A woman hiking and camping in Saguaro National Park, AZ had a terrifyingly close encounter with a mountain lion at her campsite. She recorded the encounter in the video below.
Saguaro National Park closed the campsite shortly after the encounter. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported.
Here’s her account from the video’s description:
“*THIS WAS NOT A TYPICAL COUGAR ENCOUNTER*
I was on a five day solo backpacking trip in Saguaro National Park East. On day four I got to camp at about 3pm. The campground is called the Grass Shack and is directly on the Arizona Trail, in Passage 9.
At about 3:50-4:00pm I heard a herd of deer snort-wheezing and stampeding up out of the canyon where I was camping. It gave me pause because I’ve NEVER heard them snort-wheeze that much intensity before. That should have been a BIG hint to me! Sadly I didn’t get the hint and after they stopped bolting I went back to setting up my camp.
After probably three to five minutes I turned around and there was a HUGE cat clinging to a tree about 10 feet from me. It was perched about 2-3 feet off the ground on the trunk of a tree. It was staring at me with the most gorgeous grey eyes. Absurdly I remember thinking that it’s eyes looked like the eyes of a cat that belongs to a friend of mine.
I backed slowly the couple of feet to my bear spray and my garmin inreach. I put the garmin in my pocket and grabbed a rock. I was lobbing rocks with one hand and had the bear spray at the ready with the other. After a bit the cat was looking more confident and really had the “Ima Pounce A Mouse” look. I got really worried then and thought the motion of throwing rocks was actually arousing it more.
So I grabbed my phone, which was powered off, and a few rocks and got in my tent. I get little to no cell service in the park despite the close proximity to Tucson. I dropped one tent flap because at that angle, I thought the flap would completely block my movements. I could still clearly see it though. It was then I turned my iPhone on and started filming. I took one 5+ minutes video then stopped and started filming again a few seconds/minutes later. I edited out sections where I dropped the phone on the floor of the tent. I also edited several times when I was throwing rocks because the video was all over the place.
Finally a glorious flock of Scrub Jays (exact subspecies unknown) flew over and started to mob the cat. After a few pecks from the birds he got down out of the tree. I thought he was leaving but he came back. I dropped the phone in a panic because I realized he was going to snatch a bag of my dirty clothes! Something inside me said I HAD to stop the cat from taking those clothes. It just seemed important that he NOT get them.
Right after he left I started getting responses to my frantic inreach texts. The National Park Staff said I should leave immediately. I didn’t need to be told twice either! Lol I hoofed it out of the park, ten miles in the dark, in 4 hours! For context I a flabby 46 year old, not a trail-hardened thru-hiker.
I was told later that this was THE most alarming Human/Cougar encounter documented in the Rincons since the 1890’s.
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