Well, you never cease to be amazed, and you never cease to learn, if you keep you eyes open. If you live long enough, you may just learn that the things you held to be certain will sometimes prove false. Such is the case with wildlife. When you’re in school, you know it all. The professors have all the answers, and who are we to question. But, as you go into the real world, you learn that the wildlife has never read the books. They do as they please when they please, and man made limitations just don’t apply.
Take lions, for example. It’s been my conviction that lions were something you did not have to worry too much about unless you’re walking or hiking in rocky country. And even then, since cats are generally so spooky of people, they give humans a wide berth.
Last week’s horse trip made me rethink that premise a bit. I was Camping along a stream with my partner, the horses in their portable corrals. Nice night and perfect weather once the rain stopped. Thoughts turned to the morrow’s ride to above timberline to examine a trail that would be used the following week for a bighorn sheep count.
About 2:30 in the morning, I awoke to a strange sound… The horse was ‘whoofing’. Not the normal “Snort” they do when they are alarmed, and want to confront something. This was just a “Whoof Whoof.” I jumped up and turned the flashlight on her, as she ignored me and stared off into the woods. I followed his line of sight to a point about 30 feet from my tent. And, there was a full grown lion, a female from my experience, walking past the tent. Unconcerned. It stopped and looked at me as I shined the light at her, hopefully alarming her a bit, and causing some night blindness. But the cat kept walking, stopping about every five feet to examine me, unconcerned. I awoke my partner to be certain I was not hallucinating. Nope, she saw it too.
We watched it for about a minute, at very close range, as it angled up a hill behind the tent. As it went into the trees, I followed it on foot for a short ways, wondering if it might spook and run, but it never did. It just slowly kept walking, as I paced it. Into the timber it went. I went back to the tent, and watched upstream, since I knew that one of their favorite tricks is to circle something and come in from another angle to get a better look. Especially something with which they are unfamiliar. I expected it to approach from another angle, along the stream, but it did not show up again.
So, I guess one lesson is listen to your horse. The other lesson is don’t assume anything when it comes to wildlife… Oh, and sleep in your moccasins.
To what avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?
“Life is a great adventure or it is nothing”
– Helen Keller
“Is there anything worse then being blind? Yes!
The most pathetic person in the whole world is
someone who has sight but has no vision.”
~ Helen Keller
If I knew the consequences of all my actions, I’d never experience any adventures!
Obstacles are those fearful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.