Mark Girardeau from Orange County, California was recently hiking with his friend Rachel de Vlugt on a Trabuco Canyon trail when they had a very scary encounter with a mountain lion.
Mark is a wildlife photographer and said they had just set up a few new trail cameras to capture some of the wildlife on film when they were approached by the big cat.
“All of a sudden saw something brown running up the hill towards us, by the time we stopped and looked, this cat was already 5-10 feet from us as it stopped and stared at us. Realizing we were in a stare down, I started filming, this encounter lasted 2 minutes before the cat backed down,” Mark wrote on Instagram.
The mountain lion reportedly ran up behind a bush to watch them from about 20 feet away. Being an experienced wildlife enthusiast and photographer, Mark knew it would be a bad idea to run, so he started yelling at the animal to let it know that he knew it was there.
“Thank God Mark was there because I think I would have taken off running (which is obviously the worst thing you can do). We held our ground and so did the lion for what felt like an eternity,” Rachel de Vlugt wrote Instagram.
Mark repeatedly shouted at the animal to back up, and while it did back up some, it would then continue following them for a bit from a distance. He believes the mountain lion might have mixed them up with deer that were in the area at first, but then just was curious after realizing it was humans.
Mark said, “I think there are 2 things that could have caused this: either she has a kill nearby and she was defending it or she ran up at us not realizing we were humans since she couldn’t completely see us from down below. There were deer in the area that we saw so she probably assumed it was them.”