For Bruno Long, it was the most scared he’s ever been in his life.
Long, an avid photographer who heads up the Revelstoke Cycling Association‘s downhill mountain biking committee, was doing some trail work Monday on Cash Advanced, a mountain bike trail on Boulder Mountain, when he found himself face-to-face with a cougar.
“I was digging away, minding my own business, head down. I probably had my head down for about 20 minutes,” he said. “I was digging and I just looked up. It was pretty steep and I could see it about 25-30 feet away.
“I thought I was going to die for sure.”
He picked up the pulaski he was using, grabbed his pack and tried to make himself look as big as possible. He started running backwards down the trail, doing his best to keep his eye on the cougar.
“It was totally following me. It had the shoulder up, cat-slinking attack look,” he said. “It looked like it wanted to eat or at least check me out. Who knows? If it really wanted to get me it probably wouldn’t have let me see it.”
Long made a panicked phone call to a friend to let them know what was happening in case he was attacked. At a certain point, he lost sight of the cougar, turned around and sprinted the rest of the way down the trail to his truck, his heart pounding.
“I was definitely thinking I was going to get attacked, that I was going to die,” he said. “That’s why I made the phone call, even if I had fought it off and got hurt, at least someone knew where I was.”
Long was working alone that day, He said it makes for a cool story to tell considering he made it out unscathed but that in hindsight he should have been more prepared with bear spray, a knife and some friends with him.
He said he notified the Ministry of Forests about the encounter and posted about it on Facebook.
“I was definitely as scared as I’ve ever been in my life for sure,” he said. “You see crazy shit when you think you’re going to die.”
The Times Review contacted the Conservation Office for more information about cougar encounters in the area but have not heard back yet.