I have been trying to walk each day or every other day for exercise. No place better than on the trails in the park. I have been walking the 3.5 mile trail, but I wanted to do something different today. So I decided to walk the service road from the parking area of the 6.5 mile trail, going up about 1.5 miles and returning.
I was about halfway up the trail, when I saw what I thought was a big yellow dog go across the road. The critter didn't stay around, and quickly ran off into the cypress at a very swift pace. By the time I got my camera out, it was long gone.
I thought it very unusual. If it was a big dog like a yellow lab, why did it run off like a wild animal? Why didn't it stop at a distance and look at me, checking me out? It was pretty quiet--no bark or howl. A big domestic dog that size would show some curiosity, and certainly not be afraid of me and run off like that.
Then I realized that nobody else was out on this trail. When I parked, I was the only car there. So this was not a dog that someone else had with them.
Then I realized that since it was the same color as a panther, it probably was a panther. But this fella was big and muscular.
Looking on the ground where the service road runs, I soon found panther tracks. That is not unusual, because I have seen bear or panther tracks every time I go and take a walk on these trails. And I know the difference between a cat and dog track.
So that was a great way to start the new year!