Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Destination by Whim - A Mountain Lion
Destination by whim. For the last ten years or so I've been trying to get The Michellles (three els when referred to collectively) to move and had, somehow, gotten the notion that Tuscon would be good for wintering. It was time to go see.
By the time I got to Socorro (to the tune of that Glen Campbell song) it was already too hot. I camped at my spot on Caballo Lake where the braying of sandhill cranes competes with coyote howls. But if it was this hot here, it was gonna be WAY too hot in Tuscon. So I went to Silver City and took highway 180 north.
The Fall colors were hard at it and in Alma we took the road to Cooney's Tomb where, just beyond the "residential area," we crossed the creek (4WD!!!) and found a nice hidey-hole next to a tidy, well-built corral.
We, Smith and I, strolled back down to the creek where she clambered aboard a huge cottonwood and stroad its decks, practicing her Captain stances and yelling "Avast!" and "Ha'd tuh sta'bd matey!"
After a while I started back, calling every 100 feet. I could see her moving between the crotches, ignoring my encouragements. (Whaddya expect? She IS a cat.) After waiting a bit, I returned and stood peering up into the mass and calling. It was so big I had to crane back and it wasn't until I paused to rest a moment that I noticed a cat, the very one I was interested in, nonchalantly sniffing an old limb lying on the ground a few feet in front of me. Cats!!!
I picked her up and carried her toward camp until, after about 300 feet, she started squirming and (silently) yelling, "Put me down! Put me down!" Assured she wasn't gonna go back to the tree, I wandered back to camp and she, enjoyed summiting the ones along the way.
Near on tuh dusk I heard a truck stop on the road and a door close. I waited at the trail and, sure enough, 'bout five minutes later a bean pole of a guy showed up. He said he'd heard there was a corral and he'd come to look at it. I was skeptical and thinking him a rancher investigating his new "neighbor" asked how long he'd lived here. Turned out he'd moved down from Aragon a couple of months ago. He was into photography and really had come to see the corral.
I invited him up and led him through camp. Somehow the conversation drifted to some pictures he'd gotten of a mountain lion a few days earlier. He'd managed, with his little Cybershotesque happysnapper, to catch the lion in mid-stride as it, nearly 1,000 feet away, leaped for safety after it heard the click of his first "shot." I gave him my email but he doesn't use a computer so we'll only get to see it if his son follows through. But it's nice to know they haven't killed 'em all. And this one was a fine specimen!
Photos arrived (11/18/16)!!
The lion is almost dead center.
A bit left of and below center.
...the upper image. One could mistake it for a bobcat. Its tail is hidden by the rock.
It's right rear leg is forward and its tail is above and parallel to the left rear leg. The white area is at the base of its tail. It moved approximately 200 feet between the time it heard the click of his first shot. (Youse might wanna consider carryin' some catnip when yer out hiking in the Alma area.)
Not having seen the sequoias in the Fall, I headed west. Somewhere east of Barstow this rabbit showed itself.
Bunny behind Barrel (cactus).
Cactus growing out of rock!!!
And that fine, crafted-with-enthusiasm and attention-to-detail roofrack tonied out our "overlander" look, don'tchewtink?