As I left the lonely summit late in the day and headed down a shadowed slope through rows of lodgepole pine, I soon tuned into a disturbing sound. It grew louder as I continued down the trail. What the hell is making that wretched noise, I thought. It sounded like someone or something having rough sex-or something caught in a leg hold trap. My spider senses began tingling telling me that it is something I probably don’t want to interrupt. The sound grew more audible as I marched down the trail. My heart racing grew more audible too and I picked up my pace. The noise makers were just below me. I had to make a big switchback in which the noise makers were soon above me-then I bolted down the trail to get the hell out of Dodge.
Upon concurring with others and listening to some audio clips, I have concluded that the culprits to this unnerving sound were a pair of cougars mating. It is not a really pleasurable experience for the female cougar so hence the groans of agony and not ecstasy. And while I relish in yet another cougar experience in Eastern Washington (I saw my first cougar in the Blue Mountains two years ago) I’d rather not stumble upon or near big kitties rolling in the hay again. Okay, now you can make your jokes. But I am seriously interested in some of your cougar (that would be the big cats) experiences as well!
For information on hiking Barnaby Buttes and other great trails in the Kettle River Range–consult my (co-written with Rich Landers) Day Hiking Eastern Washington book.