I’m kind of amazed that I grew up in Texas and never visited Enchanted Rock. My parents took us camping a couple times a year but I know we mostly drove within two hours of home. This would have been nearly five hours away, so probably not a feasible trip back then. I had mentioned this park as a place to go on our Texas Roadtrip in September 2010 but for some reason it didn’t make it to our list of places to visit. Well, we finally did make it.
The park itself is in the boondocks between Llano and Fredericksburg, west of Austin. The road the entrance is on has cattle guards on it with signs warning about free range cattle on the roads. I’d posted to Facebook that we were going out there and my friend Sara replied that she was driving down there for the day with her family. I was excited about this because Sara is a friend that I’ve gotten to know through the internet these last few years though we actually know each other from high school. Because I’ve been here-there-everywhere I haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with her in person all that often, it is nice to see her when the opportunity presents itself. In high school we didn’t really know each other that well back then even though we were in the same art class for three years, but it took the internet to realize that we had more in common than we thought. You know, high school and all its weirdness.
We arrived at the park around noon and were stunned to see a line to get into the park. It was New Years weekend after all, but still. This was craziness! Luckily the side coming from Llano was much, much shorter than the side coming from Fredericksburg. A few hours later, on top of Enchanted Rock, we saw the line from Fredericksburg was at least 3/4 of a mile long or more! I suppose that is something good to communicate, that there are that many people willing to wait in line to visit a state park and this isn’t even a touristy commercial park like Disney or Sea World or heck, the mall! But, we were around Austin and well, they don’t have Keep Austin Weird bumperstickers for nothing. It is the eclectic awesome spot of Texas—despite that so-called school that happens to be there. 😉 Austinites/Hill Country folks enjoy nature a lot.
We made it in and I gave Sara a call. She was still going to be a few hours so Chris and I set up camp and decided to go explore the area. Little Rock, the ‘smaller’ rock to the west of Enchanted Rock was right behind our campsite so we left straight up from there, building our own pathway as we found it. It was a pretty awesome thing to do!
From near the top of Little Rock looking over to the east at Enchanted Rock. We had to dip down into a short gap (I like to say gap because it is very A.T.) between the two rocks.
I think this might be the only color photo I took the entire time, an orange sulphur butterfly, a female I believe. I used our Butterflies Through Binoculars Florida edition to figure it out. Colias eurytheme.
We played around on Enchanted Rock or awhile before I texted Sara to figure out where she was. She was still about fifteen minutes from the entrance by this time so we decided to hike half of the loop trail that went around the rocks. By the time we arrived back at camp I phoned Sara and they were on Enchanted Rock enjoying the late afternoon and I invited them to drop by our campsite before they left for home again. About an hour later they showed up and I was glad to sit and chat with them for awhile. Her two sons are super sweet and a bit shy but they really enjoyed playing on and pushing their dad on our hammocks.
Sara and her family didn’t stay long as they still had their nearly five hour drive back to DFW and it was already pushing dark by this time. (I hate winter—dark at 5:30 is not very fun!) We said goodbye and I went off to shower and hopped into bed at a much too early time but spent it reading a book by flashlight. I really need to get a portable battery operated lamp for winter. Chris headed off to take star photography shots. He’s still working on those so I can’t show you them.
And you will just have to wait for the next half of this trip report!