|There is a deer up there, on the left, I promise.|
Less than five minutes after we watched the mule deer lay down under the only juniper tree on the mountainside across the canyon, a large brown shape moved in the bushes 50 feet above it. S.D. had been wanted to see a mountain lion ever since we arrived at Guadalupe Mountains. I was not thrilled by the idea of running into one on the trail but seeing one on a far off mountain-side while we enjoyed our lunch, was an acceptable option.
The brown shape above the mule deer moved again. It lept out of the shrubs and onto a rocky ledge. We coud see clearly now that it was a mountain goat. The mountain lion sighting would have to wait.
|Turkeys (aka Mountain Lion Lunch)|
We knew they were out there. The Dog Canyon Ranger had a camera at the local (hidden) spring and he had lots of mountain lion photos. Bears, deer, javalina and other animals came to the spring too, it was the only reliable water source for miles. But it was the abundance of mountain lions that was so impressive.
Apex predators are the top of their food chain. They're the animal upon which no other creatures prey. Man is the ultimate predator, provided he has a gun. Without a gun, and they are illegall in most National Parks, man moves down the chain. Here in Guadalupe Mountains National Park that puts mountain lions at the top, the apex predator. It's also puts us humans, on the lunch menu.
For the last three weeks we've been working on the Tejas trail. The trail passes within a quarter mile of that very popular spring and not wanting to be someone's lunch, I'd been hyper alert to mountain lion signs. Working on that section I felt a little like the deer look. Extremely nervous, always alert, skittish at every sound. We saw deer, and turkeys, we saw a whole family of javilinas, and lots of ringtail prints, but we didn't see any lions. Not even a paw print. Feeling pretty safe, and also very curious, we decided to see if we could find the spring, and perhaps a mountain lion or two.
|Still Watching (image from|
It's been a few weeks since we visited the spring, we still haven't see any mountain lions but something tells me they're still watching.