I was almost eaten by a mountain lion tonight . . .

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Okay not really but I convinced myself I was going to be. I was able to sneak in a quick hike after work but didn’t really take into consideration the fact that the days are getting shorter now and ended up walking in the dark with my iPhone as my flashlight. I learned, about 6 weeks ago, that there are mountain lions on the  mountain that I love to hike most (Bogg’s Mountain in Middletown, CA) and that they are especially active between dusk and dawn – HUNTING between dusk and dawn. So, now, anytime I’m hiking and it’s starting to get dark, I start imagining that a mountain lion is stalking me from between the trees just passed where my eyes can still focus.

I am well aware that my fear is irrational, although not completely unfounded because it does happen, it’s just really uncommon. These mountain lions are definitely not looking to eat me and, as I was explaining to them out loud on my hike tonight, eating me would just be disappointing; I’m just blubber and clothing; not tasty at all.

The information about safe hiking posted at the CDF station warns, in regard to mountain lions (who are a vital and cherished part of the mountain’s eco system), not to hike at night (strike 1), not to hike alone (strike 2) and to make lots of noise while hiking so that you don’t accidentally sneak up on a mountain lion and it accidentally bites your jugular in response. Since I was skating on very thin ice, as my scared little brain was so enthusiastically explaining to me, I decided to at least make some noise.

I started humming. That didn’t seem loud enough. I started singing and making random noises. Then I started talking to the mountain lions, as I mentioned earlier, that I was convinced were lurking just feet away; “Mr. Mountain Lion, you should probably know that I am not delicious . . . Mrs. Mountain Lion, I am totally not worth your time. I bet you’re used to eating tasty deer . . .” and so on. I’m not COMPLETELY crazy; I know the big cats don’t hang out together unless it’s baby making time, I was just addressing both genders so as not to disrespect either one – okay so maybe I’m a little crazy.

I decided to go back to singing and ended up “writing” a song . . . aaaaand decided to record it. I’m sure it’s a brilliant masterpiece as I don’t have a clue how to write songs but the part I’m certainly most proud of is when I had a moment of panic, completely forgetting that I was still recording, and sung, ” . . . la la la – this is NOT loooooking goooood -” I immediately started imagining what was left of my remains being found and the sense the ranger would try to make of my singsongy ramblings.

I did get a really amazing picture out of the whole situation. It was early in the hike when I should have realized I’d be walking in the dark in about 10 minutes but, stubbornly, pressed on anyway. Here’s to commitment – and a little bit of crazy.

Sunset from Bogg's Mountain

Sunset from Bogg’s Mountain

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