As we have learned, we have plenty to fear on the Pacific Crest Trail (but not bears, or large cats).
However, despite bears and cats being of no concern to us, a real threat does exist out on the trail and its name is BearCat.
So just south of Mt. Laguna I was camped with Shark Rider, Rain Maker (who then had no trail name) and a guy named Sarge.
We heard this frightening animal sound, really freaky. Shark Rider and I said to each other “what the hell was that?!” Then we heard it again about a 1/2 hour later.
It had crossed the creek, had right flanked us and was MUCH closer than before.
In the morning we discussed it and I said to Shark Rider that the noise sounded between a growl and roar, like both a bear and a cat. So I said to him in jest “Maybe it was a BearCat.”
I kept hearing it along the trail every now and then, and then you heard it with me when were in Kennedy Meadows. I was telling folks about it when Bearclaw and Bunnyslayer said that BearCat should be my trail name. But I was already christened Monologue by Cold Water Kate.The moment of truth came when I met an elderly couple coming out of VVR. The lady asked me about my trail name. I told her the different stories. She told me to forget about Monologue and that BearCat was much cooler. So BearCat it became.
The source of this frightening sound was never ascertained. Throughout the hike it continue to be heard. Apart from the sound there were other BearCat moments e.g. branches suddenly falling off trees when there was no wind or rain as well as a large boulder inexplicably rolling down a slope towards Achilles and I as we were having lunch just south of Sierra City.
The BearCat was never seen.
Take note that from here on the name will be spelled BearCat with a capital B + C to indicate the dual nature of the mysterious beast!
Thank you to Mr. BearCat for providing us with the background of this elusive yet (probably) majestic creature of the PCT.