I swear, I had a nightmare just like this one time.
For anyone who has spent time in the backwoods of thick cougar country, the thought is always in the back of your mind.
Mountain lions, also known as cougars, are the largest wild cat in North America. These powerful and elusive animals are known for their hunting skills and their ability to take down prey much larger than themselves.
They’re large, muscular cats with a long tail that can measure up to three feet in length. Adult males can weigh up to 220 pounds and measure over eight feet in length.
Mountain lions are solitary hunters and primarily prey on deer, but they also hunt smaller mammals such as raccoons, rabbits, and rodents. They are ambush predators, stalking their prey until they are within striking distance. They then use their powerful back legs to pounce on their prey, biting the neck to deliver a lethal bite.
Their sharp, retractable claws that they use to grip their prey and climb trees can claws can measure up to two inches in length and are essential for hunting and survival. They also have powerful jaws and sharp teeth designed for biting and tearing flesh.
While rare, mountain lion attacks on humans do occur. The animals are generally elusive and avoid human contact, though attacks are usually the result of the mountain lion mistaking a human for prey or feeling threatened.
And one woman had the encounter we all hope to never have.
While she was out backcountry hiking in Arizona, a mountain lion moved into her campsite and was seemingly stalking her.
The woman has a video showing the lion climbing through the trees as she tries everything trying to scare the killer off. Eventually, she is able to get it to leave but its shaken up by the terrifying encounter.
“That is probably the scariest shit that has ever happened to me in my entire life.
Y’all, I’m terrified, this is no joke. I had a cougar in my camp and that jerk sat in the tree above my bear box and didn’t want to leave.
I threw rocks, I yelled. I feel pretty sick to my stomach right now.”
No doubt. This is an incredible encounter but an incredibly frightening one too.
It’s wild out there.
Here’s her full explanation:
“At about 3:50-4:00pm I heard a herd of deer snort-wheezing and stampeding up out of the canyon where I was camping. It gave me pause because I’ve NEVER heard them snort-wheeze that much intensity before. That should have been a BIG hint to me! Sadly I didn’t get the hint and after they stopped bolting I went back to setting up my camp.
After probably three to five minutes I turned around and there was a HUGE cat clinging to a tree about 10 feet from me. It was perched about 2-3 feet off the ground on the trunk of a tree. It was staring at me with the most gorgeous grey eyes. Absurdly I remember thinking that it’s eyes looked like the eyes of a cat that belongs to a friend of mine.
I backed slowly the couple of feet to my bear spray and my Garmin inReach. I put the Garmin in my pocket and grabbed a rock. I was lobbing rocks with one hand and had the bear spray at the ready with the other. After a bit the cat was looking more confident and really had the “Ima Pounce A Mouse” look. I got really worried then and thought the motion of throwing rocks was actually arousing it more.
So I grabbed my phone, which was powered off, and a few rocks and got in my tent. I get little to no cell service in the park despite the close proximity to Tucson. I dropped one tent flap because at that angle, I thought the flap would completely block my movements. I could still clearly see it though. It was then I turned my iPhone on and started filming. I took one 5+ minutes video then stopped and started filming again a few seconds/minutes later. I edited out sections where I dropped the phone on the floor of the tent. I also edited several times when I was throwing rocks because the video was all over the place.
Finally a glorious flock of Scrub Jays (exact subspecies unknown) flew over and started to mob the cat. After a few pecks from the birds he got down out of the tree. I thought he was leaving but he came back. I dropped the phone in a panic because I realized he was going to snatch a bag of my dirty clothes! Something inside me said I HAD to stop the cat from taking those clothes. It just seemed important that he NOT get them.
Right after he left I started getting responses to my frantic inReach texts. The National Park Staff said I should leave immediately. I didn’t need to be told twice either! Lol I hoofed it out of the park, ten miles in the dark, in 4 hours! For context I a flabby 46 year old, not a trail-hardened thru-hiker.”