Cougars. At one time, the North Kiabab Plateau had the highest concentration of them on the planet. Still lots of them there. Another ranger and I were assigned to patrol the North Bright Angel trail. This is a back country trail that's little used and requires a permit to hike, so there's no telling what you're likely to encounter. Now this was late July, and anybody that's ever backpacked inner canyon will tell you that, unless you're part camel, you find someplace shady to hole up mid day till the shadows get long again. We were several miles down at about 11 am and found a nice pinion pine to siesta under till things cooled down. We dumped our packs, and I decided to hike down to the next bend in the trail to see what awaited, while Bob propped himself under that tree and closed his eyes. It was only a few minutes later and I heard Bob let out a yell loud enough to start an avalanche. I ran back and arrived just in time to see a shadow flit back up among the rocks. Bob was sitting there breathing hard, eyes as big a saucers . I asked him what happened and he said he was almost asleep when he got "that feeling" of being watched, opened his eyes, and found a cougar sitting right at his feet, looking at him with it's head cocked. He said he yelled without thinking (I think I might have said something profound, like "eep!" ) and the cat jumped straight up in the air, did a 180, and was off with movements that would've done the US Olympic Gymnastics Team proud. Well shoot Bob! He probably would've only nibbled on you just a little bit . Cougars have a home range of right about 50 miles, and you can live in one's back yard for a decade and never even know he was there. Back country cougars are really shy; it's the ones that have gotten used to people that are becoming a problem. I lived at 8200 feet at the Canyon, and it wasn't uncommon to get a couple of inches of snow several times during June and early July. It would usually melt off in a few hours, but there were numerous times we woke up to find cougar tracks in the snow on our porch. They've got big feet, sort of like Wilt Chamberlain, and the tracks make it seem that they're a lot bigger than they really are.