"I was out in the Dark Canyon Wilderness of Utah after two weeks of driving and backpacking around the country alone. The plan was a seven-day trip and after a few days of setbacks I was on my last night. By this time I was already a little scared of the dark but that's just what happens when you are your only company for three weeks. Anyway, on the sixth day, about halfway through my hike, I ran out of water. I made camp and went upstream in search of water. After a little hiking, I found a little spring with deliciously cold refreshing water. I drank some before realizing I didn't bring my water bottles so I hiked the half mile or so back to the camp to get them. On my trip back to fill my water bottles, I kept feeling really vulnerable and uncomfortable. Every little rustle in the bushes set me off. I could hear birds calling in the distance that set me off. I kept looking for something following me.
I can only describe my emotion as pure terror. It got to the point where I picked up a branch for a weapon. I kept telling myself that it was just paranoia but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being watched. I finally got to the water and filled up my bottle, constantly looking over my shoulder. The feeling of unease was still with me when I headed back to my camp. There I came upon a fresh mountain lion print placed directly between my two footprints. It's one thing to think that your fears are unfounded paranoia, it's much worse to know they are true."