What is your most memorable wildlife sighting?


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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.


Trad climber
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.

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]

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.

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

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.

Sport climber
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.

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.

Trad climber
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!

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.

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

Jan 4, 2019 - 06:02pm PT

I'm drinking RJ. Moms dying.

Jan 4, 2019 - 06:04pm PT

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

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.

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.
Messages 21 - 40 of total 272 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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