Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Close encounter with Puma

Out last day in Corcovado was a rainy one. We spend most of the day looking for the elusive Green Frog, which looks like this but never could find one.

There was one trail system that we had not yet hiked during our stay, so Anne and I decided to hike that loop even though it was raining hard and we were soaked. When we had been in Corcovado during our honeymoon seven years ago, a friend of ours had an encounter with a Jaguar so we hoped that this trail might lead us to a big cat. We were not very optimistic as it was raining very hard and all the wildlife seemed to be taking shelter. This trail is the steepest around the ranger station, going straight up a knife ridge. It eventually stopped raining while we were half way through the trail, which is when Anne stepped around a tree like this one.

We had heard a troop of Howlers sounding off close by, we assumed they were warning other monkeys to our presence, but when we stepped around the tree we saw what they were truly concerned about. All I heard as Anne stepped around the tree was almost a whisper, "Chris there is a Puma right in front of me" without turning her head. I walked forward some and looked around the tree to see the large golden Puma not 10 feet away. It was incredibility beautiful, his coat was a smooth golden color and he had a very large head. From this distance I could see the different striations of color in his ires. I was trying hard to get my camera out of its box but I ended up not being able to get the shot, here are some pictures of what it looked like. The cat we saw was larger than this, it had to weight at least 200lbs. It took a good look at us and then just walked on by. It was an encounter that we will not soon forget and one that solidified Corcovado National Park as one of the most incredible places in the world.