There is a big rock about 20 miles north of Fredericksburg. A big granite rock that just sticks up out of the ground more than 400 feet and covers more than a square mile. There are a few small lakes nearby and trails all around the rock. You can hike to the top, the trail is pretty much however you manage to get up. Some go straight up, most zig-zag back and forth to the top.
This is a TX state Park photo. The rock has evidence of humans being here as long ago as 10-12,000 years, just visiting for most of that time as do so many people today that the park is often closed because it is at capacity. Legends of the local Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes give magic and spiritual powers to the rock. The first European to visit the rock was in 1536. The Tonkawa believed ghost fires flickered on the top at night and that they heard creaking and groaning sounds. The theories for these are that the sounds were likely from the granite cooling off after a day in the sun. The ghost fires were late day sun distorted by the heat of the rock. There are a whole list of other legends too, how many of them just to increase tourism we will never know.
It is a very popular destination. There are bragging rights if you make it to the top.
After the fee station and the parking lot hike to the trail head you get to go down about 40 steps to the trail. This doesn’t seem to bad at first but then you realize that you have to go back up the same steps at the end when you are pooped out.
We took one each of our hiking poles. There were plenty of places where two would have been OK.
And there were conveniently located rocks for a sit down break.
Someone told us there used to be footprints painted on the rock to guide the way. They are all worn away. But cracks in the ancient rock filled in with other lava flows gave us a line to follow.
Up and up, one step at a time. We were there in the morning, it was maybe 70° with some breeze. This would be very hard in the mid-summer.
Quite a view from the top.
There were dished out areas in the rock from freeze/thaw cycles where water would collect and then dust and dirt and then plants.
The cactus were just about to bloom.
These two youngsters were enjoying the view.
And Susan confirmed that cell phone signal was excellent.
The way down was just like the way up. But we took a straighter path.
Sun and wind and rain and temperatures cause erosion that results in interesting rock formations.
This one has a hole through it. One of the old legends has Native Americans hiding up here to avoid the Europeans. This would have been a good spot to hide and spy at the same time.
Finally down we had a small picnic. Our muscles and knees felt OK. It was the next morning before reports of more work than normal arrived.
Is it the Ayers Rock of Texas? It is much smaller but still a big rock and for no other reason than to say you climbed to the top you should go. But we did notice that all of our other FT friends (who have been here before) passed on the opportunity to do it again.
When we got to the top of the rock we felt like Rocky at the top of the Museum Steps, and did a little dance. We were probably just a bit light-headed. Glad we did the climb and the dance.
Roger and Susan