My buddy Vern treated my dear girlfriend Wynn to the rare opportunity view a mountain lion up close. Wynn has a special spirit connection to the elusive creatures. Her visits are always too short but she is charmed. Vern’s competent hound dog Elroy was just the ticket to fulfill her desire to see a lion. Although I have been blessed with a number of lion encounters both in the wild and near my home, I had never seen one treed by a dog (and honestly wasn’t sure what I felt about the whole concept).
Snow was blowing sideways just after sunup when we jumped in my truck with mugs of tea. I heard Elroy bellow before I saw him in the back of Vern’s truck and got excited. Something about the passionate persistent hound dog howl put me in the mood for this adventure. A filmmaker, a photographer, two young men and another fella with a young dog-in-training joined us. We saw several lion tracks in the fresh snow but Vern pointed to one he called “hot.” The hound dogs were let loose and the chase lasted about seven minutes across a creek and up a steep slope.
The lion was impressive. The hound dogs were too. Wynn was enchanted. We didn’t harass the beautiful creature for long. At one point the lion jumped hissing out of the tree and landed near Vern before she disappeared and found a better tree. We hung out for a bit in her presence, then let the lion get on with her day. Wynn and I went on up the valley to enjoy a soak in the Boiling River. My “backyard” is full of beauty, characters and….yes…lions.