[pct-l] Cougar encounters

Nathan Miller erccmacfitheal at yahoo.com
Tue May 25 22:23:43 CDT 2010

> You two characters are you?re luckier than a s**t-house
> rat!  Am I not just
> green with envy?

Yeah, that's about the color their retinas reflect in an LED headlamp.  I saw those retinas gazing at me from out of the night on Mt. Ashland last June.  They were all I ever saw.  They stared right at me and I stared back.  They looked away, and then back for a minute--then away, then back for maybe 30 seconds, and then they were gone.  I saw what I believe to be scat (looks a lot like what I just viewed on a Google search) here and there all the way to the Devil's Peaks.  Mostly it was dry, although there was one I found one morning just south of Lowden's Cabin/Beardog Spring that was still soft, probably laid that night.
On another trip a few years ago, a friend and I camped at Boulder Lake, down in a little tarn just off the PCT maybe 10 miles north of Sonora Pass.  On a small, rocky spot upslope of the lake was a whole butt-load of dried scat...think it was cougar, but not sure...anyway, there was a LOT of it.  Either one or more cats lived there long-term, or...  We stayed a couple of nights and on one, we heard something large splashing in the water on the opposite side of the lake.  My MagLight was way too weak to cut through the gloom and although we were a bit unnerved, we were left entirely alone.  When we arrived at Asa Lake, we met a couple of people who told us we'd missed seeing a bear and that if we'd arrived just ten minutes earlier, we'd have come up the trail right on its six!

-Nate the Trail Zombie


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