Headed up a favorite trail in Solstice Canyon yesterday, not the crowded superhighway to the ruins but a shorter walk, wooded and green with an abundant canopy and constant birdsong. It's a little weird because for the second day in a row we come across a drift of hawk feathers, torn up enough to show that something bad happened. But that's the natural world, really, something bad is always happening to someone, and we walk on.
We've just cleared a few fallen logs, reached the bend in the trail where the canyon closes in and the sky tightens up when suddenly there's a scream from the stream bed below. It's high and shrill and arcs through an octave, the top notes still there as the low notes chime in. Thank goodness the dogs stay when I tell them to.
It's not easy to do the recommended retreat, slow and steady, don't show your back, but we manage it. There's another scream but from further away so no, we're not being followed.
At home later, the cougar cries I find online sound a lot like what we just heard. The dogs stare at the computer, on high alert, not at all happy.