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Quite often in life, people are met with unexpected challenges. Though those challenges can sometimes be minor in the scheme of things -- like if you're locked out of your house or you're running late and stuck in seemingly endless traffic -- there are also situations that are more perilous, albeit probably nothing compared to the challenges faced by Travis Kauffman. He's the jogger who went for a run near Fort Collins, Colorado and wound up in a life-or-death fight with a mountain lion. He survived the ordeal, and he has one hell of a story to tell. Surely, it seems that trouble can meet you anywhere in this life.
The 31-year-old man who moved to Fort Collins a few years earlier in order to enjoy the more active, outdoors lifestyle that was afforded to him there -- was in the midst of a jog in the Horsetooth Mountain Open Space on February 4th when he heard a noise in the pine needles located behind him. It's not unusual to hear odd noises in nature, of course. But this one in particular gave him pause. And clearly for good reason. Because it was shortly after Kauffman heard this noise that he found himself in direct contact with a mountain lion. And it wasn't shaping up to be a friendly encounter. Sure enough, it was only a matter of time before the runner found himself in a fight with the wild animal.
As the fight ensued, Travis Kauffman told WYFF 4 that he managed to pin the cat with his legs and was grappling with nearby debris trying to figure out how to survive the encounter when he realized:
It really clicked after I hit my head with a rock and it still didn't release my wrist, that at that point more drastic measures were necessary.
From there, it's best to let the man explain what happened in a first-person account. Here's how Travis Kauffman explained the situation to the press.
It was just pure adrenaline. There was a certain point where I just kind of imagined being stuck on this hillside and eventually just having a cat gnaw at me, which is a creepy way to go. But, for the most part, the adrenaline just kept kicking in at those moments.
To be more specific in regards to what happened to Travis Kauffman, when he heard the noise in the not-too-distant background ruffling in the trees, he turned around and found himself ten-feet-away from a wild mountain lion. And Kauffman did his best to scare the animal away, waving his arms in the air in frantic motions and yelling at the top of his lungs. Alas, that didn't pan out. The animal pounced, and it worked its jaws around Kauffman's wrist as he was trying to make a desperate attempt to protect his face from the impending attack. From there, it was kill-or-be-killed, and Kauffman opted to kill.
The ensuing "wrestling match," as he called it, found the lion and the man tumbling down the slope, each trying not to be bested by the opponent. And eventually, Travis Kauffman was able to pin the lion's back legs down while he made a bid for rocks and sticks to throw in the lion's direction, trying to force the animal off of his person. As he did this, his arm remained trapped inside the animal's mouth -- which certainly adds intensity to the ordeal. But in the process of this tug-of-war, Kauffman somehow managed to press his foot down on the mountain lion's neck, and he was able to suffocate it until it finally let go of his wrist. From there, bloodied and injured, Kauffman had another battle to face: running three miles down the trail to find safety.
Thankfully, Travis Kauffman found that safety, and he lived to tell the incredible story. He found a ride to the hospital and they were able to give him proper treatment there. In addition to his arm, Kauffman also received a cut on his cheek, which required 19 stitches, along with six stitches on the bridge of his nose. He also received puncture wounds throughout his body. Despite his injuries, though, Travis Kauffman considers himself very lucky to be alive. Or as he put it:
I feel like I should go buy a bunch of lottery tickets.
So, if you're having a tough day and you are dealing with troubles of your own, remember: at least you're not fighting a mountain lion today. Hopefully.