If you tell me I'm in a tsunami evacuation zone, my shoes will already seem wet. Mention, just FYI, that there have been no cougar sightings in a year and a half, and I'll spot one slinking at every turn of the trail.
Add to that a buddy who emails when she spots a bobcat on her driveway, and I can find a saber tooth tiger. And no, I don't want to go camping! Appearing large is the least of my problems.  Make noise!  So there I was singing "Frosty the Snowman" loud and off key on the self-guided nature interpretive trail at Willamette Mission State Park just north of Salem, Oregon on a dark and foggy Monday afternoon.

Except for the cougar possibility, this was a nice two and a half mile walk on level, soggy ground.  I saw the largest black cottonwood in the United States.

My National Geographic Book of Mammals says bobcats (aka wildcats) are shy, solitary, strong, and twice the size of a housecat.  Cougar is another name for mountain lion, puma, or catamount.  Those agile felines can weigh up to two hundred pounds.  Stay calm!  What is that creature crouching by the trail and waiting to pounce on me?

Hark!  I hear reindeer!  Or maybe pumas on the roof.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

Fear of cougar attack populated my otherwise extremely wonderful camping trip to Big Bend many years ago. Didn't ever see one but held my breath on many-a-turn on the trails. Here at Parklands there are rumors of a naked jogger but I haven't see one of those yet either. Happy holidays! (Code word humsoo...should be humoos!)

Collagemama said...

I know Wiley the Wonder Dog would bark at a naked jogger! I think Nevada Barr wrote a mystery about a cougar in Big Bend.


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