ROCKLIN (CBS13) – A Rocklin man who had set out on a relaxing hike instead had a frightening close encounter with a mountain lion over the weekend.
“It looked huge when I first came up on her,” Dave Nash said Monday.
It was at first an exciting site for Nash, spotting a mountain lion as he hiked alone on Stevens Trail near Colfax.
“I just thought, ‘Wow, what a privilege to see such a beautiful creature,'” he said.
But admiration quickly turned into anxiety when the cat stayed trained on Dave.
Knowing running away would only prompt the feline to follow, he called his wife, Mandy. They talked through his options, “none of which sounded good,” she said until they both agreed he should call 911.
“They told me, ‘Look tall, look big, blow the whistle, make a lot of noise,'” Dave said.
Dave remembered he had the whistle and flashlight. Getting dark, the light helped him keep an eye on the eyes of the animal as it circled around him. For the next half-hour or so, it was a of game of cat and human.
“I knew there wasn’t much I could do as far as self-defense,” Dave said.
And then the cat moved in, 20 feet away. Dave got big and yelled again and then help came from above. A CHP helicopter appeared, scaring the mountain lion away.
Dave was saved, much to the relief of him and his wife.
“Extremely lucky,” Mandy said. “I had no idea what was happening in that hour.”
A state Fish and Wildlife warden responding to warn hikers the next morning about the encounter would instead encounter the same situation. The cat started stalking him. It would be shot and killed.
“It’s really unfortunate that had to turn out that way, but I’m glad no one else was hurt,” Dave said.
The experience left a lasting impression on Dave.
“I’m never going to forget it,” he said. “I learned a lot, and I have a lot of appreciation for law enforcement.”