*UPDATE 18/04/2018* -- Gut feeling was justified. Tonight at dusk multiple people saw a large male cougar leaving the forest about 300 meters from where I was in the below videos. This is the same cougar I've been stalked by once in the same forest. A few days ago, I took delivery of a new blade that I've been rather anxiously awaiting. Even though I have already made a full trip report for the April Challenge @Strigidae is holding, I decided to take my new steel into the woods, to the same spot I was at before, and make yet another try stick with my new blade. We just had a rather massive storm slam into us from the Pacific, uprooting at least two large trees in my neighborhood, so I was looking forward to seeing the windfall in the forest. Surprisingly, there wasn't much notable windfall at all. Lots of little twigs and branches up to about wrist thickness, but nothing bigger. The stream was about twice as high as it was a week ago. It had been raining off and on all day, so everything was soaking wet. Luckily the sun decided to shine for me. These pics were taken right on the side of the trail, which had turned into a little stream. The trail was flooded in multiple places, making for good track traps. Even with the soft ground, the only tracks I could discern were at least 48hrs old, and likely from the black bear that had come from this forest and into our neighborhood two night ago. Unfortunately, the tracks were mostly washed out and not discernible enough for good pics. Big bear, 500-600lbs or so, older, very healthy. He's been around for a while and has never caused an issue, I've seen him on multiple occasions, and he always turns tail and runs at the first sound of a human voice. Some windfall. I found a nice freshly fallen Maple branch that was about thumb thick, not but 50 meters from my filming location, so I snatched it up and continued on my way. Before setting down for my video, I had a feeling of unease and of hyper-alertness. Something just didn't seem quite right. I've got a fair amount of experience in the woods, and I've learned to trust my gut, especially when I'm by myself. There's nobody else there to pick up on signs of something being off. I've come to learn over the years, that when the birds are all silent, and nothing dares make a sound, a predator lurks near. I've been stalked by Grizzly, a Wolf and by numerous Mountain Lions, and each and every time, there were no forest sounds. No birds, no frogs, no wind rustling the trees. Just dead. quiet. Some hunters refer to this as "the vortex", others just know it as "when it gets unnaturally quiet". Whatever you may or may not know it as, knowing how to read the forest, be it tracks in the ground, or the sounds of animals (or the lack thereof), is something every outdoorsman should acquaint themselves with. It may very well save your life one day, whether you know it did or not. Trust your gut. Trust your primeval instincts. *For those of you who may be watching with young ones, please be aware I do swear at about the 9:33 mark* Around the end of the video, the silence got to me, and the feeling of unease intensified, so I cut it short, took a picture of my completed try stick, hastily packed up, purposefully leaving my knife unstrapped in its sheath, with my bear spray at the ready. As I got down the hill from my filming location, constantly scanning 360 degrees, up and down, I heard Stellar Jays. Stellar Jays are very expressive birds, and very vocal. They have very discernible calls, and what I was hearing was without doubt a call of distress and danger, maybe 200 meters away. So, with that, I made it out of the woods, and with no sign of what caused my gut feeling, I headed in and cleaned up. Your subconscious mind has a way of knowing more than your conscious mind. You pick up on things, or lack of things, various signs, that you might actively ignore, but your subconscious keeps track of. When these things become so overwhelming, it tends to show itself as a gut feeling. You have these feelings for a reason, and one of the worst tings you could possibly do is suppress what your natural instincts are telling you. Fear, when unbridled can be debilitating, but when fear is completely ignored, it might just get you killed. Anyway, enough philosophical crap, thanks for tagging along! And remember, trust your gut!