I decided it was a good time to start getting ready for the upcoming climbing season. So where is Central/South Texas is the best place to start training? It is no 14er or Mt. Hood but it is the next best thing to flatlander, Enchanted Rock.
I have a trip plan in Feb 2008 to go to Guadalupe Peak. So since the Dallas Cowboys got there Butt Kicked the week before, I started my training.
The start of the Loop Trail
After getting the gear out the Friday night before, I woke up around 6:00 am, loaded the car, ate, feed the cat, call the girlfriend and headed out from San Antonio, TX. It is around 80 miles from my house. The drive it be beautiful. The Hill Country is a little secert that Texas has that a lot of people from other states don't know. Arrived at Enchanted Rock around 9:45 am went through the drive through got my $6.00 parking pass. It was a beautiful Texas winter day. On my arrival it was 27F and not a cloud in the sky. The wind was light around 5kts. The parking lots were already getting full. I found a parking spot close to the Summit Trail Head and started loading up. My goal was to hike the Outer Loop Trail around to Moss Lake Camp Area cut across to Echo Canyon Trail then summit Enchanted Rock from the west side.
The (East )Loop Trail
The start of the Loop Trail
From the begining of the Summit Trail Head (where the Telescope is) I turn East from the Summit Trail and headed forward the outer Loop Trail. It was beautiful. About 100 yards in a doe (deer) came within 5ft from hitting me on a dead run. I guess she did not see me. WOW!! It was a stunning site to see a deer that close to you on a full run. Once I reached Sandy Creek, I cross a little rock dam and saw the Yellow Post marking the Loop Trail. I headed NE on the Loop Trial. The trail is runs along the east side of Sandy Creek. About 300 yrds down the trail, the trail runs into the creek sandy bottom. Just kept a good eye for the yellow post that marks the trail. The yellow post will be on your right and very visible. You will only be on the sandy bottom for about 50 yards then you will be back on the east side of the creek. Around an 1/2 mile in the trail, the trail will start curving noth. There you will have to cross the creek. There is water in this part of the creek. About a 1ft to 2ft of water. If you look to you right, there are a couple of rocks that you can use to walk over without getting wet. Once you cross you will see Buzzard's Roost. I decided not to attempt Buzzard's Roost this trip and to continue on to Moss Lake Camp Area. After Buzzard's Roost the trail becomes very boring. To the left (south) you can see the backside of Enchanted Rock and Freshman Mountain. From Buzzards's Roost to Moss Lake Camp Area is around 1 mile. The trail goes up and down but the trail is very wide. Believe it or not, I did not pass anyone on the trail. That was nice.
Moss Lake Camp Area
I arrived at Moss Lake around 11:30. The area had a couple of tents pitched. I when off the trail on a flat rock and had a little lunch. Chicken and Rice. I rested for about 30 mins. I had a great view of Enchanted Rock backside and could see alot of people on the summit. The Moss Lake Camp Area is very clean and well maintain.
Echo Canyon Trail
After a little lunch and rest, I headed for the Echo Canyon Trail. The trail is easy to find. Just cut through the middle of Moss Lake Camp Area heading south and you will run right into it. So once I caught the trail I head towards the westside of Enchanted Rock. It was about 1/2 mile or less I ran into the base of the saddle connecting Little Rock and Enchanted Rock. That is where I started my summit attempt on the westside of Enchanted Rock.
The attempt on the Summit
After securing my pack, I started the climb. The first 100 ft. part of the climb is good Class 2 scamble. After that, a Class 1. It took me about 30 mins to the summit. Once I arrived to the summit, there was a ton of people coming up the southside (standard) summit trail. The route that I took I was the only one on it. So I was happy for that. I came down the summit trail. I bet I past at least 50 people. As I was coming down I could see that the parking lot was about full (1pm) and cars were lined up on the road to get in.
I know that Enchanted Rock is not a 14er or a Mt Hood. But for Winter Hiking and Climbing Enchanted Rock is a great place for Central/South Texas climbers to practice and play. By the way, go to LLano TX and eat BBQ at Coopers BBQ. That is by far the best BBQ I have ever ate!!