Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

Clinbing a ROCK, How hard can it be?

Climbing a ROCK, How hard can it be?

   Recently I had the opportunity to climb up to what is known as a very scenic overlook, in what’s called Hill Country Texas.    In an area known for days upon end of sunshine, I ended up climbing up an elevational change of about 425 vertical feet on the five percent of the days that are no sunny.  We had decided to take the challange of climbing to the top of the highest and largest formaton in Texas’s “Enchanted Rock State Natural Area”.  A formation I will refer to as the ROCK.

    Did I happen to mention that there was extream fog on the day of choice?  Another in our party of three, had been up the rock in the past, but on a normal sunny warm day.   The rules are; you can see far on a sunny clear day and you can see very little on a foggy one.  Oh, did I mention that the surface was wet?  Rock gets slippery when wet.  Did you know that?  So upon our assent we had to use extreame caution as to not fall on our faces working our way up to the top.   Once to the top, it is truly amazing just how much the top of a really big rock looks the same after you walk around just a little bit.   So afte confirming we could not see anything except more rock we started heading back down being careful so as not to slip and fall, and or end up rolling down for hundreds of feet, which is not good thing to do.

   So as we proceeded back down, through the limited visibility, we soon found that once we were able to see far enough to see the base, we were not on the right path.  Did I mention that there is no real trail or trail markers?  Part of this may be the rock is a giant Granite Rock Monolith poking out of the ground in an area surrounded by Limestone.  Really makes it hard to plant signs to lead the way.

   So, after discovering that we were heading the wrong way, we did the smart thing and turned around to head back up to the top of the rock, retrace our steps and head back down.   Sounded like a really good plan.   Turned out, that approach didn’t work a whole lot better.  We ended up one again approaching unfamiliar territory once again.  Not wanting to hike once again (third time) back up the what had now become a mountain of rock, we proceeded on down the safest route we could find to Terrafirma.   On the way down we had spotted a trail winding through the woods, so though it would be a simple matter to just follow the trail back to the parking lot, we had started from.  Did I mention that it was foggy and none of us knew which was was North, yet alone what direction we needed to start hiking down the trail.

   Well the choices were simple, go left or go right.  I was sure we needed to go left, so off down the “Yellow Brick Road” we proceeded.  After perhaps fifteen minutes of hiking we came across a fork in the trail and once again were forced to make a choice.  Again left seemed right (sic) as it kept us closer to the formation.  After hiking a ways down this trial, we were finding even more unfamiliar terrain.  Checking for cell phone signal, we were surprised to find we had signal!  All we needed to do was call someone who could look at a map and give directions on which way was the shorted route back.

    Calling a friend at work, who had Internet access, quickly got us Google feedback as to where we needed to go.  We were quickly reversing direction back to the fork in the trial area.  Following the directions given we quickly found that we were moving farther and farther away from the ROCK.  So, once again we knew this could not be correct, so we decided it was time to contact the Rangers for assistance!

    Thanks to our new friends at “411”, we were quickly connected to the Ranger station at the park entrance.  The ranger after trying the simple approach of going out and honking her car horn, which we could not hear, was becoming concerned about giving correct directions as it was wearing into late afternoon.  Hiking in the dark would not be fun.  Recalling some of the features we were able to see as climbing back down the ROCK, the range was quickly able to ascertain approximately where we where and gave us instructions to head toward that area, which as it turns out was the exact opposite direction from which we had been originally heading.

   So after about another thirty minutes of hiking we found ourselves once again in familiar fog shrouded territory.  Heading back to the Ranger station to express a big Texas “Thank you” for her help, we were approached by the Ranger in her car, as she was driving around to make sure that we did indeed take the right pathway out of what turned out to be almost the opposite backside of the ROCK.  Those there are those in our small group who would say we were lost, I say we were just Rocked.

    So, my recommendations are;  if you plan on doing a little hiking in the FOG, here are a few recommendations. Do pick up a trail map.  Do read the trail map to familiarize yourself with the area.   Do carry a compass, as fog has an amazing ability to hide just about everything, including the sun direction.  Finally, if you are thinking to climbing the ROCK in the FOG, you just might want to check out some of the Winery’s in the area instead?



  1. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by AlexM | August 16, 2008 | Reply

  2. I once walked up to a rock. does that count?

    Comment by Bill | December 10, 2009 | Reply

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