Before I had my daughter, Bob and I had been to Enchanted Rock many times. It is a massive granite dome that is about 95 miles from Austin. The trails are fairly limited so we prefer to make it a day trip to climb to the top of the dome then go down into the cave. My daughter is finally big enough to do some spelunking so we set our sights again on Enchanted Rock for an overnight trip.
Any adventure requires some hiccups and uncomfortableness so the night before we left, I couldn’t sleep. There is no good reason for this – my mind just decides sometimes that sleep is totally overrated and we should spend potential sleeping time thinking about everything under the sun. I only slept 3 hours that night and drug myself through the day at work until I picked my daughter up from school after lunch. The drive out to Enchanted Rock was fairly brutal because I was so tired and we finally stopped in Llano to get an energy drink to survive the hike to camp.
We opted to camp at Moss Lake because it’s a little farther hike so we thought it might not get as crowded. My lack of sleep made me really irritable on the two mile hike to camp. I tried to just shut up and keep moving my feet for fear that I’d take out my annoyance on my family unnecessarily. Bob didn’t help his case by suggesting a short cut to the campsite (recipe for disaster). I started to question his sanity when I realized how hard his shortcut was. I finally persuaded him to turn around and we ran into some park rangers. They told us that his way was shorter but that it was a class 3 scramble (especially fun with packs on). I criticized his map reading skills as we worked our way to the longer but easier trail.
There isn’t a consistently good source for filtering water at the campsites at Enchanted Rock so we hauled in all of our water (so heavy). Bob ended up with the brunt of it and was suffering so I eventually took his daypack and wore it on my front to help alleviate his load a bit. My pack was 37.5 pounds but my Osprey Aura is amazing and the weight is really never a problem.
Once we finally got to Moss Lake we quickly picked a spot with a little bit of trees and a great view of Enchanted Rock (our campsite is the picture at the top of this post). Once we got camp set up, we enjoyed chicken tacos and cauliflower rice (all shelf stable!) for dinner. For the rest of the night, we just relaxed at camp while Quinn explored, jumped around and balanced on rocks.
Sleeping that night was bothersome because 1) it was really hot in the tent even with the vents and doors open 2) we ended up with only one neighbor but they were really noisy 3) my brain wouldn’t shut up. We also heard a lot of coyotes but they are much less annoying to me than a laughing neighbor. When I can’t sleep when camping, I tend to read (because what else can I do in a tent?). One of the few luxuries that I allow myself while backpacking is my iPad for reading books. I can easily read a book per night so it’s actually lighter for me than dragging actual books out with me (I finished 2 books on this trip).
In the morning, we woke up slowly enjoying our Starbucks via and enjoying the still of the mornings. I live for the mornings at a campsite. It’s truly one of my life’s greatest joys. For breakfast, we just had some of the breakfast sausage jerky, dried fruit and granola bars. When we were finally motivated we armed ourselves with plenty of water headed out to summit Enchanted Rock.
Although Enchanted Rock is only 425
feet up but you’ll be heading up most of the hike so it is fairly strenuous. A lot of non-hikers do it each year but it is challenging. Just take your time, take a break when you
need it and keep climbing to the top. Once finally to the top, you can take in the 360 views of the Texas Hill Country.
Near the summit of Enchanted Rock is an entrance to a cave. We like to head in here and cool off with a quick snack. Considering how hot it was on the day that we went to Enchanted Rock, the cool in the cave felt glorious. We put on our headlamps and explored the cave a bit (as far as Quinn was comfortable).
After the cave, we climbed down from Enchanted Rock and headed back to camp. We opted to take Bob’s shortcut trail (Echo Canyon Trail) back. It was a fun little hike with a lot of boulders.
Once we got back to camp, we laid around for a bit and ate some lunch (summer sausage and crackers). Bob and I tried to lay down and take a nap but couldn’t really get comfortable in the heat. Once we finally got up, we realized we were consuming a lot of water. We were going to need to go refill it but decided instead to just pack up and head out. The heat was starting to get to us and the prospect of hiking 4 miles roundtrip for water was less than appealing. We packed up quickly and hiked out.
We took advantage of the showers so we could go have dinner in Fredericksburg. The showers didn’t have doors which was shocking for Quinn but she quickly washed up anyway.
In Fredericksburg, we enjoyed dinner and a beer at the Hill Top Cafe. All in all, an excellent trip.