Mountain Lion Anxiety

We were hiking at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in Tucson, Arizona. Attention to each of my footsteps was greater this spring day as the cold-blooded rattlesnakes may be warming themselves on nearby rocks. So my footsteps were carefully placed as were my hands when I used a rock for balance or to sit on and have a snack.

Parallel to the trail we were hiking was a creek where a woman was hiking. She exclaimed she was glad to see us since so few people were on the trails. The woman mentioned being anxious about a mountain lion jumping on her. There are mountain lion sightings at this park … rare, but do happen. I actually saw a mountain lion a few years back just outside the park! Thankfully I was a distance from it and could comfortably watch it.

I mentioned to the woman most healthy wild animals keep away from humans. Also, if we provide some noise, thus notice, an animal becomes aware someone is close and will move elsewhere. My go-to noise is to yell “yahoo” a couple of times, especially when near berry bushes, narrow trail passages, and any place I think an animal may be sleeping. I never wish to startle an animal, any animal, as they will take an offensive move when disturbed by an unknown. (It is comical though when another human being approaches me after hearing my yahoo and they wonder what is in the area or what is up with me!)

Here is an information sign, I saw at a local state park, regarding how to act if you encounter a mountain lion. In the meantime, enjoy the outdoors and give animals space to live in the area too. Many are there in the landscape you are walking through … your heavy footsteps, clicking hiking poles, conversation with another, or your “yahoo” provides notice of your arrival … thus you are not bothering them and they are not bothering you! Life goes on in the natural world!

Good information!

A few minutes later, I heard the woman’s yahoo! I hope she had a good hike! No mountain lion reports were made this day!

Aliso Creek Bicycle Path & My Observations

I started my bicycle ride from the Aliso Wood Canyon Nature Preserve in Mission Viejo, California. I love stopping by one area of the creek because I know I will see birds.

Sure enough, there was a white-faced ibis, snowy egret and mallard with 6 chicks! They were so cute following their mother down the creek!

White-face ibis
Snowy egret
Mallard with 6 chicks

Then I decided to bicycle ride more miles in the other direction from the visitor center. I was surprised to see this warning sign as it was not here last year:

Always read warning signs!

What was bringing the mountain lions to the area’s trails. Usually healthy wild animals will stay away from humans. Something obviously changed in the past year.

As I rode the landscape changed. Apparently a wildfire had come close to the water treatment plant in the area and the hillsides were burned. No doubt this was the reason mountain lions were being displaced and now within eyesight of humans hiking and bicycling on the wilderness trails. 

Fire burned area
No place for an animal to shelter or find food

My last visit I did cycle one mountain bike trail here. This time though I decided I did not want to be solo rider on the trail. I would not be making enough noise to let a mountain lion know I was in the area. As wildfires burn more acres of land, wildlife will be displaced. Are you doing your part to reduce wildfire risks? No one, humans or wildlife, want to lose their homes. Do what you can to protect your community.