Goodbye Enchanted Rock

It’s hard to believe that Julie and I only have a few more days here at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Today we work, tomorrow we work, and then we have two days to get ready and it’s time to go!

With time running short, we’ve spent quite a bit of time the past week hiking and climbing. I hope you all enjoy these pictures.

E-Rock exfoliates in layers, leaving fantastical shapes

E-Rock breaks down in layers, leaving fantastical shapes

The park encompasses five peaks. In order of height, they are: Enchanted Rock (the one 95% of visitors climb, elevation of 1,825 feet), Little Rock (the one visible out of the rear window of Cas, seen in an earlier post), Turkey Peak (the less domed one that stands near Sandy Creek), Freshmen mountain and Buzzard’s Roost, which have more vegetation and sort of run together.

Sue and Jim's firepit at Host Site #1, with E-Rock lit up behind

Sue and Jim’s firepit at Host Site #1, with E-Rock lit up behind

Why do the rocks at Enchanted Rock look so odd? It’s an old magma field that spreads out about 100 sq. miles in this area.

A pretty spring flower, and a cactus growing on a ledge

A pretty spring flower, and a cactus growing on a ledge

Countless millions of years ago, Texas was situated in a tall volcanic mountain range about the height of the Himalayas today. Enchanted Rock and the other granite peaks in this area were all far underground, part of a heated underground pool of lava. Over a very long period of time as tectonics shifted, and the magma slowly cooled in layers.

The park's three host sites.  Sue and Jim are in the 5th wheel on the left, Ned and Gail are in the Class A in the middle, and Julie and I are on the right.

The park’s three host sites. Sue and Jim are in the 5th wheel on the left, Ned and Gail are in the Class A in the middle, and Julie and I are on the right.

Over an even greater period of time, the mountains wore down, exposing their ancient centers of lava – now turned to granite.

Granite weathers slower than the surrounding limestone, so while the limestone continues to erode away, the granite resists and becomes the peaks and domes you see today.

A beautiful Texas sunset Wednesday night (the 25th)

A beautiful Texas sunset Wednesday night (the 25th)

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before, but for those interested in visiting Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, the cost is $7 per person 13 and older, unless you own the Texas Parks State Pass. Tent sites start at $18 a night, extra fees apply for more people or vehicles, there are no RV spots. There is however about 10 bus and RV parking spots up near the headquarters, so RVers can visit for the day. The lot isn’t very level though.

Entrance to the park under the same sunset

Entrance to the park under the same sunset

The Summit Trail is 0.6 miles one way, and goes up to the top of Enchanted Rock – the most popular trail in the park. Because of the 400 ft. elevation gain, expect it to take 30-45 minutes to go up depending on how athletic you are. The loop trail is 4.1 miles long, and circles all five peaks (this is the one Julie and I go jogging on). Turkey Peak Pass and Echo Canyon Trails cut across the loop trail between various peaks.

Freshmen mountain to the right, Buzzard's Roost behind

Freshmen mountain to the left and fore, Buzzard’s Roost behind

For some people, saying goodbye to a place is really tough. I rarely have that problem though – I know there are a lot of excellent places still to see, and because of the flexibility of the lifestyle I live, getting back to places and people I miss isn’t that hard.

More signs of spring, just as we're preparing to head north out of spring back to winter

More signs of spring, just as we’re preparing to head north out of spring back to winter

Where to next? I’ll be dropping Julie off in Wisconsin to get back to her real life and visiting friends and family there for about a month before I head out to Yellowstone for the summer. In the meantime, we’re planning to stop in the Ozarks and St. Louis on the way up to WI – not to mention getting my water heater replaced finally(!).

More fun rocks

More fun rocks

I’d also like to thank each and every one of you who bought a copy of ‘Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget’. I hope those of you looking to start full-timing get a lot of use out of it, feedback from those who have already finished the guide has been overwhelmingly positive. Sales have been a lot higher than I expected too, and I believe it’s because a lot of my readers who are already on the road bought a copy just to show their support, and I really appreciate that. If you haven’t gotten the guide yet and are interested in it, the introductory special price of $4.99 will be ending tomorrow night (the 28th, at 11:59 pm central daylight time).

The backside of E-Rock

The backside of E-Rock

On Sunday Julie and I are driving out to Pedernales Falls State Park for a day trip, so expect to hear about that next!

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  1. Jodee Gravel on April 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Love that wispy sunset pic. I think you and Julie chose a great spot for your volunteer time – great history and fun places to hike!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Evil GPS, Loving Friends, Sunny Acres and Tiny Mountain RoadsMy Profile

    • Becky on April 3, 2015 at 9:06 am

      We sure did Jodee! What a good winter.

  2. Ron on March 30, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    If you wish to volunteer in a warmer part of Texas there are Bentsen Rio Grande State Park, The World Birding Centers a couple of wildlife refuges that have volunteer sites within a few miles of Mexico and if you ever want a good dentist I can recommend a couple in Mexico at about 30% of USA costs.

    • Becky on March 30, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      Thanks for the info Ron. Not sure yet what I’m doing next winter but I’ll keep this in mind. 🙂

  3. heyduke50 on March 28, 2015 at 9:06 am

    we will be out hiking on the loop trail today… so if we see you jogging we will give you a shout out… safe travels ahead for you…
    heyduke50 recently posted..Llano, Texas and we found a cool little RV park here…My Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Hope you had a good time today Duke! I worked up front helping direct traffic all day like usual on Saturdays.

  4. Jim@HiTek on March 28, 2015 at 8:25 am

    I see you have an appointment at the Casita factory. Are you having a major repair or modification done? Or is this trip only about the water heater work?

    Just curious why you’d go there instead of having a water heater swap done at a thousand places along your trip route? Perhaps saving some money.

    BTW, you know most guys and factories, please take bunches of pictures inside!!

    You might need to sneak in, but just pretend you’re an employee by wearing your old Amazon badge and vest. Yeah!
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..3rd & 4th Day in Marseille…My Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      It’s just for the water heater Jim. Part of it is that I want an expert to work on it – I’ve had bad experiences with more generic service places before. And part of it is that I want to see the factory! This way I can peek inside all of the Casita models. 🙂 You bet I’ll be getting pictures.

  5. Dwayne on March 28, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Just got done ordering your book. Doubt that I will ever use the information but wanted to support your experience. Was great working with you at Amazon.

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you for purchasing Dwayne. 🙂 even though you’re already on full-timing I hope you do read it, should be something in there you can use or at least find interesting. 🙂

      It was great working with you too! Are you going back this fall? I’ve applied for Haslet, TX.

  6. Gary on March 27, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Another great post Becky. Nice selection of pics too! It definitely looks like a good place to visit. To bad they don’t have RV Sites for my fifth wheel. Safe travels as you move around.
    Gary recently posted..Last Minute Change in PlansMy Profile

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Thanks Gary and I’m glad you like these photos. A lot of people around here wish E-Rock had RV camping, myself included!

      We’ll be safe. 🙂

  7. PJ on March 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    We go to the Ozarks every summer a couple of times. I highly recommend the swimming hole at Alley Springs Campground in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The canoeing is amazing as the Jack’s Fork is perfect temperature for swimming and floating. (The Current River is ice cold from so many springs.) And it isn’t exactly in the Ozarks, but Prairie State Park in Missouri just west of the Ozarks is amazing and very different. The campground is tiny and pleasantly shaded with a creek running through it. You can hike among the buffalo which is really cool. There is lots of other wildlife to be seen just driving the park roads.

    • Becky on March 28, 2015 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks for all of the suggestions PJ! I think we’re going to end up camping at Bennett Spring State Park, it’s located along the shortest route from Texas to Wisconsin, I’m trying to get back to WI in time for my Mom’s birthday. Unless you think Lake of the Ozarks State Park is better? That one is also right along the route but it sounded like it was higher use and we were hoping for something a little quieter. Or maybe it’ll all be quiet at the beginning of April – I’m thinking it’ll still be chilly up there.

      • PJ on March 31, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        Bennett Springs may be busy if it is close to the Trout Opening, otherwise I would definitely prefer it to Lake of the Ozarks because of the size, too. Neither would have been tops on my list, but I understand the necessity of being present for your Mom’s birthday. We camp lots of places when we’re in transit that we wouldn’t necessarily stay for a long vacation. That said, Missouri State parks are generally clean with hot showers, and have quiet hours that the rangers enforce so any Missouri State Park is a good place to stay over a private campground. They also take reservations which may be a good idea if you’re going to be there on a weekend.

        • Becky on March 31, 2015 at 3:56 pm

          Thanks for your input PJ!

  8. TravelBug-Susan on March 27, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Enchanted Rock is such a great place to hike, but do it during a cool season. There is NO shade on that rock and not much shade at all on the hike around the rock. It IS a fascinating place.
    TravelBug-Susan recently posted..Wildlife Watching at South Llano River State Park – Mon., March 23, 2105, Part 2My Profile

    • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Yep Susan, Spring Break is the busiest time of the year and summer is the off-season – for just the reason you listed. Not many people come when it gets up into the 90’s or hotter. 😛

  9. Maura on March 27, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    A good history lesson, and it looks like you have had a decent camp host site. So happy your book is doing well. best of luck and happy travels to you and Julie.
    Maura recently posted..Silver Springs FlMy Profile

    • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Yes Maura I really like our spot here, great view out the rear window and there’s nothing quite living living in a beautiful state park. 🙂

      And thanks, Julie and I will enjoy our trip.

  10. Janett on March 27, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the e-rock history and beautiful pictures…are you still taking them with your cell phone just curious? I finished your book and I have to complement you on doing such a good job in the detail. As a newbie it’s challenging to figure out just where to start but you did such a great job explaining the process, mistakes an all! Of course, you can’t cover everything but I always say “it’s all in the delivery” and this lil’ guide certainly delivered! So, you and Julie have a safe trip and enjoy your down time.

    • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Yep Janett, my iPhone 4S which is probably considered ancient now in the smartphone world. 😛

      Glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful Janett, thanks for purchasing!

  11. Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on March 27, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Well, it looked like a good gig while it lasted. Time to move on. Where to next? I know it’s not prudent to say prior to being there, but maybe a general direction? Am I recalling correctly that you were heading toward “home”? Not sure if that is SC or up north.

    In any event, keep the rubber side down and continue to be safe. We really enjoy your blog.

    “Happy Trails” from Apple Valley, Ca. – home and burial place of Roy and Dale.

    • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      “Where to next? I’ll be dropping Julie off in Wisconsin to get back to her real life and visiting friends and family there for about a month before I head out to Yellowstone for the summer. In the meantime, we’re planning to stop in the Ozarks and St. Louis on the way up to WI – not to mention getting my water heater replaced finally(!).”

      What’s the weather like over there this time of year Ed? I bet it’s pretty nice. Been nice here, but I worry WI is still going to be way too cold. 😛

      • Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on March 27, 2015 at 4:23 pm

        Weather? You might have picked the wrong time to ask. It seems the Southwest, particularly S. California, is under the influence of a High pressure system situated over Utah. This causes Santa Ana winds in L.A. area and drives temps up. High 80’s in L.A. today, 99 in Palm Springs. I’m at a higher elevation but today’s high is about 84. Phoenix is in the 90s today.

        I was a meteorologist (weather guesser) in another life. Can’t help myself. 🙂

        • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 8:17 pm

          Haha, how informative Ed. 🙂 Looking at those temps though I’m not sure I’d want to be there either.

  12. Frank on March 27, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Well, It looks like a real great place to explore..
    Good luck on your travels..

    • Becky on March 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      Was a good 10 weeks Frank, I’ll probably volunteer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife dept. again some year.

      And thanks. Casita factory appointment is on the 1st, Ozarks after that.

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