Okay. I started out solo on 7/26 at 3 AM. About 45 minutes into the hike I caught up with a group of 4 guys and we exchanged pleasantries and continued up the mild switchbacks through the chaparrel below Lone Pine Lake. Then we heard somebody whooping and yelling above us on the hill. I figured it was some first timer excited to be out in the pitch of night with a headlamp and no idea of how he'd be feeling later in the day. We continued up the switchbacks and the whooping continued until we caught up with the group of 3 headlights stopped on the trail. The leader said, "It's a mountain lion over there by the rock. He was closer before but moved away and he's not backing off." All 7 headlights trained on the rock and we all saw the green eyes staring back at us, unflinching, maybe 150 feet away. "Maybe it's a bobcat," somebody said. "Nope," the leader said, "eyes too far apart. Too big." There was some discussion about what we should do. It was pitch dark and we couldn't see each others' faces, only headlamps. Then we saw a group of lights coming up the hill and decided to wait for more people to create a larger group to confront the cat. When we were joined by 5 more hikers and briefed them on the mountain lion we made a group of a dozen headlamps all trained on the steady green eyes. Twelve voices trying to come up with a way forward and we concluded we had two choices: go forward or go back. The leader said, "We have to act as one. If we go forward and the lion attacks one of us, we have to act as a unit and all attack the cat with our poles." (I remember thinking that if the cat attacked me, I hope everyone follows through, but if somebody else gets attacked...) Anyway, somebody else said she heard a story about a woman whose husband got attacked by a mountain lion and the woman stabbed the cat in the eye with a pen from her husband's pocket. So we started up the trail as a unit, all 12 headlamps focused on the rock and the green eyes, whooping and hollering and clenching our poles until we saw the animal clearly just 25 feet downslope. "It's a deer!" the leader said, and we all saw the big ears and green eyes of a deer bedded down, looking at us like a, yes, deer in the headlights. We hiked on, our hiking speeds separating us by the time we crossed the logs in the dark, feeling fortunate we hadn't seen each others' faces. It was a great day. It was a great hike, as always.