Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ozarks Adventure, Day Five, Mid-Morning: BIG CAT and the Turning Ponit

Mid-morning, Mom decided that she would like to drive into Branson this afternoon and tour the World's Largest Toy Museum.

At this point in the vacation, I had no cares, and a little time to myself would have really been no problem. But Auntie N wasn't feeling well... and as I rested peacefully on the sofa... they decided that Mom would go and Auntie N would C-sit. Whatever...! All's good.

Right about lunchtime, Mom took me on another short hike. I knew the program. This was about me doing what I needed to do. Unfortunately, I didn't much feel like doing those particular things.

We hiked to the cross-trail that leads to the marina and down to the lake. Once there, we turned around and started back to the cabin.

About 100 yards along the return trip, and about 50 feet in front of us... was the BIGGEST CAT I had ever seen. It was solid black, had short to medium length hair and a long straight tail. It walked slowly across the trail, where we had (just moments before) walked.

(Many peoples and other pals have asked me... ) What did I do? I did what any inteligent dog would do. I FROZE IN MY TRACKS. Mom and I quickly developed an alternate plan, and turned back around!

Now don't get me wrong, I have 14 feline cousins and two feline neighbors who like to sleep in my back yard. Had it been one of them... or one just like them, I would have chased it to my heart's content. Oh, and I've read the story about the golden defending his Mom against the mountain lion. I would have done that, too. For sure I would. But I figure, this big old cat was minding his own business, so... so should I!

That's what I figured!

Anyway, we took the trail back to the Marina road and followed it up the mountain. I won't lie, it was rough going. For some reason, we felt safer on a paved road. It was treacherously steep, but we finally made it up to the top of the mountain, where we took a winding road back down to the cabin. Auntie N was a little frantic when we got back, because we were gone so long.

I sighed deeply as I sank into the sofa for a nap, but Mom got on the internet to figure out exactly what we had seen. It turns out that there are many big cats in the Ozarks and what we saw was something called a BLACK PANTHER.

Mom called the cabin management people and according to her, they said, "yeah, so?". After that, all I heard her say was "Hiking is over. We have just been NYE-EVE." I don't know what that means, but I'm thinking if I had known about such big cats before, I probably would have just trotted around the cabin chasing BLACK SQUIRRELS.

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