It's not yet officially summer, but you don't need a calendar to tell you it's hot. I spied this family cooling off yesterday in the stream beyond the bridge north of the JPL parking lot. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
The stream's a safe place for a family during daylight hours, even considering the fact that a mountain lion was photographed mere yards from this spot in January. In drought time, deer and small animals come farther downhill for water, and predators come after them. But it's rare for mountain lions (aka cougars) to attack humans. They don't like to mess with people. As one person said in an online discussion about going for a run near where the JPL cougar was sighted, "Some folks take pepper spray...but that is as much for roaming big dogs and looney people as cougars or bears."
I think I was very close to a cougar once. High on the Sam Merrill Trail I came upon a dead fawn. I stopped to examine it; there was no visible wound and the animal was newly dead. I wondered about that until my brain said, "Ack!"—meaning the fawn was prey, and the predator was most likely watching in the nearby brush for me to move on—which I did. When I passed again on my way down twenty minutes later the path was clear, but the underbrush was disturbed where the carcass had been dragged up the hillside.
It's good to be vigilant. Sometimes when I'm walking with Boz, I wonder who's watching us from high among the rocks.