Mark Hough had barely taken a sip of his margarita Friday when he heard twigs snapping and leaves rustling in his lush Altadena backyard.
At first he brushed it off as the sounds of his neighbor pottering next door, but the noise grew louder.
“So I got up, looked over in the bushes, and lo and behold there's a bear climbing up over my fence,” Hough said Monday.
The sighting was the first of many encounters Hough would have with the bear that hot Friday afternoon: During the next few hours, the bear availed itself of Hough's backyard, his hot tub and the cocktail he left behind.
After initially spotting the bear, Hough retreated inside, but later found the furry intruder “bobbling away in the Jacuzzi enjoying himself.”
Hough recorded video of the bear lolling in the unheated hot tub with the jets on. The bear played with the chlorinator and tossed the thermometer in the air, Hough said.
“He was playing, having a grand old time,” he added.
Bears are frequently filmed romping around Altadena, which straddles the city and wilderness. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Joana Warren said the department received six bear-sighting calls Friday, but failed to find any bears.
The bear's dip lasted only a few minutes before it emerged and lumbered around the yard. Then it “popped out of the bushes, walked right over to the margarita, knocked it over and lapped it,” Hough said.
About an hour later, Hough was talking to a neighbor when some oak leaves fluttered to the ground. He looked up to see the bear slumbering in the tree.
“So he had his margarita, he had his Jacuzzi, and now he's ready for an hour nap,” Hough said.
Hough said the bear ultimately hustled away down the street. After the encounter, Hough made himself two margaritas to make up for the one he lost to the bear.