Archive for the ‘Cougar’ Tag

Capturing The Moment — Mountain Lion   5 comments

5109ef13309ae.preview-620Image by Jay Carey

Many of us who spend time in Sabino Canyon, and the Tucson area mountains in general, would love to have an opportunity to photograph a mountain lion. Tuesday morning Jay and Nancy Carey were able to video a big cat near the Cactus Panic area, which is where the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) kindergarten program takes place. This is an area when mountain lions have been spotted  before, so all SCVN are on alert as they work with children. Click the link below to read more in the Arizona Daily Star.



Hiking Blackett’s Ridge In The Sunset and Full Moon Light   10 comments

Panoramic view with Sabino Canyon on the left, Blackett’s Ridge end of trail in the middle, Bear Canyon on the right. Image by kenne

“What a great idea,” I thought, when one of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist (SCVN) ask if any of the trainees were interested in hiking Blackett’s Ridge late Tuesday afternoon to see the sunset as the full moon begins its rise. Not only would there be great photo opts, there would be the experience of hiking down the ridge in the light of the full moon. “Cool!”

On the short drive home after the SCVN training, I thought more about hiking in the light of a full moon. However, I wasn’t sure about the time of the hike, nor the name of the naturalist who made the announcement. I did recall hearing something about “3:30 pm.”

So, at 3:30 pm the next day, I was at the Sabino Canyon Center. After waiting for a few minutes and not seeing anyone I recognized, I decided to head out — I may have missed the “moonlight” hikers, or if they were leaving later, I could wait for them at the trail end.

Stopping several times along the way to take photos and video, I still completed the upward leg in one hour and thirty-seven minutes, which was faster than when hiking with others, making my arrival sooner than expected. Other than it being a warmer than normal Tucson day in October, the hiking conditions were great in a cloudless sky. Even so, I didn’t pass anyone going up or coming down as I hiked the ridge.

Once reaching the end of the trail, it was clear I was all alone. Still, I had hopes others would be coming up soon, having already concluded I had left about thirty minutes too early — so I waited.

After being at the trail end for thirty minutes I decided to start the hike down the ridge, even though I would not get sunset photos at the end of the trail, I could still get them on the way down.

I was only a few minutes down the trail when I saw the naturalist who had suggested the moonlight hike.(I now know his name is Phil.)  He was alone and on his cellphone — we shared howdy’s as I passed him, continuing on down the ridge. I was surprised that no one was with him, even more so having now experienced the moonlight hike — maybe next time!

After stopping to get sunset and full moon shots, I continued down the ridge, now by moonlight.

I always try to be cautious when hiking, especially when alone. The only movement around me was my shadow from the moonlight.

Hiking in the light of the moon is a real adventure — I was loving it. However, I must admit that hiking all along at night, and knowing that mountain lions are generally nocturnal, was a little disconcerting. I could almost feel eyes watching me!

About an hour from the center, I called Joy to let her know I should be home a little after seven. Having previously told her I would be hiking with others, I told her I had hiked Blackett’s Ridge alone. Of course, I got a real ass-chewing — better on the phone than later.

Wait, there is more to this story.

The following day I was in Sabino Canyon observing one of the SCVN classes for elementary school kids in the riparian area. After the class I began the walk back to the center parking lot with some fellow SCVN trainees. As we walked, I shared my Blackett’s Ridge moonlight story. Of course, there were questions about the moonlight hike’s difficulty, to which I said my only concern was for mountains lions.

“Mountain lions,” said one of my fellow trainees, “I have a story for you about mountains and Blackett’s Ridge!”

It so happens that his wife is a guide at Canyon Ranch Resort. A while back, she was leading a group on Blackett’s Ridge when they came upon a mother mountain lion with two cubs feeding on a recent kill. They promptly stopped and slowly moved back down the trail. As they proceeded down the ridge, they met a young woman and told her about the lion and cubs near the trail, suggesting she turn around. However, she wanted to see the lion and her cubs, so they warned her, whatever she did, not to run from the mountain lion.

The young woman proceeded on up the trail — moments later she was screaming and running back down the trail with the mountain lion coming after her. Obviously, she had not followed their advise about running from the mountain lion. The group begin making all kinds of noise and waving jackets to try to cause the lion to stop, which she did. After slowing her chase, the mountain lion watch for a moment, then returned to her cubs.

There was a part of me thinking, “I didn’t need to hear that story!”


Images and video by kenne

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