Mar 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm #1287395
@fuzzLocale: Sunny San Diego
Ok, sorry to post this here if the wrong thread…….. But I was RV camping with my four older girls for St. Patrick's day here in San Diego this weekend. Up in the Mountains and raining/ hailing. We were up at 0600 and joined in an organized Leprechaun hunt in the park for pics of leprechauns redeemable for chocolate gold coins. There we are, kids banging through the brush. (Mind you, 10,9,7,4) and I look up to see a great big muscly Cat sauntering down an asphalt easement between two houses across the road at about 40 yards. It was as surprised to see me as I was it. It had some beefy shoulders and froze, looking right at me. Amazing to feel a huge tug of fear. I actually had to shout to the kids to gather round my legs while we backed away and headed over to the ranger shack. The cat just kept pausing, hung a left and walked across roadway to some horse pasture, completely disinterested in us. I still had the creeps. Such a big, powerful and beautiful animal. All that backpacking in Anza Borrego, and the So Cal hills and where do I run into one? Ramona CA outside a county park. Weird. Thought I'd share it with ya!
EdMar 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm #1855773
Glad you and yours are fine. Thanks for sharing.Mar 19, 2012 at 6:32 am #1855866
@stingray4540Locale: South Bay
I'm jealous. This is the last large, California animal I haven't seen in person.Mar 19, 2012 at 9:26 am #1855921
Quite a sight, isn't it?! I'm glad it didn't decide your kids looked like lunch, and you all came through it safe and sound!
Encountering a predator big enough to do you or yours in is a frightening experience. Kinda puts you back to the caveman instinct real fast, eh?Mar 19, 2012 at 9:37 am #1855926
I read your post last night before going to bed, and lo and behold, I had dreamt about seeing a mountain lion! (among other things)Mar 19, 2012 at 10:57 am #1855974
@fuzzLocale: Sunny San Diego
Sure does bring you back to reality food chain-wise quite quick. I have for years hoped to glimpse one of these (safely) while in the back country. So Ironic to have it happen in civilization. Needless to say, the rest of the gold coin , leprechaun hunt I was armed. (I'm a cop too so not just gun happy) But I left it in the RV before the hike. Cool animals!Mar 20, 2012 at 6:17 am #1856457
@ikeLocale: Central Michigan
One of the zoo vets in the area took my girls and me behind the scene to see one of their new lions. It was amazing how as soon as she spotted the girls, she immediately went into stalking mode. Crouching low, her eyes took on a focused intensity and she started pacing, frustrated that she couldn't get at them. Her eyes never left the girls for a second until I finally took them away. Looking at that sleek muscled machinery up close, I was all too aware that if a partition wasn't separating her from us, there would be nothing I could do to stop her. I think about this encounter every time I hike in cougar territory.
I'm glad you got to see an animal that few get to see, and that everyone is fine.Mar 21, 2012 at 11:29 am #1857162
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I guess that we're so accustomed to bein at the top of the food chain that when we realize we suddenly are not it scares us. Yer keerect, instinct, millions of years old instinct from the cerebellum, ("old brain") is what kicks in – instantly!Mar 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm #1857261
I remember reading a story of an old man in Alaska that was jumped by a Couger. He said he wrestled with it and was face to face with the big cat, and all he could think of was how beautiful the cat was. That's a true animal lover!Mar 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm #1857268
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Incredible. I ran into day old lion tracks while skiing on Monday, but that's the closest I've ever been. Even just seeing tracks, I could feel the edge of that fear creeping in.Mar 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm #1857302
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Edward: I'm jealous, too. It one of the few charismatic mega-fuana I haven't seen yet in North America. Polar Bear in the wild being the other. But griz, black, Dall stone, mountain sheep, goat, caribou, musk oxen, moose, deer, antelope, peccary, wolf, coyote, bobcat, lynx, etc, etc – Yes.
I've heard that sometimes mountain-lion researchers need to stare at a tree for 10 minutes to spy one. They only know it is in the tree because the dogs are yapping up a storm.
Regarding the food chain:
My wife was hiking in Denali. Saw something that looked like a drunken bicyclist coming from a mile away. It was a caribou, tongue hanging out, exhausted, wobbling, which saw her, panicked, and darted off the side. She was left wondering, WTF? Many minutes later comes a wolf, in an easy loping gait it could maintain all day. It got to where the caribou turned, looked that way, looked at her, looked towards the 'bou, looked at her (as if to decide, "Chicken? Or Beef?"), than then trotted off after the caribou.
She definitely felt more like a item on the menu than usual.Mar 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm #1857326
@simauliusLocale: Bohemian Alps
Hey Ed, that will be a prime campfire story for years.
Glad that you were able to gather everyone together and appear too large and odd for the mt lion to deal with.
I've seen lots of large mammals, but the only ones that looked AT me have been mt lions and wolves. That is a creepy feeling, but OMG are they beautiful creatures!!Mar 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm #1857329
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I saw one once, for a fleeting moment. Jumped across the trail in front of me, fully extended. Must have been a hundred feet long :)
I have seen footprints in the foothills near my home and all attempts to track it failed.
Bob Gross posted a great picture of one a while back.Mar 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1857357
@nickbLocale: Los Padres National Forest
I encounter mountain lion tracks regularly on my hikes but have yet to actually see one. In some ways I consider this lucky and in others… not so much. I would love to have the opportunity to safely view one in the wild.
I can think of one area of my local backountry in particular that is often times covered with bear and cat tracks of all sizes following a small creeklet through an area scattered with small potreros and large sandstone monoliths. Even during the winter, it's the only reliable source of water in the area, hence all wildlife seems to congregate near it and use the adjacent trail to pass through the brush. I almost expect to come around a corner in the trail and be faced with a big cat one of these times.
I'm glad you were able to view the animal from a safe enough distance to be able to appreciate its beauty.Mar 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm #1857372
@bookLocale: Northern California
Two years ago right about this time of year I went for a day hike on a Friday at Mt. Diablo (near Walnut Creek Ca.). It had snowed that night down to about 2500 feet but the cherry trees were in bloom at the base of the mountain and it was a sunny day. So I did my climb and came down when I saw something loping off. I thought, "huh, dogs aren't allowed in this park…wait a minute…" and it was already gone. Tracks in the mud revealed a cat stalking a deer, or so it seemed to me. The cougar tracks in any case were definite. Just a blur.Mar 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm #1857414
I've seen about a dozen all together, over the years. Including several that I've called in with a predator call. But I stalked to within 40 yards of one two years ago, by mistake. I was bowhunting mule deer in the La Sals of SE Utah and mistook the buckskin colored flank of the cat for the body of a large deer bedded under a quakie – a typical bedding spot for mulies during the day. When I snuck to within 40 yards of it and it finally stood up and faced me and I realized what I had really snuck up on, I thought it was about the coolest thing ever. For the first ten minutes. But, to make a long story short, it was the biggest lion I've ever seen, at least 170 pounds, and we ended up maintaining eye contact and it stayed within about 75 yards of me for the next 45 minutes while I retreated. By the time it disengaged, I was glad to have it over. Definitely one of the most interesting and cool experiences I've had with a predator.
– DaveMar 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm #1857476
Once in Glacier we saw and heard something going into the brush ahead of us. Then right there on the ground was a almost perfectly plucked/ skined ptarmagen (I think). Talking to a ranger later they told us that mountain lions skin their meal first. But the only thing we saw was bushes moving. Then in 09 off trail in the wind river range between ______ lake and _____ lake I saw one moving very fast up a slope I only saw it for maybe 1-2 seconds from 200+ feet but it was a very chilling site, the power and speed and long stretching stride was amazing. I deleted the lake names in this area cause Id like to add that what was really cool was there is a rock formation in this area that looks like the head of a couger and I didnt climb up to it but it looked like maybe some old art work might be up there also. It was weird cause I saw the rock formation first from a ways off and it was in route where I was going and then maybe 10 minutes after I passed it I saw the couger. It was a real good day off trail even if I didnt catch a fish in the lake I got to.Mar 22, 2012 at 6:09 am #1857575
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
The cat probably heard about the Leprechaun hunt and came down for a look to see if it could find any tasty tidbits : )
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