Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Enchanted Rock

This past weekend my wife and I took a brief trip to Central Texas.  We just needed to "get away" for a few days.  We left home with no specific plans but did have a general idea of the various "opportunities" in the area where we were headed.

One of the places we visited was Enchanted Rock State Park.  I have included a few photos.

Enchanted Rock is one of the largest batholiths in the United States.  A batholith is an underground rock formation that has been uncovered by erosion.  It consists of the distinctive pink granite which is the same used to build the Texas state capitol building.

The rock rises 425 feet above ground and covers approximately 640 acres.  The view from the top is outstanding.

If you click on the picture it should open in a larger size so that you can get an idea of the view.  The photo above includes an interesting feature of the dome.  There were a number of places where enough soil had collected in "low" spots on the batholith that plants have become established.  There is enough rainfall (about 28 inches per year) to maintain the plants.  This was a thicket of dewberries.  You can see the berries in the photo below.

Enchanted Rock is located a few miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas.  It, like many other batholiths throughout the world, was considered sacred by some.  The Tonkawa tribes believed that it was the home of various spirits.  This was likely due to the flickering lights that they claimed to see dancing on the giant dome of granite.  There are many legends about the rock.

The first well-documented exploration of the area was in 1723 when the Spanish sent parties to the area northwest of San Antonio for the purpose of establishing missions in the Apacheria.  Although the area that was to become San Antonio had been explored at least as early as 1691, the city was not established until 1718.  It quickly became the heart of Spanish Texas.

Many areas of Enchanted Rock are enjoyed by rock climbers.  We observed a number of individuals rappelling on the west face.  Following the trail, the hike to the top doesn't take long and is a fairly smooth walk.  It will give you a workout if you aren't used to climbing.


Cimarron said...

That's someplace I've always wanted to go. And dewberries make me want to make cobbler...Yum!

Barbara Martin said...

I'm a bit behind in my blog visits, but this was well worth waiting for. Thanks for this informative post about this park.