It has been warm the past couple of days. Who wouldn’t enjoy a visit to a local swimming hole?
Not even one of northeast Bellingham’s most famous (or infamous) residents can resist the urge, apparently.
A bear, believed to be the same adolescent bruin that has been nicknamed Barkley Bear or Walter and is known for raiding bird feeders across northeast Bellingham neighborhoods and avoiding wildlife officers for the better part of the past two months, made another appearance Wednesday at the home of Christine Palmerton on East 36th Terrace, near North Shore Drive.
This time, he decided to leave the bird feeders alone – it is swimsuit season, after all – and took a dip in the Palmertons’ swimming pool.
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It’s not the first time a bear has shown up at their house overlooking Squalicum Mountain, Palmerton said, as she and her family have seen evidence of bears during their 14 years on the property “but we leave them alone and keep the garbage inside.”
Barkley Bear even visited earlier this summer when Palmerton was away from the house, but her daughter caught video of him eating some feed out of a chicken coop.
But Wednesday’s visit was quite a bit different. Palmerton said her grandkids were playing in the pool, when she heard some commotion from outside.
“They were like, there’s a bear by the pool,” she said. “I went out, and there he was, just standing on the deck of the pool. He looked at the water like he wanted to get a drink, and then he went over to this little waterfall we have and took a drink from the little pond by the waterfall. ... And then he went back and jumped in the pool. ... He was looking at me, like, ‘What?’ It’s a warm, sunny day, so why wouldn’t you want to swim?”
Though Palmerton said she worried about the bear’s ability to climb out of the pool, after a few minutes he put his paws on the side, pulled himself out, “shook himself off like a dog and ran off.” The visit lasted about 25 minutes, she estimated, including 10 minutes in the pool.
“I was shocked,” said Palmerton, who is the owner of Nautigirl Brands LLC in Bellingham. “The worst thing about it was my husband missed the whole thing. He sat outside one night waiting for him to come, but he was on a work road trip and missed this.”