Enchanted Rock

ToadDate 0087.12.24.2016-TX

In the Fredericksburg area is the Enchanted Rock State Park. The Enchanted Rock is a pluton batholith made of pink granite. It is 425 feet high and at the summit the elevation is 1,825 feet. Indians to the area believed the rock had spiritual powers, partially due to the groaning sounds it makes. Geologist attribute these sounds to the rock contracting at night while cooling from the daytime heat. There are many stories related to the rock. One story is of some priests that were running away from a band of Indians, they reported being swallowed by the rock where they encountered many spirits before escaping two days later.

Climbing the rock is the prime activity in this park. However, there are many other trails that lead you through some beautiful countryside without causing sore joints and loss of breath.

Lewis took the Summit Trail while Elaine remained in base camp and documented the ascent with her trusty IPhone 6S camera.

The ascent was not difficult, for most of the way it was a gradual climb over pink granite. There were fissures in the rock as well as many small stream beds that were formed by rainfall running off of the rock. Occasionally in those stream beds were basins that were formed where the rock wasn’t as steep, some of those basins contained bowl sized pools of water.

Near the mid-point of the ascent the climb became steeper for about 60 yards. I needed to lift my foot up 8-12 inches for each step that I took, I was ready for a break after I finished that part of the climb. The surface of the rock is partially covered with lichen and in the areas where the grade was not so steep dirt had accumulated and grass, cactus and yucca plants were growing.

Near the top of the summit (I knew I was nearing the top because I could now see the surrounding countryside on three sides of the rock) there were larger pools of water that looked like they might be there always. These pools were a few inches deep and maybe 20 feet across in places. The park literature says that these pools may contain an endangered shrimp species that is not found anywhere else in the world. I investigated the algae filled pools but did not see any shrimp.

The summit was reached after a gradual journey over the last shoulder of the rock. It was easy to see that I was at the summit because I had a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside and everything I saw was below my location.

The trip down was not as physically challenging, but the muscles used were different. During the steepest portions of the descent, I followed a diagonal route, which was easier.

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