Saturday, December 3, 2011

Climbing the Batholith, The Descent

While at the summit of Enchanted Rock in the State Natural Area of the same name north of Freder-icksburg, TX, I had time to look at some of the smaller scenes while I caught my breath.

The shrubs and other plant life were not visible from the base of the granite dome, but they were welcome surprises at the summit.

It was a warm day with a slight breeze at the base, but the wind incresed the closer I got to the summit. It was here that the extra layer of clothing was appreciated.

While I'm catching my breath, I watched these parents putting their infant son into a "backpack" carrier. The age difference between youngsters--and even a couple of dogs--and this hiker was clearly evident in the number of deep breaths taken.

Now ordinarily the descent would seem to be easier than the ascent.
"Ordinarily" is the key word. The slope on Enchanted Rock is steep--on average it is a bit over 30 degrees.

And, when a high wind is added to the steep slope of the rock, the hike is anything but easy. Very early in the return trip, I had planned how to fall if I slipped and the wind blew me off balance.

Here again, I was surprised to see these glimpses of plant life on the otherwise barren block of granite.

Finding these bursts of color in the shrubs and rocks was a bonus.

It was Thanks-giving weekend and, therefore, we didn't expect many people to be out for a hike to the Rock's summit.

However, we were certainly wrong in our assumption. Several families were among those making the trek up the Rock.

Finally, we were intrigued by some of the legends associated with Enchanted Rock. Among some of the more interesting ones were: (1) it was believed to be a lost silver mine, or the lost El Dorado gold, (2) bad fortune and death were believed to befall anyone who climbs the rock with bad intent, and (3) it was revered by native tribes as a holy portal to other worlds.

But it was the following legend that I gave the most thought to: Anyone spending the night on the rock becomes invisible.

I guess becoming invisible as an explanation for one not returning after a night on the Rock is preferable to that of a fatality.

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