Sometimes, an injury is totally worth it. If you’re gonna get hurt, may as well do it in a real cool way.
People keep asking me what I did to hurt my finger – that annoying injury that’s been driving me crazy for the last six weeks. I’m finally almost back to normal, so maybe this time I’ll actually tell the truth about what happened.
So we were hiking out to look at some really cool structures in the northern part of the The Breaks, where I go do geology every summer. There aren’t too many places out there where there are any trees, but on Owl Ridge, there are lots of junipers and limber pines. We were glad to be there, because it was hot that day. Very hot.
We’d already had a scare that day. I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake earlier. I discovered I could fly at the moment it rattled. We wound up taking a half-hour snack break after that. We were hopeful that we were done with massive scares for the duration of the field season.
The sun was directly overhead when we made it to Owl Ridge. We were glad for all the trees, so we could get at least some relief from the sun’s rays. Though the wind was blowing as always, it wasn’t doing much to keep us cool.
We were stooped over, looking at some rocks at the base of a cliff, when a pebble fell on my head. I looked up just in time to see the mountain lion preparing to pounce. I dove into my student, shoving her aside as I got out of the jumping lion’s way.
I rolled and got my hands up just in time to block the lunging lion from grabbing my neck. I shoved it aside. Somehow I avoided all the sharp parts of the lion, except for one claw (I think it was a claw), which caught on my finger and tore it wide open.
My student, the hero that she is, had the presence of mind to pick up the pick-axe we were carrying and bury it into the side of the lion before it had a chance to lunge again. The cat, startled, ran off, carrying the pick for about 10 meters before the pick dropped from its body.
We don’t know the fate of that lion. We assume it didn’t end well. We weren’t going to stick around to find out for sure. We got out of there and went straight to the hospital (which was a few hours away). Luckily for me, my injury was only superficial.
I suspect the lion wasn’t so lucky.