Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge topic this week is Happy.

Anything in this world that makes you feel happy or smile is allowed in this series.   It could be a beautiful land or seascape to a close up of a flower.  Your significant other, family, kids or even pets.  It could be a delicious plate of food or ice cream.  Show off your photos of things that make you happy.

While we can’t always (and shouldn’t always) feel happy, I feel like it’s so important to look for the positive side of life as much as possible.  It’s better for our health, and it makes life all that much enjoyable.


How could you not feel happy here?

I chose this photo of Mississippi Bar (near the American River in Fair Oaks) because I took it while on a group hike the other day.  It’s a spot near my house that I haven’t visited very often lately.

Mississippi Bar is historic because — as our hike leader reminded us — back in the 1840s it became a prime spot for gold miners.  It started with the fairly simple process of panning for gold in the river; later they were using a wooden rocker and separating the gold with mercury.  As the gold became harder to find, men turned to hydraulic mining and dredging.

Dredging is what left the biggest scars on this area; there are literally mountains of small boulders strewn across the landscape.  After the gold played out, the rock and gravel companies moved in, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that the habitat destruction ceased. Teichert did accomplish some habitat restoration before relocating and turning the land over to Sacramento County. 26602856105_0d2e325b16_o

Now nature is doing its part and life has been coming back to the land.  We had a beautiful day for our 2-hour hike, following a big rain/wind storm the day before, and we enjoyed warm temps with a light fresh breeze and blue sky full of fluffy cumulus clouds.

Lovely weather and beautiful scenery are both solid reasons to be happy, but there’s one more.  I normally prefer to hike on my own; approaching strangers and making conversation is incredibly difficult and kinda scary.  I learned about this hike and this group entirely by accident, and I decided to take a risk and join them on this Saturday morning hike.  I’m very happy I did.  And I feel proud of myself for breaking my habitual solitude and making a bit of contact with some fellow nature hikers.



Thank you to the Friends of Lake Folsom and Natoma (FOLFAN) for allowing me to join them in exploring Mississippi Bar!


  1. Your first photograph I especially enjoyed… and that rock sitting there just makes the picture! I love old dirt roads and thoroughly enjoy traveling on them and photographing them. I have kinda a personal photo project I call “dirt road dreams”.
    The area you hiked sounds like it has a lot of history behind it. Why is it called “Mississippi Bar” when it’s in northern California? There is probably a story behind that too.
    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself… and I’m glad you posted the images…

    • That’s funny — I didn’t even notice that rock until I read your comment. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t trip over it! 🙂
      I don’t know why it’s called Mississippi Bar, but I can tell you that all around the early gold digging area in the foothills there are place names like Texas Hill, Pennsylvania Flats, Oregon Bar, Michigan Flat, and New York Hill. Maybe the miners working those areas named them after their home states?

      • Sounds like a reasonable explanation. We have an area east of Tucson called “Texas Canyon”… it is an absolutely gorgeous place but is no where near Texas. When I was researching the name I came across a story that claimed the area at one time many many moons ago all belonged to a guy named Tex. So at that time it was “Tex’s Canyon.” Along came some map makers and heard the name so they put on their maps “Texas Canyon”… and it has been that ever since. Everyone has their story huh?


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