Two hikers had a close encounter of the mountain cat kind on the High Sierra Trail while hiking in California and captured the moment on video which was published on July 23.

One hiker spots a cat’s tail

Sam Vonderheide was the first to spot something, as he caught a glimpse of a big cat’s tail going round a bend on their hiking trail. According to his hiking partner, Brian McKinney, Vonderheide thought it was a puma he had seen, but McKinney doubted that and decided to pull out his cellphone and record video footage as they hiked after the cat.

As they round the bend in the trail, they could see nothing at first, but as the footage pans around and up, a Mountain Lion can be seen, perching on the rocks above them and just few feet away from the hikers.

The cat had its ears up and perky as it stared directly at them with its head cocked slightly to one side. One hiker can be heard to ask what they are supposed to do in a situation like this, while the other said he didn’t know, but believes they are supposed to run. Luckily for them, they didn't.

The video ends showing the two hikers slowly backing away from the mountain lion, but they continued watching it for a while to see if it would leave. Readers can watch the footage here.

A restless night on the trail after spotting the mountain lion

It turns out the mountain lion wasn’t going anywhere, as they tried to get it to move on without success because they wanted to continue to where they wished to set up their camp.

As reported by the New York Post on 8 August, McKinney said she just kept staring at them, so they gave up.

The pair turned around, walking back along the trail to set up camp elsewhere, where the hikers suffered a restless night. However the following morning they had to cross the same path where they had encountered the mountain lion.

Reportedly both hikers were so shaken by their experience, they even made videos to say goodbye to their loved ones. However on getting back on the trail, all they found were paw marks left behind by the cat.

Keeping calm and relaxed is important when encountering a wild animal

As reported by the Huffington Post, rangers working in the Sequoia National Park posted a link to the hiker’s video.

After the video was posted, Daniel Gammons, a wildlife biologist said the hikers had made the right decision by keeping calm and slowly backing away. He said it is recommended when encountering an animal like this, people should make themselves look big by waving their arms over their head, which the hikers reportedly did. Gammons added that what they really got right was to not get in a panic and run from the mountain lion, which would have made them appear like prey to the animal.

As for McKinney, he says after watching his own video footage, he was shocked to realize that the mountain lion had the advantage of them by perching up on the rocks, exactly as they do when they are hunting prey.