Monday, October 5, 2015

New Boots, Scat from a Mountain Lion?

When I got up this morning I wanted to take my new hiking boots out for their first real hike. I'd already taken them out for two short walks, one on the walking path in the Laguna Park east of town and the second on an easy hike on the Kortum Trail from Shell Beach to Peaked Hill.

Annadel Park would give me my first real test of how the boots work on trails that can be rocky.

My new Keen Light Hiking Boots
I chose to hike Annadel's Cobblestone Trail up to Rough Go Trail. They make four and a half mile loop with Orchard Trail, just about right for an two hour hike to try out new boots.

At the entrance to Cobblestone Trail the Park Service posted a sign warning hikers that they may encounter a mountain lion on the trail.


I've never seen a mountain lion in Annadel Park
Like many others, I don't worry about encountering a lion. I hike alone and I hike very quietly. I suppose there is a small chance that someday I might stumble upon a mountain lion. But I'd say it's unlikely. If anything, the slim chance of seeing a mountain lion adds a little interest to the walk. (Yesterday's paddle out to the mouth of Tomales is similarly enhanced by the knowledge that Great White Sharks swim in those waters.)

I saw this large scat on the trail near the place where Cobblestone Trail meets Rough Go Trail.

The key is for size reference. Furry scat, from an animal about as big as an adult human.

I thought that this scat may have been left by a mountain lion. Someone with more experience with large carnivorous mammals might be able to say with more authority what I saw.

A break about halfway through at the trail junction

Here's a map of the route I hiked today.

4 comments:

Alden Smith said...

The possibility of an encounter with a mountain lion must spice up a walk!
How do you find hiking with poles? helpful?

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Alden—

Yes, the possibility of seeing a mountain lion adds some interest to the walk. I don't think too much about mountain lions, though, because I imagine that they do all they can to avoid confrontations with humans. I think more about rattlesnakes because I've seen them in the park and I don't like surprising them.

The hiking poles are helpful. With them, hiking engages some upper body muscles making the exercise feel more complete. Plus hiking poles help prevent falls and stumbles. I don't like hiking without them. They take a little getting used to, but once you become accustomed to them, they're like good friends on the trail.

Alden Smith said...

I have a dodgy right knee which means my main exercise is cycling and kayaking and sailing (although the sailing isn't really aerobic exercise). I miss walking distances and the tramping that I used to do, I was wondering whether the poles would take some weight off my knee and extend my walking distance - but maybe I shouldn't do too much walking, put swimming once a week into my schedule and save the knee cartilage.

Dan Gurney said...

Probably best to ask your doctor about that.

For my part, my knees give me some pain while walking—especially on stairs and while climbing steeper trails. That's another reason I like the poles: they take off enough weight to really help reduce the pain that otherwise would keep me off the trails. So, to answer your question, yes, for me the poles do take weight off my knees and they do extend my walking distances.