One of my neighbors took this photo in the State Park, just up the hill from us. The trails are steep and shaded by chestnut trees, until you reach the top where the dry hilltop meadowland discloses a view from San Jose to San Francisco, all along the bay. There are signs warning "You are Now Entering Mountain Lion Territory. Beware!" I suppose this young cougar couldn't read yet, because he was down by the reservoir, on the wrong side of the signs.
I used to walk alone on these paths in the early morning hours, appreciating the solitude, although sad that my dog is now too old to keep me company. One day I reached the higher levels and saw the signs. I discovered how unwittingly foolhardy I was being. The quiet shadows of the path I had so enjoyed became a possible threat. I stopped presenting myself as a potential free lunch and curtailed my solo hikes in this park.
I am, nonetheless, desperately jealous of my neighbor's good fortune in encountering this magnificent predator in it's natural habitat.
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