Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Big Day

Roy and I decided to take a day trip to see the Spring Bluebonnets, and hike Enchanted Rock while the temperature is still in the 70s.

Enchanted Rock is located 18 miles outside Fredericksburg, Texas on RR 965. It is the second largest batholith in the United States, with the largest being Stone Mountain in Georgia. A batholith is a large rounded dome of granite that forms as a pocket of magma under the surface of the Earth. It becomes increasingly exposed, as the softer limestone around it erodes. Enchanted rock is estimated to have formed up to 1 billion years ago!

The trail to the top is .75 miles and has a rise in elevation of 800'. The trails difficulty rating is 3.2 out of 5.

Bluebonnets are looking good this Spring after having lots of rain.

The path just gets prettier or should I say pricklier! I felt alert to the possibility of snakes along the path, but never saw any.

Here's a cactus with pretty blooms. I didn't touch the flowers, but they appear to have the texture of dried Straw flowers.

The large rock formation in the distance sits to the right of Enchanted Rock, as one gets further up the trail. There are approximately 7 miles of trails within the park.

Onward and upward! There goes Roy.

Here's a well deserved rest stop before the last steep ascent! Is it really the top?

Here I come! By the time I got to Roy's rest stop, I was debating with myself, as to whether I could go on. The tiny things down in the woods, that appear that they could be cars, is where we started. A woman on her way back down assured me that just over the rise behind Roy's resting spot was the top of the dome.

I made it!!!

All this beauty, and Roy still has eyes for me! :-)

This is a little oasis at the top of the dome!

To our surprise, look what we found in puddles at the top! These look like minnows, and there were others that looked like tadpoles. Upon closer inspection lots of tiny legs could be seen under them. It turns out that both are types of shrimp. The eggs can be transported in the wind and have the ability to lay dormant for years in dry soil. Here is an interesting link telling about them:

After our workout, we decided to drive to Llano and check out the famous Cooper's Pit Bar-B-Que. That was a new experience in dining. People line-up the length of the Cooper's sign along the outside of the restaurant. The line went fast, and it was fun to visit with people during the wait.

When you get to the pit, there are lots of choices of meat, but no prices! The meat is sold by the pound. Be careful here to order a restaurant portion, or you could find your bill coming to much more than you expected. Side dishes inside the restaurant are also not marked for prices. One couple new to this type of dining was upset when they found themselves paying $50.00 for their 2 meals.

Here's a picture of Roy with a look of "Put the camera down and let me eat." Roy had smoked sirloin and I had 3 nice pork ribs. We both got 3 sides each. We judged our meal well, as it only came to a total of $27.00. We had enough left over for a hearty lunch the next day, as well. It was funny when the couple sitting across from us asked if it was our first time to the restaurant. They said they thought so, because of our getting the coleslaw and potato salad sides. The side of beans is free and unlimited. Experienced diners apparently maximize their meal by putting the focus on the meats and only taking the free beans. We were advised that it was acceptable practice to take a container of beans home, as well. Works for us! Check out the place mat style paper plates.

Throughout the day, we saw miles and miles of Bluebonnets along the roadsides. This is an Internet picture representative of what we saw. I figured someone with a higher quality camera could capture the wide expanse of flowers better than I could. Roy and I noticed that the Bluebonnets were thick up to the fences paralleling the roadside, and only occasionally went further into the fields. It got us to thinking that either farmers spray to get rid of them or that the Department of Transportation sows wildflowers. My Internet research states that back in 1917 the newly established Texas DOT found that native wildflowers not only looked good along the highways, but found that it was advantageous not to have to mow the roadways. Since then a wildflower management program, dare I say, blossomed! Texas sows 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds yearly for roadway beautification, erosion control, to promote tourism, and to save money on mowing. Now we know!