I picked Susan Ketchen up at 6:30 the morning of August 2. The car was loaded with chairs, coolers filled with snacks and boxes of books. We were headed to Telegraph Cove Resort on the northern end of Vancouver Island to participate in their annual outdoor market. Susan had copies of her Born That Way series to sell and I had a box of my latest book, The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous.
Coming around a corner a little ways past Nimpkish Lake, I slowed as a deer was crossing the road ahead. Only it didn’t have long, skinny legs and wasn’t the right shape. It moved like a bear but wasn’t black. And then, as its hind end became the predominant view, we saw the tail and shouted, “It’s a cougar!”
It was HUGE and just languidly walking across the pavement, not in any hurry and not at all concerned about the approaching car. In fact, it never even glanced at us. We had time to watch the big paws strike the asphalt, observe the reddish tan fur and the super long tail with its distinctive black tip. And then – poof! It disappeared into a thin rim of bush alongside a clearcut. We were on a cougar high all day!
Due to its size and casual swagger, we think it was a mature male. And strangely, the only cougar my partner, Rick, has seen in the wild, was spotted not too far away about 20 years ago. He said that cat was also enormous and that the grace and speed of it running across the road in two bounds and then effortlessly leaping up a nine metre bank was incredible.
Although the time span makes it impossible that Rick and I saw the same cougar, it’s possible my sighting was the son or grandson of the one he saw. Either way, there’s no doubt that area is excellent cougar habitat.
And I wonder how many authors that have written books about cougars have seen one on the way to sell their book?