Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Day 149: Followed

Day 149, 9/4/14
1169 to 1155 (Donner Pass)
13.7 miles

Up early, climbing to chase the sunrise. In the dim light, a creature paused ahead of me before darting into the shadows. An unfamiliar size and shape. As big as a coyote but it didn't move like that and it lacked a tail. Something I'd never encountered.
Just another PCT sunrise.
I continued hiking, seeking soft light and the pink morning glow. Stopping often to see if I could capture the beauty in photographs. Wanting to take something with me of this wild place.
Yellow of mules ears in autumn.
Crossing a long meadow, at least twenty minutes after seeing the animal for the first time, I turned around to look back up the trail behind me.  There was the creature.   I was being followed. Or stalked.  He was not far behind on the trail.  Way too big for a housecat.  What do bobcats look like?  I wasn't sure but that was my best guess.  And I was disappointed the photo didn't show enough detail...
I'm following you!
We assessed one another for several long moments. Was I seen as prey or was it curiosity?  Did he recognize me as a hiker?  I didn't want him to keep following me but I also didn't want to be confrontational because I felt like an intruder in his home.  I ended up talking to him in what I hoped was a firm tone, and he decided to bound away.

Realizing I had been followed and watched for so long gave me that vulnerable but also alive feeling. A reminder that I am a primate, an animal, a fellow creature. That these forests and mountains I climb through as much as they feel like home to me, they are not my native habitat. They belong to these bobcats and deer and face gnats. 

Still, I kept turning around to look behind me for the rest of the day.
Bridge at North Creek.
 At Peter Grub hut, I met a backpacker named Snowshoe Man from Washington who was out for a night, and has hiked other sections of the PCT. He was hiking south too, so we hiked together for a while and it was great talking to him.  The miles melted away.
Switchbacks down to Donner Pass.
At Donner Pass now.  Steph is meeting me here to give me food for the next section. Feeling very lucky to be out here, seeing these amazing animals and scenery.


  1. Replies
    1. OMG thank you Mary I'm so glad for the confirmation. Really excited I'd never seen one before. Must do some googling to learn more about them now. Yay!