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Thread: Mountain Lions?

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    Post Mountain Lions?

    Hey all. I'm new to the cite and planning a CT thru hike starting late this June. I've been wandering through the CT Forum and haven't found any info on the mountain lion activity surrounding the trail. I'm going to be solo hiking (not too many people willing to take six weeks out of their life to go backpacking), so I figured it would be worth checking up on. So: any stories? Close encounters?

  2. #2

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    Not on the Colorado trail, although I saw 2 on the PCT thru the years.
    Only one was close.
    I understand they have never attacked anyone with a pack on. They are not sure what that pack means I guess.
    They only attack when cornered or are assured of victory (before the fight) apparently.
    Consider yourself lucky if you see one.
    Have fun on your hike. It's a nice trail.
    Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams

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    Quote Originally Posted by tolkien_madness View Post
    Hey all. I'm new to the cite and planning a CT thru hike starting late this June. I've been wandering through the CT Forum and haven't found any info on the mountain lion activity surrounding the trail. I'm going to be solo hiking (not too many people willing to take six weeks out of their life to go backpacking), so I figured it would be worth checking up on. So: any stories? Close encounters?
    "....and haven't found any info on the mountain lion activity surrounding the trail."

    I'll give you one reasonable guess WHY. It's RARE to KNOWINGLY() have a Mountain Lion experience as a hiker even in Colorado. It's even RARER to be attacked or killed by one. Even with THE MANY Coloradans who have been increasingly going into the wilderness( or Mountain Lion areas) in droves, in the past 23 yrs there have been only two confirmed deaths and one suspected death from Mountain Lion attacks in the state. Mountain Lion attacks can happen though so here's some info on Mountain Lions and what you can do to protect yourself from being attacked. Personally, I would be more concerned with being attacked by another human than a Mountain Lion.

    http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/aug2...-08-05-03.html

    The only things I would add to that article are limit or don't hike solo at night AND it's not generally a wise idea to RUN if encountering a Mountain Lion. It's usually folks who are moving fast like solo trail runners, and sometimes bicyclists, and small people like children that have been separated from others in their group and wandering away domesticated pets that are attacked.

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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    In Colorado, you are more likely to see a mountain lion in the foothills than where the CT generally goes through.

    There may be some mountain lion activity near the Denver portion of the trail, but that's going to be very rare.
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    Almost anywhere in the west, mountain lions are common, if rarely seen. Incidents are few. Be careful but don't worry.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    As Mags said you MAY be more likely to see a Mountain Lion in the vicinity of Boulder than on the CT. I hear they are attracted to all the vegetarian types who frequent the Boulder Farmer's Market and those yappy snappy little lap Toy Group of dogs. Did you know the preferred meal for a Boulder vicinity Puma is a waddling short rotund white skinned female with a Shih Tzu? It's a well known scientific fact!

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    We have them in Durango. I grew up in Colorado anf I have seen them twice over many years. First time was near Jamestown (front range) years back, when one moved into the area and started devouring pets. The other, more recent time was on a bike trail inside the Durango city limits. There are occasional incidents around here. A woman was bitten by one while having a cocktail on her deck on the edge of town, but her husband intervened and they ran it off. The DOW exterminated a pair of year old ones that were snacking on backyard pets not too long ago. The wildlife folks thought they had been born in town and grew up with no fear of humans.

    I don't know of any incidents ever involving hikers on the CT. (The trail is safe. Just be careful in the towns.....)

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    I've seen two in my 47 years in the outdoors, one was in the North Cascades National Park, one was crossing Rampart Range Road near a campsite where some %&$%@! chained up their dogs near their campsite while they went out motorcycling (I'm certain the mountain lion was looking for an easy meal before we drove by). There was a crew putting in a new trail in the Buffalo Creek area a couple summers ago and a mountain lion watched the crew all summer long (spooky), but no confrontations, more of a cat-like curiosity. They ended up naming the trail "Nice Kitty".

    There's also rumored to be wolves in the La Garita Wilderness Area, but again, I've never heard of any confrontations or attacks. There's no doubt there are things that will spook you on the trail, but you're probably a lot safer on the trail from animal attack than you are on your daily commute. IMHO, the greatest risk to loss of life on the CT is lightning, but that can be mitigated to a large degree by getting an early start to your day and careful campsite selection.

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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Did you know the preferred meal for a Boulder vicinity Puma is a waddling short rotund white skinned female with a Shih Tzu? It's a well known scientific fact!
    Change the rotund female to "girl in yoga pants on the way to the Shambahla center" and that's about right...
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    Getting out as much as I can..which is never enough. :) Mags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Did you know the preferred meal for a Boulder vicinity Puma is a waddling short rotund white skinned female with a Shih Tzu? It's a well known scientific fact!
    Change the rotund female to "girl in yoga pants on the way to the Shambahla center" and that's about right...
    Paul "Mags" Magnanti
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    The true harvest of my life is intangible...a little stardust caught,a portion of the rainbow I have clutched -Thoreau

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    "So: any stories? Close encounters?"

    From the ancient history department... Mrs. McPick and I were camped for the summer of '74 in the Junction Creek area, west of Durango. I was in town. She and our large Irish Setter dog were lazing around d the camp. She was sitting in a chair reading. The dog was sleeping at her side. Suddenly she saw movement out of the corner of her eyes. She shifted her eyes and saw a large mountain lion enter our campsite. She didn't move and the dog did not wake up. As she watched, the lion walked right through our camp, heading west, towards the La Plata Mts. When I returned to camp that afternoon, she showed me where the lion had walked through camp and pointed the direction it had taken. As we gazed west, a flock of wild turkeys came running out of the forest. (That was the only time I ever saw turkeys in Colorado.) Quite a day for nature, eh?

    More recently, I was on the CT in '09, east of Breckenridge. As I recall, there was a long ridge, but it wasn't above tree line. The trail up there was frequently used by hikers and Mt bikers. There hadn't been rain for weeks and the trail was mostly just fine dirt. As I walked along, I glanced down and saw a large mountain lion paw print in the dirt. It was absolutely perfect. I stopped and studied it for several minutes. Additionally, I immediately had that eerie feeling I was being watched. (This is when you start hearing the music from "Jaws" in you mind, right?...) My thoughts of camping in one of the lovely meadows along that ridge vanished.

    A minute later, a guy rode up the trail on his mt bike. I greeted him as he rolled up and waved my hand. "Hey, take a look at this," I said pointing to the paw print. He got off the bike and bent over. I could tell when he realized what he was looking at by the way his head jerked down for a closer look. "Whoa," he said... "That's pretty big." I raised my eyebrows and nodded in agreement. "Wanna trade your bike for my pack?" I quipped. He laughed and jumped back on his bike. "How about twenty bucks and the pack?" I said earnestly. He shook his head. "Fifty?" "Be careful up here," he advised as he road off. "OK, but can I at least have a ride," I called after him, not caring that he was going the wrong direction...

    I decided to put some distance between me and that paw print before I had to make camp. Soon the trail took a sharp left turn and started down the mountain. I remember numerous switchbacks but no place to camp. I guess I was about half way down the mountain when I noticed a narrow tail leading slightly up from one of the switchbacks in front of me into the forest. I followed that trail up a short distance and came upon a really sweet flat spot. Perfect for camping that night and thank goodness, because it was getting dark. I set up camp, had dinner, and crawled into my tent and bag, knowing I be in Breck the next day.

    Think for a moment, if you will, about the kind of lightening that flashes across the sky. You know, those big flashes that have seemingly millions of small bolts zipping out from the main body that go on and on? Well that's what the adrenalin felt like blasting through me when I was awakened about 2 AM by the sharp sound of a large stick breaking near my tent. I was instantly awake and alert. I knew I as not alone. I strained my ears listening for any sound. Another stick snapped... Closer... Adrenalin flashed through me again. I was instantly covered with "goose bumps." I grabbed my cook pot and lid and began making as much noise as I could. What ever it was, bolted.

    Needless to say, I will never know what was outside my tent. But I will tell you that I didn't get much more that night. Thanks for the memory!
    When you get to those unexpected situations in life where it’s difficult to figure something out, just ask yourself, “What would MacGyver do?”
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    Those Boulder Pumas like tasty street performers too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frogchop View Post
    I've seen two in my 47 years in the outdoors, one was in the North Cascades National Park, one was crossing Rampart Range Road near a campsite where some %&$%@! chained up their dogs near their campsite while they went out motorcycling (I'm certain the mountain lion was looking for an easy meal before we drove by). There was a crew putting in a new trail in the Buffalo Creek area a couple summers ago and a mountain lion watched the crew all summer long (spooky), but no confrontations, more of a cat-like curiosity. They ended up naming the trail "Nice Kitty".

    There's also rumored to be wolves in the La Garita Wilderness Area, but again, I've never heard of any confrontations or attacks. There's no doubt there are things that will spook you on the trail, but you're probably a lot safer on the trail from animal attack than you are on your daily commute. IMHO, the greatest risk to loss of life on the CT is lightning, but that can be mitigated to a large degree by getting an early start to your day and careful campsite selection.

    You have 47 years of outdoor experience yet you are 46 years old? Is calendar year in CO shorter than other parts of the world?

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    Raised by wolves



    Quote Originally Posted by Kookork View Post
    You have 47 years of outdoor experience yet you are 46 years old? Is calendar year in CO shorter than other parts of the world?


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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by McPick View Post
    I was instantly covered with "goose bumps." I grabbed my cook pot and lid and began making as much noise as I could.
    Maybe the reason something was sniffing around your tent was because you were sleeping with your cookware.

  16. #16

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    Thank you all for the advice, humor, and stories... I live in Colorado Springs and there's some activity in the foothills. They don't usually bother anyone and rarely even eat pets. I have a friend, though, who won't even go walking in her neighborhood by herself because she thinks she'll be a snack. She thinks I'm nuts, so it's good to hear that I'm not that crazy!

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    Hey, I know what we need. Let's discuss the dangers from alligators. Those Florida Trail hikers are interested in that. We can talk and confuse aliigators and crocodiles and hype up the fear to humans by them.

    Hey, I know, lets watch another RIDICULOUS made by Jollywood movie hyping the dangers to humans from wolves like "THE GREY."

    Hey, I know, lets watch "ANACONDA" or "SNAKES ON A PLANE", two more RIDICULOUS FEAR hyped Jollywood movies, and discuss the dangers from Coral, Copperheads, Rattlesnakes, and Water Moccasins while hiking.

    I think the OP asked a legitimate question but I also think our conditioned responses to such potential dangers is too often based in FEAR HYPED media fantasy. In the BIG scheme of things the greatest dangers while hiking typically occur from or surrounding human activity. And the greatest concern in general while hiking, in terms of fatalities, comes from humans tripping and/or falling. Be alert, be aware of your surroundings, inform yourself of potential dangers but don't FOCUS on them, be wise, watch your footing, and YOU WILL HAVE A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL HIKE!

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    I read somewhere that the biggest danger to hikers is water crossings!

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    I would say animals are way down on the list: Medical, Hypothermia, lightning, water crossing, other humans, then animals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maybe clem View Post
    Maybe the reason something was sniffing around your tent was because you were sleeping with your cookware.
    Oh my GOSH, Clem... Thanks for pointing that out to me. All these years I thought it might have been the ribs I had inside my sleeping bag!
    When you get to those unexpected situations in life where it’s difficult to figure something out, just ask yourself, “What would MacGyver do?”
    See ya!
    Rickles McPickles

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