It was around midnight when we parked our car at Wrinkled Rock Trailhead. Exhausted from a 14-hour drive, we grabbed our gear and set out to find a spot to set up camp. We wandered around the parking lot trying to find where the trail started. Using our headlamps and the light from the moon we finally saw it. There was a sign informing us about the wildlife in the area and I studied a beautiful picture of a mountain lion perched on the edge of a rock. Such a beautiful animal, but not one I’d love to come in contact with especially in the dark. Andrew had his KA-BAR on his hip, mine in my hand ready to stab whatever came rushing out at me from the forest we were entering. Andrew didn’t have any worry in the world, which is typical. Me on the other hand, couldn’t stop looking up in the trees and all around me for any signs of a mountain lion. I didn’t stop voicing my concern to Andrew, who continued to tell me to stop worrying. We didn’t make it far on the trail before my biggest fear came true. I scanned over to a field on my left and there it was, a pair of glowing eyeballs looking right at me. I froze in my tracks. Andrew nearly ran into the back of me. I knew this wasn’t a raccoon, a fox, or any other small animal. The positon of the eyes made it clear it was a mountain lion. I didn’t know what to do. I desperately wished I had a rifle or handgun of sorts incase this animal decided they wanted me as a late night snack. Growing up in Texas with a stepfather who taught us how to hunt and protect ourselves with a rifle, made me feel pretty silly that I wasn’t carrying better protection on me. I instantly turned around and started walking back to my vehicle. Andrew was a little bummed out that I was too scared to continue down the trail, but there was no way I was sleeping outside knowing that a mountain lion would be stalking me all night. I kept turning around making sure there was no pair of glowing green eyes following us, which only made Andrew think I was paranoid. I know how these animals work, they stalk their prey until they get a chance to pounce. We reached my vehicle which seemed to take forever. Andrew was still trying to pick out some trees to hang his hammock, while I was throwing all my gear as fast as I could to wherever it would fit in my car. It would be different if we were sleeping in a tent, but hanging in a hammock fast asleep is just like being bait. I’d simply rather not. He finally listened to my concerns of him sleeping out in the open and joined me inside of our safe car. We reclined the seats, grabbed our pillows, and fell fast asleep. Always be aware of your surroundings. If I hadn’t been so worried, we would have never seen that mountain lion and it may have attacked us. Hiking at night isn’t the smartest thing to do either. Learn from our mistakes, and be safe!