The skies stayed clear last night to allow the overnight temps to drop to 55. That’s a switch! When we lifted the shades this morning . . .eureka! The skies were clear, blue, and cloudless. The sun was out in full force. We haven’t seen much of the sun for the last week so it’s a good day. We had breakfast and got ready to head out on our road trip today. We left the campground at 10 AM for the 30 minute drive to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. We took the back road from the campground on Highway 87 to Cherry Mountain Loop and Gypsum Mine Road to Highway 695. Part of the drive took us on the road past the gypsum quarry.
We were up in the “Hill Country” now.
The next stretch of road was designated open range with loose livestock as seen by this sign and the cattle guards placed in the road.
There were even large gates that closed off the road.
I guess the cattle along the side of the road gave it away too. We slowly approached this mama and calf. Mama looked pretty thin with her ribs showing.
We encountered more loose-roaming cattle down the road a little farther.
This road brought us over the Baron Creek which was crystal clear and flowing freely.
The homes in the “Hill Country” were made out of beautiful limestone bricks. Some of the fencelines were made with wire baskets filled with limestone rocks. Someone did a lot of work on this fence.
The “ranches” had beautiful iron gates with the names of the ranches adorning the entrances. We saw lots of goats grazing on the properties, as well as one ranch that had many head of cattle. At the highest point on our drive on this road, we could see the pink, granite Enchanted Rock in the distance.
Today was a perfect day for this adventure as it was cooler and clearer than it’s been for days. As we started our descent, the road brought us closer to Enchanted Rock .
Finally, it came into full view.
Enchanted Rock is a pink,granite monolith stretching 1825 feet in elevation. The park has a primitive campground, hiking trails, lakes and ponds, and is designated as an International Dark Sky Park. We arrived at the park entrance about 10:30.
We drove in a short distance to the ranger station to pay our entrance fee and get a map of the park.
As a state natural area, the focus is on the preservation of 970 different flora and fauna as opposed to a state park which stresses recreation opportunities for visitors. As we started our walk from the parking lot, I saw these beautiful flowering cacti everywhere.
We started our accent climbing over rock stairs.
We started our ascent up the Summit Trail by walking down some stairs to begin our 0.8 mile climb up and over the rocks near the base.
Periodically, we stopped where we found shade to take a drink and a rest. There must have been a 10 degree difference in temperature from the sun to the shade.
We continued our hike toward the top, stopping to enjoy the view of the area below.
We could see the hikers who had made the climb to the top coming down.
Our steps got easier as we reached the smooth surface, but steeper along the rock face.
We went up as far as we could with the limited water (and energy) that we had and enjoyed the view. The climb down wasn’t bad, but we had to watch for loose stones along the way.
Once we got back to the parking lot, we enjoyed our packed lunch in the AC of the Jeep and headed back to the campground the same way we came. Three deer darted across the road in front of us and stopped to look back at us.
We continued our drive back and stopped at the campground to put Bob in some other shoes. His tennis shoes gave it up near the end of our hike and we needed to buy him another pair. At least it happened near the bottom of our hike, so it wasn’t too much of a problem. We left the campground and went to Walmart to get him pair of tennis shoes to last through the rest of the trip.
We went back to the campground and I sat outside with Auggie. Bob did some Co-op business and then joined me for happy hour outside. We watched a few RVers come into the park. Later, we ate dinner and Auggie and I took our evening walk. It was still 91 degrees at 7 PM tonight. Tomorrow the town of Fredericksburg is ending their year’s worth of celebrating its heritage and learning of its history with their 175th Anniversary Celebration. The Grand Finale Celebration is being held this weekend at venues around town. Tonight there are fireworks and tomorrow there is a 175th anniversary parade on Main Street. I love parades, so we’ll pack up our chairs and go sit on the parade route for the parade at 10 AM. There are lots of other celebrations going on around town this weekend to end their year of celebrating their milestone anniversary. It’s fun to be here for the big event and learn a little bit about the history of Fredericksburg, too.