This was me on April 30, 1998 after an encounter with a mountain lion.

I received several dozen stitches to my face, neck, upper chest, both shoulders and right leg. I set a record at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado by requiring 70 staples to close my head wounds. Welcome to my story.

Roxborough State Park, located near Englewood, Colorado, includes a hiking trail with a 3.2 mile climb up to the 7,200 foot summit of Carpenter’s Peak. One trail up, one trail down. No shortcuts. No bypasses. Climbing Carpenter’s Peak is part of my weekly routine. Something I do during my days off from my job as a park ranger in a neighboring park. My climb up the trail today is typical of other days. Clear and warm weather with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. My favorite part of this climb is the taking in of the summit view. My favorite vista lies to the south and west, a panorama encompassing the South Platte River, Pike National Forest and the towering Rockies. I scaled the highest rock and circled around it, a chill running through me as I stopped and gazed on magnificent broken horizon in every direction. After a brief rest, I removed my shirt, tying it around my waist. Then I started back down the trail. As I was walking, a burst of purple caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I walked over to two identical flowers and knelt down for a closer look. As I did, a tremor ran through me. Something wasn’t right. A gentle

breeze stirred the trees. I thought a cold front might be moving in so I stood back up and began moving for the trailhead. But as I turned to go, I saw something down the trail that stopped me cold. There, lying under a pine tree to the left of the trail was a live mountain lion lazily chewing on a small stick. A mountain lion. Wow! I couldn’t believe my luck. Then fear flashed through me, overtaking my excitement. My legs shook uncontrollably as I eased backwards, back up the trail as quiet as possible. Instinctively I reached for my knife, which I always carried with me in my fanny pack. I knew I had to get past this wild animal in order to get off this mountain. As my brain raced with thoughts and ideas of what to do, my body prepared for war. I looked down at the knife in my hand. The two-inch blade looked too small and inadequate to really be a defense against the unknown. I shot a look to the spot under the tree where I last saw the lion. It was gone! My eyes strained through the brush to my right, looking for a glimpse. There it was! It had moved. It was slowly coming toward me. Its piercing gaze seemed to stare right through me. In the blink of an eye, the cat’s 100+ pound frame was directly in front of me. Its head rising above my waist. Its eyes again locked on me in a satanic stare. It seemed to be sizing me up before the expected attack. At 130 pounds, I’m positive I looked like an easy meal. Just then the lion let out a wicked, cavernous growl, revealing four immense dominant teeth. The lion leapt before I could react, paws extended. It slammed into my chest causing us to tumble down the trail, ending up side by side in a rolled up mass of fur, claws and blood. My blood! I jumped up. The lion leapt at me a second time, barely missing me. Backpedaling, I careened down the path, trying to fend off the cat with, of all things, the shirt that had been tied around my waist. Suddenly the lion stopped in its tracks. I was able to make a quick stand. Hanging onto the strap with one hand, I swung my pack with all the force I could find. Standing still, the cat just drew back, as if this were some game it had been invited to. With my other hand holding the knife, I lashed out at the lion’s face. Again, the cat easily dodged my desperate swing. Once again I started backpedaling, with the cougar staying inches away from my

terrified body. It was toying with me, playing its sick game. That’s when my escape path changed abruptly, dropping down three feet through a series of boulder steps. I looked. In an instance, I knew I was not stopping. I hurtled down, skipping over the boulders. The cougar launched into the air and tore into me just as I hit the ground. For a second time we rolled together, down the trail. When we came to a stop, I was on my knees, over the lion that was on its back. My head was in the lion’s mouth. The long black shape of a tooth hovered an inch in front of my left eye. The lion’s teeth were sunk into the top of my skull! Its jaws loosened slightly, then bit down a second time, searching for a firmer hold. Blood cascaded down over my face. Holding the knife in my right hand, I slashed towards the lion’s neck. The blade wasn’t drawing blood. I tried swinging the knife from a different angle. Raising the knife high over the animal’s head, I plunged it into the back of its neck. Once. Twice. Nothing, not even a whimper from this bloodthirsty killer. A whipping paw shot toward my face, snagging the skin below my left eye. I heard a pronounced pop but could feel no pain. New blood began to stream down my face. With the other paw clasped tightly around my neck, its claws began digging in. My pain should have been excruciating, but it wasn’t. No pain, only blood. Why wasn’t my knife cutting into the lion’s head? With an effort, I looked past its head to the knife that I was still holding in my left hand. The knife’s blade had closed on my left index finger, cutting halfway through. Reaching over the cat’s head with my right arm, I managed to pry the knife open. It was at this moment that I realized my right hand was touching one of the cougar’s eyes. Desperately and with all the force I could muster, I plunged my right thumb into its eye, simultaneously sinking the knife into the cat’s skull with my left hand. The lion shrieked, releasing its hold on my head. The claws pulled out from my neck. The lion jumped backwards. My moment was here. I stumbled to my feet. In a daze and very dizzy, I began to feel cold. I looked up and saw the lion standing only 10 feet away. It also seemed dazed. I knew I must get down the mountain, now! Blood was gushing from the 8” gash ripped across my forehead. I felt as though I was running out of time. Backing out of sight from the lion, I turned and ran - for my life! The attack on Carpenter’s Peak had lasted for nearly 30 minutes. My situation was still grim. I was hysterical, losing blood fast and almost three miles from the trailhead. Yet despite the multiple lacerations on my head, neck and torso, I felt no pain. My legs churned in their singular desire to get

me off this mountain back to safety. Halfway down, the trail took on a new menacing aspect where it traced a route through a thick stand of ponderosa pine trees. For some reason and in full stride, I glanced over my right shoulder and saw that Hell was back again. The lion was eyeing me from a distant tree! I panicked and called on my legs to drive me even faster. I had nothing left. My fight was done. The lion was back for the final kill and there was nothing I was able to do. I again glanced over my right shoulder, expecting to see the demonic visage of my tormentor one final time. Instead, I was given a glimpse of Heaven. The face of the Lord was in plain view where once the lion had been. The canopy thinned and the empty trail lightened. I’m positive this is divine intervention. For the first time since I saw the lion, I felt safe. Or should I say, saved? Rejuvenated, I turned my head and continue racing down the trail. Near the bottom, a group of hikers suddenly appeared. They tried to talk me into sitting down. In a panic, I bolted from their grasp and continued running. Without reason, I suddenly stopped. After 30 minutes with a mountain lion and 2½ miles at a dead run, my body shut down. It was at that moment that I heard the glorious thunder of an approaching rescue chopper. I knew that my nightmare was over. I knew that I was saved. The event you have just read has radically changed my life. I have given my life to the Lord, realizing the importance of having Jesus Christ in my life. I have shared my testimony with numerous groups. My story has touched many hearts, helping to bring lost souls to the Lord. Please contact me at Lion King Ministries for prayer or to schedule me to share my testimony with your group. Additional Photos ANDY@LKMINISTRIES.C OM STORY | ABOUT | TESTIMONIALS | CONTACT | LINKS | HOME

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