I’m not sure how or why, but for some reason I’ve developed a huge fear of mountain lions. Personally, I blame Google and its abundant availability of frightening information. Naturally, this phobia was top-of-mind when my sister and I visited Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming a few weeks ago. The park is about half an hour outside of Cheyenne, and other than a looming fear of being pounced on by an oversized, hungry cat, it’s an awesome place to hike, horseback ride, or hang out by the lake.
Upon entering the park, I decided to take control of my own destiny by casually inquiring about mountain lions as I paid the park entrance fee.
“Soo,” I said in my most relaxed voice possible. “Do we need to be worried about mountain lions?”
“Umm, probably not,” the park employee said, holding back a smile. “They’re very reclusive. They rarely come down to these parts, with all the people and all.”
Yes, of course. How silly of me.
This information allowed me to semi-relax while we snacked on apples and cheese before starting our hike. As we ate, we checked out a map of the trail system and selected a trail that would lead to a hidden waterfall.
I started up the trail cautiously, hoping I didn’t smell too much like apples and cheese, and crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t become a mid-afternoon snack myself. We’d seen a black bear earlier that day (from the safety of our car) so I was 100% sure there was dangerous wildlife lurking in the wilderness.
After a while, I started to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. And by the time we made it to the hidden waterfall, I’d practically forgotten all about mountain lions!
Unfortunately, because of the drought, the waterfall had dried up to something similar to a leaky faucet, but it was still pretty nonetheless!
(Sorry about the random dude in the pic with the swim trunks wedgie. We were there for half an hour and he was camped out there the whole time. Welcome to my blog, sir!)
In the end, our only dangerous encounter was with a mountain biker, who almost flattened us as he came around a corner.
Perhaps hiking isn’t so bad after all!