Day 352 – Hiking up Enchanted Rock
Last night I had the second major thunder and lightening storm of the trip. The wind gusts were strong enough to flatten my tent on top of me before popping up again. Thankfully it was fully staked and I put the rain cover on the before bedding down so I didn’t get wet.
Getting to the top of Enchanted Rock is similar to climbing a 4o story building, so not that bad, but not exactly effortless. There were people of all ages and lots of dogs. I even saw identical twin women, dressed exactly the same with three toy Yorkshire Terriers coming down past me. After summiting I took in the view and then took the loop trail to check out the surrounding area and other minor peaks. Beautiful!
I like geology terms so get ready for a few…
Enchanted Rock is a granite monadnock, but also a exfoliation dome and part of a much larger batholith also referred to as the Llano Uplift. What does this mean? The pink granite that makes up Enchanted Rock peels off in sheets leaving slabs of stone everywhere. It is made of older, harder rock that was pushed up in the past and revealed as the younger rock above was eroded away.
The exhibit in the ranger station goes into detail about the rock cycle that made the dome and it is fascinating. I knew about the water cycle and the carbon cycle, but the rock cycle? It takes a long time (2 billion years?) to complete the entire cycle of being formed from below, exposed, weathered, broken down and eventually conveyed to a fault zone to be sub-ducted back into the mantle. Permanence is a matter of temporal perspective – always.
I also learned a bit about vernal pools – pools that show up when it rains and then evaporate within weeks. They support plants and animals like the upside down swimming fairy shrimp.
There are also many legends and myths about the rock and spirits that still call it home.
The park’s more intimate style of camping (i.e. no camper hook ups) and the option to hike into other back country camping sites makes it a favorite of mine.