted in a ‘standard’ style of home, but perhaps one day we’ll be able to live off grid in a more sustainable way, beyond just growing some of our food during the summer.
    It’s also wonderful reading about and seeing some of your photos and stories that happen in New Mexico.
    I’ve lived here in our beautiful Land of Enchantment for over 18 years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s such a unique, diverse, amazing place to call home.
    We live in the Sandia Mountains :)

    Happy travels to you,
    ~Lisa

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m always glad to hear somebody is perusing the archives. I’ve been hiking out your way a few times, but I have yet to ride the Tramway– no dogs allowed so I always hike both up and down the mountain! Have you ridden it? Thanks for reading! M

  16. fivereflections says:

    a great space to follow – nice to meet yoou

    David in Maine USA

  17. ehpem says:

    Hi, I have nominated you for a 7×7 Link Award for your great blog. Please feel no obligation to do anything with this award, I wish only that you see my regard for your blog. Find out more here: http://wp.me/p1R4lY-2gJ

  18. Really like your site and photos. I travel to and have kept an illustrated journal for 20 years.

  19. Cheryl Ann says:

    I stumbled upon your blog from another one and I’m so glad I found it! We live in the desert, near Palm Springs, and frequently travel to Joshua Tree national park. I also explore the canyon between Palm Desert and Anza, called Deep Canyon, and have a blog dedicated to it (http://rav4adventures.blogspot.com) as well as my horse one! Interesting to read about Dead Horse Canyon and yes, I did see the white horse! I’ll be following your adventures from now on!
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

    • Hi Cheryl Ann! I love Joshua Tree! I went there last winter with a survivalist friend of mine and we wandered all over that place! Quite the adventure. That desert is amazing. Thanks for reading! M

  20. uni356 says:

    Wonderful BLOG so glad Word Press suggested I read it!
    Have written a few of mine own but still new to this

    http://uni-twiststurnsinlife.blogspot.com

    We travel all over as I am a retired female trucker who also loves photography as much as the road
    Happy Earth Day!

  21. numberflow says:

    Have you read “The Tortilla Curtain” by T.C.Boyle ? There is also a man writing about nature that calls himself pilgrim or coyote, did you get your blog name from there?

  22. Oldfaz says:

    WOW… Wish I Was 10 or 12 yrs Younger… Would LOVE Travel w/You… As Is, Guess I’ll Just Have to Settle for the WEB Postings…

    Took Many Trips Through New Mexico, & Missed “Slot Canyon” & “Tent Rocks.” Thanks for Exposing Me to Them… Will Share w/Friends…

    May the Weather be Good to You Always…….

    Ed Fazio

  23. hi mary! just come upon your writing….and what a refreshing start to the day it is, too!
    i would so like to travel the way you do, BUT…having a family kind of cuts you out of doing certain things!
    the next best thing i can do is travel in a somewhat regimented way (vacations, to you and me!) and make do with the shots Im able to take doing that.
    Great dog you have there….very definitely not a dog to keep in the house, unlike Shera, my alsation, who has realised the great comforts of staying indoors most of the time!
    Hope you dont mind me linking your work on my blog…Im sure lots of my followers will love it!
    Jak (in rainy ol’ England, for now…!)

    • Hi Jak! Glad you found me. Link away! Lots of great walking in the UK! Definitely on my list. Thanks for reading! Cheers, M

      • great stuff, mary!
        funny u shud say that about the uk…only im on my way to vancouver, bc very very soon…infinitely better scope for walking there i think, being a mountain man! used to live in ontario, moved to uk to work, now back again! cheers for the permission to link!

      • I’ve heard great things about BC! I’m hoping to head through there later this summer. Have you heard of the Burgess Shale? Something of a pilgrimage for this fossil nut. Best of luck with your move and enjoy those mountains! M

      • yeah, mary….the burgess shales are based in yoho as you probably know! havent had the time to go take a peek…but i’d love to when i get the time. always wanted to go find my own fossils, but they dont allow that at burgess, as its a protected site!

  24. This is a beautiful and well done blog.I love the pictures, stories of the people and places and events in time. What a blessing to be privy to all of that.

  25. Kyra says:

    Your blog site is beautiful and amazing! I was born and raised in New Mexico and I think the Southwest is is the best place to live and travel. Your photos are stunning and your writing is superb! I will definately be following your posts. Happy Trails!

  26. paulaacton says:

    Found your blog randomly but can’t wait to catch up on your previous journeys and see where you head next. Amazing photos

  27. jettcurtis says:

    I was working on a final project for a visual rhetoric class at the University of New Mexico (I live in Albuquerque) in which I created a newsletter about hiking/mountaineering/backpacking. I stumbled across you here on the web while I was in search of images to use in my project. The picture I found of you standing atop the Pedernal in NM fit into my visual design wonderfully. Of course, I credited you in my citation page. Anyway, the newsletter turned out great! A few more credit hours and I will have a degree in English – Professional Writing. Yay me!

    Strange thing is that after the project is over and done with I think of your picture, your blog, your writings and the person you describe yourself to be. I am fascinated and intrigued by you and of course I want to follow along with you on your journey. I think I will check in from time to time to see what you’re up to and how you are doing…….

    I wish the best for you.

    Peace,

    Jett

  28. Ania A. says:

    I just nominated you for the Sunshine Blog Award. I linked your blog to my post. Come check it out!

  29. Hi Mary-
    Will travel with you via your blog.
    PeAce!

  30. Kelly Smith says:

    Hello,
    My name is Kelly Smith and I am a freelance art director who works on tourism advertising for Cook County. I noticed your photograph of your dogs and your feet on the shore of Lake Superior and wondered if we could use your photograph in any upcoming ads for Cook County. I don’t have any concepts yet, but I’d like to get some images in the mean time.
    You do nice work.
    You can reach me by phone at 763-535-3478 if you would like to discuss it further. Or you can email me at kelly@kreativesmith.com
    Thank you,
    Kelly Smith

  31. Barbara Stagg says:

    As a Southwest/horse/dog lover, so enjoy your blog, Mary.

    Believe you’ll find much to love in this blog, which you may not know of:

    http://springcreekwild.wordpress.com

    TJ Holmes is making it her life work to document these horses while leaving them wild (but also lessening their fear of humans a bit). You will love her pictures – especially of this year’s new babies.

    The folks in Colorado/Utah who help with this “contained” herd of wild horses have made real progress with BLM’s methods of dealing with the horses. Spring Creek Basin is a magnificent area for the Spring Creek group to call home.

    • Thanks Barbara! I’ll definitely check this out. The plight of wild horses in this country endlessly fascinates me. Glad to hear this group is doing their part. To paraphrase Ed Abbey: Wildness needs no defense, only more defenders.

  32. Barneysday says:

    I enjoy your blogs immensely and wish you continued success in your travels. I have taken the opportunity of nominating you for several awards, and give you recognition in my most recent post. Please see https://mountainperspective.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/awards-2/#more-1232

  33. Jan Herman says:

    You recently visited with my brother at Lake Tahoe, hiked in Squaw Valley and had dinner with him. Ted (Tahoe Ted) mentioned you may be coming through Wenatchee, WA where we live. Any chance of meeting you if you are near here?

    • Hi Jan! Thanks so much for the invite. Hospitality must run in the family. :) I’m not sure that I’ll be hitting Washington on this trip. I’m in Oregon now, with my sights set on Idaho and Montana. If I swing up your way I’ll definitely drop you a line! Cheers, M

  34. GOAT 山羊 says:

    Really happy to have found your blog. My first trip to the States was a road trip with my then-girlfriend in 1993, living in two different vehicles we bought there while driving 10,000 miles over three and a half months. Unforgettable. I’ve been back three times to do long hikes.

    Love your pictures and will be following your travels with interest. Luck to you!

  35. Chris Major says:

    Hi Blonde Coyote I Love your Blog and have nominated you for a sunshine award!

    I usually hate chain type messages but I think showing appreciation to the blogs I read is Nice, please follow this link and pass on the award to the blogs you appreciate:http://movingfastwhilstgettingnowhere.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/the-sunshine-award/

    Keep the great posts coming!

  36. fivereflections says:

    hope you are enjoying your time off! you made it to Alaska!
    David in Maine USA

  37. Hello! I love your blog, and just nominated you for the Very Inspirational Blogger Award and also posted a link to your site on my blog. You can accept and read what it’s all about here: http://southwestadventurer.com/2012/08/19/very-inspiring-blogger-award/ . Thanks again for the wonderful blog!

  38. Mary (a/k/a Blonde Coyote) — I have nominated you for the “Very Inspiring Blogger” Award. Congratulations! Do not feel obligated to pass it on, but know that you are appreciated! If you want to pay it forward to some of the blogs you appreciate, the “rules” (I like to use the term loosely) of the award are contained in my post: http://travelgardeneat.com/2012/09/30/very-inspiring-blogger-award/ . . . thank you for helping to make the blogosphere a more beautiful place! ~ Kat

  39. I envy your journeys. How I wish I could just pack up and drive my little subie all over the place, but well, you know how money tends to be a factor- though I would love to never need any!

    I’ve got a random question for you. Where did you get your teardrop?? I’m on a mission to find one, fix it up and spend my summers leaving tires marks in the dirt. I’d love to know where you got yours!

    Keep on keeping on girl!

    • Hi there, thanks for the comment. Always nice to hear from a fellow adventurous subie owner! I found my Teardrop in the classifieds section of teardrop.net and bought it from a craftsman in Nebraska who made it in his garage. He only makes one at a time and I think he has quite a waiting list. I’d recommend looking on Craigslist- there are a lot of vintage and homemade Teardrops out there! I looked at a few before I found mine. Be sure to cast a wide net! I drove over 1,000 miles from New Mexico to Nebraska to get mine. Keep me posted and good luck! M

      • Thanks for the info!! I started looking at teardrop.net before. I’d love to get a ‘project’ one! I’m in the process of getting my teaching license… I can’t wait until I have summer off to just pack up and leave!

  40. Bobby says:

    My wife and I found Teakettle Rock this afternoon the same way you did. We stumbled upon it during a late afternoon drive with our 14 year-old Weimaraner, Dietter. What a gift! We really enjoyed your post about this beautiful treasure.

    Bobby, Kathleen, and (of course) Dietter

    • Hey Bobby, Kathleen & Dietter! Glad to hear you also stumbled upon Teakettle Rock. Isn’t that an amazing place? I assume you went home and googled it and found my site? Enjoy NM, I miss it! Cheers, Mary

      • Stokes, Robert D. says:

        Exactly.

        We have a cabin on 96, near Coyote. Decided to take a drive and were blown away by the rock. The light was getting bad and we didn’t get any good pictures.

        You popped up on Google when I looked for a picture.

        We intend to go back in a few months when we are back in Coyote.

        Enjoy your travels. I enjoyed your blog.

        Thanks,

        Bobby

        If you get this email in error, please delete it. It isn’t yours. Please don’t redistribute this email without my permission. ________________________________

      • Very cool, Bobby. A cabin in Coyote! You lucky dog! ;) Amazing what treasures can be found on back roads, especially in the Land of Enchantment! Can’t wait to come back this spring! M

  41. Pingback: Blogger of the Year Award | Hoof Beats and Foot Prints

  42. Hi Mary, I am so inspired by the success of your blog and making it into a profession that I have nominated you for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award. Congratulations ! Emily aka Bella.

    http://bellaremyphotography.com/2012/11/25/blogger-of-the-year-award/

  43. Just what you need..another award. But I can’t help it..I love your blog. Hope this brings many more visitors to your blog. Emily

    http://bellaremyphotography.com/2013/01/02/accolades-are-due/

  44. FeyGirl says:

    What a beautiful space you have, here… I can’t wait to read and see more of your wonderful adventures with your lovely companions!!! :)

  45. Ratna Sharma says:

    Hi,
    Would you be interested in writing a guest blog post on our blog, http://www.womenstravelblog.com/ ? We are a PR 2 blog whose audience enjoys reading anything about travel (e.g. “Top 4 Places for Women Travelers”, “The fun and excitement of Solo Traveling”, “Turkey land of Holidays”, etc). And, of course, you’ll receive a FOLLOWED link to your blog or page of your choice. Please let me know if you’re interested. I think you’d be a great fit with our audience, and we’d also like to talk with you about other partnerships. I have few more travel sites and blogs for link exchange and article exchange if interested please feel free to contact me

    Talk to you soon 

    Ratna Sharma
    ratna.fp@gmail.com

  46. Pingback: The Blonde Coyote Fresh Pressed, Again! « Travels with the Blonde Coyote

  47. Pingback: The Blonde Coyote Freshly Pressed, Again! « Travels with the Blonde Coyote

  48. You are a great inspiration, love your site.
    All the best!

  49. Pingback: Random Life | Dreams And Synchronizations

  50. ancientfoods says:

    I found your blog listed through freshly pressed. congratulations. I lived in New Mexico for many years and am looking forward to reading about your take on the countryside and photos of the same. it is a land that truly becomes part of your soul, I know I miss it very much.

  51. alloradillo says:

    respect Mary. Mucho Gusto. Help the planet traveling ;-)

  52. The Smidge says:

    Hey, hope you are well.

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve awarded you a Best Moment award.

    http://sianinturkey.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/winner-of-a-best-moment-award/

    Have a good day

  53. Aw what a sweet travel companion!

  54. furrygnome says:

    Just found your blog and it’s great! Really impressed with your travels in that little teardrop camper! Freckles reminds me of our dog Roxie, and looks very similar. Ours is a ‘Grey County Mutt’, but I’ve often wondered if there isn’t a little bit of coyote in her. Look forward to following your blog.

  55. Shweta says:

    Lovely blog…liked reading some of the posts. Look forward to reading more:)

  56. A. Mittal says:

    Hi I have been following your blog since some time now and I enjoy reading your blog. I have nominated you for a bunch of awards please visit http://ethicalhedonism.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/cant-thank-enough/

    Happy Blogging!!

  57. Hello Mary. Just catching up on your wonderful life, seeing how things are going for you. If you’re ever in the area stop by for some good conversation. Lawrence

  58. I love your photographs . I live in the mountains and relate to your writing.
    Perhaps you might like my blog, I’m new to it! http://wp.me/3zm4O

  59. Mary,
    I left a comment on an entry but realized that may not be the best place to leave this particular comment/question. Here goes: I am a photographer as well. I’m wondering how you ‘manage’ your images. You have a terrific metadata system going on both your blog and images. I have used Lightroom in the past and wondered if you wouldn’t mind illuminating how you work with your images. You do amazing work, both written and photographically. I am incredibly impressed and enjoy reading your journeys. I wish you the very best of luck and safe travels.

    Todd

    • Big confession, Todd: The answer is I don’t really manage my images. I take hundreds of photos a day and have no good system! Every summer I say I’m going to spend the winter getting organized, forgetting that winter is beautiful too and then I just end up taking a zillion more photos and keeping them in folders in iphoto, on several external hard drives and online in a cloud. I should probably hire somebody to help me, but I’d have to pay them in chocolate chip cookies. Lightroom sounds fantastic, and it’s been on my wish list for ages, but the idea of learning a new program and transferring over 100,000+ photos makes me just want to go outside. One of these days…

  60. Mary,
    I hear you. I spent several days one winter ‘tagging’ photos of mine. I’ve gotten sloppy about it though and now my photos just get sucked into various hard drives. I also hope to get on top of this in the near future.

    Carpe Diem!

    TB

  61. Jenny says:

    Hi Mary, I’m here via the Guardian and just wanted to say I love your blog and have ennjoyed having a good browse today! We’re planning a US road trip next year, so will definitely be trawling your archives for ideas! Thanks, Jenny x

  62. Mandy says:

    A geologist, a writer and a dog lover! I think we share a few interests there……….

  63. Hello Mary,

    You are living “The Dream Life” I long for.

    But, literally our places are a world apart :)

    Just give me enough time to go and check each and every one of your posts, and mark a “Like”

    Absolutely enjoyed your adventures.

    Have a great time.

    Sreejith.

  64. Mike says:

    g’day Mary, love your blog and philosophy ! I’ve always tried to freecamp here in Australia, and when I retired last year I went on a 10 month road trip freecamping out in the bush when ever possible. ( http://latitudesandattitudes.net/2013/12/09/one-year-of-retirement/ ) apart from keeping costs down there is nothing like sleeping in my swag (bedroll) under the stars whenever possible, way outback. your little camper would have been luxury to me !

  65. Keep up the great photography and writing. Always a pleasure to read your blog. I’m glad to have stumbled upon you.

  66. marcus says:

    great blog, I am looking forward to exploring more.
    blessed travels

  67. swo8 says:

    Hi,
    I was surprised to see your Trilobites from North America. We bought one when we were in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco .Fascinating !
    Leslie

  68. I’m an undergrad at KSU working on a mountain geography project. I was interested in using your image of your summit on Mt. Elbert and wondering if you willing to share a few lines on why Mt. Elbert was significant for you to climb.

  69. Andrew Seal says:

    So happy Cheri featured your wonderful blog with stunning photos. We’re off to Santa Fe next week for a week so your NM photos are a great introduction. Look forward to following you . Best wishes :-)

  70. Judi says:

    Hello! I just recently embarked upon my bucket list dream of traveling around the country. I sold nearly everything and bought a 19ft pop top conversion van. After my first 43 days on the road, (which I loved!!!!) I’m hanging out with my kids in MD ( started in NM) for a month. Then I’ll be headed to the New England area for the end of summer and the fall. I’ve signed up to follow you. I’m accumulating a nice list off followers myself. Please check out my blog at http://www.lifeismine.org, especially my feature called BRIGHT SPOTS! Thx for the boondocking tips!

  71. Hi Mary, your blog and your journey is really amazing. Would love to follow you for the future posts. Nice to meet you.

  72. Sarah G. says:

    Hey! I would like to nominate you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Awards!

    http://litbear.com/2014/07/16/very-inspiring-blogger-award-nomination/

    Your blog is one of the first I followed when I got into WordPress, and I always come back to it. Your travels and lifestyle inspire me.

    Thanks for being awesome,
    Sarah

  73. I enjoy reading your blog. Today while glancing at your recent posts, I noticed you grew up in Lancaster (Strasburg) PA. I live in the Lancaster area. Here’s a photo of the moonrise (aka: supermoon!) in Strasburg two nights ago!

    http://www.cspics.com/Portfolio/Central-Pennsylvania/i-8fZTbMD/A

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