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Steve Harrington's credentials:
In addition to leading and directing our Outdoor Adventures Program Steve Harrington is a part-time instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School where he is certified to teach rock climbing, backpacking, and sea kayak camping. Steve is a Wilderness EMT, a Master Educator for Leave No Trace Inc., and an ACA certified Level 4 Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor. Steve wrote his doctoral dissertation on the power of the wilderness experience to transform both life and spirit. Steve is a former Outward Bound instructor for rock climbing, sea kayaking and backpacking. He is a past member of the National Ski Patrol (specializing in back-country rescue) and of the San Jose Search and Rescue team. Steve was certified by the American Mountain Guide Association as a top rope rock climbing instructor and has been credentialed as a Rescue Technician in both Technical Rope and Swift Water Rescue.


Our Outdoor Adventure Program has an invitation for you. The invitation is to leave the place of the sure and settled life, to divest from the predictable familiarity that glazes the soul, and—if only for a week—rediscover the cadence of simplicity, centeredness and a renewed spirituality. How the wilderness experience enables this to happen is a mystic mix of its own rigor and beauty, the openness of one's spirit to the possibilities of transformation, and the presence of a God who has always led the pilgrim beyond destination into discovery.

Over the course of the year we offer a number of programs in a variety of wilderness settings. Snow camping, rock climbing, backpacking and sea kayaking. We also offer local day trips for students through seniors. Our trips are geared towards novices who want to learn and are willing to open themselves to the challenge of a new adventure and the chance to experience God in a new way.

Why we go into the wilderness

That answer is: to form our identities; to face our weaknesses; to develop perseverance that will apply in the valleys as well; to confront the challenge of who we are not and to triumph through love, sweat, and prayers over the obstacles of who we are. We go to step out of the safety of non-committed lives and risk the crush of a failure, all for the chance of maybe becoming a little more whole and, thus, a little more God's. 

Upcoming Outdoor Ministry Adventure Trips 

Kayaking the Elkhorn Slough Thursday, July 27: 
We will leave Livermore at 10:00 am and carpool to Elkhorn Slough. Following lunch, we will be kayaking for approximately three hours. To avoid the rush hour traffic we can enjoy dinner at Phil's Fish House before driving back to Livermore. Space is limited. Costs: Kayak is $35 for a single, $30 per person for a double, plus dining costs.

Sea kayaking in Croatia September 25-October 2nd: 
We will paddle along the Dalmation coast and stop into little Island (or sometimes coastal) villages where we will spend the night in guest house with our meals prepared for us. We will also have times for reflection, laughter and fellowship together - and for developing some new kayak skills! Cost to be determined (approximately $1,500 - $1,700 plus flight costs).


 


If you are interested in more information on any of these adventures, fill in the form below to let Steve know. You can also call Steve, 925-447-2078 X 16 or email harrington@fpcl.us  for more details.

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Past Trips

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61)

Joshua Tree National Park: May 7-12, 2017
Rock climbing the sheer cliffs of Joshua Tree; backpacking through the desolate beauty of the Mojave Desert; spending a solo day alone in the wilderness; reflecting on life, faith and ministry -- it's all part of the Desert Pilgrimage offered by our Outdoor Adventure Ministry here at FPCL. Spend a week in the community of friends, in the stretch of wilderness challenges, in the fruitful space of a barren desert.

Zephyr Point Family Snow Trip: March 9 - 12, 2017

Family/intergenerational snow trip at Lake Tahoe at our domination's conference center in Zephyr Point (just over the state line from Southlake). We will stay at the Lakeview Lodge which can hold 30 people in 15 bedrooms with two twin beds each (families with young children can certainly bring appropriate bedding and sleeping mats so the kids can squeeze into the room with the parents). Shared bathrooms are down the hall. This is a beautiful, albeit rustic, cabin with a close view of Lake Tahoe since the conference center’s grounds are located right on the shoreline.
During the daytime of our stay, you can choose any number of winter pursuits open to you. We will share breakfasts together and start our day with a brief reflection and prayer. Lunches will be done on an individual basis. In the evenings we will gather for dinner -- which we cook together -- followed by some time of fellowship, games, and reflection before we head off to bed. Daytime activities people might choose are skiing at the local resorts, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hanging out at the cabin.

Bahamas Sea Kayaking Trip: February 19 - 26, 2017
Sea kayaking in the Bahamas and camping on its remote and uninhabited beaches: The weather is cool but the water stays warm; the sand is pure and white and the ocean more blue than your dreams; the islands are secluded and the kayak camping is classic.
Join us for a paddle through Paradise as we slip between the islands of the Greater Exumas and camp on pristine beaches where we are the only visitors to be seen. You’ll learn kayaking and camping skills, enjoy a supportive and fun community all in a setting that couldn’t be more beautiful. 
Trip cost is $950 (airfare and pre-trip lodging not included). The trip is for novices who have never done this before and should be considered moderately strenuous. The trip is led by Steve Harrington, a certified Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor by the American Canoe Association who has guided in this area before for Higher Rock Wilderness Adventures and as an instructor for both Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Join us—participant numbers are limited! 

InforMission Trip to Tucson, Arizona, October 13 - 16th 
Steve Harrington led this trip. The group will learn firsthand about the issues and challenges along our southern border. We will be led in an informational tour of several different sites and organizations that will give us a first-hand and personal exposure to some of these matters and concerns about border and immigration issues. We will be coordinating our visit through Border Links, an organization set up to help groups get a better grasp on immigration issues. 
The costs for our program are estimated to be $580 plus the airplane flight to and from Tucson, but the final number is still in process as we finalize our itinerary and program, there may be a few meals to cover as well. 

Angel Island Trip: Saturday, October 22nd: We learned more about this part of our history and our immigrant story as we travelled to Angel Island on Saturday, October 22. This was an all-day excursion. Here, at the West’s own version of Ellis Island, nearly one million immigrants were processed, including some 175,000 Chinese. While European immigrants were quickly processed, many Chinese were detained for weeks, some up to ninety days. A few remained here for almost two years. The station has been restored, while maintaining much of the original feeling and sadness of the rooms. We arranged to have as our docent a man whose wife’s grandmother came through the station as a young Chinese immigrant, so he has a personal connection and can add some family history to the tour.

Elkhorn Slough Pontoon Trip: October 26th: We travelled to Moss Landing for a naturalist-guided pontoon boat tour of the Elkhorn Slough. The pontoon provided a stable and accessible platform from which to see the plentiful bird and marine life there on this 2-hour tour. 
We left in the morning from the church and had a (bring-your-own bag lunch) picnic down there, shared some reflective time, then boarded the boat. Afterwards we had an optional dinner together at Phil’s. The cost was $35 for the trip; dinner and other expenses are extra. 

Elkhorn Slough Thursday, August 18th:  Planned trip to Moss Landing for a day on the ocean and a naturalist-guided pontoon boat tour of the Elkhorn Slough on the Elkhorn Slough Safari. 
Elkhorn Slough is one of the largest wetlands in California and a part of a National Estuarine Reserve. The slough winds inland several miles and is an important feeding and resting place for wildlife. One viewing platform holds the world's record for the number of bird species seen from a single viewpoint! In the slough waters, you can see sea otters, rays, leopard sharks, and more marine life. 

Desert Adventure Pilgrimage April 17-23, 2016! Joshua Tree National Park: Rock climbing the sheer cliffs of Joshua Tree; backpacking through the desolate beauty of the Mojave Desert; spending a solo day alone in the wilderness; reflecting on life, faith and ministry -- it's all part of the Desert Pilgrimage offered by our Outdoor Adventure Ministry at First Presbyterian Church, Livermore. Spend a week in the community of friends, in the stretch of wilderness challenges, in the fruitful space of a barren desert. No previous experience of rock climbing or backpacking is needed -- just reasonable fitness and a willingness to step beyond your comfort zone. 

Wildflower Hike: The hike took place at a premier East Bay wildflower locale. Marilyn Dykstra led the wildflower hike for children and adults alike on Saturday, March 19th. With the rains we’ve had this should be one of the best wildflower blooms we've had in years;  We met at the church at 9:00 am to caravan or carpool to the trail. The hike was an easy three or four mile loop hike. 

Zephyr Point Family Snow Trip - Our family/intergenerational snow trip took place March 10-13, 2016 up at Lake Tahoe at our domination's conference center in Zephyr Point (just over the state line from Southlake). We reserved the Lakeview Lodge which can hold 30 people in 15 bedrooms with two twin beds each (families with young children can certainly bring appropriate bedding and sleeping mats so the kids can squeeze into the room with the parents). Shared bathrooms are down the hall. This is a beautiful, albeit rustic, cabin with a close view of Lake Tahoe since the conference center’s grounds are located right on the shoreline.

Participants arrived on their own and, during the daytime of our stay, chose any number of winter pursuits that seem best to them. We shared breakfasts together and started our day with a brief reflection and prayer. Lunches were done on an individual basis. In the evenings we gathered for dinner -- which we cooked together -- and then had some time of fellowship, games, and reflection before heading off to bed. Daytime activities that different ones might choose were skiing at the local resorts, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hanging out at the cabin…

Ano Nuevo: Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Rev. Dr. Steve Harrington hosted a day trip to Ano Nuevo for a 3 mile, 2 ½ hour hike across rolling terrain, sand and trails guided by a docent. People learned about and saw the Elephant Seals!  

Sea kayaking in the Bahamas: December 2015. Sea kayaking in the Bahamas and camping on its remote and uninhabited beaches: the weather is cool but the water stays warm; the sand is pure and white and the ocean more blue than your dreams; the islands are secluded and the kayak camping is classic.
Join us for a paddle through Paradise as we slip between the islands of the Greater Exumas and camp on pristine beaches where we are the only visitors to be seen. You’ll learn kayaking and camping skills, enjoy a supportive and fun community all in a setting that couldn’t be more beautiful. 
Trip cost is $800 (airfare and pre-trip lodging not included). The trip is for novices who have never done this before and should be considered moderately strenuous. The trip is led by Steve Harrington, a certified Open Water Sea Kayak Instructor by the American Canoe Association who has guided in this area before for Higher Rock Wilderness Adventures and as an instructor for both Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Join us—participant numbers are limited! For more information contact Steve Harrington at Harrington@fpcl.us

Sea kayaking, Monterey Bay
Monday, October 19th. Led by Steve Harrington, will offer a day kayaking trip in Monterey Bay. This trip is for paddlers of all experience – or no experience! 
Expect to paddle for two or three hours, share lunch and maybe dinner with one another, and spend a brief time reflecting together on God’s love revealed to us in creation. Trip is limited to nine people.

Elkhorn Slough
Monday, June 15, 2015. We traveled to Moss Landing for a day on the ocean and a naturalist-guided pontoon boat tour of the Elkhorn Slough on the Elkhorn Slough Safari. 
Elkhorn Slough is one of the largest wetlands in California and a part of a National Estuarine Reserve. The slough winds inland several miles and is an important feeding and resting place for wildlife. One viewing platform holds the world's record for the number of bird species seen from a single viewpoint! In the slough waters, you can see sea otters, rays, leopard sharks, and more marine life.
The pontoon boat is a roomy, stable platform that is ideal for all ages and for nature photography. On the two-hour tour, a naturalist will point out and describe the wildlife and marine life that is present on the day of the trip.
We will leave about 9AM from the church and spend some time on the nearby beaches, have a bag lunch together, enjoy the boat tour, see some of the shops, share some reflection time with one or both Steves, and have a dinner at Phil’s – a well-known informal seafood market and restaurant on the beach … nothing fancy, but great fresh seafood!

Filoli Gardens
Wednesday, May 13th. Our Outdoor Adventure ministry offered an all-day trip to Filoli Gardens in Woodside, CA on Wed, May 13th. Filoli Gardens is a site of the National Trust for Historical Preservation, with an estate house and a spectacular 16-acre formal garden. The trip will be led by Steve Harrington and the Throops. Tickets were $15 each. Lunch, at an additional cost, was at the Estate’s cafe. Please check back for updates on when our next trip will be.