This happened last week
at Horseshoe Meadow.
I was returning from my warm-up hike to Trail Peak, hurrying down cross-country due to impending darkness. I heard what I thought was a man calling, something like "Hey... Hey!" loudly, off in the distance to the north. I continued descending, and heard it several more times. It sounded human, and I thought maybe someone was lost in the forest, trying to find their way back to the campground at Horseshoe Meadow.
So, I started answering, yelling loudly, "Hellooo" every time I heard the yell. This continued for ten minutes or so. In that period, I finally hit the trail back to camp where it was heading north. I followed the trail a hundred yards or so, and heard the call a couple more times. It was about 90% dark by this time, and I was using my headlamp.
So.... Thinking I might help some stranded hiker(s), I turned eastward and left the trail, walking through the dry meadow, flashing my headlamp to the south from where I believed the person may have been calling. I figured if they were in the edge of the forest, they could see my light, and make contact.
But I walked a quarter mile, shining my light, and ...no more calls. No further contact. I couldn't figure what was up. I finally gave up, turned north again, and headed up through the next forest-covered glacier moraine, down to and across the next leg of the meadow, and into the forest where the trail head was. As I crossed this second meadow area, there was a great chorus of cattle mooing and bawling at each other. This went on for some minutes.
I continued on, found my trail just a hundred yards from the parking lot and got to my car in complete darkness. Thinking back, I finally decided that I had been tricked by an odd-sounding range cow.
...So I was attempting to rescue... ...a cow.
And I grew up on a farm with cows, and there were plenty of range cattle off in the distance too. Never heard one call like that one, though.
And this is almost as comical: I moved to the Horseshoe Meadow campground, where I met Randy and Robert at their campsite -- great bonfire
, picnic chairs, plus a movie playing on their laptop. They asked if I had heard all those noises a while back off in the distance. They asked, "Were those bears?" I assured them it was the cattle.