This morning I crossed paths with a bobcat. I was walking down in the big arroyo near Crazy Ridge, where the sand is damp. It hasn’t rained in weeks and only the shadiest spots in the deepest arroyos hold a last trace of water. Just enough to cast a good footprint:
Outside cats don’t live long here in coyote country and I found these several miles from anybody’s property. At least three neighbors have reported seeing bobcats from time to time, usually around dusk. So, I’m voting bobcat.
This wouldn’t be my first:
I crossed paths with this guy on the Yosemite Falls trail in January. After a cold night camping in the snow, we got up early for a hike and were the first on the trail. When I stopped to take off a layer, I saw a tuft of fur not twenty feet off the path. A bobcat! He was taking a nap. I took a couple of quick shots and at the snap of the lens, he opened his blue grey eyes and looked right at me. Then he went back to sleep.
Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, so high that in winter the water turns to snow on the way down, sifting into a giant pile of powder on the frozen river. By the time we stomped up through knee-deep snow all the way to the thigh-deep summit and slid our way back down again, the cat’s nap was over and he was long gone, a few strands of housecat hair marking his place.
Hopefully I’ll see a desert bobcat out here one of these days. I hear they’re smaller than their mountain relatives. As they say, paths that cross will cross again…