What is your most memorable wildlife sighting?

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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 4, 2019 - 11:29am PT
In the mid-90’s Jack Tackle and I were climbing in the Ruth Gorge. One day I foung myself alone skiing up the gorge past Mt. Barrille on the way back to our camp. There were frequent snow showers that obscuured visibility. Suddenly, between snow showers, I saw an animal ambling down the glacier towards me from the Ruth Amphitheater, a vast ice field.

What the hell could that be was my first thought. Thinking it might be a Grizzly I started looking for a crevasse to crawl into. The snow stopped once again and there crouched on a rise fifty feet in front of me was a Wolverine. We stared at each other for what seemed an eternity until the Wolverine casually strolled off to the heavily crevassed base of Mt. Barille.

The next day Jack and I went to the base of our objective on Barille that would turn out to be the Cobra Pilllar and found fresh Wolverine tracks exactly where we established are first belay.

Keep in mind that we were miles from terra firma and the first blade of grass. I have been told that Wolverines are quite the wanderers.
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Jan 4, 2019 - 11:33am PT
Got jumped by a cougar in a bar in Montecito one time.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Jan 4, 2019 - 11:35am PT
The rarest was probably a lynx/bobcat.

Most memorable was sticking my head over a ledge and having a rattlesnake 2 feet from my face.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 11:36am PT
Huge Asiatic Ibex rams battering each other silly on a really steep ridge at 13,000’ in the Pamirs.
Got pix, somewhere.

But this is my favorite cause it’s so appropriate here...
dirtbag

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 11:39am PT
Lions taking down a buffalo in Zambia.
hagerty

Social climber
A Sandy Area South of a Salty Lake
Jan 4, 2019 - 11:55am PT
I was leading Peruvian Flake, belayed by my wife. She was stationed on the little ledge that's about 10' above the actual ground. At one point she very quietly got me to look down.....to see a lynx/bobcat/cougar or whatever cat it was slowly walking by the base of the cliff below her.
divad

Trad climber
wmass
Jan 4, 2019 - 12:12pm PT
I was hiking up to an ice climb after a foot of snow had fallen the night before. A bear that was in a shallow den came right up from under me. At first, all I saw was white and black. It ran off and settled against a tree below my climb. Shivering and groggy, it posed little harm as I put harness and crampons on a mere 15 feet away. At the end of the day I retraced my tracks and the bear was back in it's den with just the top of it's head protruding from the den. It was young and probably inexperienced at choosing a proper place to spend the winter.
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 12:36pm PT
1. Bivied out at Twin Lakes before my first trip to the Hulk. We saw smashed grass everywhere and I joked that it looked like a bear highway. That night over 20 bears rolled through on their way to the river to drink up and then head back for the hills. Scared the piss out of me as I was pretty naive at that time.

2. Bivied out at TM SAR, awaken at dawn to see a bear deliberately and lovingly licking my partners salty/sweat encrusted face. He was Eastern block so just sighed and rolled over and went back to sleep.

3. Anything big while in the ocean/diving
ron gomez

Trad climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 12:45pm PT
Back in the late 90’s, fly fishing near Joe’s Valley in Utah. Caught a huge trout and thought, “good enough, I’m done,” harvested it and started walking back to my truck with trout in hand. Saw a badger about a hundred meters out. It followed me about 1 1/2 miles and I was crossing the river numberous times trying to loose it, no luck. It closed uncomfortably close, but got back before I had to surrender my food.
Peace
zBrown

Ice climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 12:57pm PT



okay, whatever

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:16pm PT
There were literally hundreds of 8-12 foot reef sharks circling lazily around the perimeter of the Blue Hole, off the Belize coast, at about 140 feet, when I dove it in 2000. We basically just swam with them for about 15 minutes (non-Nitrox dive, so bottom time at 140 feet was limited). You'd occasionally kick one with a fin, but they didn't react, or seem to pay any sort of attention at all to us, for that matter.
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:20pm PT
I was Eleven years old and alone on the bow of a Banana Freighter heading North from the Panama Canal. The bow wave was bright with bioluminescence and the Flying Fish and Porpoises were surfing the wave, jumping and diving in bioluminescent majesty.

The swarm of crabs in our yard in Límon was memorable.

The face-locked thrashing death match between our Spaniel and that huge Iguana at our house in Ecuador was some real live action.

When the porpoise jumped over two of us on the wave in Marina

Getting harassed by a psycho sea lion while scuba spear fishing



ecdh

climber
the east
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:25pm PT
otters in kazakhstan.
DonC

climber
CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:25pm PT
was kayaking a 500 mile segment on Yukon River. Up ahead I see something in shallow water on a sand bar. As I got closer what I thought was an otter got bigger and bigger until I realized it was a grizzly cub. The sand bar was in the middle of a meander and the river was relatively narrow at that point, maybe 50' or so. I thought, that's it, day 3 and I'm already a dead man. Luckily I quietly drifted through the area and never saw mama.
Mike.

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:30pm PT
Mountain lions, two at the same time, rolled by <20' from them on our tandem bike near Ovando MT.

Ever lock eyes with a big cat with 20' of nothing between you and it? With it's ears dropping, crouched in the grass? Then pedal away with your petite wife on the back? It's a feeling unequalled by any.

I saw two together another time and got to vid them. I've posted that vid here. I've never met anyone with more mtn lion sightings, I have like eight. SoCal and MT.
john hansen

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:46pm PT
I have seen a mountain lion run across the road while driving in Yosemite,

But my most memorable is also one of my earliest memories. I was only 4 or 5 and I was in the field behind our house about six miles from the coast along the Pacific flyway. It was at dusk and I became aware of the noises coming from above me. I looked up and there were thousands and thousands of geese and ducks in large "V's" flying over from horizon to horizon.
I was mesmerized and watched till I was called in for dinner.

Another time two of my brothers and I were sitting next to a trail in a brushy area and a deer walked by right in front of us. We could have slapped his side it was so close. The wind must have been right because it never did notice us and just kept on its way.

I have some others about owls, and one involving mushrooms and ten thousand ladybugs,,:)

Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Jan 4, 2019 - 01:47pm PT
Two adult Grizzlies @ 25ft halfway up Mount Cleveland, Glacier NP, MT.
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:01pm PT
I was 13 years old in very rural CT splitting wood right next to my house. We had no neighbors... all woods. It was cold and dark outside so I had two huge flaming torches setup for light 'cause it seemed cool.

Between strokes there was a loud shrieking heinous sound from behind me. Whirling around in the torchlight there was an adult mountain lion that had slinked out of the woods yowling at me right beside one of the torches. We stared at each other for a good minute before he/she backed off slowly and turned/disappeared into the woods. I had seen bobcats all my life... this was no Lynx/bobcat... Huge and a loooong tail.

I've since seen several mountain lions in CT but officially "they don't exist" according to the DEP which we know is nonsense. The conspiracy theory is they were imported by the DEP in the 70's for deer control before settling on killing sheep/goats/cows which seemed certainly easier to catch. A mountain lion was killed by a car in southern CT and the DNA was from lions known to be in South Dakota... Well.... they didn't walk here.



ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:20pm PT
Watching the grizzly bear follow right behind Jim Donini, from up on the wall with Larry Bruce. Bear followed him without his knowledge all the way to camp.

Arne

edit-actually Jim's wife Angela and my wife April saw the whole thing unfold as Larry and I were just out of sight of most of it.
Zay

climber
Monterey, Ca
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:26pm PT
So I work on a whale watching boat... Ive seen killer whales tearing baby gray whales from their mothers, ive seen them toss dolphin 20feet in the air, Ive had humpbacks scratch their backs on my boat, ive seen FOUR humpbacks breach in almost perfect unison. great white sharks, leatherback sea turtles, basking sharks...

but probably the most surreal was a condor. i had just summitted a route in the aptly named "Condor Crag" pinnacle un the high peaks of pinnacles national park... within minutes a condor lands not 7 feet away from me while im belaying up my follower. she (i later learned was a she through her tag) starts creeping up to me, and i coyld tell she was interested in my helmet (i had taken off my helmet and placed it next to my while i sat on top of the pinnacle). condors often target white or milky plastic, mistakig it for bone. actually really sad because they often die or kill their chicks feeding it to them.

condor is now arms reach away, looming over me and my helmet. im staring at her giant talons and wondering about how best to defend myself in hand to hand combat with a giant mutant vulture monster who wants my helmet... so i resort to just swatting vapidly at her and saying "git!"

i dont want to actually touch her because A) what if she mauls me for it and B) a small crowd of hikers has now gathered to watch from below and i dont want to be seen as the guy who got physical with a critically endangered mascot.

so she pecks my helmet and flips it over, which actually startles her and causes her to jump back like three feet, where she basically stays.

a moment later my friend pulls over the edge, and we just stare and admire for a few minutes before deciding we need to leave.

so i stand up and rig the rappel, and the condor does her little head-twisty thing like "whatchya doing?"

i rap first, and as my friend is coming down a hiker shouts "He's pecking your rope!!!"

i look up at my friend who is thirty feet above me, and above her i can see the condor's ass sticking over the edge.

"Go! Go! Go!"

My friend raps to the ledge with me and as soon as shes off rap i grab both ends of the rope and yank them back and forth, to which i see the condor jump away from the anchor.

after retrieving the rope, i am pleased to report no visible damage.

I looked up the tag later and found out her name is actually "Little Stinker."

tl/dr: condor tried stealing my helmet and murdering my friend.

ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:26pm PT
Condor in Chile, soaring in a thermal above us while we were rapping off of Cerro Trinidad in Cochamo.


Working on a forest fire, walked up on a mountain lion. It just sort of calmly looked at me for a few moments and sauntered off. Amazing animal.

skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:40pm PT

Perhaps not the most memorable but rare I think. I was bouldering with my daughter and she spotted this one. No pun. I was like wow never saw one of these. We were at the Kraft Boulders, Red Rocks. It was like a foot and a half long, maybe 2ft. Pretty cool.

S....
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:41pm PT
Diving with dozens and dozens of sharks in the Galapagos Islands
Hammerheads, White Tips, Black tips, etc.
Nothing like a 15-foot long hammerhead shark swimming 15 feet away from you.

Here's a video I made:
[Click to View YouTube Video]
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:47pm PT
One time I decided to paddle my boogie board alone from Black's Beach near UCSD, across the bay to La Jolla Point and back. When I was way off the coast, a seal popped up a couple feet away from me and we stared at each other. It moved so effortlessly and I felt so terribly slow and uncoordinated... very vulnerable. Then I got over my initial fear and just marveled at the intimacy of the moment.

Another time (maybe on the same day but I don't remember), I was paddling over a wave at Black's Beach, and dark shadow of a body much larger than mine went over my head. I flinched like it was going to hit me, then had a sudden fear of it being a shark, and then moments later it switched to awe as I saw a pair of dolphins or porpoises launch out of the same wave about 10 or 20 meters away. It was sunset, the light glistening off the opaque evening water silhouetted by the graceful creatures in mid-air... pretty special moment for me.

I've enjoyed (and bit somewhat annoyed by) ringtail cat encounters on Royal Arches in Yosemite, and somewhere camping below Picacho del Diablo in Baja.

I grew up in a small beachtown in central California where humpback whales used to hang out in the summer. Clouds of krill and anchovies would attract clouds of various sea birds, larger predator fish, huge schools of porpoises farther out, and sometimes the whales. They would breach less than a hundred meters from the pier. It wasn't a common thing, but happened at least a few different years.
Gene

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 02:52pm PT
Cassowary in New Guinea, salt water croc in Borneo, and hammerhead sharks in Samoa.
SuperSpud

Trad climber
Cayucos, CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 03:17pm PT
Coming back from bouldering near Sentinel Falls I saw this cute little bear ambling along in the woods beside the path I was on. "Cool," I thought, and put my pack down and approached the little bear, camera in hand. Suddenly I heard this loud "chuff" sound, and turned around to see the HUGE bear that I had previously failed to notice, standing up on it's back legs and giving me a look that turned my blood to ice. Oh yeah, I grabbed my pack and booked!
Modesto Mutant

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 04:13pm PT
About 18 years ago I was living in a small cabin on Happy Valley Road just outside of Santa Cruz. We lived next to a stream in a stand or redwoods surrounded by greenbelt. Coyotes were a common denizen as were the occasional Bobcat and certainly Deer. One morning I grabbed my 2 year old son and my dog to walk across the bridge to grab the morning paper. As we started to clear the bridge I heard the loud chorus from a Coyote pack just past a clearing in a stand of Oaks, probably about 150' away. Then my dog did the most peculiar thing. Her name was Alpha and she certainly embodied that name. Quite often she would give chase to the whole pack of Coyote to keep them away from our house. She was perhaps about 80lbs half Border Collie and half some mystery large dog breed. As we faced the trees where the sound was coming from, she circled back and hid behind me, peeking out from between my legs. Then she began to whimper. She had never, ever even remotely behaved like this. Just as I was looking at her thinking "what the hell!" 5 shapes emerged into the clearing. The first was maybe about the size of my dog. The next one was much larger. They were followed by three small ones. The first two were clearly adults with 3 of their kids. The large one stopped and stared at me and my dog (I was still holding my son) as the rest cleared into the brush. I'm staring at this thinking. That is the biggest freaking dog I've ever seen around here. I can't make sense of this. Then it turned it's head and looked towards the brush. I thought, that's weird, it has a very short snout. And then it moved it's tail. Only it wasn't a wag, it moved like a wave. I felt so stupid when it finally hit me. That's a CAT!! Holy Shit! It simply took a couple of steps then made a massive leap into the brush and was gone. I grabbed my morning paper and returned to my house.
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
Jan 4, 2019 - 04:32pm PT
An hour spent with about eight mountain goats including a baby, I think it was on Mt Bierstadt in the winter with no one else there.
Q- Ball

Mountain climber
but to scared to climb them anymore
Jan 4, 2019 - 04:41pm PT
Every time I find a critter that is new to science. Or finding robust populations of species declared extinct. Also always memorable finding new populations of federally listed critters.

Wolverines are aslways fun to see... Two in the Winds and three in the Altai mountains.
FTOR

Sport climber
CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 04:47pm PT
climbing on the beach in railay a huge lizard swam in from the ocean and walked passed us into the forest. don't know if it was a true komodo dragon but it was easily 10' long or better. didn't seem too concerned with us at all.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:03pm PT
FTOR Kimodos only live on a few islands, but there are other large monitor lizards up to 14' long that have a much wider range.

Riding my 250 on the Arizona strip on a road hemmed in by 5' high brush, round a curve to find that I'm following 5 pronghorn from 10yards. Rode a mile and a half with them kicking dirt into my face mask before they went off road. Clocked them at 53mph.

Many cougar sitings. Many bear, moose, golden eagle, had a bald eagle hover for a minute checking me out while soloing a wall in Zion.

Grey whale breached 10 yards from me.

Sixteen pairs of ringtail eyes reflecting the light of my headlamp near the Grotto in Zion.

Many Gila monsters, chuckwallas, big hairy striped scorpions, king snakes, condors (at a safer distance) bighorn sheep, wild ass. Canebrake rattlers, turtles and big gators in the Okeefenokee

But most memorable was me sitting in my car at my ranch with the window open unaware that there is a rabbit hidden in the brush right in front of me.
But the golden eagle that plummeted out of the sky did. I heard the rabbits death cry and watched the huge bird fly off with it.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:07pm PT
Spent the better part of a year photographing and doing sound recordings of Humpbacks in Maui for the UofR.I. Marine Mammal program. Saw some pretty amazing things.

Probably the most personal was I spent a couple of months in Railay and swam to Ao Nong once or twice a day to get back in shape. At the end of my stay a small Remora attached itself to my chest for the ride back to Railay which I took as about the best compliment on one's swimming you could ever get.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:28pm PT
A blue ring octopus carrying an egg sac, a 1 minute long close encounter with a mantis shrimp, or maybe an upside down jelly fish that lives on the back of a crab. All viewed while diving at Lembeh Straight in Sulawesi Indonesia.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:33pm PT
Mama bear in Tuolumne almost made me sh#t my sleeping bag.

Carelessly, I'd overlooked the half a salami in the la Fuma left on the picnic table in the TM campground, end of September, no other campers, just we two, me and Larry Moore.

Bear cubs sniffed it out and destroyed the guide pack, for which they received verbal abuse and a rock from both of us.

Mama was right there, ran up to me as I made myself small inside the sleeping bag, slobberin' and bitchin' and makin' me say my prayers, hopin' for salvation.

Larry used my distraction of the bears to run over and turn on his headlights on the station wagon and the bears skedaddled, leaving us the victors?

Then there was the week I hung out with the crazy moose in Idaho.Hey, donini was there, too!
couchmaster

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:54pm PT
Walking in Sagamartha national park, Nepal, nearly flushing an Impeyan Pheasant. I had no idea such a beautiful creature existed (it's the national bird of Nepal I soon learned but I am but another St00pid American. Spent @ 1/2 hour trying to capture a good picture, but the wily bird stayed in brush well ahead of my bumbling efforts to capture it's beauty. Thus, here's a copy paste pic off the internet so you can catch a glimpse of what I saw.


They have all kinds of Pheasants it turns out that don't look anything like the ringnecks we all grew up with. I'm sure Donini knows all this already as he gets around that area a lot, so I'm sharing it with the rest of you.

Same thing occured as me as to August up thread: quote:
"Most memorable was sticking my head over a ledge and having a rattlesnake 2 feet from my face. "
that was down the list on most memorable earlier. In fact, near simultaneous to that rattler event, kid ran up yelling "NEED HELP" "NEED HELP" "NEED HELP" "ROPE BROKE" and we were in a remote area thinking we were alone (cept for the f*#king snake). I donwclimbed the line we'd chosen and we "buzzzed" over to buddy who had his femur bone sticking right out of his jeans heading into shock. What a f*#ked up day that was. Had the rattlesnake hit me, that kid would have most likely died in the clusterf*#kage as it was maybe 50-60 miles to the town with the hospital, no cell phones, and shock was starting.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:01pm PT
Couchmiser...And you thought i was slow...
couchmaster

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:02pm PT


I'm drinking RJ. Moms dying.
couchmaster

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:04pm PT

I'll read the thread later after I git on some things done....
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:09pm PT
Thanks for sharing that couchmaster- reminds me of when I worked in Hawaii and saw all kinds of cool birds that I somehow blacked out earlier when thinking of wildlife encounters. That looks like a more colorful version of a Kalij Pheasant (which is not native in Hawaii but we saw them in the jungles).

Lots of cool stuff on this thread.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:12pm PT
Black bears - meh
Grizzlies - meh

Buy Ghost and me a bottle of 02 Chateauneuf du Pape
and we’ll talk being stalked by white bears.

BTW, that’s one bottle EACH.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:14pm PT
Couch...My mum died 2 nights ago...
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:30pm PT
Buy Ghost and me a bottle of 02 Chateauneuf du Pape and we’ll talk being stalked by white bears.

Well, okay, Chateaneuf du Pape for Reilly, but if you want to get me going about being eaten by white bears, a bottle of late 90s Barbaresco will be the ticket.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:47pm PT
Riding my mountain bike on a double-track in the foothills above Claremont 30 years ago, a coyote came out of the brush and veered toward me. I started to panic a little, even though it was not very large, but kept riding as I figured it would just go away.
But once it got to within 5 or so feet, it just started jogging along, as if it were a pet dog. It stayed that way for several hundred yards, just cruising along before it decided this wasn't that fun.

Another time in Washington was mountain biking on a windy, slightly downhill trail with not a lot of visibility ahead. Came around a bend going fairly fast to discover a large deer standing across the trail. Jammed on the brakes as hard as I could and stopped several inches from T-boning the deer. Only then did it move.

Best photo I've gotten was probably this one:
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 06:58pm PT
Close to black and brown bears numerous times in Sierras and Ak.
Right next to porpoises many times surfing in So Cal.
Bobcat, 20 ft away while mountain biking down Corizzo Gorge, San Diego.
Rattlesnakes galore in SD backcountry.
Humpbacks breaching right next to our sailboat in Prince William Sound, Ak...talk about halitosis, those whales dealt it.
Was in a 20 foot outboard motor boat in Beaufort Sea, Ak, when a huge walrus swam parallel next to us...it dwarfed the boat.
Climbed up Flattop early one morning in Anchorage. Scrambled around a rock and was eyeball to eyeball, 5' from a mountain goat...didn't know that was possible.
2 years ago was eyeball to eyeball 2' from a moose. The only thing between us was the windshield, heh. After damaging the car, it ran off like nothing happened.
The wife swims at La Jolla cove and 5 years ago had a sea lion scratch her stomach...freaked her out.
My buddy jogging through alders outside Anchorage near dusk, had his head down and bounced off a moose. Startled them both, and both ran in opposite directions. (Moose may be more dangerous than bears)
Mountain lion and wolverine are the most elusive...I've never seen either in the wild...but I bet they've seen me.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 4, 2019 - 07:02pm PT

But Lester had nothing on the mama Polar Bear who thought we shouldn't have been that close to her baby.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jan 4, 2019 - 07:19pm PT
Fall of 1969, I heard about a “must-attend” party in Ketchum, Idaho. The problem was, although my working-class family lived in Ketchum, I was attending the University of Idaho, 500 miles away. My pal Kenny & I cut classes on Friday after I called home and explained I wanted to come home & go hunting. (I did not specify what I would be hunting.)

Sat. morning, I got up early & visited with my parents over breakfast. My father left for work & I dutifully grabbed my old Winchester Model 1894 30-30 deer rifle, and took off into the local mountains.

Because I liked the area and figured I would have it to myself, I drove up Ohio Gulch, where the waste transfer site now is. After making it to the logical end of the road around 7,000 feet, I jumped out of my Dad’s 1954 Dodge Powerwagon, loaded a daypack, and at the last second, decided I had better take the 30-30, in case I ran into someone that knew my family. I didn’t bother to load the rifle, or bring any ammo along.

I had zero intension of ruining my day by shooting a deer. I had grown up in a family that due to a lack of money, had to hunt for meat in the fall & fish a lot in late spring & summer. By the time I left for college, I was more than ready to stop hunting, shooting, dressing-out, hauling, skinning, butchering, & worse yet ------- having to eat deer.

It was a beautiful October day, and I soon topped out on one of the high points between Ohio Gulch & Cove Creek (maybe point 8122?) I had a great view down into Driveway Gulch and of the Pioneer Range. After a smoke, to add to my enjoyment, I started traversing through fairly thick & large sagebrush to the north towards Ohio Peak 8,758’, in hopes of getting better views to the north.

I was almost to another high point when I suddenly saw my first ever, in the wild, mountain lion, about 50 feet above me. The cat was sideways to me & was way bigger than any I had seen in zoos, and its fur was quite long too. I really like cats, and mountain lions were very scarce in Idaho at the time, having nearly been hunted to extinction. I was thrilled for a second, then with my eyes on it, the lion simply dropped and disappeared in the brush.

It quickly sunk in that I was very close to a large predator, with my rifle empty. I can’t say I was scared, but I was a wee-bit nervous about having a big mountain lion just above me in thick brush. It seemed a good idea to traverse away from the lion instead of towards it. I worked back to the southeast with frequent backwards glances, but never saw the lion again. 49 years later, it is still the only mountain lion I’ve seen in the wild.

The party that night was an anticlimax.

In 2013 we were rafting on Idaho’s Salmon River, when we noticed a yearling black bear following us along the edge of the river.

After a few hundred yards, it jumped in the river & started swimming strongly after us.
We were not real worried, but all three rafts rowed somewhat faster than before. The bear soon altered its course to the far side of the river & our stress levels went down.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 07:23pm PT
A coral snake dropped out of a tree right next to me while I was hiking in Brazil. It seemed mighty fast and aggressive and I ran off.

I was house sitting for friends in Anchorage and my buddy said "Keep an eye out for Penelope, the kid's white rabbit, because she got loose.
Next day I come back at 11:30 pm and see Penelope run up the driveway in the fading light. While going up driveway and looking around for Penelope, a shadow was cast over the windshield. The next moment I looked down and a great horned owl was flying next to the car below the driver window, with Penelope in it's talons. I quickly rolled the window down and shouted "HEY"! The bird, maybe 2 feet away, dropped Penelope about 1 foot to the ground and the rabbit darted into the alders. I looked around but couldn't find her, figured the talons pierced her lungs and she'd die in the bushes.
Next day the rabbit came out, no worse for wear and I was the family hero for saving Penelope the rabbit.
Aeriq

Sport climber
100-year Visitor
Jan 4, 2019 - 07:26pm PT
I am not sure if it was seeing a whale breach 20 feet off our trolling out-rigger in Alaska near Barinoff Island in the early 90's

or mountain bike riding near Mount Baldy where I crested a cut in the hill to see a 10-foot cat in the road, staring me down. Tail to head, blocking the road.

I had heard to hold your bike above you to look larger & also as a possible last chance weapon during an attack - the old throw-n-go. Although where, I knew not - for 70-80 degree slopes were on either side of me.

I held up my bike and watched the following:

This cat turned away (whew) and then leaped up this impossibly steep slope.

It's paws touched lightly on the loose dirt maybe 20 feet up and it was gone over the top - probably another 15 feet.

All that remained to prove this happened was a few pebbles rolling down the slope.

OK, that one was the best.
john hansen

climber
Jan 4, 2019 - 07:47pm PT
When I was about 20, there was a lake and some woods where I used to walk almost every day. Every once in a while I would see a Great Horned Owl flying away from me, he always heard me first.

One day I came into a pretty big clearing and saw him take off from a low branch in a oak tree about a hundred yards away.

I went and checked it's perching spot and it was worn smooth from the owl spending time there looking out at this meadow.

A couple days later I came up from behind the owls hunting spot. I started about 100 yards away and spent an hour working my way up the hill being as quiet as possible.

When I got to a point where I could see the branch,, the owl was there with its back to me..

I spent another 30 minutes getting closer and closer till I was within 15 feet. The next step, something made the slightest noise, and his head swung 180 degrees ,and he paused just for a second thinking, 'how did he get that close ?', before taking off from its roost and floating across the meadow.

Sneaking up on an owl. To get a tail feather would be way more impressive.

I always considered the owl my amakua


Great stories everyone, keep em coming, Thanks Jim for a another cool thread.


tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 4, 2019 - 09:00pm PT
Large hawk flying alongside my car with a live snake in its talons. Seen 2 Lynx. super cool. couple cool bear encounters. talked my way up to a small buck behind my cabin. He was curled up in the grass behind my cabin giving himself a bath the same way a cat would. I talked to him softly and kept getting closer. T finally kneeled down next to him perhaps 2 feet away from him for 5 min or so. Just talking and hanging out. telling him to be carefull in the fall. Went back in the house and got my girlfriend and she came out and hung with us for a bit. we wanted to pet him but thought that for some reason it would not be ok?? like his friends would not like him anymore if he smelled like people.. finally we were satisfied with the encounter and let him be. never saw him again...
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Jan 4, 2019 - 09:11pm PT
Saw a beaver in the Grand Canyon. Was just south of Vasseys Paradse on a narrow slice of real estate between the Colorado river and the canyon wall. He was not building a dam.
steveA

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
Jan 5, 2019 - 06:58am PT
In 1966, climbing probably the Red Shirt route on Yamnuska, Canada with Matt Hale, I was leading a steep section. An eagle was buzzing around my head, and soon I realized why. I came up over this overhang, and was greeted by a nest full of baby eagles, just inches from my face. I wish that I had taken a photo, since I had a camera, but it was too steep to manage, and the mother was dive bombing me, as well.
Do big spiders count as wildlife? If there as big as your hand, and inches from your face, I think they do. This monster scared the Sh---it out of me, in Australia, in 1968.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:19am PT
RJ. Condolences on your mom passing into the next realm. hope is was a peaceful transition.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:46am PT
Grizzlies and wolves in Yellowstone. Awesome.

Jim, I'd have figured you might have seen a snow leopard in your travails. . .
JerryA

Mountain climber
Sacramento,CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 08:37am PT
On a Mera climb ,I asked the Sherpas & porters if they had ever seen a snow leopard in the wild? One claimed to have & all of the others did not believe him & laughed at him !
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 08:43am PT
Jerry, I woke up in the Pamirs and found a Snow Leopard print in the dirt 8’ from my sleeping
bag. It was a kit’s. I’m sure Mom was nearby but she would never have left a print in the dirt.
About a mile from there I found where she had ambushed an Asiatic Ibex. I guess I didn’t
smell so good.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:12am PT
Tradman...thanks..
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:24am PT
Was sitting on a wooded ridge in the N Cascades watching the sunset when a doe walked
outta the woods 40’ to my right and without hesitation walked right up to me. She stood right
in front of me staring me in the face for a good half a minute. Then she bent her head and
smelled my boot, lifted her head back up and said, “SnoSeal turns me on!”.

OK, she didn’t say that.
D'Wolf

climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:39am PT
Riding dirt bikes in the San Bernadino Mts. of SoCal. Stopped for a break and while we were sitting there, a deer appeared on the trail. She slowly walked right up to us. We sat there, not moving, not sure what she would do if we did. She stuck her nose right in my partner's face, nuzzled him, then licked his face. She hung out with us for about 20 minutes.

When we left, she bounded up the trail with us, running side by side with us for probably 1/4 mile. Ran into that same deer in the same area again the following season and she did the same thing...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:41am PT
^^^^ Yup, proof of reincarnation I’d say.
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 10:09am PT
I love reading all these stories.

Most memorable is probably the mountain lion I saw crossing the road in front of my car on 395 very early one morning. (I was alone.)

Most impressive was the Golden Eagle standing in a field right near the side of the road on the way from the interstate into City of Rocks. Impressive because the huge size of a bird like this cannot be comprehended until you see one up close. (My husband was there.)

Most creepy was pulling into the parking lot at the Pinnacles early one morning to see about a dozen turkey vultures perched in the trees, watching. Wow that is an ugly and big bird up close. (I think this was with Clint Cummins.)

Most magical was coming round a bend in the trail on the approach to the Surprise in the Valley to come face to face with a gorgeous bobcat. He/she just sat there and looked at us less than three feet away for a good two minutes before silently gliding away into the woods. (This one was with Dave Altman.)

These all have CLIMBING in common. So this is a CLIMBING related thread!
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Jan 5, 2019 - 10:25am PT

My first tiger.
Have seen a bunch since but the first blew me away.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jan 5, 2019 - 10:35am PT
Phylp just reminded me of another "most memorable" wildlife sighting, that involved Donini.

On the last morning of our 2010 COR get-together, Donini was somewhat slow in exiting his camper van. Both he & I had suffered bad guts the previous day, most likely from mild food-poisoning.

By around 9:00 A.M. there were about 80 turkey vultures circling over Donini's camper. I have to confess, that I feared the worst.

Soon after, Donini made an appearance, & the disappointed vultures departed.
Jim Clipper

climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 10:41am PT
The harbor seal, who mounted my leg, while abalone diving. Never thought about how I might look in a wet suit, at least to the furry sea creatures...

edit: kismet!
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Jan 5, 2019 - 10:58am PT
In the summer of 2017, my wife Penelope and I were hiking just below the summit of Rising Wolf Mountain out of Two Medicine Lake in Glacier NP. Out of nowhere, a grizzly appeared about 40 feet above us. I froze and Pen took this picture. The bear was really close for comfort, but after looking me over went down away from us.

tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:05am PT
Glad Jim beat the Vultures!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:25am PT
Alois, he/she might have been up there eating moths, believe it or not.
Pete_N

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:30am PT
In the early 90s I was camped on Forest Service land above the Owens River Gorge. My girlfriend and I were in the back of my pick up, huddled out of the wind in the shell, preparing dinner and our two dogs were outside, between the open tailgate and our small fire. I remember looking up from the vegetables I was chopping, towards the fire and seeing a mountain lion just on the other side of the fire from us. The dogs, less than 10 feet from the cat, were clueless, focused on us and their forthcoming food. I didn't think, just reacted and launched myself out of the truck with my 3-inch paring knife in hand--the mountain lion vanished and I grabbed the dogs before they could chase after it. (Yes, I know the knife was ridiculous…) My friend never saw the mountain lion.

Another memorable wildlife sighting took place in Panama. I was finishing up some field work off the coast of the Azuero Penninsula, and I'd been in and out of the water on my 8' Zodiac all morning. I was in the boat, messing with some gear, and looked up to see a juvenile whale shark maybe 6-7' long swimming towards me at the surface. I remember thinking momentarily that I should grab for my camera but that there was no way I could get the camera ready, get my mask on and get in the water with any hope of getting close to the shark, so I jammed my mask against my face and tumbled in the water. I didn’t get a great view in the water, but there was something special about that sighting: the view of that beautiful fish through a few inches of crystal-clear water, being totally alone in a really remote location, and the freedom to just tumble in the water for a better view. I’d seen whale sharks before, but that one was really fantastic.
Rick Linkert

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:32am PT
In July of 1974, Dennis Phillips and I pulled onto Big Sandy in the mid afternoon. We decided to fix the first Zig-Zag and enjoy the “room with a view,” rather than head for the summit. Toward sunset the face lit up and was golden. In this incredible light, a pair of Golden Eagles drifted by on the thermals about 20 feet out. They were close enough to be eye to eye as they checked us out. Pretty spectacular. Of course, no photo. But, a very vivid memory.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:41am PT
Out running in Cuyamaca park east of San Diego, I came over a little roll in a meadow. On the far side of the meadow, about 150 yards, were two tan creatures. Naturally I thought deer as Cuyamaca is full of them. Then I noticed that they weren't moving like deer, more slinking. Right after that I saw the long tails. This was September. Apparently lions usually give birth in the spring, so I surmised that this was a mother and a large cub. They vanished into the trees.

I am peak bagging in the San Bernardino Mountains and following a fire road. I come up on a shoulder and there was a lion 30 feet from me, squatting like it was about to sh!t. He rose up, looked at me and silently left into the forest.

I feel very lucky. Many people I know who have spent a lot of time in the mountains have never seen a lion. I have heard that for every time you see them, they have seen you a hundred times.
Capt.

climber
some eastside hovel
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:53am PT
I've heard that as well and it always makes me wonder, who did those studies?? ;-)
Alois

Trad climber
Idyllwild, California
Jan 5, 2019 - 12:04pm PT
Reilly, that is what the rangers told us later. Apparently, moth larvae congregate under the rocks (at certain elevations, close to the summit) and bears go up there to feast on them. We were told that the Rising Wolf Mountain is notorious for grizzly encounters.
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 5, 2019 - 12:18pm PT
Snake River canoe trip with Robbins, Miller, a little psychotropic assistance and a most aggressive mooooose.......
cyndiebransford

climber
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Jan 5, 2019 - 12:46pm PT
While climbing at Frog Buttress near Brisbane, Australia, I was about 15 feet above the ground on a ledge waiting for my climbing partner to return with a second rope and I heard a rustling in the brush. I thought it was Todd, but no, a huge, 4 to 5 foot, monitor lizard came strolling towards the cliff and climbed right on the ledge I was waiting on. It touched me with its tongue and then continued climbing the crack system we were going to climb. I, of course, was screaming loudly the entire time. Some Aussie mates back at the camp area asked Todd if that was me screaming and he headed back to check on me. I told him my story and he was less than impressed. About a pitch and a half up the climb I hear him inhale sharply and I asked "So you see the lizard?" He wanted me to send his camera up to him, he took a few photos and continued the climb.

I am enjoying everyone's stories. Keep this going.
Psilocyborg

climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 01:14pm PT
Saw a large mountain lion from the car on main divide road just off the 74 above lake elsinore.

Another memorable one was a bald eagle flying around the peaks surrounding vogelsang lake in yosemite
capseeboy

Social climber
portland, oregon
Jan 5, 2019 - 01:17pm PT
Around spring 1994--Beacon Rock in the Columbia river gorge. Walking to the base with Jim Opdycke and two Washington state park officials. We're discussing the possibility of keeping some of the rock open during Peregrine falcon nesting. As soon as we reach the base there's a loud skreetch and explosion of feather's in front of us. A Peregrine has just taken out a seagull. Jim said, looks like the Peregrine isn't the only endangered species.
Adventurer

Mountain climber
Virginia
Jan 5, 2019 - 01:22pm PT
Not really wildlife but one of my most memorable animal sightings was a group of Bedouins with their camel convoy in the Sinai in Egypt.
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
Jan 5, 2019 - 01:32pm PT
I got homesick for the Gunks and went there in the middle of winter, with about 4 ft of snow on the carriage rd. I camped in camp slime although technically it was closed. I found a slab of rock to put my sleeping bag on, and thought I had the place to myself, until in the middle of the night a bear shows up and climbs a tree about 30 ft away. It started making noise like I was supposed to leave, but I just ignored it. Then it stopped yelling at me, but had really heavy and loud breathing until I fell asleep. Some time later the bear wakes up and climbs down the tree, waking me up too. Instead of eating me, it just left. It's normally a very busy climbing area, and they don't call it camp slime for nothing.
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Jan 5, 2019 - 02:05pm PT
Snorkeling alone about 20' down along the outside of the reef surrounding the island of Pohnpei in the Caroline Islands, I had that weird feeling we sometimes get when we think someone is watch us... Looking around, I saw two sharks, not sure what kind, about 8' and 12' long within 20 feet of me. I faced them directly, pulled my arms and legs close to my body and floated to the surface as they followed me intently. With my back to the reef and breathing quickly through my snorkel, I suddenly lunged my arms toward them, fingers splayed. They immediately and quickly swam off into the blue... WHEW!
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jan 5, 2019 - 02:23pm PT
Hey Boo how about those pesky sharks in the "pass" into Caroline Island that we anchored in on the way to Hawaii from Tahiti. Small but nasty little fukers and good luck with the fishing I remember.......
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 5, 2019 - 03:16pm PT
we saw and absolutely huge eagle in the gros vants last summer I don't know what kind but it was brown and had a wingspan of at least 10ft it did a barrel role right in front of the van perhaps 40ft off the deck..
Modesto Mutant

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 05:06pm PT
A couple of years ago I was riding my bike along West Cliff Drive here in Santa Cruz. It was a nice warm November day. As I came around the corner above Mitchell's Cove heading towards the lighthouse. I could see what could only be described as a crazed crowd along the railing. When I got into view of the cove I could see that there was a huge Humpback Whale who was basically doing laps up and down the cove. There was a huge run of anchovies in the bay and that had pulled all of these whales close to shore. This one whale in particular was within 30' of the beach. People were going crazy, pulling over and jumping out of their cars and parking them double even triple wide blocking West Cliff Drive. It's hard to say who was happier, that whale filling it's belly or the crowd getting so close to it.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 5, 2019 - 05:12pm PT
Isa and I saw two really big whales breach up in Gaspe QB in fall of 2017 Super cool wolf encounter in jellystone in 96 just a year after they started their program to bring the wolves back.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 5, 2019 - 05:23pm PT


There has been talk of condors on this thread...I see them often in Patagonia. Heading back down on Tuesday!
BooDawg

Social climber
Butterfly Town
Jan 5, 2019 - 06:35pm PT
Guido: Yes, they could've made a mess of us, but we had Shanachie (sailboat), not mask, fins & snorkle...
johntp

Trad climber
Little Rock and Loving It
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:10pm PT
Not actually a sighting but memorable.

Was hiking off trail looking for the best approach to a climb of Mt. Tom's north ridge (Sierra). Wandered into a copse of trees and spotted a deer carcass. Checking it out, soon found two more deer carcasses. It slowly dawned on me I was in a cougar lunchroom. The kills were relatively recent.

Got the feeling I was being watched. Slowly backed out facing the kills, looking behind me occasionally. After backing up around 200 yards, turned around and boogied the hell out of there.

rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:18pm PT
Johntp....coud have been a sasquatch den...glad you escaped...
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:30pm PT
My place backs up to Forest Service land and I've seen every native creature here. One afternoon I went to the back patio and a large adult male mountain lion casually walked up to me, stopped about twenty feet away and sat down. I wasn't scared and the cat was relaxed and so beautiful just sitting there. This guy was the size of a small German Shepard dog. We hung out looking each other over and I started talking to it in a real calm voice. Time kind of stood still. I told him that I wanted to get a picture and turned towards the house and when I looked back he was quietly gone.
Matt Sarad

climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 07:50pm PT
Growing up on a farm north of Bakersfield from 1966-1980, I saw bobcats, badgers, skunks, but the best of all was a Condor around 1970. It was the last one sighted and cataloged that flew from the Mt Pinos area to Glennville.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:06pm PT
a ways out from the boggy shore of a pond alongside the alaska hiway i spotted an anomalous shape ...
brown, with a ridge line floating too high and shaped wrong to be a log ...
not a single other clue presented itself, so i slowed out of curiosity.

glad i did or i would have missed the magnificent emergence of a huge rack, draped in greenery with gallons of water cascading off it
while the whole monstrosity panned slowly my way. if i had been raised with broader exposure than just of "moose and skweerrull,"
i would have had a clue as to what was about to take place.

after 18 years in ak, 10 in mt and 5 in wyo ... i get it now what they do for a living

doing some track skiing on lighted trails one wicked cold night in anchorage, i came upon
what appeared to be a smoke ring hanging in the air as i rounded a blind curve.
at first i marveled. then it came to me ... luckily.

stepped out into a wild snowplow and managed to avoid bullwinkle

while we fixed a couple of pitches on one of the biggies in the beartooths, my partner rathole and i left a scattering of gear laying where we started the route. that left us pretty exposed to whatever kind of havoc a beautiful mountain goat could have wreaked upon us. as it turned out, the stuff all got pretty thoroughly inspected, the goat was really nonchalant about us just above him, and he eventually kneeled down amongst our debris for a long period of rumination, a sweet bond of trust developed in which we were able to continue with our project

after many a red, my first gray fox:
i was perched on a short rim and it came out of a cubby hole about 20-30' straight below me like a train.
sporting a long plain gray back followed by what seemed like a longer tail with a black dorsal stripe.
casually walked straight out for quite a ways, then stopped and looked at me over his shoulder,
we both made a study of it, what a nice face framed in cinnamon, the fox i mean.
it moved on just as casually till it slipped behind a bushy tree.


Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:19pm PT
Saw a mountain lion crossing Highway 120 in the vicinity of Buck Meadows one night. Drove beneath a bobcat perched above the opening to the Wawona tunnel in broad daylight.

But this mama moose was WAY too close for comfort,
and actually made a move for my wife as she tried to slink out of the house to catch the bus one morning,
and luckily turned back to munching the aspen:

Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:24pm PT
MGuzzy, thats why down there they call Tegus "chicken wolves".

Got bit by one once. They're mean.
johntp

Trad climber
Little Rock and Loving It
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:26pm PT
Once had a deer run in front of my car bounding across the 120 about 20 miles west of Tioga pass. I braked for it. A bounding bear soon followed.

No sh#t.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:44pm PT
Stumbled outta da igloo in Alaska one winter morning to go to the muktuk factory. It was
marginally light, I think. Carefully shepherding my cuppa joe I shuffled towards Rocinante.
As I reached her hind quarters I became aware of another set of hind quarters that reached
the height of my admittedly poorly focused eyes. I said to myself

“Self, did you park a large cow moose behind Rocinante last night?”

Thereupon a tolerably civilized exchange ensued between my self and Ms Moose. She
acknowledged that she had no objections to my going to work and that, yes, the backyard
would be a much more peaceful place for her to go into her semi-somnolent state. When I came home she was still there, she hadn’t moved 40’ all day. The next morning, and for a
good dozen after that, we would arise to see her peering at us through the kitchen window
with her big brown eyes. It was really cold and she implored us to let her in. It certainly
made me appreciate central heating.

Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Jan 5, 2019 - 09:56pm PT
This thread is gold.

I have two to mention. One time my wife and I were walking back from camping on the top of Mt Watkins. We were in a thick area of downed dry wood, very loud walking. Suddenly we heard some noise and shuffled loudly over to what it was. As we got to about 75 feet, we saw a bear at the base of a tree. It looked like it was trying (and Failing) to climb the tree.

We walked a bit closer to about 50 feet and saw, to our huge surprise, a mini cub, new born ish, seemed less than 2 feet long! The mother was trying to push the little one up the tree to protect it from us..

Fear kicked in pretty strong at this point and we slowly backed away and I remember picking up a big stick, just in case I might need it(no help!) Whew.

Other one was a great grey owl. Driving down Evergreen road after a meal at the lodge,it was twilight and we were going through that one big meadow and my wife said, "There was a big owl in that tree". We parked and slowly walked back with our one year old in arms. We sneaked up to about 40 feet and looked on in awe of this incredible and big creature, perched on a branch about 12 feet off the ground. After a bit, it took flight and swooped towards us before disappearing across the meadow. It was magical
hamie

Social climber
Thekoots
Jan 5, 2019 - 11:58pm PT
^^^^^^At first glance I thought those were leaf cutter ants. Very cool.


Once upon a long time ago.....

seated in the relative safety of our canoe....

near the side of the lake....

with paddles poised for a speedy exit.....

we watched a grizzly swim from the beach to the carcass of a dead moose, floating near the shore. It would swim up and rip a strip of skin/meat from the back or side of the moose, and head back to the shore to eat it. As the grizzly tore at the moose, its body would rotate in the water, and its head and antlers would partly emerge. This was repeated several times while we watched in stunned silence. A Canadian classic--grizz vs moose, albeit a dead one.

Of course the camera was back in camp.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 6, 2019 - 01:02am PT
here's the phenomenon, bev doolittle explains it well:

but substitute sage grouse standing silently in courtship display blended in perfect camouflage with the setting of fresh snow on the wyoming sage, a world of dollops
where first just one, then sequentially a dozen or so were revealed until we stepped away in reverence,
certain that something very holy was underway and ultimately private

What Is a Lek
A lek is a gathering of males for the purpose of competitive display (strutting) and mating. The same males attend a traditional place that can be active for decades. Males commonly roost overnight near the lek and, before sunrise, will move to the lek and display. This will continue for a couple of hours following sunrise, March through May. Topography is typically wide-open and flat with escape cover (shrubs) nearby.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 6, 2019 - 07:27am PT
Attack of the butterflies! 🙀

Just yesterday La Femme handed me a story her best friend wrote about their childhood in Cameroun.
The short version is that the army ants came to their house in a column 5 metres wide!.
All they could do was move out for a couple of days.
Happy Cowboy

Social climber
Boz MT
Jan 6, 2019 - 08:18am PT
Another nice thread Jim! Great encounters big and small, love the pics. I've lived in the Yellowstone region for most of my 65 yrs and had encounters with many of the local fauna. A Wolverine sighting while climbing Mt Forbes, the highest peak in Banff Park, Alberta does remains one of my personal favs. This mountain has quite the approach, and it was on the second day while heading up a steep lateral moraine ridge of the greatly receded Mons glacier, that we spotted the wolverine hunting in verdant green area we were approaching, then gone in a B&W flash...


I did have some commercialized exposure while gripping/rigging the film industry. Perhaps some of the ST crowd recognize this cat? She played a leading role in the fan-fav "The Vertical Limit"!!!and these shots were during the shooting of said movies Snow Leopard sequence.

I remember the trainers little talk "there's only one rule when working with big cats, don't turn your back on them, and if you do don't run and if you run don't fall and if you fall don't struggle and if you struggle don't scream" and then let 3 loose. We were at 8500 ft just out of Glacier Park!!!I honestly couldn't believe we had permission to just set them free...but as we'd been told "you want them back? trainer would just turn and run and the Leopards would spring from a cliff and travel 100 yds in a blur to swipe at their master(and his treats).
Their beauty was incredible, look at that tail.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 6, 2019 - 08:20am PT
More than a decade ago I was driving up the Icefields Parkway out of Banff in late December and looked out the window of my rental car to see a magnificent mated pair of Lynx gracefully climbing away from the roadway off into powder snow at least five feet deep. It was well below zero and I wished I had a steak to toss their way as I was sure that they were both hungry.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Jan 6, 2019 - 09:06am PT
I was hiking solo in the Chugach outside Anchorage, came around a large alder patch and a huge bull moose was running full gallop directly toward me. My life flashed before my eyes and when he was less than 10 feet away he noticed me and made a quick right turn leaping into the alders. About 3 seconds later another moose crossed the trail right after the first. Another 3 seconds pass and some guy's Labrador Retriever crossed the path chasing both moose.

On an off day skiing in Ketchum, Idaho, we took a drive over toward Borah Peak. On the side of the highway was a huge Golden Eagle. We stopped and the bird didn't really look alive. My buddy approached to see if it was dead. He finally nudged it with his foot and the Eagle opened it's eyes and turned it's head to look him in the eye. Startled, my buddy jumped back. We left, wondering if the bird was sick, dying, or just warming up on a cold day.

I didn't see this, but it was on the Anchorage Daily News front page back in 89.
A Georgia couple in their motor home were fueling at a gas station in Valdez, Ak.
The wife got out to let little Foo Foo the dog go potty off leash. Suddenly a bald eagle swooped down and took Foo Foo away.
The husband ran over to console his distraught wife. He embraced her and sat her into the passenger side of the motor home. As he walked around the back, out of the rear view mirror's sight, he jubilantly pumped his fist and mouthed "yeah!". As he entered the driver's side, he resumed his somber look.

Edit:
Fritz,
Glad the turkey vultures left Donini alone...LMAO
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jan 6, 2019 - 09:10am PT
One time in Alaska, two wolves came trotting by me in the sparse black spruce forest close to the boreal tree line.

I let out a whistle, an old deer hunting trick to get them to freeze.

One of the wolves, a beautiful gray, trotted up and stood five yards in front of me for several minutes. I could have spit on him.

The story goes on, but that was cool. From all that time in the Arctic I had encounters with all of the wildlife. Griz, caribou, wolves, Fox, wolverine, musk ox.

The Arctic Refuge is an incredible place.
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 6, 2019 - 09:32am PT
hitching across idaho in '69, i trudged out onto a lava flow to lose the hiway noise and find a suitable venue for a full moon rise rendezvous with three chewy allies, round and green, relieved of their fuzzy button centers. hard not to grimace with involuntary quivers, it was a taste only an intentional space traveler should acquire.

aeolian deposits, or windblown silts filled any depression so the terrain was a puzzle of stacked terraces, each flat as a pond and rimmed with jumbled basalt. widely scattered bushes and not much else set the stage as i assumed the position (lotus) facing the growing brightness to the east. peering though binoculars, the foreground and the distant serrated range were especially crisp. but i was not prepared for the defined craters that gave spherical relief to that alien surface as our globe rolled ahead for further revelation. the freshly illuminated earth that i magically adhered to seemed resoundingly planetary. i pledged allegiance to the physical laws of the universe, huge simpatico with the turner of the spheres. if your going to travel through cold dark space, how sweet to do it with buddy moon.

meanwhile, a different kind of drama was unfolding among us creatures. the sparse shadows of the occasional bush was the only cover for rabbits and it was comedic to watch them hastily exchange one shelter for another. oblivious to me, not even curious, it seemed i had more than my share of neighbors.

then the airshow began. nighthawks were bouncing through the kill zone on their erratic sorties. i've always admired the swift family aerialists, and you've gotta love the hapless br'er bunnies, so i was cheering for both sides in this arena and it made for a sporty night of high stakes entertainment.

sleep finally came to this longhair wayfarer, face down on a summer night, not exactly "in" an alpine bag.

SMACK, flap, flap, flap.

i sprang to all fours ready for war. straight ahead at 12 o'clock and climbing out, the sight of tail feathers and vigorous wing flaps, performing evasive maneuvers. i hadn't anticipated my colateral role in the administration of food chain supremacy but a stinging row of nail holes on each side of my head kept driving the point home, i had been engaged.
gradually a grin returned to my face, accompanied by a warm fuzzy to know that this special bird and i shared one thought in common at one instant in time. a profound sense of... WTF!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Jan 6, 2019 - 09:34am PT
So many...

Gorilla Tracking in Uganda was probably #1


Snorkeling with dolphins in Hawaii is amazing.

[Click to View YouTube Video]

One of the most memorable was camping past Wapama falls in Hetch Hetchy. I was about to fall asleep in a bivy sack a few feet away from where we had a bear bag hanging. I heard my friend walking around me and thought "that's weird, I didn't hear him unzip his tent and get out". I sat up and a large bear about 6 feet away is checking out the bag, checking me out, checking out the bag. I jumped to my feet, raised my arms, and told him/her it was time to leave. I moved the bag to about 50 feet away from our campsite. Lesson learned.
kpinwalla2

Social climber
WA
Jan 6, 2019 - 01:23pm PT
Flying in a helicopter over the north slope in Alaska I saw a herd of musk oxen. As the helicopter approached, they formed a circle facing outward with the young ones in the center. Pretty cool.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Jan 6, 2019 - 05:39pm PT

Well, certainly not the most memorable, but there are 16 wild horses in my backyard right now. They’ve been there all afternoon and show up on occasion during the winter, which I think is kinda cool. There were 20 or so out there at one point last winter.

Here are a few of them, from March, 2017.

EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Jan 6, 2019 - 06:17pm PT
i had been to the restroom building, and was walking back to one of the since destroyed housekeeping cabins in the Giant Forest of Sequoia. I stopped and leaned against an oversized dog house that had a firehose inside, and gazed motionless for perhaps 5 minutes at the stars. even at age 7 i was entranced by the sky... but then the slightest puff of warm air on my neck... I rotated and leaned away as a large black nose at eye level came into view.. less than a foot away. A Bear was attached to the nose... somehow i had the control to deliberately back up three steps.. rotate with another step or so, then i bolted for the cabin perhaps touching the ground along the way.. i never looked back, but i think the bear had a good laugh.. probably the bear had no intent to get that close, i think i blended in with the little building.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 6, 2019 - 07:36pm PT
Okay here are two.

The first isn't mine. It comes from Wayne Merry (Fossil Climber here on ST), and isn't really his either, but it's a story he passed on to me last year. A friend of his was out for an easy day of skiing on Atlin Lake -- just a flat tour out across the lake, around an island, and back home...

Until, as he was skiing around the far end of the island, a pack of twelve wolves came out of the island's trees and straight for him.

Can you imagine that? Just you and twelve starving wolves in the middle of the arctic winter?

But they just trucked on by, paying him no attention. So, no problem, other than to figure out how to clean his underwear.

And a story of my own. Put up in a bear thread a three years ago, but maybe worth repeating here. Wayne had put up a post about "a funny bear story" on Baffin Island. Which inspired me to post my own, non-funny, Baffin bear story...



I have to include a funny polar bear story. Twenty-odd years ago I used to be the Asst. Regional Director for Renewable Resources of the Baffin Island district,

My story precedes Wayne’s by a decade or so, and is definitely not as funny. Thirty-odd years ago I spent a fair amount of time on Baffin Island, at first just as a climber/skier, but the second trip partly as a hired gun for the Canadian equivalent of the Park Service, employed to “find out if certain routes were suitable for ski traverses.”

Yeah, eat your hearts out. It was the ultimate ski-mountaineering wet dream made real. Except for the part that turned into the ultimate ski-mountaineering nightmare made real.

Paring it down for this Bear Thread, part of the deal involved the first traverse of the Penny Ice Cap (where the last Ice Age started). To get us to the starting point, at the head of the Coronation Glacier, a couple of the Auyuituq Park staff put our gear on komituks and towed us behind their snowmobiles from Pangnirtung, up the fjord, up Weasel Valley to Summit Lake (where we dropped a month’s supplies), then down Owl Valley, back onto the ocean, around the headland, and up Coronation Fjord.




The idea was that they’d drop us at the fjordhead, where it looked like there was a relatively low-angle moraine we could use to access the glacier. And once up on the glacier, well, theoretically at least, we’d be able to get to the icecap, and from the ice cap eventually back south to our cache at Summit Lake.


Things went relatively smoothly until we started up Coronation Fjord. It was early May, and the snow/ice situation was weird. Melt-out up there starts from the ice/snow boundary and works its way upward. Which is fine, because it doesn't snow all that much. But Coronation is what they call a "wind fjord," and a lot of snow gets blown onto it. At this early stage of the melt, we encountered about a meter of powder on top of about 20 cm of slush on top of the ice. The snow machines couldn’t deal with it. Their tails would plow down, sending a rooster-tail of freezing salt slush into our faces (we were riding the komituks), then up, then dig in again, then up, ad infinitum.

Which would have been fine anywhere else. We’d just have said: “park these beasts, and we’ll get off and ski from here.” But while Ryan and I were as brave as any two of you, we weren’t stupid. Who wants to get off and ski up a glacier that is so thick with polar bear tracks that there was hardly an undisturbed patch of snow? Our drivers were armed, and we were on noisy machines, so better to continue right to the fjord head before dismounting.

Alas, it was not to be. The machines simply couldn’t make way as the powder/slush mix got deeper, and there was no choice but to start the non-motorized part of the expedition from about two-thirds of the way up the fjord. But no problem, right? We’ll just borrow our drivers’ rifles, and if there are still any bears coming down from their winter sleep (which the drivers said there certainly wouldn’t be), we’ll be ready to deal with them.

That met with a polite “No f*#king way we’re letting these rifles out of our hands.” Accompanied by “But no worries. These tracks are old. No way any more bears are coming down at this time of year.”

So we packed our loads, and skied off toward the ice-cliff that marked the point where the glacier ended and the ocean began. Too far to go without a camp, and we set up the tent in the midst of a zillion bear tracks, chanting over and over “The tracks are old. The bears are long gone” until eventually we fell asleep.

Waking up alive seemed to offer some proof that yes, the bears were indeed long gone, and we packed up and skied in much better spirits toward the point where the moraine came down the side of the ice cliff. It was a fine morning, and it looked like our guess that the moraine would be a straightforward avenue up onto the glacier was going to be proved right.

We skied right up to the ice cliff where the glacier fell into the ocean. Hundreds of feet high, and obviously impassible, but the moraine at its side looked relatively low angle.

But as we headed toward the moraine, we saw a pair of tracks leading down from somewhere up above, and ending just out of our sight at about the point we were headed for. “Hmmmm. Well, yeah, the bears are long gone, so these ones probably just wandered a little further seaward along the moraine, in a hollow out of our sight.”

Right. Onward. And then, when we were about 25 meters from the moraine, the cutest little polar bear cub imaginable stuck its head up and looked at us.

Kind of like lions. Or grizzlies. Or whatever deathdealers – if there’s a cub, then mama is somewhere nearby.

Up the moraine was out – that was straight into the jaws of death. Back down the fjord was out – that was straight into midst of about five million bears who clearly were not “long gone.” All that was left was to start skiing across the fjord, hoping that there would be a way up on the other side, and that mama wouldn’t show up until we were far enough away to be safe. A little over two km, on powder over slush, with 30 kg on our backs, and a top speed that wouldn’t scare a snail.

Still, since there wasn’t any choice, we turned and started slogging parallel to the ice cliff.

We made maybe 100 meters before mama popped up beside the cub, scoped us out, and started down the moraine.

Think about it. It had been months since she’d eaten, and not only was she ravenously hungry, but she probably saw us as a threat to her baby. If either of us had been religious, we’d probably just have knelt down right there and tried to become one with god, hoping that if we did that, being torn apart and eaten might not hurt too much. But since faith was in short supply, the only option was to keep on trucking and…

…and what? Postpone death by a minute or two?

I’d like to say that there is some useful material in this story that might help someone else in a polar bear confrontation, but I can’t. We didn’t decide to run, or to stand our ground, or to shout and wave our ski poles. We did the only thing we could, which was to slowly trudge through the slop toward the far shore as the bear quickly gained on us.

Fragile humans, about to enter the food chain from the very top.

But I’m here, writing this, and Ryan made it out with me. Why? Because, with mama bear only about twenty meters behind us, we passed a small berg, probably calved off the previous summer, and now frozen in the sea ice right at the base of the glacier. When we rounded it, we saw an opening in the glacier, guarded by a bunch of lumpy ice cubes – a crevasse, approached end-on rather than from above.

So we scrambled over the cubes, and into the crevasse, and then along its floor. Not thinking, just reacting. Same as you, or anyone would do. If you are being chased by a tiger, and see a door, you don’t ask what horror might lurk behind the door, do you?

Still on skis, we shuffled along a twisting path between walls of ice that grew higher and higher. Would the bear follow us? Had she lost interest when we turned out of sight behind the berg? We had no idea. All we knew was that there was no turning back, so we kept ski-trudging along the flat bottom of the crevasse.

Which may have some of you calling BS. Why kind of sh#t is this guy talking? Crevasses don’t have flat bottoms. How can he say they skied along a nice snow sidewalk two to three meters wide at the bottom of a crevasse?

Well, if we’d had functioning brains, we’d probably have asked the same question. But, believe me, being stalked by the greatest predator on earth turns off the analytical part of your mind.

At least for a while. Until, about ten or fifteen minutes past certain death, your ski pole punches a hole in the snow in front of you and you stare down through that hole into the great blue forever, and realize that you are on a sunken snow bridge, which is no doubt about to collapse under you and send you plummeting to your death.

F*#k.

Can’t go back. That way is guarded by a zillion hungry polar bears. Can’t stay here, cuz after the food is gone we'll die. So… onward.

“Should we rope up?”

“F*#ked if I know.”

We roped up, and trudged onward. Ice tools and crampons were in the cache at Summit Lake, so we couldn’t climb up out of the crevasse, but only go forward, and hope… Twice our hope seemed to shine, and we ascended low-angle ramps to the surface, but both times we found ourselves on a small isolated point, and had to head back down. But the third ramp led to the main glacier, and we…

It would be nice to say we bent down, kissed the snow and lived happily ever after, but the glacier was covered with bear tracks, and instead of worrying about dying when the snow beneath us collapsed, we were back to worrying about being eaten.

Fortunately, by this time we were both so physically and emotionally wasted that we didn’t care. We just set up the tent, hit the first aid kit for a couple of valiums, and passed out.

About ten hours later we woke up to a total whiteout. F*#king wonderful. We won’t even see the bear that kills us.



But what can you do? What we did was ski gently uphill for another two days of fear. Or, rather, about a day-and-a-half of fear, because at that point we realized we hadn’t seen any tracks for a couple of hours, and that we would probably live.

So, there's a polar bear story, from someone who, even thirty-five years later, has no idea why he survived.



Spencer Lennard

Trad climber
Williams, Oregon
Jan 6, 2019 - 07:59pm PT
I had the life changing opportunity to spend a half hour sitting in the woods with a horse-sized lion while doing a late day summer hike in my watershed in the early 90s. The horse size lion has curiously come up behind me to see what I was doing, and as I turned around to see who was there, he hid behind a log.....where he staried at me from behind a log in the waning light of dusk.

He was obviously just curious and meant me no harm (or I wouldn’t be here to write this). His head was twice as big as mine and his scat as big as a large bear’s.

Admittedly I was terrified so I picked up a big stick and spike loudly to him.

Finally I backed out of the woods terrified in the near darkness and hike home.

Every single hike and bike ride in lion habitat (the entire western US) hasn’t been the same since then.

I obviously love all big cats, particularly lions and hugely value that amazing inter-species bonding......that was truly “spiritual.”
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 6, 2019 - 08:18pm PT
i was all tucked in and ready for a BEDTIME story
Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Jan 6, 2019 - 09:05pm PT
Ghost that was an absolutely amazing story...woah. thanks!
john hansen

climber
Jan 6, 2019 - 10:17pm PT
Ok , nothing life threatening like all these other ones , but once around 76 or so my brother and I had a great encounter with some wild horses.

My dad liked to go out in the desert to known stops along the emigrant trails west. And look for artifacts like ox shoes and chains an stuff.

One time we stayed at Antelope Springs out side of Imlay Nevada. While our dad was trying to find old stuff me and my brother hiked up a hill behind camp.

As we came over the crest of the hill we saw a stallion with a mare and a colt about 50 yards away. The stallion reared up and whinnied just like in the movies before they all ran off.

My brother and I , 15 and 17 teen actually stood there and sang 'America for specious sky's " standing on top of that hill after seeing those horse's.

There was no one within 25 miles except our dad ,wandering around in the desert, a couple miles away, looking for ox shoe's,,and us with our voices ringing out over the desert.

Great stories everyone. Keep em coming.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 6, 2019 - 10:37pm PT
Ghost, the shop steward would like to have a word with you.
I thought we had agreed on a bottle of Le Tâche?
AKDOG

Mountain climber
Anchorage, AK
Jan 7, 2019 - 10:36am PT
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 7, 2019 - 10:52am PT
They are all memorable...climbing the left ski track on tahquitz looking up and seeing a golden eagle circling over head was a bit distracting....Riding the mt. bike east of 120 in the adobe valley and getting caught in a mustang stampede...watching a sprinting grizzly chase rodents in denali park....
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 7, 2019 - 10:59am PT
RJ, surely you saw the excavations made by the Grizzlies there to get at a marmot?
Perhaps you mistook them for the work of some crankloon backhoe operator?
They move a hell of a lot of hard rocky earth to come at a marginal meal.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jan 7, 2019 - 11:13am PT
Luckily i was a safe distance from the grizzly so i didn't see the excavations or any crankloons...
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 7, 2019 - 02:32pm PT
Holy smokes Ghost. had me on the edge of my seat and I read it last time you posted it... pretty shure I am rocking the same skis from the 2nd hand store.
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jan 7, 2019 - 03:02pm PT
Like anyone who spends time outdoors - lots of great wildlife sightings. Thanks to all for the ones posted upthread. Ghost for the win though, that's a great story.

Once you have encountered a handful of large or highly venomous snakes in the tropics (or anywhere), they're not very remarkable anymore. Likewise mountain lions and bears unless they're alarmingly close (like opening my eyes after a bivy in the Sierra seeing large bear prints with smaller ones inside, a couple feet from my head). My most memorable wildlife have mostly been large and/or highly venomous invertebrates: a giant centipede in Indonesia which we did a lot of dancing around to corral it long enough to get photos without being bitten; a huge ctenid spider ambling slowly over my leg at night in Colombia (that's the family of "Brazilian wandering spiders", the worst ones to get bitten by in the New World tropics, and very damaging or fatal bites are plenty common where I was). I'd love to see a velvet worm someday, one of the most ancient and weirdest organisms on the planet; dating back 500 million years. That's amazing. Most of our climbing areas are made of rock that doesn't even go back that far.

Best one in California was driving north on 395 near Mammoth in late November, first really pounding snowstorm of the winter, snow falling at 2"/hour or so. Mule deer, which usually hang only in small groups, typically fewer than 12 or so, herd up in good fall migration stopover habitat eating everything they can get, then when the first big snowstorm hits, they flood down into the lowlands and to the east in huge numbers. This one night, a herd of hundreds of them all crossed the highway at once, totally ignoring approaching cars, we all had to just stop and wait as the herd flowed across and between the cars, so close that some of them bumped your car as they passed. It was a great 10 or 20 minutes until they all moved on.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Jan 7, 2019 - 03:38pm PT
My very first trip out west in May of 1981 a few weeks before my 19th birthday. Obviously there was no such thing as the internet and I grew up without TV. The massive amount of information we are exposed to and take for granted now simply was not a part of life back then. I was fairly well read but had no idea that Buffalo still existed. I was under the impression that they were extinct or only lived on farms somewhere.. More likely I had simply not even thought of Buffalo. I had read about them in history books and westerns but had never seen a photo of a live one in the wild. Anyways I crashed an hour or so after dark, the last thing I remember seeing was a killer sunset in St Paul. So far other than the inside of the jail house in Sault St Marie I had not seen anything too crazy different than what my previous life in the East had shown me. When Scott pulled in for gas and a piss at 4am I woke up in the middle of North Dakota. It was like waking up on a different planet. Another day of sheer wonder at the changing landscape as we wandered through ND and Montana discovering somehow that Red lodge pass was closed so had to head down to Cody and into Yellowstone from there. As we reached the top of the pass the snow banks were monstrous and the road down to a single lane. At the absolute crest of the pass completely blocking the road was a monstrous buffalo. That sight completely blew me away. There were many more firsts for me in wildlife encounters that summer but certainly that buffalo was the most wonderous.
psykokid

Mountain climber
Pasadena
Jan 7, 2019 - 04:45pm PT
Spotted this badger up at Coyote Flats a few years ago. Didnt realize at the time this was actually part of their range.
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
Jan 7, 2019 - 05:02pm PT
A Bull Shark swam past me in crystal clear water three or four summers ago while surfing in North Carolina. Probably a 6 footer, three feet to my side. Beautiful animal. Just cruised by me, two of my kids and three or four others out surfing in about four feet of water. I feel fortunate to have seen the creature in its natural environment.

...and Ghost for the win.
hailman

Trad climber
Ventura, CA
Jan 7, 2019 - 05:23pm PT
Well, this thread is AWESOME!

I would have to choose basically everything I saw on the Lost Coast Trail a few summers ago. That part of California thankfully remains largely undammed and undeveloped because it would take massive pumps and/or tunnels to get the water over the Coast Range to the cities.






I chose the Lost Coast Trail because it opened my eyes to the power of conservation as applied to large continuous stretches of land and river. (The trail is within the King Range National Conservation Area)

It was so special to see so much wildlife going about their natural way...completely oblivious to our presence...a rare place where people have had very little impact!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 7, 2019 - 06:45pm PT
I would have to choose basically everything I saw on the Lost Coast Trail a few summers ago.

I wandered a bit of the Lost Coast 25 years ago. Didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but... Hmmm... What is that smell? OOOhhhhhhhhhhhh. Gross to the max!

So we wandered a bit further upwind, trying not to puke, until we saw a huge mound on the beach. Not wildlife, but wilddeath. Yup, a Sea Lion carcass in advanced stage of decay. That is, it was still huge, and hadn't fallen in on itself, but it was full of holes, and, yeah, smelling like a rotten sea lion carcass.

We wondered if the holes had been pecked by birds. A lot of the interior was missing, and, if we had been bent that way, we could probably have crawled inside.

What a monster.
mongrel

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jan 7, 2019 - 07:09pm PT
These bits about the Lost Coast bump it up the bucket list. A long time ago, after I found out about Sinkyone St. Park, I checked it out and found it to be absolutely first rate, so then I bought some USGS maps (yep, it was that long ago) and the first thing I saw was the name of a feature: "Point No Pass" and within a nanosecond, just like almost anyone with any level of enterprise, my first thought was, I gotta go hike past that point. Definitely on the list.

We did have a bit of an encounter with the resident Roosevelt elk in that park. The herd (one of several??) happened to be occupying the whole area of the trail, and it's really steep terrain, not much option to just avoid. After slowly and calmly walking and letting them pass around us, Big Bertha emerges from the middle of the herd making a fast beeline straight toward me. We skedaddled at as fast a walking speed as was reasonable.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Jan 7, 2019 - 09:40pm PT
I did a solo loop backpack on the Lost Coast 25 or so years ago. Started by walking north along the ridgeline, then dropped down to the beach, then back south.
It was very cool, but speaking of wildlife, there was a part of that where I heard a few noises and had a very distinct feeling of being stalked. Never saw anything, but was definitely a bit creeped out.
And going up the Buck Creek trail is pretty brutal. Climbs roughly 1000 ft/ mile.
john hansen

climber
Jan 7, 2019 - 10:17pm PT
When I was 10 years old I set a snare on a trial next to a creek.

Standard Boy Scout stuff

The next day me and my younger brother and my cousin went to check it out and lo and behold there was a fox hanging with its feet barely on the ground.

Now what to do...

I chopped down the small tree that was the spring , with my machete that I always seemed to carry back then in the woods, and then moved out to the end and cut the rope .

The fox ran off. I hope that rope did not get snagged on anything and that he got it off his neck.

Never set a snare since.
Mike.

climber
Jan 7, 2019 - 11:32pm PT
Mountain lions, Trabuco Canyon CA
couchmaster

climber
Jan 9, 2019 - 10:54am PT


Rottenjohnny -sorry to hear about your mom, hope you're doing OK. Mines ready mentally, but when I asked the hospice nurse how she was doing last night, she replied: "It's serious but she's not on the banana peel yet".
plund

Social climber
OD, MN
Jan 9, 2019 - 11:36am PT
GREAT thread!

I'm fortunate; I see bald eagles almost every day, roosting, soaring, etc. Once drove by one sitting on a road-kill deer, right on the shoulder -- yeah, they're BIG!

Best / oddest one though, was one I saw while boating on the St Croix. I caught sight of something in my periphery, slowed the boat & cruised closer to investigate. Sure enough, there was a baldie with its head barely above water. It beat a froth trying to take off, failed, and was pulled completely under, to emerge looking PISSED. I watched this scene repeat a couple of times, then moved on -- I figured the bird was under enough stress without me gawking. I can only surmise it had locked onto a fish larger than its lift capacity; I've heard their talons are 'self-locking' and take time to relax once they've fastened on (but don't know this to be a fact). I thought about trying to 'help', but the thought of netting that BIG bird & pulling it to shore didn't seem realistic; as big as they are they're still fragile. I've always wondered how that fishing trip ended...

The St Croix valley & river system are great for wildlife -- I've seen baldies, goldens, peregrines, osprey, beaver, otter, fox, deer, not to mention the abundant waterfowl. Was once scooting around in the late fall, ice just forming in the still spots, and when I turned south for Stillsville & came around a bend I spooked THOUSANDS of assorted ducks, who ascended in a rising spiral wall all around me. It was a true National Geographic-type scene; the sound of all those wings actually was louder than the (INSANE) quacking!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 9, 2019 - 11:55am PT
plund, even more than the insane quacking here? 😳
ec

climber
ca
Jan 9, 2019 - 12:07pm PT
Whale and calf within 100’ while kayaking off of SW Maui...

...a cinnamon brown bear after a bee hive in a pine tree, a ferruginous hawk taking-off from a snag and several puzzled dear, all within a mile after entering Tehipite Valley from the west.



 ec
plund

Social climber
OD, MN
Jan 9, 2019 - 02:52pm PT
Reilly, the Croix quacking was so intense you could almost feel it, while the ST quacking feels like it induces increased intracranial pressure & the desire to tear one's face off.....
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 9, 2019 - 06:12pm PT
Was meditating, opened my eyes, and a weasel was about two feet away. Incredibly graceful and beautiful up close; moved like a living slinkey.
Mike.

climber
Jan 9, 2019 - 06:29pm PT
Golden eagle, Trabuco Canyon CA
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 9, 2019 - 07:07pm PT
Start with a disclaimer: This is not my photo.

Follow with another disclaimer: Thank god!!!!!!!!!

Thinking about being attacked by a mountain lion is scary enough, but at least they're solitary and you only have to fight off one of them...

...uh, in Washington, they're not always solitary.

Remote cam night photo of eight of them one night:


the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Jan 9, 2019 - 07:07pm PT
Petting the whales in Guerrero Negro, Baja was incredible. Awesome trip I'd recommend to anyone who appreciates wildlife and doesn't mind an adventurous road trip.

My son was about 11 at the time and they said the whales are attracted to kids. Sure enough they would surface and put their noses right up to him. So cool that such magnificent, giant, wild animals want to interact with people like that.
OnsightOrGoHome

Trad climber
Fair Oaks
Jan 9, 2019 - 07:54pm PT
Awesome stories that reflect why we do what we do. Beauty, adventure, and excitement merging together.

Hiking solo many miles from the nearest road I had a bear running down a steep slope toward me, a quick yell and loud clapping stop him mid-stride. It was a long night sleeping under the stars alone.... no human company that is.
Scole

Trad climber
Zapopan
Jan 10, 2019 - 09:07am PT
1. 20' GWS off Catalina Island at 14 y/o on my final scuba certification dive
2. Andean Condor while taking a break at Paso Superior on a Fitz Roy attempt. I was taking a siesta mid day, when a huge shadow woke me. I never knew how bad they smelled, but a 5' its hard to miss
3. While scouting a rapid on the Merced with Jim Olsen and Walt Shipley, I stepped, barefoot, into a nest of baby rattlers.
4. Taking a shortcut back to the Torre Valley after soloing a new route on Mojon Rojo, I was knee deep in mud, still wearing harness and double boots, when I spotted a Puma 30' away, watching me and licking its paws.
5. Riding my motorcycle to work at a remote ranch in Wyoming, I watched an adult Wolverine descend a hill, cross the road 20' in front of me, and keep on going.
6. Floating the Green River above Warren Bridge, I saw a Fisher on the bank.
7. Last summer, while playing tourist in Grand Teton with my family, I met a grizzly cub at about 10', way too close for comfort.
Inner City

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Jan 10, 2019 - 09:30am PT
Scole,
Grizzley range is moving back to the south then? I had thought that the big guys were only found north of there now..hmm, I'll keep that in mind next summer when heading back there for my 20th Anniversary..

This thread keeps on giving great stuff. thanks all
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 10, 2019 - 09:35am PT
Amazing shots of Pumas in Chile/Arg in this month’s Nat Geo.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Jan 10, 2019 - 09:36am PT
There was this nude beach in SoCal. I'm not gonna tell you perverts where.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Jan 11, 2019 - 12:46pm PT
watch this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hURgA_BNSGc

Wasn't my wildlife sighting but I wish it was. Think grizzlies can't climb trees? Think again.

I suggest muting the audio for the best experience.

Arne

looks like a grizz to me but the videographer's description calls it a black bear sow.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 11, 2019 - 01:03pm PT
MB, did you see the rare Buff-breasted Bedthrasher there?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 11, 2019 - 03:22pm PT
Ionlyski--that's just a light colored black bear sow chasing
the black boar up a tree. . .
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Jan 11, 2019 - 03:29pm PT
SteveW,
Yeah, but I'm not positive. I just had (a family visit) a local wildlife biologist over and we watched it together again and he couldn't make a positive ID. Early in the video there is a frame or two that looks very much grizzly. And the size too!

I'll check it out again when I have time but perhaps you're right.

Arne

edit-Thinking that is a large sow black bear. Too bad the footage is so far away. Big bear though.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 11, 2019 - 03:36pm PT
By far the Forum's most captivating current thread to have a good sitdown/read.

"donini's shot hits nothing but net, the guanacos win!"

"But what a great team effort, too!"

I liked Larry Nelson's tale of saving Penelope the rabbit...cool.
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Jan 11, 2019 - 04:11pm PT
Seeing a frog pasted on the wall about 700 feet up the Zodiac was memorable. Got me thinking if it was born up there or climbed up. Being woken up by a mountain lion creeping around the crash pad we were df keeping on just outside of Ouray was unforgettable. Wow, bottom of the food chain is adrenaline inducing.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
Jan 11, 2019 - 04:44pm PT
MB, did you see the rare Buff-breasted Bedthrasher there?

Okay, I snorted coffee up my nose. Well played, sir.
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Jan 11, 2019 - 06:42pm PT
My friend Chonk got this picture while kayaking on of the forks of the American. Golden eagle caught a fawn. Those birds are huge.

Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 11, 2019 - 07:35pm PT
Somewhere upthread I mentioned an encounter with Lester.

We actually met him more than once, with the first time being probably the most memorable -- in an "Oh F*#k! I'm gonna die!!!" way.

We'd heard that if one cut off the trail halfway up to Snow Creek Wall one could find an amazing collection of 1- and 2-pitch cracks on perfect granite. So, up we went...

And, yes, it looked like we'd scored. Lovely tier of cliffs, split with boatloads of cracks. But, as we got closer, we realized we weren't alone. Two young guys were racing down the trail toward us, at speed. Young, and scared witless. They told us of a huge goat that had charged them, and were clearly thankful to be getting away alive.

Hmmm... What to do?

Well, the goat wasn't charging down the trail after them with black lightning shooting from his hooves and horns, so we decided to at least wander up to the base of the cliffs and check things out. Maybe the demon goat would be long gone.

And so it appeared. The base of the crag was just like the base of any other alpine crag. No monsters in view. So we roped up, and Mari set off up the most appealing line.

And then, with her about 20 meters up, the monster appeared.

The biggest mountain goat I'd ever seen appeared over the high point of the trail and started down toward me. The mountain goat that had charged two big guys... So, of course, I did what any of you would have done. Started screaming at Mari to stuff in a couple of pieces and tie off, so that I could...

...could what? Try to outrun the devil's mountain goat in rough terrain?

But it was useless. Before Mari could get an anchor, the goat was on me...

And...

...he looked at me for a minute and then lay down at my feet, snoozing and chewing his cud.

Think about it. He was probably twice my size, had horns that could rip the entire side off your car with no effort at all, and had already aggressively chased off some other climbers. I was pretty much convinced I was going to die, and could only hope that Mari would be able to tie off to something in the crack and wouldn't starve to death while waiting until he went away.

But all he wanted to do was hang out with a friend and catch some rest.

I guess I caught his vibe, cuz I unfroze and told Mari I was back on belay. She finished the pitch with Lester snoozing at my feet, and then set up a rap to come back down. As she approached the ground, my new friend woke up and...

Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 12, 2019 - 07:32am PT
He should be known as Lester The Molester, don't ya think?
You have a calming effect on beasties if Tulum the iguana is any sort of an odd almost a yardstick.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jan 12, 2019 - 07:47am PT
Lester the Local. Nice rock, Ghost.
Mike.

climber
Jan 12, 2019 - 09:36am PT
Hauling ass downhill in Gila NF NM on our tandem bike to get to the bivy, almost dark, hooves thundering in a field alongside us, then over the fence onto the road as we navigated between large elk bodies traversing the road. One last youngster was reticent to jump, but finally did with some encouragement from the others. No documentation, no other witnesses, just a magic moment.

We saw puma, moose, badger, antelope, deer, elk, bobcat, coyote, bald eagle, fox, and others on just that one trip. Beyond cool to share that stuff with the old lady in real time. Five bald eagles on one sand bar in ID, crazy.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 12, 2019 - 09:40am PT
Being surrounded by 80,000 puffins buzzing like bees this summer was pretty cool.
Watching the White-tailed Eagles gobbling them wasn’t but it’s a oneness.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jan 12, 2019 - 09:35pm PT
You have a calming effect on beasties if Tulum the iguana is any sort of an odd almost a yardstick.

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jan 12, 2019 - 10:11pm PT
hey there say, ghost... wow, love that 'goat story' and its great photo...


say, will try to find a photo to add:


once, just strolling the backfield, bit of woods...
a friend and, we saw a baby fawn, right AT our feet, :O

and-- knew enough to 'soak the beauty' in by eyes and left...
will NEVER forget it... did not have a camera, in those days...
(michigan) ...

then-- a few years back, the neighgor had a 'partly' limping'
deer just 'show up in his backyard, a few houses next door here,
to 'sleep the night' and then, left later in the morning...

wow-- just seeing in the yard, trusting for a 'safe haven' was
very nice... we never knew where it went from there...


can be sad here-- many deer are 'stuck' in the city mesh of roads, :(

where there are many patches of woods, but, not enough for
their best interest...


these were very nice memories...
and, then-- the local on the way home night,
where three VERY LARGE deer and two babes, RAN in from of my
car, missing be by about 2? feet... as i was going about 18 miles per
hour...

they were spectacular and even more so-- as not being a 'hit' from the side...

they ran into the lawn of the apartments and later, by the time i came back
to REALLY enjoy them, the folks there said they have--


gone through the building and down into the bit of wilderness near the lake...



oh my....
hamie

Social climber
Thekoots
Jan 12, 2019 - 11:35pm PT

krahmes

Social climber
Stumptown
Jan 12, 2019 - 11:51pm PT
In 2016 I was back in Indonesia working in southwest Sumatra. I had to go to this mostly unpleasant 6 am morning meeting. There was this 3 km stretch of road cut like an open wound through the hutan that we had to drive every morning. The forestry department would run thick manila ropes across the road so the gibbons could cross, but the locals would always steal the ropes and it never seemed like it was priority to anyone to keep them up. Quite often we would we hear gibbons usually coming to meeting, though sometimes in better light on the way back. I would hoot back to them and they would seemingly hoot back to me. I like to believe they recognized me after a time. If the hooting was close enough, I’d have the driver stop and I was always gob smacked when I saw one and of course sad: Sad that the road was there, that I was there, and that the world is done full up with people and as such a lot of beauty in this world is going to pass into oblivion in at least in the here and now. The Sony RXII camera I had never really performed that well in the rainforest and the gibbons were always furtive and, on the move, as soon as I was within a reasonable shooting distance. I only ever got one true shot of one; and it is a lousy picture. The gibbon is in the lower left middle moving in the tree.

splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
Jan 15, 2019 - 05:25pm PT
this little pygmy owl eating a chipmunk on the skintrack at Lassen NP last month.

Mike.

climber
Jan 15, 2019 - 06:23pm PT
Killer thread!
thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
Jan 15, 2019 - 06:39pm PT
Hey mike. you should splain a little more about that tandem trip: what kinda bikey setup? terminal points? best segments?
Mike.

climber
Jan 16, 2019 - 09:23am PT
Hey, TBcowboy, it was a simple, slow tour down the US Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (mostly dirt roads) ~2400 mi from the Canadian to Mexico border (Roosville MT to Antelope Wells NM) in 61 days – nice way to spend a rainy summer with your babe.


Sort of a TR:
https://forums.mtbr.com/riding-passion-stories/honey-wanna-go-bike-ride-914081.html

We cached our favorite morsels in five cities, but no need for it. So much of it is good, hard to pinpoint the standout riding. Everything, including the people/excluding Helena, in Montana is worthy; Great Basin WY was surreal; so much good in CO once away from Breck. Gila NF and the desert in NM is good in its own way. A bunch of 200-mi sections could be called classic, and I guess it depends on what sort of terrain one likes. I did a shakedown from Grants to Separ NM. The mapsets by Adventure Cycling Association for the route are second to none, mandatory for planning a chunk. Cheers...


Back on topic... Bugling elk on the Front Range CO
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Feb 3, 2019 - 09:15pm PT

Cool elk video, Mike!



The wild horses have been hanging around here again, on and off for the last few weeks. I counted over 30 of them at one time, maybe a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday afternoon I looked out the window to see several of them, about 100 feet from the house, doing what they do – eating. I kept an eye on them from time to time, and counted 13. Later on the sun came out, and melted the dusting of snow that fell earlier in the morning, so I figured I’d take a few photos through my office window. I continued to watch them on occasion throughout the rest of the afternoon, until it got dark. It’s funny how entertaining it can be to watch them, even though they don’t really do a lot.





The horses were in the backyard this morning, when I looked out the window, and when I counted them, I didn’t count to 13; I counted to 14. One of them was sitting in the grass, and looked smaller than the others. A little while later, with what looked like a bit of coaxing from a couple of the others, the little one finally stood up, and that’s when I could tell that it was much smaller than the rest of the horses, with disproportionately long legs. “Wow,” I thought. “They multiplied!” The foal was definitely not with this herd of 13 yesterday, I am sure. So it must have been born last night or early this morning.

During the day, it never strayed more than a few tens of feet from its mother, and spent most of the time at her side, occasionally feeding on her milk. I stepped out the back door a few times, to take more photos.











Late in the afternoon, the snow came back, and I could tell that it isn’t their favorite type of weather, as they tried to take cover amongst the juniper trees. I must say that I tend to agree with them. Being merely hours-old and spending the night in a snowstorm doesn’t seem like the easiest way to be brought into this world. But perhaps we humans are just soft, living in our warm and cozy houses, sheltered from the elements. Maybe the foal will do just fine. I hope so. It’s got a few really cold nights to get through this week, with lows in the teens or upper single-digits.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foal

Foals are born after a gestation period of approximately 11 months. Birth takes place quickly, consistent with the status of a horse as a prey animal, and more often at night than during the day.

Unlike most predators which are altricial (born helpless), horses are precocial, meaning they come into the world relatively mature and mobile. Healthy foals can typically keep up with the rest of the herd only a few hours after birth.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang




Mike.

climber
Feb 3, 2019 - 09:52pm PT
Some nice images there, Minersls; good eye for details. Hope to see them...

I rolled up on a small number of wild horses on my bike, not uncommon. But this group was acting odd, seemingly defensive of my presence. I realized the youngest member of the group had an injured foreleg and could only go short distances at a time. I got video as I passed close by the group, but it broke my heart seeing the little one struggling. Nature...
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Feb 3, 2019 - 09:52pm PT
An interesting thing I once saw was in Camp 4. We were sipping coffee in the morning and I watched a squirrel "listening" to the ground. Searching, searching and the damn thing dug up a mole and went over to a drainage pipe and ate it. We at the picnic table were dumbstruck. I thought they only ate nuts. Nope. At least not in Yosemite Valley.

S....

VVVV Absolutely.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 3, 2019 - 10:05pm PT
^^^^ You sure it was a squirrel?
Jim Clipper

climber
Feb 3, 2019 - 10:11pm PT
The ditch does attract visitors world wide.

http://www.discovery.com/dscovrd/wildlife/meet-the-vampire-squirrel-among-thea-fluffiest-of-all-animals/
Zay

climber
Monterey, Ca
Feb 4, 2019 - 12:31am PT
originalpmac,

that photo is insane.

Ghost,

I'm f*#king dying of laughter reading your story, I thought it was so funny that you must be fabricating the whole thing (not that I would have cared!)

Then I saw the picture. Wow.

I had a pet iguana a long time ago... her name was Lizzy. I named her. I was seven.

Then we lost power in El Portal for a long time when the river ran high.

1997

She couldn't stay warm, got sick, and fell asleep forever.

:(
Salth2o

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Feb 5, 2019 - 02:58pm PT
I've never seen more than a marmot, elk or deer but read this today. I would assume it takes a bit the straggle a mountain lion. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/05/691528804/colorado-runner-kills-mountain-lion-in-self-defense
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:36pm PT
A few years ago I was at the base of El Cap waiting my turn to begin the ascent. An Australian guy came up to me and began asking questions about our sport. Naturally, being bored as I belayed, I regaled him with lots of instruction with tall tales to boot. After about an hour he left, thanking me for the introduction.

A few minutes after he began to descend the gully nearby he yelled up to me: "Hey Jorge there's a beer coming up to you."

I thought maybe he'd realized I'd like a cold one and he had sent it up with another hiker.

Being barefoot, I gingerly walked through the broken talus out to the gully when to my surprise a little old brown bear came running up to me and stopped cold, not five feet from me.

He was as freaked as I, and as I turned tail and ran back to my ledge, he turned to the left and rocketed up the steep slope opposite my hideaway.

I looked down the gully and yelled to the Aussie, "It's a bear, man, not beer."
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:47pm PT
I would assume it takes a bit the straggle a mountain lion.e

You should see what it takes to straddle a mountain lion!

Jorge, gud one, mate!
rtoddclimb

Trad climber
NH
Feb 5, 2019 - 04:51pm PT
At Rumney , NH belaying my friend at the Bonsai cliff. I heard some shuffling about off to the side
that I momentarily thought was squirrels, a minute later 6 feet in front of me out from under a rock
8 young nervous weasels pop their faces out looking around like how do we get past , what should we do.
They then proceeded to follow one another up along the base of the cliff and out of sight . Then one came back to the rock in front of me into the cave part and five more came out and followed . It killed me that my phone was just out of reach behind me , I will never forget the look of all those faces nervously peering out , so cool .
dave y

climber
Boulder
Feb 5, 2019 - 06:43pm PT
I was sleeping along a creek once, no tent. I woke up in the middle of the night, and some animal was sleeping on my chest. A smallish animal, maybe raccoon size. I was like, "holy shit" and the animal ran off. I've got no idea what it was.

I travelled down to Florida a couple of times to see manatees. In the summer it is unpredictable where they may be found, but in the winter the inland water tends to be a bit warmer than the ocean, so they head into the fresh water. Crystal River is a fairly predictable place to see them. You can rent a canoe and paddle out, or if lazy rent a canoe with a motor. Take your snorkeling gear. It is a pretty amazing experience, they are extremely large wild animals, yet they're mellow as can be. I recommend it.
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Feb 7, 2019 - 08:18am PT
Awesome thread! Most memorable is a little hard because like so many here I have spent a lot of time out in Mother Nature. Ok, here’s one. I was a third of the way up the first pitch of Zenyata. The crack widened to about an inch when suddenly I notice a few sets of small eyes peering at me. Startled, I looked closer. Tiny frogs all jammed up in this overhanging crack about 40 feet off the deck?? I was completely puzzled. What on earth? How did they get up here? There’s no way they could’ve hopped up this slightly overhung blank face. Then I had an insight. I realized that they had filtered down through El Cap. I realized that the formation Contained a fantastic internal crack system hiding life from top to bottom. That the frogs had washed down through that system. Possibly from the very summit. Wow! This colossus of granite was teaming with life Inside and out on a scale that was impossible to comprehend. I carefully moved my tiny friends aside enough to place a baby angle and move on. Yet, That insight stayed with me over the days of the climb. Continuing off and on over the following years as well.

tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Feb 7, 2019 - 09:19am PT
Scanned slide from my pre-digital archive...desert fox near the campfire Death Valley January 1979

deschamps

Gym climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:30am PT
The Henry mountains have the last free-ranging heard of Buffalo in the United States.

I was sleeping in my bivy sack one night and woke up to 3 HUGE shapes 15 feet away, visible by moonlight. I spooked them as soon as I woke up and all 3 proceed to run off, getting to within 10 feet of me lying in the dirt.
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:53am PT
A black bear woke me up in the wee hours of the night while I slept on a sand embankment beside the Merced river just outside Yosemite (free campsite somewhere on the side of incline rd). It was digging in the sand with his back side 6 inches from my face! Scared me half to death! I went into my childish hiding-from-monsters-in-the-closet mode and pulled my sleeping bag hood over my head. I held frozen for what felt like forever (10 minutes) before I worked up the courage to look up again. When I did, the bear was gone without a peep. In the morning there was an unearthed empty can of tuna on the ground that someone apparently buried in the sand recently. Damn tourists.
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:55am PT
cornel, that is mind blowing. Life is so amazing in so many ways.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Feb 7, 2019 - 12:38pm PT
Cornel, I love that visualization!

My most memorable El Cap wildlife was walking the base and hearing an inbound missile and scraping sound. Look up, looks like somebody dropped a baseball mitt that's tumbling down the lower slabs! When it smacks the ground a few feet from me, I see it is a squirrel. I guess they're not always super-nimble. That same walk, I came upon a snake immobilized with half of a squirrel down it's throat. Bad day for squirrels.

When I was very young, my mom was a successful real estate agent in the newly developed and booming Simi Valley in mid 70s, and partying it up. I recall being at some parties where an Orangutan lived... that dude was small but really strong. One time he walked away from the table and forgot (or chose not) to let go, dragging the table and whatever illicit substances were on it with him, leaving folks sitting in a circle facing each other. For a young kid, that was a cool and wild life.
clifff

Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Feb 7, 2019 - 01:11pm PT
We were up about 10 pitches on the Direct NW Face of HalfDome; bivying on that thin ledge with the railing; just settling down for the night when my partner cries out: "Augh something just ran across my face!!" Turning on our headlamps we expect to see the notorious rope eating rodent, the Woodrat reputed to live there. Looking down, there, stuck to the vertical rock was a small frog. They can climb even overhanging rock with ease.

ECF

Big Wall climber
Ridgway CO
Feb 7, 2019 - 02:43pm PT
Lions, tiger sharks, and bears...oh my!

Yeah all that, but have you ever see a stoat?
I didn’t even know they existed until one ran out of my woodpile.
I thought someone’s pet ferret had escaped.

The other day a deer came right up to me as I was gathering firewood. They are getting pretty used to me in the yard.

This morning I saw a rabbit sledding down the hill. I ran for my camera but he saw me and ran off.


Deep in the Sierra one time, I saw a bear that followed me all day. It was not a black bear, and I’m not judging that by color. I know black bears can be brown. It’s head was round and bigger than a black bear, with triangular ears. His fur was corse and nappy, a dirty honey gold color. There was a hump behind his shoulders. He was a big sonofabitch, I’d say 600-800 pounds. I was scared, really scared.
I climbed up on a boulder and set up my XGK to scare him off when it got dark. If you ever had one, you’d understand my thinking.
He circled that boulder most of the night.
When dawn came he was gone, but so was all my fuel.
I packed out of there one click less than a full run and abandoned the objective.
I don’t care what anybody says, I know what I saw.
That was either a very lost Brown, or one of the last Goldens out there.
We are so quick to think we are so smart and know everything, but then nature gives us a smack upside the head.
I reported it but they didn’t care and said “Black bears can be brown”. Yeah, I know, I studied wildlife in college, and have seen dozens of black bears and a few browns in the wild before. But she had a badge and a hat, so she must have been an expert...
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Feb 7, 2019 - 05:01pm PT
African Elephant, a big Tusker, Kroeger National Park. Literally got so close I could have touched his tusks. The encounter came about because of my ignorance for proper protocol where driving past a Tusker who has decided to amble up a motorway and not give way.

For about twenty minutes, daughter, wife and I sat on a road in the middle of the park, at first behind a long line of vehicles, as a Tusker made his way up the road for about 1/4 mile. Cars in front of us waited their turn and drove past the big Boy. When the Tusker got to us, daughter, who was driving, asked me, "What do I do?"

"Just sit tight and let him pass" was my answer.

All was cool until the Tusker was one step away and seemingly ready to walk on by. But no, he turned and proceeded to ram his head and tusk into the driver's side door and windshield. A long explosion shocked the Tusker as his tusk shattered the windshield, inches from daughter's face, and he broke off the attack.

We had no time to be scared as the attack caught us by surprise.

Two hours later I ran into a Park Ranger and told him the story.

"Mate, you were bloody lucky," a behemoth, sunburned man of English descent, about 6 feet 8 inches tall, and a huge beer gut. "Last week a tusker rammed a car, turned it over several times, left it a complete wreck."

"What do I do wrong?" I asked.

"You challenged him, you did. When you stood your ground and didn't run away as soon as he got close, you challenged him. You held your ground as he approached; that's a threat to him. All the other elephants saw that. He couldn't just let any challenge go, so he rammed your car. Damn lucky he just stopped."

The ranger went on to explain the correct way to pass an elephant who insists on staying in the middle of the road.

"You drive up to him slow, leave the engine running, stop about 30 yards away, and just stop. Then inch forward a few inches and stop. Repeat until you get really close. If he comes at you, piss off backward as fast as you can. When you get really close, rev the engine and gun by him."
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
Feb 7, 2019 - 05:27pm PT
^^^^ I'm heading to Kenya this summer to see friends and safari. I'll keep that advice in mind!!! Dang!

Cheers!

S....
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 7, 2019 - 06:52pm PT
^^^ A bloody poisonous puppy!
NigelSSI

Trad climber
B.C.
Feb 7, 2019 - 06:55pm PT
Climbing in josh on whatever wall has overseer, but off to the right somewhere on a no star left slanting climb, my partner Pete was leading something covered in kitty litter, brushing off what he could with every foot placement... he was swearing under his breath, and questioning his decision making when some climbers of to the left yelled ‘rope’, I glanced over to see a huge white bird flying our way. As it was about to pass over us, I yelled for Pete to take a peek. The bird, which I suddenly realized was a large owl let loose a giant sh#t, which glanced off the wall and caught Pete right in the eyes exactly as he looked up. He was no longer swearing under his breath, it was now something far greater. As I watched the owl gracefully fly away out of view, Pete looked up and screamed, ‘WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!?!?’ I replied, ‘An owl! A big f*#king owl just sh#t on you!’ ‘Oh cool! Is it gone?’ It was a clean lead apart from the eye bound feces.

Same trip a couple days later, I was following Pete up a corner, and came to a horizontal crack. I peeked over, and a large rattler was staring me right in the eyes over the top of his coils from a couple feet away... ‘Pete! There’s a big snake in here!’
‘I know!’
‘Why didn’t you warn me!?’
‘You wouldn’t have wanted to follow!’
‘.....’
I hate snakes so bad! They’re great and all when I see them from a few hundred feet away and I can approach slowly over the course of an afternoon to appreciate their beauty, otherwise I cry a little bit inside. The rattle worm stayed cool as I moved slowly past thankfully, although I was sure he wanted to bite me in the eye. I stole beer from Pete after he fell asleep that night to make things fair. I told him it was a few ladies so as not to break the trust of my partner.
cragnshag

Social climber
Gilroy
Feb 7, 2019 - 07:04pm PT
About a year ago in San Francisco I saw this crazy bum standing at the very corner of Folsom and First, facing the center of the intersection. He proceeded to pull out his wang and took a long wiz on the street. Dude had pretty good water pressure for an older guy.

This was the morning rush hour, mind you. With cars and bikes and dozens of pedestrians all over the place. Nobody even batted an eye. Urban wildlife par for the course in SF...
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Feb 7, 2019 - 08:25pm PT
Paddling on the north - east side of crowley lake i drifted towards a small herd of deer watering by a alcove...There was a sage hen by the shore and one of the deer lowered its' head and nudged the sage hen , in what seemed like a playful manner , up the hill..
Chewybacca

Trad climber
Kelly Morgan, Whitefish MT
Feb 7, 2019 - 10:36pm PT
Great thread!

As a lover of wildlife I enjoyed all the stories, thanks for sharing them.

As I've aged I find myself climbing less and watching wildlife more. Photographing wildlife has helped fill the void that non-climbing has created in my life. It is very challenging and I often fail, just like my climbing career.

I mostly photo things like birds, moose, bighorn, mt goats, and bears. But occasionally I get something supercool. Last week I was X/C skiing in the NW corner of Glacier NP when I spotted a momma Canada Lynx with 4 kittens. A very rare encounter for me. I figured she would split the scene while I was pulling my camera out of my pack. Instead she came closer and closer. I had packed my 150-600mm zoom and started shooting at around 75 meters. Eventually she walked within 10 meters of me, I was in heaven. The kittens mostly stayed in the doghair (small close spaced trees) so I didn't get many shots of them. But mom was pretty much posing for me. Here are a few shots of her.











donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2019 - 03:07am PT
Great shots of the Lynx!
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 8, 2019 - 03:24am PT
WOW!

Isa and I saw a very small falcon???? snag a bird from her front yard last sat.. happened so fast. a puff of feathers and then it flew away with the little songbird in its talons.
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Feb 8, 2019 - 06:34am PT
Hey Cliff, Yes indeed, There are a number of animals that can climb Blank overhanging slabs of rock. Rats especially, I’ve even seen a Pine Martin Dyno lunge up a 15 section of overhanging rock on Tioga rd one winter.. about 2ft a lunge. Way impressive.. But not in the case I mentioned. There were at least 10 or 12 frogs visible (probably more hidden) in that 3 foot long 1 inch overhung crack about 40 feet off the deck. So how probable is it that that number of frogs would all hop up that blank section of El cap and jam themselves in this tiny crack? Extremely improbable, so just like the frog you saw on Half Dome isn’t more likely that they washed down through the formation.?
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Feb 8, 2019 - 06:42am PT
Hard to say, as I've had a lot of them. Some quite intimate, like mother bears lying on their back nursing their young.

Getting screamed at, point blank, by a silverback Lowland Gorilla surely ranks up there.

Got to see lots of White Sharks up close and personal when I worked on the Farallones for five seasons, and a few of the really big females hit my primal monkey brain with a terror that's hard to explain. I got that same sensation once accidentally getting way to close to a particularly gigantic bear in the Carson Range at Tahoe. With no hyperbole, I felt it must've been 500-600 lbs.

Watching this Orca swim around with a dead White Shark in its mouth was certainly memorable


After the shark was thoroughly incapacitated, the Orca ripped open its belly and out popped a ~ 6-foot liver. I tried and tried to gaff a piece for biopsy, but it was like trying to gaff cottage cheese. So I simply reached in and grabbed a handful to stuff in a whirl-pak. My hand reeked of fish oil for a week!
10b4me

Social climber
Lida Junction
Feb 8, 2019 - 07:57am PT
Haven't really seen anything too memorable. I guess the closest would be Pronghorn Antelope, in the Mojave Desert.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 8, 2019 - 08:00am PT
Wow, Chewy! Maybe the best lynx shots evah! You using a Sigma?


Tradman, given your locale I’m going with Sharp-shinned.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Feb 8, 2019 - 08:15am PT
James! Beautiful lynx photos. I appreciate being there with the correct tools was not an accident.

However, I must report that your friendly lynx was sizing you up & figuring out if she could take you.

Sorry, but you didn't make her menu choices list.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Feb 8, 2019 - 11:37am PT
I was surprised when this critter came walking out of the bush and crossed the road in front of me about 15 ft away. I think he (no doubt about the sex) was making a statement

Ocelote, or Manigordo here in Costa Rica (look how big his front paws are when compared to the rear ones)
TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO & Bend, OR
Feb 8, 2019 - 12:48pm PT
Most memorable?

No, most improbable!

"Mouse from Merced" saw the same crazy Moose in Idaho (see post upthread at
Jan 4, 2019 - 05:33pm PT) that I saw in Baltistan!

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 8, 2019 - 06:04pm PT
del, I assumed that! 😝


tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 8, 2019 - 07:51pm PT
Reiley. I am In northern VT. The falcon was so fast and very white with black wings? very small the seize of a very large bluejay??? or medium woodpecker???
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Feb 9, 2019 - 12:33am PT
"Eye bound feces" That's some, uhh, funny sh!t.

I knew an old hillbilly that was legally blind from getting raccoon sh!t in his eye when cleaning a shed. Couldn't have a license so he drove a tractor around. Virginia is a strange place.

Great lynx shots. Saw one on Red Mountain Pass years back.
perswig

climber
Feb 9, 2019 - 03:28am PT
Trad, at that size I'd wonder about a female kestrel; the one's around here seem to have a predominant brown/black trailing wing edge. Every year or two we get a pair who stay nearby and hunt the fields and river behind the house.

Chewy's beautiful shots reminded me of a canoe trip with my father down the Aroostook years ago. Although late fall, it had been a pretty rainy week and the river was high and moving; for some reason we got a false-dawn start one morning and just after setting out we caught a blurry left-to-right movement through the surface fog. Assuming a deer (too low to be a moose), we didn't expend too much energy in getting closer, but as we came even to her landing spot, we were startled to see a lynx slink silently from the water, give us a quick once-over and disappear into the brush. Having seen several bobcats since then, this girl was clearly not that.

Dale
john hansen

climber
Feb 9, 2019 - 06:33am PT
Trad man, how about a Northern Shrike?
steve s

Trad climber
eldo
Feb 9, 2019 - 07:32am PT
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 9, 2019 - 08:58am PT
Virginia is a strange place.

Give them a little credit; they're celebrating Blackface History Month.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:11am PT
A Shrike fits the B&W description but could one fly off with a songbird?
A Sharpie in certain lighting could appear B&W.
john hansen

climber
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:19am PT

From Wiki,


Feeding

Northern shrikes often sit on tall poles and branches surveying for food. They prey on arthropods such as spiders, beetles, bugs, and grasshoppers, and small vertebrates. Prey identified include passerine birds such as horned lark, black-capped chickadee, common starling, brewer's sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, dark-eyed junco, pine siskin, house sparrow, small mammals such as the vagrant shrew, western harvest mouse, deer mouse, long-tailed vole, meadow vole and house mouse, and reptiles such as spiny lizards. They have been observed hunting finches and house sparrows at bird feeders.[5]
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:22am PT
Cool! Didn’t know they took songbirds. Do they impale them on barbed wire too?

So, if I can get 5 more crankloons together we can have a semi-private
bird/animal safari to South Africa! Who’s in?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:27am PT
It could very well have been that norther shrike. it was so fast and most of my attention was on the cloud of feathers and the small bird in the talons as it flew off. the bird it killed lived in a little bird house on Isa's porch and was named Felix. I forget what kind of bird Felix was but Isa is bummed out about it...
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:28am PT
Do that have ice climbing is south Africa?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 9, 2019 - 10:31am PT
Not so much, but they do have White Russians!
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Feb 9, 2019 - 12:39pm PT

Probably the mimic octopus in Indonesia 2017. But no pic. This would surely be up there however.

seano

Mountain climber
none
Feb 9, 2019 - 12:52pm PT
It was even more memorable with sound effects.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Feb 9, 2019 - 07:17pm PT
Maybe not the most memorable, but pretty cool to spot this guy in a tree in our backyard early this morning and it stayed all day :-)
DCFrench

climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 9, 2019 - 09:16pm PT
A cougar crossing the trail 10 yards in front of me at a Mayan ruins site. A bobcat in Marin on the trail above Fort Cronkhite. A bear coming down the trail towards me in Yosemite when I was 11 (pretty scary for a kid my age but I got a good story and a poem out of it for my English class). A monkey I "communed" with while tripping on acid on Mount Tungurahua in Ecuador (hey, it was the seventies).
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Feb 10, 2019 - 07:13am PT
Great Lynx pics! Funny Owl sh#t posting.! And the rattler tale..! Rattlers, had a few encounters with those.. I was aBout 3 pitches up a route on Tacquitz rock. Jamming a nice hand size crack when about to make my next jam I hear a Rattler Face level. Startled, I almost fall. Ok got to get away, so I traverse 10.ft to the right to gain another crack system. Start to plug in a cam and another rattler sounds off.! This time I Traversed 15 ft further right and find another crack, free this time of snakes. The name of the route, Snakes on Everything.
WBraun

climber
Feb 10, 2019 - 07:25am PT
most memorable wildlife sighting?

Tucker Tech appearing out of his bread van in the mornings ....
couchmaster

climber
Feb 10, 2019 - 07:40am PT

Vid of a Mountain Lion hot on a deers ass captured on video as they both hit someones swimming pool:

https://www.wcvb.com/article/wild-video-mountain-lion-chases-deer-into-backyard-pool-near-woods/26249165

Dave

Mountain climber
the ANTI-fresno
Feb 10, 2019 - 11:45am PT
Let's see -

5 bobcat running across the trail behind my house last week...

A moose swimming across the reservoir where I work last year...

Elk and buffalo eating hay together off I-70 yesterday...

A herd of mountain goats eating salt off the highway last week.

Last year they kept the kids inside at recess due to four mountain lions prowling the neighborhood...

seano

Mountain climber
none
Feb 10, 2019 - 12:57pm PT
MGuzzy -- It was on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. It sounded like this but in the basso profundo range:
[Click to View YouTube Video]
And sooo.... slow.... Unsurprisingly, all turtle sex is tantric. ;-)
jfr

Mountain climber
32N 117W
Feb 11, 2019 - 03:50am PT
An American Marten in the Desolation Wilderness west of Lake Tahoe


California Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis santacruzae) on Santa Cruz Island


Scruffy-looking Coyote wandering by completely ignoring me near Bench Lake on the east side of the Sierra


Bald Eagle near Luellen Lake in Banff National Park, Canada. I got to watch it go fishing.


Baby Deer in the Catskill Mountains, New York


A cute Pika collecting food near Tower Mountain in the Cascades, Washington

errett

Social climber
Grumpy Ridge
Feb 11, 2019 - 08:56am PT
Mike.

climber
Feb 11, 2019 - 10:01am PT
Wow, TFPU the images!
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Feb 11, 2019 - 10:01am PT
Wow, where to begin.....
A pod of whales surfacing within 10 feet of me sea-kayaking off the south coast of Hawaii (AKA the Big Island).

Riding my bicycle home to the rental house on a moonless night in Maine and encountering a moose in the middle of the road; we both startled one another an he galloped straight down the road within a foot of me until he peeled off to go crashing through the woods.

Riding my motorcycle south of Steamboat Springs when a bear came tearing out of the woods on a collision course with me; I rolled on the throttle and missed him by about 1 foot.

Stepping around a huge boulder on Mt Evans and coming literally face to face with a mountain goat.

Coming upon two rattlesnakes entwined in coitus on a trail - that was actually very cool.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Feb 11, 2019 - 06:08pm PT

Great photos!


Around midday today, I looked out my office window, and whadaya know, there’s a horse walking up my snowy driveway. It’s been over a week since I saw them last, and they are back. I was very happy to see that the foal is still with them, and looks just fine, with a bit more fuzz and a tail that is starting to fill out.


hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Feb 11, 2019 - 07:29pm PT
Last week we saw a Bobcat run across the road just as we were crossing the Namekagon R. and the a day or two later we saw a Fisher scurry across the ski trail. 3rd Fisher I have seen.
originalpmac

Mountain climber
Timbers of Fennario
Feb 11, 2019 - 07:34pm PT
Toler, you are hilarious and I'm from Virginia.

Was buying some herb from a guy in CO years ago that had an orphaned fawn in his yard. Got to hold it, it snuggled up, sucked on my ear. Boy, did that story get me laid that night. With a woman, not the deer.
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
Feb 13, 2019 - 01:41pm PT
Last week on the Columbia River between Chelan and Wenatchee. My most memorable sighting, though, was when I was practicing survival in the Los Padres Nat'l Forest in California as a teenager in the late 60s. I was trying to sleep on a bed of coals covered with sand. Was with my father and brother. They were sleeping normal style in bags. I woke up or rolled over for maybe the hundredth time at maybe 2:00 in the morning and there was a cougar just on the other side of our packs less than 10 feet away. I had a revolver and was just reaching for it when the cougar ambled away with no fear at all.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 13, 2019 - 05:50pm PT
wow!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:13am PT
Top three from BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year comp:

Peoples’ Choice Winner - Bond of Brothers

King penguins on Falklands beach

Urban fox in London meets his graffiti mate

Wayno

Big Wall climber
Republic, WA
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:26am PT
Not my most memorable but it happened just last week. There is a large group of wild turkeys that roost in some trees near my house. There are groups of them wandering all around this time of year. Early one morning recently I saw a Bald Eagle swoop over and land in the trees right near the turkeys. They started making some weird calls that I've never heard from turkeys and then utter quiet. Two more adolescent Eagles(no white heads) soared above. Crows all over the place were making a racket. I watched for twenty minutes or so but didn't see any turkeys go down. I imagine a turkey is no easy prey for an eagle as they are never alone.
EdwardT

Trad climber
Retired
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:44am PT
This morning, I saw an owl swoop through my backyard, making evasive turns... with two crows in pursuit. Not most memorable. But it definitely made an impression.
BigB

Trad climber
Red Rock
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:51am PT
Not the most memorable but happened just this past Sunday in middle of nowhere nevadastan
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Republic, WA
Feb 14, 2019 - 08:55am PT
Bighorns! I had my first sighting last summer near the Kettle River where I was fishing. It made me smile. Majestic looking beasts.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 14, 2019 - 11:04am PT
Did someone say Bighorns?
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
Feb 26, 2019 - 03:11pm PT
seano

Mountain climber
none
Feb 26, 2019 - 03:23pm PT
Indeed there are, Reeotch! I didn't know that until 2016, when I saw a couple in the Weminuche, in a swamp right next to the train tracks along the Animas. I think they were reintroduced there sometime in the 1990s.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 26, 2019 - 03:48pm PT
Damn, Reotch, a 6 legged moose!
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Feb 26, 2019 - 03:56pm PT
Damn, Reotch, a 6 legged moose!

Damn, Reilly, learn to count. It's an 8-legged moose!
Roadie

Trad climber
moab UT
Feb 27, 2019 - 10:59am PT
about fifteen years ago, in a remote canyon near Jackson, my dog and I skied upon a moose giving birth. It was all I could do to restrain her as she sensed blood and vulnerability . I had to make a leash out of my scarf and hold on for dear life... Pretty cool.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 27, 2019 - 11:19am PT
I saw an antelope giving birth BINTD of film. 96 or so .. Likely no longer have the slides..
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Feb 27, 2019 - 02:18pm PT
Last night a pair of coyotes were howling up a storm in my front yard down here in northern New Mexico. Noisy, but very cool!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 27, 2019 - 04:35pm PT
Randy Grandstaff told a funny story about a wild burro sticking its head thru his open bedroom window while he was asleep and making him nearly piss the bed by braying loudly.
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 27, 2019 - 04:57pm PT
Yesterday I had a beaver sighting! It was dragging a branch through the snow to it’s home in the creek. Made my day. I see bears, wild turkeys, mountain goats, etc. pretty regularly, but I can only remember seeing a beaver one other time in my life.
Of course it was the day I didn’t bring a camera.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 27, 2019 - 05:13pm PT
Who mentioned burro?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 27, 2019 - 05:33pm PT
We have a lots of Beavers here in VT. Just saw a short film @ Banf about how the west is so dried up because they killed all the beavers. I see their tracks in the winter. They love to belly slide down steep hills in the snow.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 27, 2019 - 05:39pm PT
I can only remember seeing a beaver one other time in my life



That is truly depressing,..
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 27, 2019 - 05:56pm PT
Haha, I realized I have opened the door to beaver jokes.
This is supposed to be good. I think it deals with that of which Tradman speaks.
climbrunride

Sport climber
Golf Wall, CO
Feb 27, 2019 - 10:06pm PT
Deer, elk, moose, donkeys, bobcats, mama whale and her baby, mountain lion, pigs, bears, lynx, goats, horses, sharks, sheep, pronghorn, sea lions, otters, beavers...

I've had several really memorable encounters. But the one which stands out the best was seeing the creature from the black lagoon.

A friend and I were walking from Olmstead Point back into the woods to climb Creature From The Black Lagoon. As we came around a bend and saw the pond, we noticed something floating in the middle of the water. It looked about the size and shape of a small black backpack which a kid would use for school books. But it was moving.

We got a little closer and realized that it was a bear's head. It was just taking a nice afternoon swim in the pond. We took a wide path around as we watched the bear play in the water. It dove several times, did rolls and somersaults, and looked like it was really enjoying itself. Seeing the bear just playing in the water on a hot summer day was perhaps the best wildlife encounter I had ever had!

We tried to not bother the bear at all, and took a long, circuitous path to the top of the rock. Once up there, I looked over the edge, to see the bear from above. But it was gone. I guessed it must have left. So we started unpacking our packs and getting ready to climb. And then I noticed something move about 15 feet off to my side.

A nice, dark, medium sized black bear was just topping out on the ramp to climbers' left. Almost within touching distance! He got up to the top, looked over at us for a few moments, and continued on his way. We just sat and watched the bear for about 20 minutes, as it took its time wandering up the hillside above the rock. It was picking at tree branches and leaves, and eating berries. And it didn't seem to care at all that we were right there with it.

Definitely a super cool experience, getting to see the Creature From The Black Lagoon!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 28, 2019 - 06:14am PT
Timid Toprope wrote;
two young mountain loins flicking their tails

Isn't that redundant?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2019 - 08:56am PT
On Hunter Mountain, Death Valley...

GET BACK IN THE TRUCK!
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 28, 2019 - 01:36pm PT
Reilly, I was in my 20s before I laid eyes on one of those strange creatures, hardly slept that night:) I saw my second one a few years ago at City of Rocks.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 28, 2019 - 01:41pm PT
Is that an antlion larvae?
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 28, 2019 - 01:48pm PT
I think they’re called sand puppies around here. Idk wtf they are.
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 28, 2019 - 01:51pm PT
Goats all over Utah mts.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Feb 28, 2019 - 01:58pm PT
I've seen a couple of big cats up around The Needles, nowhere near a main trail or camp though.

As a kid, stepdad and I paddled around the Boundary Waters a lot. On a river joining two lakes (a rare spot where we didn't have to portage,) we floated past a big old Moose standing along the shore. And the sound of them trumpeting at sunset echoing across the lakes is pretty cool.

But one I just can't get out of my head is the two little bear cubs playing in my patio fountain. The bears around here live up in the Angeles Nat Forest, but I guess they are semi-urbanized. Once in a while they wander down to see what trouble they can find. Mostly they stay up on the mountain though.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2019 - 02:34pm PT
Jerusalem crickets (or potato bugs), Stenopelmatus fuscus, are a group of large, flightless insects of the genus Stenopelmatus. They are native to the western United States and parts of Mexico.
Bale

Mountain climber
UT
Feb 28, 2019 - 02:45pm PT
We call those little black ones that roll into a ball potato bugs.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Feb 28, 2019 - 02:59pm PT
So Reilly do they prove that the Lamanites brought them from Jerusalem?
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 28, 2019 - 03:36pm PT
Well, you would only need a few for a decent meal, long as you can keep the seagulls off ‘em!
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Mar 16, 2019 - 08:27am PT
Household Moose: not frozen and not a dead guy!

Hardly Visible

Social climber
Llatikcuf WA
Mar 16, 2019 - 09:57am PT
Not the most memorable, but still pretty good.

i-b-goB

Social climber
Nutty
Mar 16, 2019 - 10:49am PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Not mine but WOW!
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Republic, WA
Mar 16, 2019 - 11:07am PT
Oh. . . and no fewer than 50 wild turkeys at a time!

Same here. Last summer I thought they were really cool birds. Now, not so much. There are so many and they come around so often that their poop is everywhere. I'm sure the dirt and the local flora love the nutrients but the roads where I walk my dogs is covered and my pooches have discovered they like it. So now I am constantly on their leash as I walk, muttering,"no poop for you." These birds roost in trees inside city limits so no hunters can get them, only the occasional predator. I suspect their numbers will only increase. Same with the deer. City deer are a pain in the ass and seem to be rather sick looking compared to the wild deer.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 16, 2019 - 01:47pm PT
Best sighting TODAY!

A Ruff! No, not a Woof, a Ruff! He/she is sposed to be in Viet Nam!

J R

climber
bend
Mar 17, 2019 - 08:16am PT
I ended up in Missoula for a short period last winter. My first drive down into the Bitteroot, I missed a turn to Blodgett canyon and ended up in the canyon south unknowingly. I started hiking from the trail head in a light covering of snow. After two miles it became thigh deep. At the moment I began to think that post-holing to know where was ridiculous, a lynx appeared in front of me. It sat down on the hill in front of me and watched me. I waited for it to move, but it walked towards me, and as it passed, it just looked up at me acknowledging my presence. I decided to keep suffering, and continued looking for the ice that wasn't in my canyon.

Ten minutes later the Lynx reappeared ahead of me and for some reason decided to walk with me. It stayed ahead of me about a hundred feet showing me the trail, for a very long time. After a few more miles of drudging through snow, I found a small ice curtain over veneered rock. I veered right to meet the ice and the lynx kept onward up canyon. I down climbed then met the lynx's trail again up canyon a distance later. Shortly thereafter, I found a smattering of rabbit and lynx tracks circling a large section of blood soaked snow. The lynx was ahead waiting for me again uphill. I walked around the kill site towards the lynx, and it continued walking ahead. It stayed with me for about another mile, then parted ways again. 10 miles up canyon, my legs began to cramp. I turned around, and headed back to the car, never finding the waterfall I was looking for. On the drive out I saw a sign pointing in the wrong direction for Blodgett canyon.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Mar 30, 2019 - 04:55pm PT
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Mar 30, 2019 - 04:57pm PT
Saw a beaver once in the Space Station at Josh...
bob

climber
Mar 30, 2019 - 09:06pm PT
Some memorable ones. My life has been full of incredibly memorable wildlife encounters. These are just some easy to grab pics. Most would be written stories.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Apr 30, 2019 - 01:03pm PT
Tolomuco, or Tyra, a big neo-tropical rainforest weasel. This male kept me in his eye, grunting the whole time, then hopped up on the trail bench and left a little surprise to show me who's boss, and to say "I'll be back"


knucko

climber
Apr 30, 2019 - 02:44pm PT
Out commercial fishing with my Uncle in Alaska 1986. Just north of Danger Point near Angoon AK

Humpback whales bubble feeding....I could see them underwater coming up before surfacing......

They were so near that you can see the lines for our float bag in the picture, and if you look closely in the picture you can see the air bubbles from the whales....


Knave

Trad climber
Napa
May 1, 2019 - 09:07am PT
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