Yesterday we visited Enchanted Rock, and it was totally worth it!
We drove about two hours to get there, and then waited almost an hour to get into the park! We were afraid that they had closed the park already (a frequent occurrence in these Texas parks, due to overcapacity) and that we'd have to wait two hours for them to reopen. It turns out that the process is just slow (compounded by the fact that cars coming from the other direction-- NOT in our long line-- could just sneak right on in with a right-of-way right turn! booo).
We started on the trail, and it began easily. Once you get past the trees and shrubbery, though, you are on a ginormous mound of smooth pink granite. Make sure to wear shoes with good tread!
The top was pretty cool. The wind is ruthless this high up with nothing to shield you!! If you let your arms hang by your side, the wind would blow them forward. It was nice to have the wind at your back on the way up, though-- like a little gentle push, and it also helped steady you, but at the top my ears were throbbing from the constant pounding of the wind. Thankfully, it was warm and there was not a cloud in the sky (just the moon! so cool!).
You see the little pools and mini-oasis little green spots? Those are called vernal pools, and you're not supposed to touch them because when left undisturbed the pools of water will eventually turn into the green patches of moss and cacti and life. They were fun to look at! Brandon had fun looking at everything through his binoculars :)
We also went caving. There is a cave in this rock formation, and it's unlike any cave I've ever been through. You're crawling DOWN through the rock, then back UP out of it. There is no path to walk on, you're just crawling over, under, between, and through big rocks in pitch darkness. Some parts were really scary because it would just be a slippery wet rock angled down with no end in sight, and you had to make your way across it laterally without sliding into the abyss! Dramatic, I know. But it was a workout for sure! Very, very fun.
After caving, we walked across the largest rock formation to one of the smaller rock formations to one side of it (there were many-- Enchanted Rock was the biggest in the middle with the cave). This one had a lot more vegetation and interesting rock features on it, so I had my mind set on exploring it from the start. I LOVED the little "mountain pass" between the two. Do you see the little walking path through the green in the middle photo? It made me giddy, because I just KNOW that hobbits have been there.
The scramble down was the most fun. We decided to forego easy, clear paths down the rock, and instead chose to climb down a much more rugged area. It was a blast! I love that there are no rules on this "mountain" except don't mess with the vernal pools. No "do not veer from the path," no safety rails (and the backside of the mountain was STEEP! Like, clifflike.), and no directions through the cave except a spray-painted arrow every now and then (when you think you're going to lose your mind or fall into "the belly of the mountain"). It was awesome. Go Texas.