It’s early in the evening; the driving is slow up the dark twisted switchback road to the Ramsey Campground. The road’s dark edge is as near as the other side, the illuminated steep slope upward. Both are threatening.
We took off work earlier this afternoon, leaving Tucson to arrive for an earlier sleep. We are gaining a great deal of elevation by driving up here to stage our trip through the Huachuca Mountains to Miller Peak.
We left Tucson of course naked. Protected in the cab of the vehicle, we are still comfortably naked. The air outside is getting cooler as night deepens and thousands of feet of elevation change. A window is cracked, so that we can smell the freshness and pine scent of the air. Our sense of ourselves is adventure and freedom.
As we climb around a bend, there at the next switchback, we see a very large puma, a mountain lion. The massive side of its body is positioned to our view, its head turned toward us. It watches our headlights and listens to the roar of the red SUV. It seems to be in consideration, pondering if we are a danger, or useful and the next course of action, a monarch’s thinking. The powerful athletic physique, as big as a man stands tall, is poised, as we come up the road. It has been dark and then there is this amazing sight in the headlights.
It begins acting like it is too cool to be bothered as big cats do; show no fear. It begins to move and suddenly in one long leap, it gracefully leaps off into the darkness of the steep hillside, disappeared. I have to consider that we are going out into this wilderness naked and alone. Continue reading