K and I rolled out into a gorgeous but windy day.
After seeing the photos later in this post, you'll realize how lucky I feel that K was alive and well to join me on our snow bike ride today.
She exalted in the crusty snow by wriggling on her back. Oh, how I love this girl.
At about noon, the time of day when we were least likely to encounter the lion, my friend and I returned, with a bodyguard in tow, to check our wildlife cameras next to the lion-killed deer. The site had been rebuilt, the carcass had been moved, and a tall pile of snow and pine needles covered the doe.
I have a ton of photos and videos of this huge lion from around-the-clock for the past four days. I haven't even had time to scan them all. But, here are two teasers. Below, the lion was in the midst of scraping snow onto the carcass, which barely peeks above his snow pile in the far right of the photo.
A gargantuan paw reached out, throwing snow toward the deer carcass. Apparently, by covering the meat with snow, this lion will help preserve it and keep feasting on it far longer than in warmer temperatures.
As tomorrow's photos and videos will show, the lion bedded down in the bare spots created by his snow-throwing. In fact, he spent an entire day guarding his cache by lying next to it. No other mammals (besides crazy K on the day we discovered the carcass) tried to usurp his feast, perhaps because his mighty scent kept them at bay.
My vision of the pure power and strength of a mountain lion has been outdone by the photos and videos. This mountain lion is a pure unadulterated carnivore, with killing powers beyond my previous imagination. Every single bike ride, hike, or ski that I take through the forest, I think about lions and watch for them. I think that I'll be even more vigilant now.