As she descended the mountain after a beautiful sunrise hike in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile, Tara Bray couldn’t help but feel that someone else was on the trail. track.
The lone hiker turned to look, and there he was – a huge mountain lion, looking her straight in the eye.
“I swear I thought I was going to have breakfast,” Bray wrote in an Instagram post.
After a brief glimpse of its trail partner, the huge cat continued its morning walk, unconcerned. Bray was so relieved.
“I was really scared and hoping it wouldn’t come any closer,” Bray told The Dodo. “I’m glad he continued on his way!”
Bray recorded the shocking moment in a video, here:
An experienced outdoorswoman, Bray has seen lots of amazing wildlife on her hikes, but had never seen anything quite like the mountain lion.
“I walk a lot and I have never met an animal so big or so close!” Bray said.
Cougars are definitely a sight to behold – according to Live Science, an adult male can be up to 8 feet long. Although Patagonia has the highest density of cougars on earth, the big cats are still difficult to spot, as they prefer to avoid humans.
Although it still sends shivers down her spine thinking about the experience, Bray is ultimately grateful to have seen such a majestic and powerful wild animal in her natural habitat, but she hopes it never happens again.
“In the moment, I was just more surprised and terrified,” Bray said. “I can say now that I am impressed and grateful!”