Encountering a mountain lion

Austin Podrat was able to take a photo of the adult mountain lion while hiking on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Nicholas Flats. Photo Courtesy of Austin Podrat.

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Austin Podrat, his daughter, her friends and their father were hiking at Nicolas Flats when they encountered a mountain lion.

“My first thought was to protect the kids, keep the group behind me and stand my ground,” Podrat said. 

Around 5 p.m., they were walking at Nicholas Flats, located at the end of Decker School Road, and while the kids were playing near Nicholas Pond, he turned around and saw an adult mountain lion five feet behind them.

“It had certainly crept up behind us while the kids were playing and likely was intrigued by the sound of young children,” Podrat said. “I walked in an intimidating manner towards the cat and after it did not run away, I then yelled at it and took a couple stronger steps towards it.”

This concerned him because the mountain lion was able to get close enough without being heard. 

“It’s common knowledge that you do not run and that you make yourself look as large and intimidating as possible,” Podrat said. “Parents and caretakers need to know how dangerous it can be when hiking in mountain lion habitat, and they need to reassess how far they can let little children be from them while hiking.”

Podrat said the mountain lion ran approximately 25 feet away from them, stopped, and stared before running off.