Sunday, November 11, 2018

Enchanted Rock

(photo from Wikipedia)

If you can see the tiny dots in the upper center of the photo, those dots are people! And the dome is a giant pink granite mountain in the Texas Hill Country known as Enchanted Rock. 

(photo from The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

Seriously, we’re talking big. I’ve climbed it a couple of times—well, at least most of the way—and I can tell you that it is big! It covers approximately 640 acres and rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain to an elevation of 1,825 feet above sea level. If you’re ever in Texas, it’s a great place to visit!

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Enchanted Rock has fascinated humans for thousands of years. Archaeological evidence indicates human visitation going back at least 11,000 years. Folklore of local Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes ascribes magical and spiritual powers to the rock.

Tonkawa Indians thought that ghost fires flickered on top of the dome. The odd creaking and groaning coming from the dome frightened them. But Geologists say that the dome creaks and groans as temperatures change. As for the ghost fires, the rock glitters on clear nights after rain. Scientists think the glittering is reflections from collected water or wet feldspar.

One story tells of an Indian maiden who saw her tribe killed by an enemy. She threw herself off the top of Enchanted Rock, and her spirit haunts the rock still. Another tells of a young Spanish soldier who rescued his true love just as Comanches were about to burn her at the base of the rock.

Once, the Tonkawa captured a Spanish conquistador who escaped by hiding in the rocks. This gave rise to an Indian legend of a “pale man swallowed by a rock and reborn as one of their own.” The Indians believed he wove enchantments on the area.

Some other legends associated with Enchanted Rock: 

 It's revered by native tribes as a holy portal to other worlds.

Anyone spending the night on the rock becomes invisible.

It’s haunted by spirits of warriors from a now-extinct Native American tribe who were slaughtered at Enchanted Rock by a rival tribe.

Footprint indentations on the rock of Native American chief who sacrificed his daughter and was condemned to walk Enchanted Rock forever.

Woman's screams heard at night are of a white woman who took refuge on Enchanted Rock after escaping a kidnapping.

Bad fortune and death will befall anyone who climbs the rock with bad intent. 

So don't have bad intent!  

**With thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Wikipedia 

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