Monday, November 16, 2009

Enchanted Rock.

It was time again to head down to Enchanted Rock, to gather with my friends for our annual pilgrimage.

This time, as we drove up to the camp sites, we saw this deer, at least a twelve pointer, and a few does, followed by one fawn. He was a little sucker, but those horns were amazing.

Jim and his brother had reserved two sites, so we took the one that was unoccupied and I set up the tent.

I believe in my comfort, so there's no sparing the details when we're car camping. That's a nice, thick new air mattress, a down duvet, a blanket and sheet set over that, and then a sheet and down comforter (in the green flannel cover) over all of that.

After I got the camp set up, we all piled into our car and headed to Fredericksburg, where we ate dinner. Denise and I took Jim, his daughter and another camper to the Auslander. We all enjoyed the fried mushrooms, their wide beer selection, and their wonderful variety of dinner items. The others had a mix of German and American food, while I went for my favorite bacon cheese burger. The others were also amused when I ordered the huge, 34 oz. mug of Pauliner. It was fillin'!

The next morning, Denise and I slept in. The others are always up earlier than I am on a camping trip. I guess I sleep too well, wrapped up in all that comfort.

After fixing Denise her mornings milk coffee, I set out to make breakfast. We had bacon frying in one skillet and eggs going in the other.

After mixing the crunched up bacon with the eggs and sprinkling some grated cheese on top, we used the big skillet to heat up out tortillas.

The result was a breakfast burrito to die for. Wonderful stuff, particularly on a camp-out.

After cleaning up, and with Denise declining to go (she had some gastrointestinal issues, and couldn't stray far from the bathroom), I went over to the Donovan camp site and waited for the group to head out and up the mountain.

Pretty soon we were off, heading out on the trail that winds through the camp sites and up to the big trail.

You can see the peak of the big rock up there in the far distance.

That was our destination. We've all be coming here for years, and we always make this Saturday morning pilgrimage.

After a long, tiring walk, we all made it up to the top of the rock, and then we spent some time resting and enjoying the views. That's a view of the smaller of the two big domes, and seen from the top of ER.

When I say "resting," I mean resting! That GI issue 2 quart collapsible canteen makes a great pillow.

This is the USGS marker, set down at the tallest point on the rock. I think it's a bout 400 feet.

And here's the traditional group picture. A few of the climbers had to turn back, and there were no little kids on the trip this time. In years past, I'd lay down and hold the dogs while the parents followed the little kids into the caves on the North side of the big rock (not caves, really, but close). Now though, it's a short rest on top, and then we all headed back down again.

We came down the main trail, which took up past the old gazebo by the road. This time there was a guy there selling t-shirts for the group Friends of Enchanted Rock, which does a lot of work to maintain the trails and protect the site for future generations. I think we all ended up getting shirts and thinking we should donate some money to the group.

After getting back to camp and cleaning up, the decision was made to play a game of Trivial Pursuit. I'd never played before, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. My team won, at least partly because I was on it. I got to answer at least a few questions before they were finished asking the question. Who is the Japanese Golfer who has won more...? Asao Aoki! Damn, they'd say. I'm like a Ringer, I'd reply. What was the protest movement in Poland that...? Solidarity! Damn! Yep, ringer.

Late Saturday night, after cooking steaks, beans, hot dogs, fried potatoes and cheese burgers, many of us headed up from the camp and reclined back on some flat rocks to watch for shooting stars. It was a moonless night, so the stars were filling the night sky and the shooting stars were flashing by pretty frequently.

I set my camera up on a rock and tried to get some good star shots. This is one of the better ones.

Sunday, with the clouds in the sky threatening rain, we cancelled plans to climb more rocks and broke camp to head for home. On the way back, passing through the little town of Kempner, we noticed their new war memorial, just dedicated, along the North side of 190. It's a beautiful little spot. Check it out some time, if you're on your way through central Texas.

If you want to see more of these shots, click on this link. Cheers!


BRUNO said...

"He set-up the tent"...

Looks an awful-lot like one of those "30-second pop-ups", where ya' just unlatch, an' throw??? But they sure LOOK like you worked your ass off, stringin' them out!

Hell, all the work is INSIDE the thing!

Man, I'm doin' it all wrong, with this "roof, rafters, and joists"-thing they call a HOUSE...!

FHB said...

Yea, I knows how to camp. Y'all'd be livin' high on the hog at my camp site! It's like my gun collection. I have enough tents and gear to fit out a squad.

FHB said...

And that ain't no pup-up. But it might as well be, with only two poles and a brace. Easy peasy.

Sarge Charlie said...

way to go my friend, live life with gusto.....

BRUNO said...

A-a-a-ah, love it!

I once had a tent. Bought it from Wally-World, made in China. Said it was a three-man tent---I could barely get three-FOURTHS of ME inside of it! Those Chinese are obviously quite "chummy", indeed!

But I've spent many an hour underneath a utility tarp as my "tent", in the past.

Any old port in a storm, eh dude???

FHB said...

Sarge - Thanks. I'm tryin'.

Bruno - Yea, that's the way they are. "Two man" means me and all my shit. "Four man" means two man.

Anonymous said...

Ha living the dream.