Tale #7: Cougar Snack by Nick Newhall
Most of us probably have wondered why trail builders have a dog around. Sure they're someone to talk to that generally don't talk back and provide needed distractions and entertainment at times by getting lost or stuck in the woods. But the real reason: security.
I was working one day on Megafauna near the bottom, alone, and without my canine companion, Hannah, building a turn. Suddenly the forest went quiet. The chirping and other general animal sounds one hears in the forest suddenly vanished. Never a good sign. I happened to catch a quick flash of brown and a tail 10 yards away from my barrow pit, only to lose it in dappled understory at the same time. Great. A cat.
I decided not to retreat and went from carryimg two buckets of dirt between the barrow pit and turn to my rogue and a single bucket in the hopes of fending off an attack. This effort went on for about thirty minutes in a deathly silent forest. Finally frustration got the better of me and I sat down and broke out my lunch. I'm going out with a full stomach should my feline watcher decide it was hungry enough to make a move. The accused, waiting for a verdict so to say.
Upon finishing my lunch and catching a fleeting glimpse of the cougar even closer, I heard the gentle tinklings of bells. The calvary had arrived. Up ran Toast and Mud, Bryan's dogs. Shortly afterwards both dogs started going off the hook barking. I told Bryan what was going on with the cat.and we left.
Later Bryan would send me a picture of the cougar paw print where I had been having my 'final' meal. To this day I don't go into Megafauna alone and always have my dog with me while digging.