Two hikers by the name of Steve Husong and Liz Alessio had an extremely close encounter with a mountain lion while walking through Skyline Wilderness Park, in Napa, Calif. recently.
While enjoying the park’s physical beauty, Husong spotted the wild animal first, but it was 40 feet away, and since he’s only seen a mountain lion once, he was more fascinated than scared.
“It crouched down on the trail before continuing out of sight,” said Husong, an Afghanistan War veteran. “I’ve been hiking in the woods all my life and I’ve only seen one other mountain lion, so I thought it was cool at first, but I’ve never seen anything like what happened next.”
And what happened next will probably never be forgotten by Husong, and it’ll probably be etched in Alessio’s mind even deeper, because she was way more scared than he was, despite the animal quickly vanishing. And in an effort to keep herself safe she chose to walk ahead of him, and got out of the immediate area.
However, that plan didn’t work, because when she trudged ahead, she saw the mountain again, and this time it was right in back of Husong, about 60 yards away.
From there, Alessio started to sprint while warning her partner that the 150-pound feline was closing in on him.
“I shouted out ‘it’s behind you, we have to run’! and I took off,” she said. “When I looked back, the mountain lion was chasing Steve up the trail and quickly gaining on him. It’s one thing to see an animal off in the distance, but it’s entirely different to have it chase you up a path.”
Mike Bartlett, who works for Napa County Animal Control, said usually mountain lions aren’t the stalking type, so he was a little surprised that it got so close to the two hikers. But he did say people should always be mindful of running into a wild animal while hiking in certain areas, and he reminded people that the wilderness is their territory not ours.
As for Husong, after Alessio warned him about the animal getting closer, he knew he couldn’t outrun it, so he decided to do something else.
“So I stopped, turned around, and stared it straight in the eyes,” he said. And thankfully for the pair, the mountain lion lowered itself towards the ground and eventually walked away.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons