Local hikers come face-to-face with mountain lion

SAN DIEGO - Local experienced hikers shared with 10News pictures of their recent close encounter with a mountain lion.

It happened at Cuyamaca State Park on Monday in a very brushy area.

Engaged couple, Christine Rochefort and Michael Anderson, knew there were mountain lions where they had hiked many times before, but never thought they'd come so close to one and live to tell about it.

Rochefort and Anderson have been hiking together for seven years now. Combined, they have decades of backpacking experience.

“We like to go at dusk before sunset cause that's when the deer come out,” said Rochefort.

Monday at about 6:30 p.m., they came face-to-face with a mountain lion for the first time. The two were in shock.

“I couldn't speak," said Rochefort. "I was like… He was looking right at me and I was looking at him and I couldn't say anything."

Christine and Michael were watching deer, when all of a sudden, the mountain lion crept up and stood about 15 feet away.

“It was like a staring off contest," said Rochefort. "We were just staring at each other."

The two said they stood there, frozen for 15 minutes. Rochefort held on to her fiancé’s arm.

“Oh no no, there was no breathing, there was no talking, there was just me clicking away with my camera,” said Rochefort.

The couple said they're sure the mountain lion was tracking a mother deer and her baby.

“I'm sure that if it was just one of us he may have thought something different,” said Rochefort.

Mike and Christine said they plan to go hiking in that same spot again soon, but the encounter  will forever remind them never to go hiking alone.

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