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!
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!