Sightings of a cougar in Magnolia may not have invoked fear in the average Magnolian, or even caused them a second thought, but when Phil Logan heard the news his heart skipped a beat.
"A cougar? And it says right here in the Seattle Times that a Magnolian saw its long tail? It has to by my cougar - it's not like they all have the same loping long tail or anything..."
Logan, a longtime feline enthusiast, had successfully tracked 28 versions of felines - from jaguars to alley cats. Of course most of them were tame, contained within the boundaries of the zoo, or lounging on various Seattle porches. But Logan was older now and the cougar was different. Untamed. Wild.
And this cougar seemed to be baiting Logan, as it slipped through the wilderness of Discovery Park. Logan knew cougars had two sides: secretive and elusive - a tricky combination for a tracker but Logan was undeterred.
First question: what led the cougar here? Upon following the rail lines that trace the shoreline Logan encountered a few wandering bears but they were unwilling to give up any leads. It seems cougars and bears have an understanding. But Logan had a feeling the black bear found earlier this year had tipped the cougar off.
"I don't think the cougar just accidentally showed up here. No, no. Not at all," Logan explained. "Fish and Wildlife, they're not asking the right questions. No point in asking 'how did the cougar get here?' It's quite easy to discern he swam down from the islands up North."
The matter of fact tone Logan had when explaining the cougar's path raised an eyebrow or two at the press conference, and less than a few doubtful questions.
"I thought cats don't like water...why would the cougar disregard its natural tendencies, and swim miles in freezing water to get to Magnolia?" one reporter asked.
"That, my friend, is the right question," Logan exclaimed excitedly. "It's not how he got here, but why? Why Magnolia? Was Queen Anne too hilly? Was Capitol Hill trying too hard?"
There was a reason the cougar found Magnolia, Logan knew. Maybe it was the smell of berry pie or the oceanic views. One thing was for sure, this cougar would not easily be trapped by elk liver and fish. Clearly, he desired something more than what he could have in the wild.
So, Logan developed a game plan: blend in. He dressed himself in brown, hunched his shoulders and slunk through Discovery Park nonchalantly - not looking to bother anyone, just looking for a little bit of quiet and solitude.
Sure enough, as Logan settled into his discrete solitude he glimpsed a furry companion doing the same. They both pretended to ignore each other, Logan recalled.
It was strange, once he found the cougar, Logan's desire to trap it had left him.
But the damage was done. Logan had found his cougar. But before getting a chance to assess its reasons for coming here, Karelian bear dogs flew past him and chased the cougar up a tree. The next day, the cougar was released in the dense mountains to the northeast and strongly discouraged from returning.
"I blame myself for its capture because it was me who wanted it, who led the dogs to him. And you know, after seeing him relaxing in the park, I finally realized why he came here. Where else can you go in Seattle that's quiet enough to hear your footsteps, and that has a view you can take in alone? Plus, I have a solid hunch he meant to take up platform diving while he was here too."[[In-content Ad]]