Enchanted Rock is a formation one begins to experience long before they exit the highway. A solid pink granite dome lifting 425 feet above a terrain of rolling hills seems so foreign some assume it long ago fell from the voids of space rather than lifting from the depths of earth. Like most state parks it’s well maintained and held within the constant balance of public use and preservation. There is a consistency to Texas State Parks, a fluidity in the architecture, and infrastructure, however, each park has its own identity and character.
As we arrived late, a haze of mist hovered over the sunset. With few sites left available we hoped for good camping neighbors, Hippies, an Elderly couple, a small hipster family, foreigners, hungry bears on crack, just not that giant boyscout troop of kids drinking Jolt-Cola as they enacted the off Broadway rendition of Lord of the Flies .Away from the trappings of daily life, friends and family sat around campfires curtained in a star filled sky, they rarely see. With no RV or camper sites everyone at Enchanted stays in tents, and as such that night they heard the rain as it danced upon fabric roofs. In the morning all were aware of the sun rise, a site normally forfeited for the sake of daily routine.
The summit trail was closed. “Slippery when wet” is an understatement in regards to a 425 foot tall granite dome. We hiked the surrounding trails filled with cactus, small ferns, and formations which made for good bouldering and rock hopping, yet the summit alluded us. Before sunrise the next day we set out to “summit” , may I point out children have summited Enchanted Rock, equipped only with a Power Ranger backpack filled with rations of animal crackers and juice boxes, this is not Everest , but it is beautiful.
At the summit I began to remember the first time Lauren and I had stood upon Enchanted. It was December 21st 2012 the day the Mayan calendar expired, the end of the world. Atop this giant dome sat a circle of people cross legged burning incenses clinging small finger cymbals and chanting. At times a member would arise and with the use of a large feather waft incense smoke upon its members or wave a crystal around. This was some serious Mother Earth, Father Time, Captain Planet, crystal ball kind of stuff. I mean the world was ending.
Some upon the rock that day seemed offended by these people. As I sought an opinion a realization struck me, perhaps this is why our parks exist. As places of preservation our parks are maintained for the people and by the people. A sanctuary for all people in which we come together to admire the beauty of nature.These places are not about tourism, or trinkets, they embody our dreams and convictions, our responsibility and our memories. They define what it is to be American, to be a Texan. It is within these places of education, and awareness, our wild terrain, that we become intimately aware of something so much greater than ourselves.