Dizzy Swallows

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock

November 1st, 2010

Hello all! I trust everyone had an appropriately spooky and candy-filled Halloween. We, sadly, did not. With no costume party plans, I was all set to hand out candy to all the good little ladybugs and knights of Fredericksburg. Sugary delights in hand and family-friendly costume donned, I waited for trick-or-treaters in vain until my fangs fell out (literally). Halloween fail. A single group of fourteen year old girls (who couldn’t even be bothered to say “trick or treat!”) did little to salvage the evening. Jacob and I consoled ourselves by snuggling up with popcorn and watching old episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

Saturday, however, was a much greater success. After months of trying, we finally made it out to Enchanted Rock, indisputably Fredericksburg’s biggest bragging right.

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Enchanted Rock is the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States. It covers 640 acres and rises to an elevation of 1,825 feet above sea level. The name derives from numerous legends of the local Comanche, Tonkawa and Apache tribes. These stories range from the rock as a portal to another world, a haunt for dead native princesses, to bad luck for anyone climbing with evil intentions.

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Certainly, there is something distinctly unique about the vast pink dome and climbing it was pure delight. In many ways, I was reminded of one of my favorite National Parks, Joshua Tree in California.

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We took the summit trail, which was little more than periodic signs pointing the way up a 45 degree rock face. The gritty surface of the granite made the climb easy even in my worn Converse and we wove our way to the top with little effort.

We’d arrived in the late afternoon and the sun had just begun to light up the rock and the surrounding countryside with that very specific pre-sunset gold. At the summit, a warm wind picked up, battering pleasantly around our ears and hugging clothing around our bodies. The oaks and fields of the Hill Country spread out below us in a surprisingly green patchwork. It was perfection.

Seeing this fellow in one of the gnarled summit trees makes me wonder if those legends don’t have some truth to them.

The surface of the rock was endlessly intriguing. Bright orange lichen, strange geometric cracks, miniature sunken meadows and tiny waterholes kept my shutter busy.

Though we decided to head down before sunset, the slanting sun wrapped the rock in a certain magic light, elongating shadows and painting golden halos all around the oak trees.

If you ever have the chance to visit, this is one hike I cannot recommend enough. Just be sure you climb with a heart full of good intentions.

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