An enormous pink granite batholith
that rises 450 feet out of the Texas
Hill Country, north of Fredericksburg. Only the tip of the rock (640 acres) is exposed; the rest
spans almost 90 subterranean
It's the second-largest
such formation in the United States
. It was privately owned for many years, but was
bought by the Nature Conservancy
in 1978 and then acquired by the State of Texas
It's now a State Natural Area.
The previous owners, the Moss family, operated a park there for many years. While
it was privately owned, prospecting for quartz crystals, garnets
and other gems was typical and allowed. (This is no longer the case! Removing
rocks is now against the law.) See the note at the end for my personal story about this.
The rock has always been a point of interest to people in the area. Comanche and Tonkawa
people are said to have placed sacrifices at its base, in a mixture of fear and reverence.
Several different legends hold that it is haunted by ghosts. These
legends may have gotten their start because the rock makes a variety of creaking and groaning
noises on cool nights after warm days.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has facilities for camping, picnicking,
hiking, and backpacking. The rock also boasts the best beginning to advanced
rock climbing and bouldering in central Texas.
OK, now for my story: When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my family went to Enchanted Rock
for a day outing. My parents were interested in nature, and family activities included
, learning about plants
. My dad had a geology pick
and was looking for quartz crystals. He had found some and was using the pick to dislodge
them. I felt a sting, and put my hand behind my back. Soon, horrified, my dad ran over
to me. I had blood
all over my back. He was worried I had been hit in the back, but
we figured out that it was just a spot at the base of my left index finger
. A piece of
something had flown off in my direction and, apparently, grazed my finger. It was deep,
and still bleeding
, so we packed up our stuff and went looking for medical attention.
I remember the doctor
first shot my finger full of anaesthetic
, and then stitched
A couple of years later, a friend of mine slammed my left hand in a car door. Swelling,
discoloration and a trip to the emergency room ensued. X-rays revealed one
bone fracture, and something curious: A small x-ray-opaque blob between the
knuckles of the index and middle fingers. It could be a piece of my dad's geology pick,
but I like to think it's a piece of Enchanted Rock. More than 30 years later, it's still there.