recently I was able to go on a trip to Squamish, BC… my teenage boys referred to it as an ‘old ladies hiking trip’...  I of course was picturing it in my mind more like an expedition to Everest and I packed accordingly

I booked this trip way back in January when the farmer was on a wild boar hunting trip in Texas…  I was so upset that first of all, the companies that take farmers on trips seem to believe that it is just the male farmer that deserves a bonus…  the female farmer should get nothing…  secondly, I was of course upset that it was a hunting trip when from what I saw from pictures no one was starving and they didn’t even eat what they were killing…

in a fit of indignation and rage, I searched some hiking trips, found one in Canada (as I thought my first solo trip should not be too far away) and booked it… this would be my first trip by myself and I was nervous that I would miss the farmer too much to enjoy myself…  I realize this might sound pathetic but when you have spent 20 years with someone as your travel companion and best friend, you tend to only imagine situations with them in it…  I really couldn’t imagine enjoying myself without him…

I should also add that I am terrible in airplanes…  I like to picture myself in a giant aluminum can hurdling through the air only seconds away from everything breaking down and plummeting to my painful death… and I won’t medicate myself for fear that if there was a bad crash I would be too ‘out of it’ to do something to save myself…  not sure what exactly I would do, but I’ve watched all of the Mission Impossible movies so I do have a few tricks up my sleeve…

once I was finally on the ground and in Squamish it turned into one of the best things I have ever done…  I was nervous to meet my roommate – yes, they give you a roommate – but that all went well and once the hiking began it was all I had hoped it would be…

we apparently were in bear country but no one seemed overly concerned about this…  secretly I was wishing I had packed a gun in my backpack like the farmer took on his trip…  but I had been too judgemental of him so I was forced to walk defenceless along the pine needle paths…

this is when we came upon a sign warning us of another predator in the area… the cougar…  this terrified me more than a bear… well maybe the same… I basically was constantly afraid

one of the younger girls on the trip found it humorous that I was taking a picture of the cougar sign and decided to pipe up with…

“well now there are two of you out here”

I looked behind me to see what old lady in spandex she was referring to so I could laugh along with her about her funny Cougar joke…  then a sickening feeling came over me…  she might be referring to me… I might be the Cougar… 

surely I was mistaken…  it couldn’t be me…  after going through my twenties having babies and raising kids in my early thirties, I finally was starting to feel like I was doing things for myself again and feeling great about myself…  so I surely am not old enough to have a joke said about me of this nature???

I laughed it off and decided I would google it later to see if I qualify for cougar age…  I knew I wasn’t single and on the ‘hunt’ so I couldn’t be considered a cougar unless something terrible happens to the farmer…

that evening when I googled ‘how old is a cougar?’, the first thing that came up was 8 signs that a woman is a cougar…

1- 40 years of age (one year away)

2- very concerned with face and skin (nope)

3- physically active and in shape (try to be)

4- trendy, form-fitting clothing, usually a bit adventurous for her age (solid yes)

5- enough money to provide for herself (again, yes)

6- not a party animal (oh no I’m a cougar)

7- knows what she wants in a younger man and not afraid to approach them (gross, I have a teenager who stinks like cat urine… no thank you)

8- looking for real, long-term relationships with younger men (wrong – looking for an older gentleman who is rich and on his deathbed)

if there was one thing this list did for me, it was to make me even more depressed about turning 40 next year…  at least now I could tell this younger girl “hey, wait a second there missy, I’m still in my thirties”

next year I will have to retort with “I’m married and not on the prowl” 

I do have to admit, sometimes my clothing choices are a bit ‘adventurous’ for my age…  after summiting the mountain and feeling like I was freezing to death, I wrapped an emergency blanket around myself for the climb down… it was useful for tobogganing down the glacier snow and also for frightening bears and fellow cougars in the area…

my last piece of evidence that I am not a cougar and never will be is this picture…  would a cougar go cross-eyed screaming down a bike path???  certainly not…

lastly – if women over 40 are cougars, what are men over 40? perhaps I need to do another google search…