Cat Tails

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter C.

Piggybacking on yesterday’s post, I figured I would share the different types of cat tails a hiker might see while hiking in the United States’s western/southwestern regions.

This is a bob cat. They are recognizable by their bobbed tails. Of course.

Photo Attribution: docentjoyce [CC BY 2.0 (

Now that’s a tail! This is not a creature I want to come across while out hiking.

Side note: The title for this photo on Wikipedia Commons is “Annoyed Mountain Lion.” It’s the same look I get in my classroom when I see one of my students doing something they shouldn’t be. I teach twelve- and thirteen-year-old kids. I wear this look often.

Photo Information: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK [CC BY 2.0 (

And then there are cattails. I took this photo on my last hike. The cattails were poofy and ready to share their fuzz with the world.

I love cattails.


B is for Bobcat

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the Letter B.

There are tons of things that start with the letter B, so I had a lot to choose from when deciding what I would write about for today’s A to Z Challenge.

I considered sharing that I got a backpacking backpack for my birthday, which was on Saturday. I also thought about writing a post about Boucher Hill Fire Tower—a fire tower located in Palomar Mountain State Park. Not only did I pass the tower on my last hike, it’s also where I spend a lot of my time as a forest fire lookout volunteer.

I could have written about barf, which is what I did on the trail two hikes ago after eight miles with a mostly empty stomach that was literally sloshing water around as I walked. Then there is the topic of backtracking. I had to do that on my barfy hike when I decided I didn’t want to cross a creek for the fifth time that day. That ended up being a mistake, but not worth sharing.

But as you can see from the title of this blog post, I am going to write about a bobcat. I was blessed on my Boucher Trail Palomar Mountain Loop hike (March 24) with the sudden appearance of a bobcat who popped out of the bushes, onto the trail, about thirty feet ahead of me.

I spent most of my hike worrying about the mountain lions that live in the State Park, so I’m surprised I didn’t automatically “see” a lion when the bobcat stepped on the trail. Instead, I “saw” a fox. It took a second to process what I was really seeing. When it turned to rush back into the trees, I was relieved to see its bobbed tail, confirming its non-mountain-lion-ness.

Before dashing off, the bobcat stared at me long enough for me to get a photo. Be warned, the photo is Sasquatch/Big Foot quality, so please excuse the lack of clarity. Also, a lot of people tried to convince me the animal is a mountain lion after sharing the photo on Facebook. I assure you, it was not. The cat’s tail in the photo blends into its leg, making it look longer than it is. I’ve seen a mountain lion in person; there is no mistaking when you see one.

Hi, little bobcat!
Definitely not a mountain lion… whew!