Pastor Steve Harshman effectively and faithfully preaches/teaches the Bible. He has a wonderful way to hold your attention with his energy and his passion. Even the things people don’t really want to hear…he preaches in a way that helps them to hear it. We have really enjoyed going to Abundant Life and hearing him preach. He, his wife Elizabeth and his church is a true gift which God has blessed us with.
Just recently, we have gotten to know Pastor Steve and his wife Elizabeth personally. We hiked with Steve last week and had lunch with him but unfortunately Elizabeth couldn't join us. We really wanted to do something with both of them before we left so we invited them on another hike to the Russian Falls and to our favorite spot for bear watching. Our goal was to show them a bear.
At 4:30 p.m. we picked them up at the Abundant Life Church, from there we headed to the Russian Falls trail, in the rain I might add. The trail to the falls is two miles of evenly laid gravel, generously wide, and it’s a modest hike that resembles more of a leisurely stroll, exactly what we wanted. A nice trail that we could actually talk on without gasping for breath. This is a trail that you should talk on anyways, you don't want to surprise a bear!
Hikers are reminded repeatedly to be on the lookout for bears in this area because it is important not to surprise them. Having conversations along the way can provide notice to nearby bears to keep their distance, and great conversation we had. Believe it or not, you want the bear to know you're there!
At the end of the trail you get to enjoy the immediate reward of spectacular salmon viewing, and remember, where the fish are, bears will follow. Black and brown bears both live here and sometimes appear on the river to scoop salmon from the water. There's a viewing platform that provides a small, intimate opportunity to view the salmon, and possibly a bear. However, in our case there were no bears.
After hiking to the Russian Falls, and feeling a little disappointed that we didn't see a bear, and kind of wondering if we would know what one looked like if we saw one, being that it had been awhile, we decided to go down to the Russian River boardwalk and try our luck there. This is where it got interesting! Imagine casually walking along, talking, and then...... walking up on a bear! Now bears rarely identify themselves as such, but you can usually tell that they’re one by their large stature, thick fur, and sharp teeth! Yep, it was a bear alright! There he was, on the side of the river looking for dinner! WOW! It was awesome! He was jumping in the water catching salmon. It was really fun watching him until he decided to get on the boardwalk with us! For a brief second I was thinking of a get away plan, the only thing I could think of was to grab Johns gun, shoot him in the butt and then point at my fellow hikers and blame them. But what if he didn't get it and then ate us all! Being that my plan surely would have failed, it's a good thing he decided to go the other way on the boardwalk, after stopping and looking our way! It was pretty intense! If he would have came our way we would have been in trouble! A gigantic Cottonwood tree fell on the trail blocking our escape route! Can you imagine what would have happened if he came our way! It was a pretty interesting night!
We had a great time with Pastor Steve and Elizabeth, we are so looking forward to next year so we can do it again! With a better bear plan I might add!