This evening I worked on pre-marking the course for Turkey and Taturs. I started around 4:30. The going was a little slow, as my legs are still a little stiff, my little piggie on my right foot is a solid blister, and it was pretty muddy in places. Jason and Lisa met me about 6:30, and we got a game plan together, and we all went northward on different trails. I was 2/3 of the way to the end of my trail when I got a call from Lisa. She was unsure whether or not she was marking the correct trail. I was sure she was, but decided to run back to where she was to make sure. By the time I got there, it was getting too dark to go further north, and we headed back to the car to get our lights for another pass on the trails in the dark. Jason called, and I advised him to come back south on the power line trail since it is out in the open and I thought it should have been light enough to make it back, and besides, there were only two intersections to mark. Dana met Lisa and I at the parking lot with fresh batteries for Lisa's headlamp, and also brought us some McDonald's snack wraps....YUM. I thought we should drive to the top of Elwood and meet Jason there since by now it was pitch dark and had begun to rain. At the top, Lisa called Jason, and he said he was no longer on the power line trail, but had cut into the woods because he came up on some people who he thought were acting suspicious. It was dark as sin, and he was a little freaked out, but he said he had to keep moving. Dana and Lisa went back down to the lower parking lot, and I took off looking for him, based on where Lisa thought he was. When I reached a point where I was fairly close to the lower parking lot, I decided to call to see if Jason had made it there already, He answered his cell phone, and told me we was still on top of the mountain, past the shale area, past the long rocky climb, and on some single track. I then headed back towards where I thought he was. Five minutes later, I heard him call out to me, and I then saw the reflections from the piping on his running shorts and the faint glow of the light from his cell phone. He was glad to see my headlamp.
We talked for a minute or less, and I looked up, to the south from where we were standing, and I saw a couple of eyes shining back at me. I asked Jason if he saw it, but he was standing maybe six feet away and the angle of my light was not illuminating the eyes from his angle. The eyes were about 3 feet off the ground, and quickly I ruled out raccoon and possum, and I was thinking deer.I took a few steps closer, and say that the animal was tan....like a deer, and then it took a step, and I saw the muscular hind leg, followed by a long thick tail. Then it turned to look my way again, and I saw the profile of a majestic mountain lion. It took a few more steps and was in plain sigh, and then disappeared into the thicket. I was maybe 15 feet from it.
Jason never saw it. It made absolutely no sound at all when it walked. Then I got to thinking....what was it doing that close to us? Jason had walked a mile or so in total darkness, and I am sure this cat was stalking him. It moved away when it saw my head lamp, or maybe it thought that tackling two of us was more of a challenge than it wanted.
We made our way down, and chose to stay nearer to the road coming down Lipbuster. We also decided to forgo any further course marking at night.
I know I am guilty of telling a tall tale from time to time. In this case, there was no need to stretch the truth at all. This was just too amazing. On one hand, I was fascinated by this bid beautiful cat. On the other hand, it could have easily taken us out.
Now, more than ever, I need help getting the Turkey and Taturs course marked. I'll be back at the crack of dawn to hopefully finish pre-marking the turns, and then I hope to have an army of ribbon tie-ers Saturday morning at 7:00 am. Big cats are nocturnal and usually hunt at night.