Lokul Lore #3: Safety First Cougar by Kurt Komarnitsky
Here is a true story from August of 2018 on the Tokul East area. I was riding alone down Safety First before its was logged on a sunny afternoon. Ahead of me the trail curves around left and does a 180 so it goes slightly parallel with the trail I am on. I saw a movement out of the corner of my left eye and looked over at the trail 20 feet to my left and locked eyes with a huge cougar. His head was the size of a basketball and his tail curled around in the air and seemed 6 feet long. He stopped, I stopped. We were both on a collision course at the turn on that trail if I had not caught that movement. There was nothing but 20 feet of ferns between us. I lifted my bike up in the air and starting yelling. He starred at me and did not move for the longest time it seemed. Then he gradually turned around and moved in a powerful graceful stroll the other way on the trail glancing back at me.
I continue to yell for 5 more minutes. I was never scared. Then I turned around and started riding back the other way as fast as I could and only then did I get scared as I glanced behind me or worried that he would circle around in front of me.
Many of you know there is a game cam less than a mile from there that a nice lady named Cecilia has set up with her contact info. I sent her an email on it and she sent me back the attached pics and video. She says there were 8 different cats in the area and many recognizable by collars or ear tags.The one in the video is the one I believe I had a run in with. To this day I now ALWAYS carry bear spray velcro strapped to my top tube for quick access and wonder what would have happened if we had run right into each other on that trail.
Be safe out there, the cougars are watching.