For nearly 28 years, the vast majority of my outdoor adventures were spent in the Northwest as a born and bred Idahoan. I was fully acclimated to four defined seasons that ranged from blinding, backcountry winter blizzards to dry, blistering hot high-desert days.
Aside from short-stint vacations outside of Idaho, the Northwestern climate was all I ever knew.
That changed when I moved to Austin, Texas in November of 2016. The further I drove South during my 25-hour trek, the more it became apparent that I was out of my element. To put a spin on the words of Dorthy: I wasn’t in Idaho anymore.
Most people I run into here in Texas mistake Idaho for Iowa and think I’m from the Midwest. For the purpose of clarification, Idaho is the state in red below (NOTE: It’s definitely in the Northwest):
The weather spectrum in Central Texas is straightforward. It’s either really hot and humid or warm and humid. Aside from a rare “polar vortex” penetrating deep into the South or the hard-to-pinpoint torrential rainstorms, Central Texas weather predictably follows the scale I laid out.
“Aside from short-stint vacations outside of Idaho, the Northwestern climate was all I ever knew.”
Fully understanding what it meant to be outside and exposed in the dead summer of Central Texas finally clicked in mid-August when I ventured deep into the Texas “Hill Country” to visit Enchanted Rock State Park during my first ACK Go Play Day. Enchanted Rock sits 23 miles North of Fredericksburg, Texas, and appears alien as it blatantly stands out from the surrounding landscape. It doesn’t look like it belongs, but that’s what makes it rare, and frankly, perplexing.
Here’s a photo recap of my one-day adventure into the heart of Texas:
The day started with me waking, stocking up on lots of water and snacks and driving 95 miles west to reach the trailhead at Enchanted Rock State Park:
The Loop Trail was an easy hike to the base of Enchanted Rock where the more strenuous work began:
I ended up taking a shortcut off trail and crossed this random pool of water, which was actually quite refreshing considering that it was more than 100 degrees that day:
As my ascent progressed, I came across strange rock formations that were hardly visible below:
About halfway up, it became apparent that the hike was harder than I anticipated. It was time to hydrate, recharge and take a photo of some interesting veins of different-looking rock that caught my eye during the second stage of the climb:
These pools of water, capable of maintaining plant life year round, exist near and on top of Enchanted Rock, which didn’t make much sense considering how quickly water evaporates on scalding hot rock:
After finally reaching the summit, I took in the 360-view of the Texas Hill Country, chugged more water, and celebrated my achievement:
I took my time on the summit, quickly made my way down, and ran into an information station at the bottom with a replica formation of Enchanted Rock:
Here’s another shot of the information area with the full-sized Enchanted Rock in the background:
Peace out, Enchanted Rock:
*Disclaimer: All of these photos were taken with a iPhone 6s