Want to know something cool about this picture below?I was running along Salmon Creek Trail when I came across a patch of wild flowers. It wasn’t the first patch of flowers I ran pass as I climbed the switchbacks of the Los Padres NF trail in Big Sur California. It was however the first spot on the top of the ridge that I noticed a perfectly placed rock that would be a great spot to setup my phone to capture the beauty.
After three takes (every runner knows two takes is not enough) of bending down to hit the camera timer I got a weird feeling, a feeling of being watched. I told myself to stop being stupid bending over so many times this far out in the mountains alone. I picked up my phone and started to run the amazing single track again. Shortly after coming into a fully tree covered section I stopped to walk after hearing a noise and getting that feeling again. Maybe it was the creek flowing, or just a bird or squirrel, at most a deer I told myself.
Going the short distance to the creek crossing I stopped again to check my phone for the time. At this point I had been gone for an hour and half so I decided to head back to the van to get pup. As I put my phone away and turned around I was greeted by a mountain lion 25 feet in front of me! “Holy sh*t you’re big” I yelled! The expression on the lions face once it noticed I noticed it was almost cartoonish. With out hesitation it took off down the trail and up into the brush. As it ran away I yelled again, “NO! That’s the way I need to go!” I stood there for a few minute in shock. It seriously looked dumb founded I turned around…was it stalking me? It just went the way I need to go back…how long do I wait?
I grabbed a fallen branch and broke off a chunk incase I had to fight. After waiting several minutes I began to walk down the trail. I started talking to the lion, or myself mainly, if it could hear me. “Thank you for letting me see you, I appreciate being one of the lucky few, but I do not want to see you again!” “You are a beautiful creature, I am not scared of you, but I will kick your ass!” “I don’t like that you went the same way I need to go but I am just going home, I live in a van and taste horrible.” “I am in the middle of a detox from a fast food diet so you’re better off eating a deer that taste good.” “This makes it two times now that I have seen a cat on the trail, you are much bigger then the panther I saw in FL. I am bummed I didn’t get a photo of you but I really, really do not want to see you again to get one either.”
I walked waving the branch and talking nonsense until I came to what I remember would be open trail back to the trailhead. Remember, don’t bend over a bunch of times on the trail for a silly picture. Don’t run solo for hours on end in bad cell phone reception areas. Pssh, who am I kidding…just make sure you don’t get eaten by a mountain lion!
**Disclaimer** No running shorts were soiled during or after the sighting of the mountain lion.