On a late night hike up to Lakes of the Clouds in the Sangres me and my partner were maybe a 1/4 mile above the turn off from the Rainbow Trail trudging our way up toward the lake. We rounded a small corner and about 20 yards away and that was when I saw the bright green eyes looking back at us. Definitely stopped me dead in my tracks. I have stumbled upon a lot of different animals in the dark (even armadillos...which do funny things when you spook then), but that was the first time it really sent alarm bells off.
I stood still for a minute, trying to calm my now terrified partner down. I started clapping and yelling to try and scare it and the thing never moved. Except for the one time it must have moved its head slightly behind a tree, because I could see one of its eyes disappear and then show up again. More yelling and clapping and still it never moved really. After a standoff that lasted a couple minutes I finally bent down...slowly...and picked up a couple rocks. I threw one as hard as I could in its generally area and clipped a tree trunk nearby, which caused it to take off running. But of course it only ran off a few yards before it turned around and we could see it again, so I chunked the other rock and we could hear it taking off at a fast rate through forest.
Needless to say it was a rather anxious hike for the rest of the way up to Lakes of the Clouds. We never saw enough of the animal to guarantee that it was a cat...but I can't think of much else that it would be. Big green eyes, lower to the ground and fast.