I headed out for a dawn patrol mountain bike ride to ride part of the High Cascade 100 course coming up next Sunday. It was CHILLY this morning. 34 degrees when I hit the trail at 6:45am. BAM! The first brisk morning ride of the pending fall and I didn’t bring my good, warm gloves. My numb hands quickly reminded me that wind chill factor on a bike is for real. Fall comes early for dawn patrol workouts in the high desert.
I started at Swampy Lakes trailhead and jammed Swede Ridge and then down to Tumalo Creek trail. At the intersection I came across the big ‘ole cat tracks pictured above. 4 inches across and fresh over the top of all the bike tracks from yesterday. A good reminder that we’re not alone out there. It’s either a Lynx or Cougar. My son, Benjamin and I got out his Animal Tracks book and narrowed down the tracks from the photo to those two possibilities.
I’ve seen cat tracks a few times running and riding and every time I see them again after the memory cools from the last sighting, I’m reminded how freakin’ big those suckers are. Dang those tracks are big. I occasionally see a big dog’s on the trail and stop and check them out and realize they’re just a dog. But, when you actually come across a cat track and put your hand up to a track and it’s as big or bigger—cat, no mistake.
Be safe out there y’all—runnin’ with the kitties.