On Saturday I did a solo creek crawl up Sugarloaf Creek, in the Mayacamas mountains. Beginning at the parking lot for the Goodspeed trail, I went directly up the creek, taking my time and enjoying the landscape.
About a quarter mile I started coming across tracks here and there, one of which appears in the photo. The knife in the photo is about 4 3/4 inches long closed. The track appears to be feline; there are no claw marks as would be expected for a canine. It seems too large to be a bobcat. I'm thinking Lion.
The sand was wet and there were sharp ridges in the tracks, so I figured they were fresh...maybe even within the past 15 minutes or so. I crept upstream as quietly as I could, with my camera in hand. There is a special feeling to stalking a mountain lion, alone on a creek. You feel very alive and alert; there is a thrill to knowing that there is an apex predator nearby and that you might be privileged to get a glimpse of it.
After another quarter mile a well-maintained human trail appeared on the flank of the stream, and I saw no more tracks. I finished my crawl by going up a long series of beautiful cascading waterfalls and ponds.
Amos Clifford, Guide and Restorative Council Mentor; trainer in restorative justice, restorative dialogue with nature, and circle-keeping and the way of council; mentor.