Mountain lions are much less dangerous to hikers in North America than snake bites, lightning strikes and even bee stings.
But plenty of people have been freaked out by a recent viral video.
“The encounter might have been avoided altogether, but once it happened, the runner did a lot of things right,” says Denise Peterson, a Utah resident and region coordinator with the Mountain Lion Foundation.
“But individuals and the media are getting a lot of things wrong …
26-year-old Kyle Burgess has told reporters that he was running on a trail in Provo’s Slate Canyon when he saw kittens on the gravel path ahead of him. Thinking they might be bobcat kittens, he started recording video on his phone. When the mother lion appeared, he immediately knew he had made a dangerous mistake.
In the six minutes that follow, the video shows Burgess doing many things correctly: he backed away slowly, continued facing the lion, spoke loudly and firmly, and didn’t try to run away.
The lion followed him for several minutes, occasionally hissing and lunging. “She clearly did not view him as prey,” says Debra Chase, CEO of the Mountain Lion Foundation.
“The behavior was meant to chase him away, which it did very well. The mother lion was reacting to a perceived threat to her young.” …
I camped 3 nights at Circlet Lake altogether. Lovely.
From Circlet it’s not far to the Castlecrag trail marked in orange on the map. Look for the sign to Moat Lake.
I hiked the route marked in orange. Here’s the original Park map online.
This was a foggy and somewhat hazy day.
But plenty clear enough to see where I was headed.
I’d seen lovely Moat Lake the day before from the Albert Edward hike.
For Castlecrag you circumambulate the far side, crossing the worst bridge I’d seen in Strathcona 2020.
En route a helicopter flew into Moat Lake Retreat, an island you can rent with 2 cabins sleeping a total of 10 people. It’s a legacy from when Clinton Wood first built a lodge here in 1934.
In good weather, finding the route is not all that difficult. Follow the cairns and (possibly) ribbons.
Much of this adventure is above the treeline.
Overall the hiking is more difficult than on nearby Edward Albert as there is a fair bit of boulder hopping over avalanche slopes.
Two highlights end of September: no mosquitoes and autumn colours.
The turnoff UP to Castlecrag is not signed. Watch for the big cairn on the right.
Castlecrag 1740m (5709ft) is a satellite peak to Mt Albert Edward 2093m and many serious hikers / trail runners connect the two via Mt Frink. I’d originally planned to do that myself — but found it too difficult and risky on my own. Also, days are short end of September. I might have spent some hours in the dark on the way down.
It’s a short climb from the cairn to the summit of Castlecrag.
Paradise Meadows is the best and most convenient trailhead in Strathcona, largest and oldest (1911) Provincial Park in B.C..
It’s easy access to the Forbidden Plateau on paved Strathcona Parkway up to Mt Washington Alpine Resort 1100m, 20km up from the inland highway.
Close to Courtney, Cumberland, and Campbell River. The nearest airport and ferry port are at Comox.
Looking from Raven Lodge at the trailhead, the most distinct peak is sharp Albert Edward, 6th highest mountain on the island.
It seemed to me in 2020 that Strathcona Park did not have as much staff as they would like. Happily the volunteers of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute are often in person at Paradise trailhead. Make a donation if they help you out.
The NU 25’s main limitations are its short battery life (in our testing, the NU’s burn time was much shorter than listed) and the fact that it’s hard to keep the light from shining in your camping partner’s eyes due to its wide beam pattern.