Tucson residents Jay and Nancy Carey had a thrilling experience while walking in Sabino Canyon Tuesday morning: the sight of a mountain lion crossing a road right in front of them.

What’s more, Jay caught the big cat on video with his cell-phone camera.

“We were walking up the tram road and saw the lion cross the road,” he said. “We realized it was heading toward the Cactus Picnic Area” where a student group was to hold an event that morning.

The Careys left the main road and followed a side road toward the picnic area to alert people there — and Jay had his camera at the ready.

“As we were walking on that road, we saw two rabbits spooked from the brush,” he said. “We could see it (the lion) in the brush, and then it crossed the road in front of us.”

The camera caught the critter almost slinking across the road, and Jay captured a still photo from the video.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen a mountain lion (in the wild) in my life,” he said. “It wasn’t aggressive, at least toward us.”

Nancy, who is a member of the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, and Jay later reported the incident to U.S. Forest Service authorities.