In an effort to keep telling trail tales and further our hiking club, we are dedicating at least one TWL Hiking Club Tuesday a month to OUR STORIES.
This week, we have a story from Richard Bowker, co-host of The Wild Life
I just wanna say that this feels so awkward cause I can’t remember the last time I just typed out a story.
The trip to Enchanted Rock could not have gone better. Having seen the Guadalupe and Smoky Mountains, along with the Grand Canyon, Enchanted Rock seemed like it would be a bore. After all, it was supposed to be one small mountain or plateau or whatever oddly placed in the middle of the flatness of southern Texas.
“Just because something isn’t overwhelmingly grand, doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated.”
For one, the surrounding area was not flat at all. It was more like East Central Texas with the enormous rolling hills and scenic ridges. The drive there took us through this cute little town full of Germanic shops, and once we got there, we were scared we’d have to turn around. The road was blocked, but as it turned out, Enchanted Rock has some weird hours, and it simply hadn’t opened yet. After waiting at the strangest gas station I’d ever seen (I don’t even know what to call the place, were there actually any gas pumps?), we could finally head inside. Immediately, my whole perspective on the trip changed. The park was beautiful, and I remember thinking that just because something isn’t overwhelmingly grand, doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated. I remembered how far Big Bend National Park was from my home, being an 11-12 hour drive. Enchanted Rock was only four hours away. So that’s what there was to appreciate. A beautiful park that resembles Western Texas, while being three times as close, and not far outside the city of San Antonio.
After we parked, we followed a long dirt path that lead to the base of Enchanted Rock.
“Every time, I climbed.”
Along the way were topographical carvings, many other tourists, and a snow cone stand that we visited on the way out, and that was also surrounded with bees. Although there were many people there, I didn’t feel that it took away from the experience. The place was so open that it’s not like I felt crowded as if in a mall on the weekend. I was also enjoying myself too much to think of something like “Man I wish we were the only ones here”. The walk up the side of the mountain was incredibly exhausting, although a lot of it may have been me tiring myself out in my excitement. I’ve always loved climbing and jumping around on things, and being in terrain rough enough to do that in was something I hadn’t experienced in quite a while. I’d walk up the steep, steep slope for a bit, but then I’d see a ridge that you could either easily walk around or climb up to get past. Every time, I climbed.
I had to stop several times to catch my breath, as well as to let my friends catch up. The highlight of the way up must’ve been a boulder no less than 10 feet high that I climbed atop to get one of the trip’s best photos. When we reached the top, it made for a spectacular photo opportunity. I took several panoramas of the woods that wrapped along all sides for miles. I kinda wish I would have looked into how it was that people were using ropes to climb the vertical part of the slope, but in reality I likely would’ve backed out due to my fear of heights.
The trip back down was a lot more fun, since not only was it way easier, but we also came across several caves that we hadn’t noticed before. They were a lot of fun to crawl through, and a nice break from the summer heat. One cave had a slick floor that sloped down, and it made for a nice natural slide. There were some creepy parts for sure, with some ledges getting too small and steep for comfort, but in the end it was a great climb. Ever since, my friends and I have been waiting for an opportunity to go back. We all say we wanna go again so the one roommate who stayed behind can come with this time, but I think we all know we’re aching to go back at least once more to get another glimpse into the beauty of West Texas.
If you have a story about or from hiking please do not hesitate to share. We will totally feature your story and pictures. To contact us with your story, message us on Instagram, @teacherwhohikes. You can also message The Wild Life on Facebook.
Interested in joining the TWLHikingClub? Learn more here and join our Facebook group here.
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