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Crazy Mt. Lion encounter - and a SPOT reality check

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  • Erica
    For those that haven t seen this - definitely worth checking out (or in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with noises in the
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 30, 2013
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      For those that haven't seen this - definitely worth checking out (or in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with 'noises in the woods' outside my tent and not freaking myself out). This PCT hiker documented her encounter with 1 (possibly 2) mountain lions that seemed to be stalking her all night. She pressed SOS on her SPOT...and then cancelled it an hour later when she realized she was fine....and search and rescue still came the next morning. A really interesting series of videos to see the turn of events.

      http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-with-a-mountain-lion/

      We've had the SPOT debate on here in the past (I am not a fan, and will not be carrying one) - but I really hope this gives people a reality check when it comes to SPOT and the response time (and her response of 7+ hours was very quick from other stories I've heard).

      Mountain lion safety! Food for thought!
    • John Ladd
      My reading of this is that she was, as much as anything, using the Spot to allow recovery of her body rather than for any thought someone would arrive soon
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 30, 2013
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        My reading of this is that she was, as much as anything, using the Spot to allow recovery of her body rather than for any thought someone would arrive soon enough to scare off the lions. Though she was freaked enough that maybe she actually had part of her mind thinking there was a Seal Six team awaiting her Spot call for instant response

        She had both a helicopter visit at first light and 2 guys who started hiking toward her at 5 am. Not a shabby performance by the Spot folks in contacting the local SAR people and the locals getting to her. I'm not sure I could get a pizza that quickly if I called for it at 11 pm.

        I remain a Spot fan, though more for keeping my wife comfortable than for a 911 call. But if I ever needed it, I'm pretty impressed with responses that actually occur at least here in California.

        John Curran Ladd
        1616 Castro Street
        San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
        415-648-9279


        On Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 8:49 PM, Erica <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
         

        For those that haven't seen this - definitely worth checking out (or in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with 'noises in the woods' outside my tent and not freaking myself out). This PCT hiker documented her encounter with 1 (possibly 2) mountain lions that seemed to be stalking her all night. She pressed SOS on her SPOT...and then cancelled it an hour later when she realized she was fine....and search and rescue still came the next morning. A really interesting series of videos to see the turn of events.

        http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-with-a-mountain-lion/

        We've had the SPOT debate on here in the past (I am not a fan, and will not be carrying one) - but I really hope this gives people a reality check when it comes to SPOT and the response time (and her response of 7+ hours was very quick from other stories I've heard).

        Mountain lion safety! Food for thought!


      • basecampbound
        I think there are a lot of people who are not aware of the fact that helicopters don t generally fly at night, and that rescues can often take upwards of 10
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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          I think there are a lot of people who are not aware of the fact that helicopters don't generally fly at night, and that rescues can often take upwards of 10 hours or more. I'm actually pretty impressed with how quickly they got there.

          I carry a spot, because my husband freaks out when I hike alone, but I personally (and this is just my personal opinion) have vowed not to use it, unless I am completely incapacitated and unable to help myself. I guess I fear causing an unneeded rescue more than the animals. Having known a former SAR member, I know what they go through, and that there is actually no way to "cancel" a 911. I am also cognizant of the fact that many emergencies are actually resolved long before they get there, so a calm, clear head can be the best tool you have.

          I can relate to the fear tho.... I once spent a night with three aggressive bears circling the tent and coming right to the door, (my goodness they have awful breath!). I had one hand ready to hit 911 (presumably for body recovery as I knrew they couldn't do anything) and the other hand on the bear spray (prepared that I would get it too). Luckily, they went away after an hour. A second incident left me feeling a little foolish when I was awakened in the middle of the night with a lot of noise right next to my tent, (I was pretty scared). After 10 minutes all was quiet, so I went to sleep. Several hours later, when I got up to go to the bathroom, I discovered it was a sweet little deer who had decided that he wanted to sleep right next to me, (and he stayed there all night). I felt a bit foolish over that one, and learned a lot about staying calm after that.



          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Erica" <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
          >
          > For those that haven't seen this - definitely worth checking out (or in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with 'noises in the woods' outside my tent and not freaking myself out). This PCT hiker documented her encounter with 1 (possibly 2) mountain lions that seemed to be stalking her all night. She pressed SOS on her SPOT...and then cancelled it an hour later when she realized she was fine....and search and rescue still came the next morning. A really interesting series of videos to see the turn of events.
          >
          > http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-with-a-mountain-lion/
          >
          > We've had the SPOT debate on here in the past (I am not a fan, and will not be carrying one) - but I really hope this gives people a reality check when it comes to SPOT and the response time (and her response of 7+ hours was very quick from other stories I've heard).
          >
          > Mountain lion safety! Food for thought!
          >
        • ravi_jmt2013
          I read about a similar encounter with a persistent bear where the hikers packed up and moved camp at night. I wonder whether that could have been a better
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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            I read about a similar encounter with a persistent bear where the hikers packed up and moved camp at night. I wonder whether that could have been a better option than staying in camp all night. Without any possibility of sleep maybe night hiking and moving on would be better although I guess it depends on the location and conditions.

            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Erica" <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
            >
            > For those that haven't seen this - definitely worth checking out (or in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with 'noises in the woods' outside my tent and not freaking myself out). This PCT hiker documented her encounter with 1 (possibly 2) mountain lions that seemed to be stalking her all night. She pressed SOS on her SPOT...and then cancelled it an hour later when she realized she was fine....and search and rescue still came the next morning. A really interesting series of videos to see the turn of events.
            >
            > http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-with-a-mountain-lion/
            >
            > We've had the SPOT debate on here in the past (I am not a fan, and will not be carrying one) - but I really hope this gives people a reality check when it comes to SPOT and the response time (and her response of 7+ hours was very quick from other stories I've heard).
            >
            > Mountain lion safety! Food for thought!
            >
          • Erica
            I really wonder what the proper response was here? It really makes me think - they say that if you see the mountain lion she s not a threat, but this
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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              I really wonder what the 'proper' response was here? It really makes me think - they 'say' that if you see the mountain lion she's not a threat, but this really made me question that entirely. The fact that they were somewhat stalking her for hours seems like such odd behavior - she did all the right things..threw things, yelled, had her trekking poles to make herself seem big. She did have the guts to set up her tent (which requires crouching down, which they say you are NOT supposed to do).

              It's funny - because I'm still battling with a fear of noises at night when I'm solo. I went up to the San Rafael wilderness last weekend and there were noises around my camp of animals moving all night. I felt like I was in the middle of an animal nightclub. Some crunching of leaves very close to my tent at one point...I never felt near inspired to get out and see what was causing any of it and instead resorted to putting my headphones on as earplugs so I could get some sleep. But, in retrospect it's probably pretty dumb to put in earplugs and not check it out. I assumed it was probably coyotes or deer (because their scat was everywhere on the trail) - but easily could have been mountain lions, too.
            • Stephen Kundell
              Any animal behaviorists out there? I am curious about her response. You are told to make yourself look large in the presence of a mountain lion, but one of the
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                Any animal behaviorists out there? I am curious about her response. You
                are told to make yourself look large in the presence of a mountain lion,
                but one of the advantages ape species have is the ability to throw
                things. We certainly throw small rocks at bears. Does anyone know if
                that strategy is effective in discouraging a mountain lion. The bending
                over to pick up rocks would make me a little nervous, temporarily
                appearing more vulnerable. On the other hand, when things start flying
                by or hopefully hit the cat, it would look to the animal like we have
                magic powers to project objects toward them.
              • Ray Rippel
                Good day, Erica, I don t mean to downplay your experience, or the experience of the PCT-hiker, but whenever I think of sounds outside the tent I always think
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                  Good day, Erica,

                  I don't mean to downplay your experience, or the experience of the PCT-hiker, but whenever I think of sounds outside the tent I always think of my experience, described here: http://jmtbook.com/john-muir-trail-the-great-squirrel-incident/.

                  If you haven't read it, I thought you might enjoy it.

                  Good hiking, Ray



                • John Ladd
                  Ray s great squirrel incident is good argument for sleeping cowboy. At least you can figure out where the sounds are coming from. Also a good reason not to
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                    Ray's great squirrel incident is good argument for sleeping cowboy. At least you can figure out where the sounds are coming from. Also a good reason not to sleep cowboy under a pine tree.

                    On Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 10:27 AM, Ray Rippel <ray.rippel@...> wrote:
                     ... I always think of my experience, described here: http://jmtbook.com/john-muir-trail-the-great-squirrel-incident/.

                    I
                  • ravi_jmt2013
                    ... I never felt near inspired to get out and see what was causing any of it and instead resorted to putting my headphones on as earplugs so I could get some
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                      --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Erica" <xericamunsonx@...> wrote:
                      >
                      I never felt near inspired to get out and see what was causing any of it and instead resorted to putting my headphones on as earplugs so I could get some sleep. But, in retrospect it's probably pretty dumb to put in earplugs and not check it out.
                      >

                      I have found that I sleep best when camping at a location where I can hear a stream or river. The ambient noise of the water does a good job of masking all but the closest sounds (the ones I would want to hear).
                    • Erica
                      Too funny, Ray! I at least commend you for having the courage to look - I would have been cowering in my sleeping bag with headphones...and awoke in the
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                        Too funny, Ray! I at least commend you for having the courage to look - I would have been cowering in my sleeping bag with headphones...and awoke in the morning still freaked out! Ha!

                        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, Ray Rippel <ray.rippel@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Good day, Erica,
                        >
                        > I don't mean to downplay your experience, or the experience of the
                        > PCT-hiker, but whenever I think of sounds outside the tent I always think
                        > of my experience, described here:
                        > http://jmtbook.com/john-muir-trail-the-great-squirrel-incident/.
                        >
                        > If you haven't read it, I thought you might enjoy it.
                        >
                        > Good hiking, Ray
                        >
                      • cjoslyn99
                        HYOH when it comes to SPOT and other things, but for me I would not be taking videos if I was really that scared. Reminds me of the Blair Witch Project. Two
                        Message 11 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                          HYOH when it comes to SPOT and other things, but for me I would not be
                          taking videos if I was really that scared. Reminds me of the Blair
                          Witch Project.

                          Two times I was genuinely fearful - having a bear stalk me for a good
                          mile along Palisade Creek and getting caught in a lightning storm below
                          Forester - I was definitely not taking pictures or running videos of
                          myself to capture the moment.

                          End up like the Timothy Treadwell

                          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "Erica" wrote:
                          >
                          > For those that haven't seen this - definitely worth checking out (or
                          in my case, part of me is regretting watching it, as I still battle with
                          'noises in the woods' outside my tent and not freaking myself out). This
                          PCT hiker documented her encounter with 1 (possibly 2) mountain lions
                          that seemed to be stalking her all night. She pressed SOS on her
                          SPOT...and then cancelled it an hour later when she realized she was
                          fine....and search and rescue still came the next morning. A really
                          interesting series of videos to see the turn of events.
                          >
                          >
                          http://mexicotocanada2013.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-harrowing-night-wi\
                          th-a-mountain-lion/
                          >
                          > We've had the SPOT debate on here in the past (I am not a fan, and
                          will not be carrying one) - but I really hope this gives people a
                          reality check when it comes to SPOT and the response time (and her
                          response of 7+ hours was very quick from other stories I've heard).
                          >
                          > Mountain lion safety! Food for thought!
                          >
                        • vegasjmtdave
                          Quite a night she had there. What struck me first though was the pitch and tone of her voice. Animals don t know what you are saying and the high pitch whine
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jul 31, 2013
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                            Quite a night she had there. What struck me first though was the pitch and tone of her voice. Animals don't know what you are saying and the high pitch whine she was using most of the time probably got picked up as fear and vulnerability. That "go away" that she kept repeating probably sounded more like pleading than threatening. I'm not saying that she was afraid or anything because she is obviously quite brave. I do thing though that lowering the pitch of your voice in such a situation whether you are male or female will be more effective.

                            On the SPOT, I'm with John and the rest who realize that if you are out in the wilderness, then you better not expect an immediate rescue response no matter what service you use or who you call. At least with Spot you got as chance of being located if you get yourself in a pickle and you can hold out long enough.
                            >
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