13 August 2013
Torrey's Peak as seen from the top of Watruos Gulch...
There have been rumors of mountain lions within our funky little township. Just a few days back, in the early morning hours, a narrow-gauge rail worker claimed to have seen one walking up Rue Woodward as pretty as you please. Perhaps it's true, though the cat who told me drinks. However, mountain lions, I once heard, can have territories of up to thirty square miles. Why couldn't that include the hamlets of our Sahel?
Of course, this story rattled some of the public. Never mind our proximity to National Forest and wilderness areas. Fucking humans. When the wildlife is fuzzy and cute, it's great to live here. When one is reminded not all of said wildlife is such, that some could hurt you, there is fear and loathing.
You just can't please some people...
Driving back from the radio station, about twelve miles from home, a lion bounded in the roadway in front of us. It was gone into the the trees before Sabina had a chance to get a good look, but I saw. It was amazing. My first time seeing one of those in its natural habitat, such as it was. Although, I confess, I was glad to be driving by instead of walking. It was nighttime. A mountain lion can see in the dark, I can't.
I've still yet to see a lynx or bobcat, but my patience is formidable...
When leaving for walkabout, Sabina wished me a good trek and told me to be careful. I couldn't help but wonder if part of that was concern over the recent feline sightings. One of our walkabout companions told us the most frightened he's ever been was coming across a mountain lion in the middle of it eating its dinner.
As I wandered further into the bush, I came to realize-nay, remember and reaffirm-that I am far more ill at ease in a room full of those half-bald monkeys who call themselves Man than being out in the wilderness alone with the one and million shot of encountering a single mountain lion. Aside from wildlife, the Backcountry has its host of dangers, certainly. I know this. However, Homo sapiens are just plumb unpredictable, never to be trusted alone, and most assuredly not in groups of two or more. Anyone who tries to say otherwise is daft or trying to sell you something.
Walking the trail without another biped anywhere around me was sublime. When the recent mountain lion sightings entered into the mathematics of my thoughts, there was no fear, only a chuckle. As some of you may or may not know, I once came up with a character, fictional in his countenance, who has a sort of kinship with that species of cat. I know of a few-grown, rational, intelligent people-who have a dysfunctional crush upon my creation. Funny, there's no way I could be that good.
I walked through those pleasant five-minute summer drizzles and warm sunshine. Pikas and chicory squirrels were my only company. Their calls and the distant rumble of thunder, the only sound. On the way home, I saw a five-point buck grazing off to the side of the frontage road. Majestic, and far better food for any hungry predator than some skinny biped who might go hop-scotching into their neighborhood as to escape his own species.