A little over a year ago, after a period of being seriously sedentary,  I started getting back outside and walking on a regular basis.  Besides improving my physical and mental health, all this exercise has reminded me how lucky I am to live where I live, having close access to the American River Parkway.  I’m also very lucky I can take photos of a few of the sights I see and lucky I have a place to share them.


I don’t always carry a camera when I go for a hike, but I make sure to bring along my mp3 player; one of my major motivators for lacing up my boots and heading out the front door was the chance to listen to the next chapter of whichever audiobook I had currently downloaded. I thank Overdrive Media, Librivox, and Podiobooks.com for allowing both familiar authors and some amazing new ones to keep me company on my often three-hour treks.

Still, I don’t think I could have stayed motivated to walk every day if the scenery I was walking through wasn’t so inspiring.  I like to think about the history of the area I’m exploring — Negro Bar and Mississippi Bar, along the banks of what is now Lake Natoma, were blasted by hydraulic mining and gold dredgers.  The once-ruined landscape has now become a woodland of oaks, pines and redwoods, berry bushes and star thistle.  Herons and egrets nest among piles of river rock, and seasonal ponds support mallards and other ducks, Canada geese, turtles, bullfrogs, and fish like smallmouth bass, sunfish and trout.


Then there are the deer, jackrabbits, wild turkeys, squirrels, lizards, woodpeckers, and a few species of snakes.  And these are just the animals I’ve actually seen (or heard) on my walks; there are plenty of others I haven’t caught sight of yet — racoons, opossums, skunks, bobcats… and the list goes on.


Life managed to survive the massive environmental damage done, but of course this precious resource is still fragile.  Ponds dry up in the summer drought and only fill up when there’s enough rain in the winter and spring.  Rocks and dirt come tumbling down the face of the bluff, impacting the bike trail and those of us who use it on a daily basis.  People sometimes drop their trash on the ground without thinking (and other people make a special effort to clean up the litter — they’re the most awesome of all).

Dry pond, Mississippi Bar

After the rock slide

What I love about the area is that there are always surprises — small gifts, really — for people who keep their eyes and ears open for them.   Like the mule deer buck who swam all the way across Lake Natoma and climbed up onto the bike trail, only to find himself in the midst of a small, somewhat stunned audience of humans.





Or the hawk keeping an eye on things from atop an abandoned utility pole.


The strange shapes found in the bark of an oak tree.

Oak Tree bark, Snipes Ravine

A giant rock in the shape of a toadstool.

Toadstool rock, Snipes Ravine

Or one that looks like it’s been through an egg slicer.


Or one that looks like a brain!


And then there’s the feeling you get after you’ve dragged yourself out of bed when it’s still dark outside and trudged through your neighborhood to watch the sunrise.




Totally worth it.


4 Replies to “Urban Nature”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Nature Niche

Natural History/Nature Photography/Nature

Travels and Trifles

Expressing Thought Through Photography

Dutch goes the Photo!

Focus Hocus Pocus

Sagittarius Viking

Mindful exploring, through the eyes of a viking daughter.

Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

Welcome to the Anglo Swiss World

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

The Geeky Gaeilgeoir

Musings on, and sometimes in, the Irish language

Street Photography

Straßenfotografie • Beobachtungen am Wegesrand


There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.

What's (in) the Picture?

Chris Breebaart Photography - finding stories

Photo de rue

Dealer d'histoires photographiques

The NorCal Hiker

Exploring California, one trail at a time

An Appetite For Beauty

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Alois Absenger


Christine J Randall

writing fantasy for your entertainment

The Photographer Smiled...

... when she finally got the picture

Parkway Blog

An American River Parkway Preservation Society Weblog

Daily Feline Wisdom

Wise cats help you be more like them

phppi street photography

In this blog I will cover all your questions on street photography and cityscape photography

The Showers of Blessings

Giving and Receiving Blessings

Back Garden Moths

Photographing and Recording The Moths of A Staffordshire Garden


Hiking & Photography, MYOG & Ultralight Gear

Footloose Forever

Travel Diary of A Wandering Mind

The Way I Am

Live everyday as if it was your last




All images © I-Shan Lin

Friendly Fairy Tales

Celebrating Nature and Magic for Kids of all Ages


Decades of her words.

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

Laidback Gardener

Welcome to Larry Hodgson’s world

Joshi Daniel Photography

Images of People Photoblog

Third Time Lucky!

....how I conquered Wordpress...


A painter's diary of life in the rugged North West of Ireland

%d bloggers like this: