RISE AND SHINE, DUDE: Exhausted from the travel and late arrival
Kevin was't quite ready for an early start.
The Geologic Center of Texas
In the Middle of Nowhere
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
You never know when something plants itself
in your life like it was growing there forever.
More often than not, it's something you hadn't given a lick of brainwork pondering and
hardly noticed at the time.
first encountered Enchanted Rock back in
'62. I was in Fredericksburg, home on leave from the Navy, and bored to the
extreme. So when someone suggested a visit to The Rock I didn't need any
convincing. While there I snapped a few pictures with my plastic Brownie camera that
came with real flashbulbs, had the film developed, then filed the results away with the
Then came 1970 when I found myself sitting in my New
York City apartment contemplating those forgotten photos like some sad eyed schoolboy with
a well worn picture of his secret sweetheart.
I could hardly remember Enchanted Rock or what
happened that day, but by August of '70 I was back in Texas and fast becoming a
backpacking fixture at The Rock. By 1998, after twenty years of research on its history and seven
drafts I published The Enchanted Rock: An Illustrated History in Enchanted
Rock Magazine -- a little venture I started five years earlier.
So... When my youngest son, Kevin (17), who
lives in NYC, wanted to go camping the last week in December I reserved a walk-in campsite
for five days. They call it walk-in camping, but it was more like U-Haul-in
what with tents, bedding, food, chairs, cooler, computer, cameras etc. etc. As usual
I arrived early to pitch camp.
After toting all that gear -- the lawnchair
should always be hauled in first and the last hauled out -- to Site 13 near the cut-bank
along Sandy Creek with about a half dozen rest stops it came tent pitching time.
Did I mention the wind? It was blowing so hard
it nearly took my breath away. Or maybe it was just the effect of being dome
tent wind-wrapped burrito style.
I needed a rest. This tent wrestling was
getting out of control and I was shy a plan. Okay, so I didn't come up with one.
On such occasions a little determination can be a suitable substitute.
As certain as boys grow up to be bigger boys, the moment
I secured the last tent peg the wind stopped cold and the temperature started a steep
decline along with the sun.
But it's never too late for me to do something
really stupid and on a camping trip the opportunities just kept on coming. By the
end of the first day I cut my thumb slicing a potato, burned my hand on a frying pan,
picked up a splinter from firewood and impaled myself with sizeable thorn from a prickly
pear. If it hadn't been so cold I'd a probably got snake bit as well.
Kevin arrived about 11 p.m. on the first day.
A little later than expected. Amused, his mom passed along to me a printout
of Yahoo!'s the Internet directions from San Antonio where they were visiting friends.
The directions held no relationship to task
at hand -- "(22.) Bear L Old Santa Anna Rd/Ranch Road 2996; (23.) Turn L on
County Road 418 0.2 mi.; (24.) Arrive at the Center of TEXAS." Fortunately
Second Ex-Wife was too intelligent and too familiar with the Hill Country to buy into
Apparently the directions were to Brady, the
geographic center of Texas, and not to Enchanted Rock, the geologic center of Texas.
PAGE 1: ARRIVAL / PAGE 2: LOOP
TRAIL / PAGE 3: AROUND
PAGE 4: LITTLE ROCK
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