Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Enchanted Rock. Balanced Rock. Bear Mtn. Cross Mtn. Wildflowers. Peaches. Bats. Apollo 14.

Last "Travel Tuesday", we visited the City of Fredericksburg, TX, now let's go to some of the surrounding areas.


Enchanted Rock

"Fifteen miles north of Fredericksburg is the geographical landmark Enchanted Rock. The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet (130 m) above ground, 1,825 feet (556 m) above sea level, and covers 640 acres (2.6 km2). It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States, and was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1970. In 1994, the State of Texas opened it as Enchanted Rock State Natural Area after adding facilities. The same year, Enchanted Rock was added to the National Register of Historic Places."

Enchanted Rock, as seen from the trail leading to its summit.

"Enchanted Rock is an enormous pink granite pluton rock formation located in the Llano Uplift  Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, which includes Enchanted Rock and surrounding land, spans the border between Gillespie County and Llano County, south of the Llano River.  It is the largest such pink granite monadnock in the United States. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a part of the Texas state park system, includes 1,644 acres (665 ha). Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1936. Click here: TPWD: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area


Balanced Rock.

of Balanced Rock back when

Fredericksburg, TX (3.9 m SSW)
Eckert, TX (9.3 miles NE)
Cain City, TX (9.4 miles SSE)
Blumenthal, TX (10.1 miles SE)
Willow City, TX (10.5 miles ENE)
Luckenbach, TX (11.8 miles SSE)
Morris Ranch, TX (12.1 mi SW)

Near FREDERICKSBURG, Texas TX ~ The Balanced RockStonewall, TX (13.1 miles ESE)
Cherry Spring, TX (14.1 mi NW)
Bankersmith, TX (14.2 miles S)

"Balanced Rock was a famous local landmark that perched atop Bear Mountain ten miles (16 km) north of Fredericksburg. The natural wonder stone pillar, about the size of a small elephant, precariously balanced on its small tip. It fell prey to vandals who dynamited it off its base in April 1986."


Bear Mountain.

Adjoining Bear Mountain,

“Precambrian rocks reach the surface in the Llano region of Central Texas in the highest part of a broad domal arch, the Llano uplift, which appears on a regional geologic map as an island of igneous and metamorphic rocks surrounded by Paleozoic and Cretaceus sedimentary rocks.  The widest expanse of Precambrian rocks is about 65 mi ( 105 km), extending westward from the valley of the Colorado River through a subdued topographic basin drained by the Llano River. The broad, gentle basin carved into the Precambrian rocks is bordered by a discontinuous rim of flat-topped limestone hills which are the dissected edge of the Edwards Plateau. Within the basin and at its margins are erosional remnants and down-faulted blocks of Paleozoic rocks which form prominent hills, locally referred to as mountains.”


Park, Fredericksburg, TX -

Cross Mountain

"Elevation 1,915 feet (584 m). The first known record of Cross Mountain was in 1847 by Dr. Ferdinand von Roemer. Native Americans used the location to signal each other about intrusions into their territory. The area was part of settler Dr. John Christian Durst's 10-acre (40,000 m2) allotment. Durst found a timber cross on the mountain, indicating that Spanish missionaries had once used the site. Durst named the place "Kreuzberg," or Cross Mountain. In 1849, a priest named Father George Menzel erected a TX : Cross Mountain Park,new cross.

In 1946, St. Mary's Catholic Church erected a metal and concrete cross. The mountain has been used both for the Easter Fires pageant and for Easter sunrise services. Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1976."



Wildflowers"Over 5,000 wildflower species make their home in the State of Texas, products of the state’s different ecosystems. The Texas Hill Country is defined by limestone cliffs, granite outcrops and hidden springs, providing diverse habitats for wildflowers.


But if you want to take some home with you, don’t pick them—visit Wildseed Farms, the nation’s largest wildflower farm located just outside Fredericksburg."

Lavender flowers with bracts exhibiting a good example of the color lavender.

"Herb farms, grape culture, lavender production and wildflower seeds have become burgeoning businesses in Fredericksburg. Combinations of agribusiness with day spas, wedding facilities, or bed and breakfast accommodations is not unusual. There is even a Texas Hill Country Lavender Trail.

Lady Bird Johnson's passion for Texas wildflowers not only lives on in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, but she also sparked off a high demand for seed. The 200-acre (81 ha) Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg was founded by John R. Thomas in 1983 as a result of that high demand, and produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds. It is the largest family-owned wildflower seed farm in the United States and host of an annual Wildflower Celebration." More at: http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/attractions-activities/wildflowers/




"Gillespie County produces 40% of all the peaches grown in the state of Texas. Roadside stands line many of the roads leading into Fredericksburg, with a major concentration along Highway 290 between Fredericksburg and Stonewall and along Highway 87 South. The peach season runs from mid-May through the first week of August in a normal year. Several orchards offer pick-your-own. The Hill Country Fruit Council produces a listing of its members in a brochure entitled Fredericksburg-Stonewall Peaches, which is normally available at the Fredericksburg Visitor Information Center or visit www.texaspeaches.com. " or: http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/attractions-activities/peaches/




"Approximately 300 species of birds occur in the Texas Hill Country, where birding is great all year. The area is an overlap zone of ranges of eastern and western bird species, as well as some north and south species. Be sure to look for the endangered Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers. An excellent place to view birds in Fredericksburg proper is the Live Oak Wilderness Nature Trail in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. Stop for a bird check-list at the park office. Pedernales Falls State Park, near Johnson City, has wildlife viewing stations, while Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, is also a premier bird-watching location." From: http://www.visitfredericksburgtx.com/attractions-activities/birding/


Old Tunnel


Old Tunnel entrance

"An abandoned railroad tunnel that is home to millions of Mexican free-tailed bats every May through October.  Located 10.5 miles south of Highway 290 on the Old San Antonio Road.  The upper viewing deck is open nightly at no charge. The lower viewing area is open on Thursday through Sunday evenings for special educational presentations for a $5 per person fee.  Please call for the current bat emergence time:  (866) 978-2287."

Old Tunnel State Park (Bat Cave)"The Old Tunnel WMA is the smallest Wildlife Management Area in Texas, containing only 16.1 acres of land. Despite its small size, there are a variety of recreational and wildlife-viewing opportunities at Old Tunnel WMA. The abandoned railroad tunnel is home to up to three million Brazilian free-tailed bats (T. b. mexicana) and 3,000 Cave myotis (Myotis velifer) from May to October, more mammals than any other WMA. From May to October, visitors come to watch the bats emerge from the tunnel each night, and nightly educational programs provide guests with a better understanding of the life history and ecology of bats. See the book Frankie the Free-Tailed Batmedia download(PDF 1641 KB)."  From: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=17


On This Day:

Apollo 14 departs for the moon, Jan 31, 1971:

"Apollo 14, piloted by astronauts Alan B. Shepard Jr., Edgar D. Mitchell, and Stuart A. Roosa, is successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a manned mission to the moon. On February 5, after suffering some initial problems in docking the lunar and command modules, Shepard and Mitchell descended to the lunar surface on the third U.S. moon landing. Upon stepping out of the lunar module, Shepard, who in 1961, aboard Freedom 7, was the first American in space, became the fifth astronaut to walk on the moon. Shepard and Mitchell remained on the lunar surface for nearly 34 hours, conducting simple scientific experiments, such as hitting golf balls into space with Shepard's golf club, and collecting 96 pounds of lunar samples. On February 9, Apollo 14 safely returned to Earth."



Wagging her tail, Misty trotted happily along her usual trail like she could see, when we went to pick up Jay.  That walk is the highlight of her day.

It started out cool, then the sun came out so it was pleasant working outside.  Prime and Bobbiecat watched our comings and goings from the screen porch.

Jay and I set up two yard sale tables outside, sorted out a lot of the items and set them up for display.   All the expensive items will be on tables in the RV port, under cover, as we have 20% chance of rain.   Then we covered the outside tables with big sheets of black plastic until the sale days.

1 comment:

Dizzy-Dick said...

It is amazing how many interesting sites there are within a day's drive from here. Sometimes your own back yard is over looked while we travel days to see other things and sights.