When Marmots Attack

I had a funny experience last week. I drove up to Whistler Mountain, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The weather was cold. I was told it was about 5ºC. I was looking out over the valley and taking some pictures. I clearly remember registering the distinctive sound of a cat running behind me. That is, the sound of padded paws loping on a hard surface. It’s a sound different from dogs running. I notices the sound because it was out of place and getting louder. My mind thought “that must be some big cat”. Now mind you, I had just taken some pictures of a mama brown bear and her two cubs. Then I start thinking, “that’s a bear cub running up behind me”. This all happening in just a few seconds. So now what do I do? I started to turn to see if mama bear were coming when something ran right past me brushing the back of my knee. It ducked under the small railing and proceeded across the rock. So it wasn’t a bear. But what was it. It was the biggest cat I’d ever seen. It was as big as a collie. Not a cat. It had a huge bushy tail that I cold see as it ran off toward another one that had been lying out on a rock 20 meters away. Vocabulary evaded me but I think it was a marmot. A large squirrel. The pair seemed to play a big before the first one ran off leaving just one sunning on the rocks. I also saw a chipmunk and a dear to round out the wildlife experience.