Fear and Running In Sandy Oregon, part 2

So last week I told you about my fear of the local Mountain Lion and how I was able to overcome my fear. Either that or the mountain lion moved on and I didn’t have a reason to fear anymore. Well, there is a little more to the story.

Friday evening I was running on the trail and actually thinking about how relieved I am that the mountain lion is no longer there and I can run on my favorite trail again without worry. Not 10 minutes later after having that thought I actually saw it. Yep. I saw it.

I was about to enter a segment of the trail and up ahead of me was what, at first, I thought was a dog. I have a habit of always stopping when I see a dog that is off leash, since I have no idea what they will do, so I stopped. The animal stopped too and we both stared into each other’s eyes for several moments. As I stared at it I was trying to figure out what it was. I immediately figured out that it wasn’t a dog, though it was about the size of one. Incredibly, the first thought in my head was, “Is that a fox?!?”  I have no idea why I thought I was seeing a fox. I pretty quickly deduced it wasn’t a fox. I then realized that it was moving and acting like a cat, was it just a big cat? It was staring at me in that very intense way cats to and it was twitching it’s tail. But this was way bigger than any cat I had ever seen. It was as big as a mid-sized to large dog. Then It hit me, and I thought, “Oh shit. This is that cougar.” So I backed away and decided to run on the road for the rest of my run.

The funny thing about it was I was not afraid during this encounter at all.  I didn’t feel threatened by it at all. In fact, I felt kind of lucky to have had “a moment” with this very elusive creature. It’s rare to see a cougar in the wild and I feel very lucky to have seen one. That overwhelming fear that gripped me before is now gone, and it is a relief. I am not sure I am going to run on the trail for awhile, but it isn’t out of fear. Well, maybe a little out of fear. More out of respect. The cougar has decided that it likes living near my running trail and that is fine. I can be inconvenienced for awhile until it figures out this isn’t the best place to live.

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