Saturday, March 31, 2018

Spring Break 2018 - Enchanted Rock State Park

We set our alarms for 5:45 the morning we were going to Enchanted Rock State Park for a second day of adventure with my friend C and her family. That early wake-up alarm gave us time to fix breakfast, eat, pack-up, and clean before we left the little house we rented for one night in Llano. We stayed the night in Llano because it was only 26 minutes from Enchanted Rock State Park. We wanted to get in line for the park by 7:30 because we had heard that there would be a long line to enter the park. The park opens at 8:30 and usually by 9:30 all of the park passes for the day have been given out. There were probably 100 cars in line in front of us. We were really worried that we would not get in. We sat in that line for quite a while. By the time we reached the entrance, it was 9:05 and we made it! There was at least a mile of cars behind us. I don't think many of them were able to get it. I had several friends tell me that had tried to visit the park and were turned away because it had reached maximum capacity.
I grew up going to Enchanted Rock State Park several times a year. It was never this busy. Sometimes we camped, sometimes we brought a picnic, and sometimes we just climbed. Boogs was probably four-years-old  the last time I took him to Enchanted Rock. He does not really remember it.

We chose to start with the Summit Trail. This trail leads you to the top of Enchanted Rock, elevation 1,825 ft. Enchanted Rock is a dome of granite that is one of many visible domes of a 62 mile, mostly underground, granite batholith. The domes are constantly (slowly) changing due to erosion.
Boogs was giving me a special (stop taking pictures and let's start climbing) smile.
We were ready to get to the top and enjoy the view. We lucked into a beautiful day of breezy sunshine, perfect hiking weather. I forgot to pack hats so Boogs and I each got a souvenir hat. Hat choices in his size were either red or pink. He chose red.
Parts of the climb were very steep. When we started out, there were people everywhere.
Boogs loved finding interesting rocks to climb.
In some places we struggled climbing up and over the rocks, in other places we simply walked around them.
The view from the top was amazing. You could see for miles in all directions.
I told the kids about a tree growing out of a little space in between big rocks that my sister and I used to play in when we were little.
We had to walk down from the top to find it.
The kids were excited to try and find it and ran ahead. They ran the wrong way and it took a while to get them going the right direction.
We found the right spot, went through these rocks, down the slope, then climbed over a couple of boulders to reach the hidden tree.

Inside the area there were many caves and tunnels to explore. The kids went through the rocks over and over again. At first, one of the adults would go with them. Later we started letting them go through the same routes on their own with a warning to watch out for snakes.

On one of their many passes through the caves, the kids took an iPad to video their adventure. The video is seven minutes long so I am not going to post it. Parts of their journey were in some pretty dark and cramped spaces.

This is the tree I led the kids to find.
I went part of the way through the rocks with the kids, but some places were too small for me to travel through. O is slowly pulling herself out of the opening the kids went through at the end of each trip through the rocks. Wow, that is a tight space!
We all loved climbing over, under, and through the rocks.
Here's Boogs coming out of the same opening O went through earlier.
We spent almost two hours in that one area before moving on to explore other parts of Enchanted Rock.
It was perfect weather. The temperature never got above 75 degree F.

I asked Boogs to run over to this boulder and pretend he was holding up. It did not look very convincing...
... so I had to show him how it was done. We took a break in the shade on the other side of this rock and had a picnic lunch.
We stayed in this spot for quite a while. There were loads of tunnels to explore and even a steep spot that the kids used as a slide. It was much easier to slide down than climb back up.
There were times when I had no idea where Boogs was. I just hoped he wouldn't fall into some deep hole where I could not reach him.
He crept into spaces that were too small for me to follow.
Another try at pretending to hold up a boulder.
It was a steep hike down Enchanted Rock. I did yell out a little scream at one point. I was in the lead down the side of the dome and just about to take a step when I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. I yelled, jumped back, and did a little dance. A snake slithered right under where I was about to place my foot. It was a harmless Texas Garter Snake.  I looked at the rest of our group and saw that O, the 12-year-old, had literally climbed up her dad's body with her legs wrapped just above his knees. Luckily, that was the only snake we saw all day. Poisonous snakes do live in the area, they include copperheads, diamondback rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths. I'm glad we only encountered a garter snake.
When we reached the bottom of the dome, we decided to walk the loop trail. The loop trail is 4 miles long and takes you all the way around the base of the dome.
Along the loop trail, the kids got really tired. We found a shady spot to rest for about half an hour. The only sound we heard was the buzzing of the bees in the trees over our heads. It was so peaceful and quiet. C's husband fell asleep for a bit.
C wanted to go back up Enchanted Rock to take a few more pictures. The kids vetoed that idea. Boogs said, "I am D-O-N-E! Not tired, done!" We walked back to the start of the summit trail to leave. Their is now a food truck in the park. I treated the kids to snow cones and that seemed to get some of their energy back. Boogs was ready to go. C's family decided to stay a bit longer. Boogs and I said our goodbyes and walked the long way back to our car. As I was pulling out of my parking space, we saw C and her family heading towards her car. She and her youngest daughter wanted to stay longer but her husband and older daughter were ready to leave. C later told me that her younger daughter cried until she fell asleep on the way home. We left Enchanted Rock about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a wonderful day of outdoor fun.

This post is linked to

Country Kids



21 comments:

  1. Wow, what a fantastic place to explore - a magical natural wonderland for kids ... although you did freak me out with the tales of the snakes ! Love the photos - the rocks but also the clouds make a great backdrop :) #countrykids

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    1. It is an amazing place to explore. I'm glad the three kids matched well in their exploring ability. They watched out for each other and had a great time.

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  2. What an amazing place to explore with a stunning landscape #CountryKids

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    1. It is beautiful! I'm so glad it is preserved as a public area to enjoy.

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  3. Wow, that place looks super exciting, I would have loved to explore those rocks and caves when I was a kid! It must be a test for your nerves to let your kids disappear to do their own exploring like they did, I'd be so nervous, but lovely for them to have that kind of independence!
    I can understand that the place is popular. How dissapointing it must be to be turned away when it's full... Glad you made it! #CountryKids

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    1. Boogs turned 12 this week. It is really the first time I have let him go off on his own like this. I was very nervous. Every 15 minutes or so, I would yell his name and wait for him to answer so I could locate him. It is hard letting him grow up.

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  4. This looks so much fun! I assume from the texas snake that it is in Texas?! My kids would love this. #CountryKids

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    1. Yes, we live in Texas. Snakes are common here.

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  5. Wow, that is a long line of traffic, looks like it was worth it though. I know my kids would love clambering over all those rocks

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    1. We were lucky to get in. The kids had a blast and want to go back soon.

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  6. Wow you really packed a lot into your walk around Enchanted Rock, it really is a beautiful place though! I can't believe how many people were queuing to get into the park, it's incredible! Boogs looks like he thoroughly enjoyed his adventure around Enchanted Rock, caves, tunnels and big hills are the perfect natural playground for kids.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure on #CountryKids.

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    1. The park's website states that they frequently have to turn people away on most weekends and any holiday/school break times. I'm so glad it is open for the public to enjoy even though it means getting up early to sit in line. The park is about two hours from our home.

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  7. What a stunning place to visit. It certainly seems very popular if they are turning so many people away. I am not sure how I would cope with the prospect of snakes though! #countrykids

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    1. I grew up in Texas. We had a hoe (gardening tool) on the porch by the back door. There was only one time that my mom had to use it on a rattlesnake blocking the way between the door and the backyard where my sister and I were playing. We came across snakes (copper heads and water moccasins) all the time in the woods behind our house. The general rule is: you leave them alone and they will leave you alone. Although, we did like to catch and play with non-poisonous garter snakes.

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  8. Oh my goodness- what an incredible place to explore. It’s got it all - and how wonderful to revisit with your children. I’m not surprised you guys were tired by the end though. Awesome day out and photos! #countrykids

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    1. It is a great place to explore and have tons of room to roam.

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  9. Wow, another fab state park but what a wait to get in. At least you had a beautiful sunrise! And what a fun challenge to find the hidden tree. #CountryKids

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    1. Texas is full of beautiful state parks. I need to take Boogs to more of them.

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  10. I can see why a lot of people wants to see this place. Those rocks are amazing! A lovely place to explore for kids! #countrykids

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  11. Wow what a fascinating place to visit! I'd love to see this. And gosh it does look very busy - must be disappointing if you get there but won't get let through because of the tickets running out! #countrykids

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  12. Worth the early start! Looks amazing

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