Mountain Lion on Sweetwater Trail
By an edhat reader
I was hiking on the Sweetwater trail yesterday when I encountered a lazy mountain lion, lolling in the shade and looking out over Lake Cachuma. It was 103, after all, and I was doing a heat acclimation hike in preparation for an upcoming visit to the Grand Canyon. I spotted her/him/it before she saw me. Once she finally noticed me she just sat and watched until I said something. After that, she took off down the trail and vanished, I thought, until a few minutes later when I saw her again. At that point, I realized I needed to get out of there and I turned back toward the campground to report it to the ranger and hitch a ride back to my car parked at Bradbury Dam.
Unfortunately, the ranger was less than helpful and, after looking at my photo, dismissed my sighting as a bobcat. He added that it was to be expected to encounter these animals "it is their native habitat" and invited me to head back down the trail to my car because he was "not a taxi service." Instead of making myself lion bate, I opted to face a walk along the 154 highway about a mile back to Bradbury Dam. I'm not afraid of much but mountain lions are nothing to mess with.