About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

Road trip across America: Piedras Marcadas Canyon

Each day of the journey from California to North Carolina, I tried to plan at least one beautiful or interesting stop. From the Grand Canyon, we drove to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to spend the night. I wanted to find a good place to walk the dog that next morning and spent the evening sleuthing on the internet.

Early in the morning, I headed to Piedras Marcadas Canyon, part of the Petroglyph National Monument. I had seen petroglyphs before in Hawaii but wasn’t sure what to expect at this park. The park website led me directly to a small parking area. From there, the dog and I took off for an easy walk. The park offers a few helpful signs, and once I knew what to look for, I could see petroglyphs on a number of rocks.

Can you see the moon and the faces?

The view looking back into Albuquerque filled me with peace and made me wish my mom had joined us for the walk.

It’s a beautiful spot to spend a few quiet minutes, and though the park site suggests an hour and a half to walk the area, the trail is sandy and easy to walk, and you could spend less time if you don’t need to find all 300 petroglyphs. We encountered only a few other people, also out walking their dogs, and only one other native to the canyon.

Posing for me? Or more likely trying to hide from my dog.

Have you seen petroglyphs before? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and what you thought about them.

There are a lot of wonderful places to see in this country. Get out and explore it, y’all!

Road trip across America: The grandest stop

My mom, the dog, and I made it home to North Carolina after almost a week of driving. We took the southern route across, driving I-40. Each day, we tried to see at least one fun or amazing thing. The first big stop was the grandest (and also my favorite): the Grand Canyon.

Though pictures don’t do justice, and, quite frankly, neither do words, here are three photographs from our visit there. We arrived in the dark and woke up in the park.

The first shot I took as we reached the rim

That white stuff you see in the foreground of the photo above? Yep, it’s snow. The bitter wind and cold made it hard to linger, but the beauty made it hard to leave.

Below, you can see people to give a bit of perspective. I think you really have to see it for yourself, though.

The morning was quiet and cold, with just a few visitors braving the elements to visit the rim.

Look closely, and you just might glimpse the Colorado River.

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?

The long road home

Three years and three months ago (almost to the day), I stopped along the Blue Ridge Parkway to take this picture. I thought it would be my dog’s last time seeing this beautiful view. She loves to ride in the car, and she loves the mountains—almost as much as I do.

She’ll be fourteen this year, and though she can no longer hop up into the wayback of my car, I’m thrilled to be bringing her home. Would you pray for safe travels for my mom, my dog, and me as we head home?

A final love letter to the river

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and I anticipate additional frenzy for another few weeks as our move back across the country happens. I’m saying goodbye to the river this week, along with all the birds and other wildlife the river attracts.

To say goodbye—even typing these words—brings a lump to my throat and the threat of tears. I have loved this place: the American River and its banks. And the river’s last surprise for me (one I first shared with you in January) has brought some of my most cherished memories:

The sea lion visits the river by the fish hatchery.

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A love letter to the river, part 2

As my days here in California dwindle, I’m trying to savor the things and places I’ll miss most. Last week’s post offered up the first part of a love letter to the river here. This week’s focuses on a more specific love I have for the river: the birds it attracts.

A Great Heron keeps a watchful eye from its nest.

Double-crested Cormorants line up along a wire across the river. I love their turquoise eyes.

White-tailed Kites perched in their tree before going on a hunt.

Perhaps it is the birds I will miss most about the river. Unexpected varieties of birds have became daily companions. I’ve searched for them on morning walks and brought friends to see them in pouring rainstorms.

The little Anna’s Hummingbird that perches in the same tree top each morning. The pair of White-tailed Kites who have their own tree to defend from interloping hawks. Owls I can hear but never see in the dimmest early morning hours. The big birds that come in hunting salmon and trout: golden eagles, bald eagles, osprey. Then there are the herons, egrets, cormorants, mergansers, and other birds who are ever present. I’ve even come to appreciate the vultures.

Encountering these birds make up some of my favorite memories, and I will carry them with me in my heart when I go.

Do you have favorite birds you see where you live? Or when you travel?