Sunday was a cold, cloudy day and I really didn't want to drive up to the ranch to see the horses if it was going to be as cold as last Sunday (when I nearly froze to death!). I looked up at the sky and debated about going at all, but finally decided just to shut up and get in the car and go! And, I'm glad I did because I saw several hawks and a meadow full of meadowlarks! I stopped at my favorite dirt road in the pinyon forest that is about halfway up the mountain, got out, and investigated some dried mud. Upon closer inspection, I spotted some animal prints in the mud and, as I bent over to check them out, I realized how BIG they were and that there weren't any claw marks on them (meaning FELINE). Hmmmm....There I was, alone in the forest, hubby at work, my cell phone not working (no cells nearby), and I'm bending over looking at mountain lion prints! I really wasn't worried because they were a week old (it rained up there last weekend). I continued onward to the horse ranch and it was pretty quite there, so on my way back down the hill I decided to stop back and REALLY take a look at them. This time, however, I was covered with horse smells and horse slobber. Hmmmmm....AND, as I got out of my car, I noticed a very distinct cat urine smell. ACK! I looked up toward the rocks where the tracks were headed and they were only about 100 feet from where I was. Every neutron in my brain was screaming, "GET BACK TO THE CAR NOW!!!!" and I remembered my husband's warning: "NEVER run because a mountain lion sees that as prey behavior!", so I calmly (NOT!) walked back to my car and was extremely relieved to make it there without becoming lunch for a wayward mountain lion. I have spotted bobcats twice up in those mountains and about 35 miles away from where I was, a mountain lion attacked and killed a female jogger. Friends who live in our local mountains told me about the night a mountain lion attacked their goats. I have been warned by people to NEVER hike alone in those mountains, due to the danger of mountain lions. And, then I saw those footprints. I was glad that I saw them and I will remember those warnings, but, honestly, I'm not going to stop exploring the mountains that I so dearly love.