Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Cat Country

A warning was in our local paper this week.

Caution was being urged for people hiking and biking along the trails of Santa Barbara and Montecito after a recent rash of mountain lion sightings in the front country.

Trail users are advised to not travel alone, avoid dusk and dawn hours, and can you believe this?... to carry rocks in their pockets or a stick in case of a run-in with the normally solitary and elusive cats.

What are we supposed to do with the pebbles in our pockets? pelt the poor animal? wave the stick? throw it? reason with it, see here mr. cougar, i've got a stick and i'm not afraid to use it!We were always taught to get big, raise your arms, yell. And never, ever, run.

But this brings me to my next point. That's what we do. Running on these trails. Great. I mean i always knew they were out there, it's the Los Padres National Forest. But you just don't see them. Or the bears. My mind works this way, if don't see it, it's not there.(this doesn't apply to spirituality however!) . So what to do?... I do not want to add one more speck of weight to my body when i run, as it is i choose trail shoes based on weight first, traction second, cuteness third (at least my feet can look good).

here is a pic my husband took of me on one of the trails near where we live, can you see it winding up the mountain? see our town way down below? the pacific ocean in the distance? any mountain lions? my red face?

I've got it! bells! the kind you ring to let the bears know you are coming. i could run with bells and scare (hopefully) away the cats, at the very least, warn them i'm headed their way. I like my idea. I'm going to try it tomorrow morning, well past dawn. wellll past.

I'll let you know how my little experiment works.

or not.

oh god that's a horrible thing to say. sorry mom if your reading this. just kidding.

xx lori


  1. gosh how exciting - mountain lions and bears! do you run on your own then? that book cover is great - the landscape looks fabulous and wild - and very steep!!! no chance of me suprising any mountain lions - they'd hear me puffing long before. Maybe bells are a good idea - like housecats wear to scare birds? its a nice picture of you with bells on your shoes like the lady on the white horse at banbury cross. come home safe though - we have much blogging to do!! xx

  2. val, ha! bells on shoes, wait! that is a wonderful idea, i didn't think of that, actually i was just going to carry the bell, it comes like a bracelet, but tying them on my shoes is brilliant! really val, thanks. oh and yes, alone, husband and i have opposing schedules as well as athletic endurance these days and i can't talk any friends into it. once or twice maybe but not on a regular basis! i'm getting too old for this...

  3. Good grief. I'm bad enough with stags getting too near in our local park. Still guess it's going to help with your average speed! Lx

  4. I have a Swiss cow bell, shall I send it you? Makes a good loud noise, but is pretty heavy. Bells on shoes sound much nicer. Good idea, Val, I also like that song!
    I admire you for RUNNING there, Lori. I once walked down the Grand Canyon and forgot I had to walk UP again. Phew, will never forgot my wheezing! But your countryside looks amazing! Wish we could walk (!) together there. Then I could do a robber`s ladder with you (do you also use that expression?)when a bear appears and he would think we are very tall and scary.

  5. dear l, stags have sharp horns right? it seems running is chancy everywhere! the beach has its sand holes, the road has motorists and bicylists.oh my.

    dear angela, you got to go down the grand canyon?? i am jealous, i have only stood on the rim. my husband did the rim to rim hike recently, a friend invited him, takes a permit(of course)and there wasnt room for me...i promise if you come here i will gladly walk with you on this trail, we can even pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the top while we take in the view, gorgeous!

    xx lori

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xoxo lori