Sunday, May 8, 2016

ENCHANTED ROCK-A CENTRAL TEXAS PHENOMENUM




Visitors to Texas look for the most iconic and popular areas to spend vacation time. Of course, The Alamo is at the top of the list. Every large city has its own unique attractions.
Some visitors, though, look for outdoor activities…camping, surfing/swimming, and hiking. A special place to hike and camp is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This state owned and protected place is near Fredricksburg, Texas on Ranch Road 965.

Visitors can hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, picnic, bird, study nature, geocache, and stargaze.  However, you may not swim here or ride bikes on the trails.
Rock climbers must check in at park headquarters. You can pick up route maps there and read the climbing rules.
Entrance Fees—Adults: $7, Child 12 years and under: Free.

Enchanted Rock is an enormous pink granite pluton batholith located in the Llano Uplift. It covers approximately 640 acres (260 ha) and rises approximately 425 feet (130 m) above the surrounding terrain to elevation of 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level. As a comparison, 640 acres equals about one square mile. It is the largest such pink granite monadock in the United States.
CLIMBERS
The overall park system includes 1,644 acres. It is designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1936.



Archaeological evidence indicates human visitation at the rock going back at least 11,000 years. These hunter-gatherers had flint-tipped spears, fire, and stories. With these resources, some twelve thousand years ago, the first Texans became the wellspring of Plains Indian culture.

Folklore of local Tonkawa, Apache, and Comanche tribes  ascribes magical and spiritual powers to the rock. While attempting to hide from Anglo settlers in the area, the natives would hide on the top two tiers of the rock, where they were invisible from the ground below. 

The Tonkawa, who inhabited the area in the 16th century, believed that ghost fires flickered at the top of the dome. In particular they heard unexplained creaking and groaning, which geologists attribute to the rock's night-time contraction after being heated by the sun during the day. The name "Enchanted Rock" derives from Spanish and Anglo-Texan interpretations of such legends and related folklore; the name "Crying Rock" has also been given to the formation.

AND now, for the rest of the story:

From its summit in 1841, Texas Ranger Captain John C. Hays (Jack Hays), while surrounded by Comanche Indians who cut him off from his ranging company repulsed the whole band and inflicted upon them such heavy losses that they fled. Standing at only 5’8” with a small wiry body, he was known as one the most fierce fighters in the Texas Rangers. Young Flacco, the Lippan Apache chief who rode as Hays's closest comrade on his early forays against the Comanche, described him best: "Me and Red Wing aren't afraid to go to hell together. Captain Jack, he's too mucho bravo. He's not afraid to go to hell all by himself."

A RECENT CRIMINAL EVENT: On March 20, 2016 an adult couple—not teenagers—climbed the rock and at the top found a huge boulder where they painted graffiti that read CASH TRUCK. The S is written as a dollar sign.
The pair shared a picture of themselves in front of the graffiti on social media, which led to the pair being identified.As it turns out, this couple is well known to the local authorities for other offenses. He is known as “TRUCK”, and she is known as "CASH." Both were arrested for felony graffiti and face up to two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine if convicted.
A SIDE STORY:Our son, DIL and three sons from Michigan visited Enchanted Rock while spending some vacation time with us here in San Marcos. The year was 2010. They spent all day at Enchanted Rock and all five climbed to the top—which is not easy, even with make-shift trails.
From left to right:
Bart, our son, born and raised in Texas and is familiar with all the nature sites in the area: Nathan, then 6; Daniel, then 11, and Aaron, then 12; and Debbie, our DIL.

Thank you for visiting Enchanted Rock with me!

Celia Yeary

Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas

 Resources: Handbook of Texas-Online
Wikipedia
Wikimedia
Texas Department of Tourism
Texas Department of State Parks and Wildlife Area

14 comments:

  1. Celia, Enchanted Rock is an eerie but beautiful place. I loved the photo of your son and dil and children. What a sweet family.

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  2. My family visited Enchanted Rock when we visited Fredericksburg, but I didn't take the hike. Larry and the kids did. My niece was there climbing last week. Love the folklore. Great post!

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    1. Linda--you should have climbed it! But it is hard...not for the younger crowd, but for me and you. Glad you liked it.

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  3. Celia, I am such a rock person, and every state I go to I come home with a rock--I DO NOT steal any from state land or from private yards--and I plant them somewhere in one of my many gardens or landscape areas. So this post was so special to me. Pink rock--enormous pink rock. WOW! I've seen only a few small portions of TX and am looking forward to visiting again, and when I do I'll be sure to put this Enchanted Rock on my list. Also thank you for letting us meet your lovely family. Your post was so interesting and and I always feel like I've gleened a bit more knowledge about your land after reading your words. Even on Mother's Day you are doing post--you're special that's for sure. And here's wishing you a delightful and fun Mother's Day.

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    1. Hi, Bev...I, too, have collected rocks and minerals over the years, but like you, I knew when I was in a protected area and did not succumb to the temptation. Like you, I am awed that the massive thing is one solid piece of pink granite. There are mines over Central Texas that dig out pink granite and our State Capitol has a lot of it in the building. I'm glad you liked it and learned more about Texas. It does hold many fascinating areas and stories. And for the record, I wrote and blog about four days ago and put it in Draft. My compulsive addition, you know, to always be prepared. So, this morning, all I had to do was hit Publish. So, visit in the spring and bring your hiking or athletic shoes, and a hat! And camera.

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  4. What a lovely and "enchanting" account of this natural Texas site. I liked the story of the fearless Ranger, Captain Hays, and what his friend, Flacco, said about him. I also like how your son and his family spent the day there and they all climbed it. I imagine that's quite a feat. But most of all, I liked the mystical story of the "crying rocks." It's sort of like the singing dunes of the Sahara--scientists may tell us all the cold facts, but that just sucks the magic right out of everything. Life should have some mystery and magic to it.
    I loved this post, Celia.

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    1. I think there are other designated natural places around the globe that tend to make sounds that remind us of a person-crying, moaning, etc. Our son and his family have always gone for the outdoor things, places where he spent a lot of his high school years exploring with his buddied..and doing what else, I do not want to know!
      Thanks, Sarah.

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  5. Enchanted Rock sounds larger than life! Next time I accidentally groan upon standing, I'm going to tell folks I'm Enchanted. Hey, if the rock can get away with it, why can't I?

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    1. That's a good idea. Thanks for visiting.

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  6. Caroline-I see you know about Enchanted rock. And thanks, yes, for the comment about my Michigan family.

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  7. What a great place to visit. You have so much history in Texas. It was fun learning about more of it.

    Happy Mother's Day!

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    1. Thanks, Paisley. I appreciate your visit.

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  8. Celia, enjoyed reading about the Enchanted Rock, especially about its history. So many place to visit in our beautiful America .... and so little time! Glad we have our blog so readers can learn more about our western history.

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  9. Beautiful, Celia! Thanks for sharing photos, especially the one of your son and his family. Great pic!

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Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West!