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Yesterday, my wife and I went for a day hike on the Colorado Monument. There is an old wagon trail that we like to hike along and since it is not an official trail, you see a lot of signs of wildlife and not very many people.
We were on the trail a short distance when I noticed the fresh tracks of two bighorn sheep in the sand. The tracks looked unusual as they were very deep, with loose rocks kicked around, and spaced far apart like they were in a big hurry.
I soon found the source of their rush when I saw the perfect print of a mountain lion in the sand next to the bighorn tracks. It was running after them trying to score a sheep dinner.
I could imagine the bighorns hurrying down the trail knowing that the big cat was behind them, intent of catching them, and they in turn determined to escape with their lives.
We followed the drama unfolding in the sand of the trail, not knowing what we would encounter around each twist and turn. After about a quarter of a mile, they veered across a wash and up the other side with the lion still in pursuit.
I was relieved that we did not come across the big cat on a kill as that could have quickly become an ugly situation. It was exciting enough to have witnessed the tale of the hunt in the sand.
Tomorrow, we will take our son up there to make some plaster casts of the tracks and maybe we will follow the tracks across the wash to determine what was the outcome of the hunt, but only to the extent that it seems safe. It is my guess from the distance that the lion had to chase the sheep that he came up empty.