It was Christmas night, around ten-twenty in the evening when Scott Atchison, executive Chef at Sylvan Dale, was getting ready to let out “Forrest”.
Forrest is Scott’s 55 pound Border Collie who was sporting a brand new blinking collar (because black dogs are awfully hard to see in the dark of the night). Forrest usually waits to be let out — but not this night, the dog ran to the front of the house with Scott following behind.
Once outside Forrest began running about frenetically, the small yellow light on his collar blinking and tracing his movements in the darkness while Scott tried to keep the beam of his small flashlight fixed on the dog.
Moments later Scott heard a growl followed by a shrill cry. He looks to see the source of the strange squeal but his small flashlight was insufficient to illuminate the area. He sees clearly enough however to view a mountain lion as it heads toward the river.
Mountain Lion at Sylvan Dale
Scott rushed inside to retrieve a ‘real’ spotlight, one of those light up the night rigs and goes looking for the Cat. He headed back to the location where he’d heard the growling and screaming. Approaching the spot, about 10 or 15 feet away, he observed the lion clawing at the wood of the old pump station.
Apparently something startled the cat and it escaped from the area, racing across the frozen river slipping and sliding all the way. Maybe Forrest the alien-looking dog scared it off, but Scott figured the wild cat was just trying to get away and decided it was a good idea to do the same!
Scott reports the lion appeared to be younger, perhaps about a year old and weighing around 100lbs. “Good thing it ran the other way,” says Scott, “because with my worn knees, I don’t run so well!”
View photos of mountain lion near Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch