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Enchanted Rock Main Dome

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The first view one gets of Enchanted Rock as you climb over the last hill approaching it is awe-inspiring.  The red granite dome stands out against the dark green colored background of the rest of the Texas Hill Country.

The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located a few minutes’ drive north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965 and is one of the most exciting ghostly sites in Texas to visit.

Many years ago the Indians who inhabited the land around the granite dome believed that a great spirit lived in the mountain.  The spirit was a great and powerful one and difficult to appease.  When hard times fell upon the land, sacrifices of small children were made atop the mountain.

When the time came for the chief's own daughter to be sacrificed, and the good times had not been restored by the sacrifices, the chief acted out a hasty plan. On the night of the sacrifice he killed a goat in her stead.  After spilling its blood he quickly set fire to the carcass to try and deceive the god in the rock beneath him.   The god was not fooled and sought revenge, the earth beneath the chief's feet shook and a mighty roar was heard.  In an instant the chief vanished, leaving his people alone and terrified.

The chief was punished by the god and condemned to walk the top of the mountain every night for all eternity.  The Indians abandoned their once mighty mountain temple because of their cursed chief and practiced their ceremonies and rites below the mound among the enormous boulders which surround it.

The Indians held this mountain sacred and no Indian ever again set foot on the gigantic dome.  This was well known to a famous Texas Ranger, Captain John Hayes.  In 1841 when he was working with a survey party north of Fredericksburg he found himself cut off from the group by a small band of Comanche’s.

Knowing that the mountain was close by, he rode for the slope of the biggest mountain.  Scrambling to the top on foot armed with only two Colt revolvers and a rifle he found himself surrounded by hundreds of Comanche Indians.

Enchanted Rock Captain Jack Plaque

The plaque at the summit of Enchanted Rock tells us that Captain "Jack", as most referred to him, held the summit by inflicting heavy damage.  The Comanche’s though, might have left for other reasons, abandoning the hapless Ranger to the phantoms of the night and with their own lives intact.  Yet history is left to the last man standing and since that was the Ranger, we have to abide by his account.

The mountain itself, in geological terms is what they call a "batholith." Erosion has stripped away the metamorphic and sedimentary rocks over the years and exposed the huge igneous feature below.

Enchanted Rock also sports one of the largest granite caves in the nation as well as many small caves throughout the park. Weathering has produced several small shallow depressions called "gnammas" that range in size from an inch to around 40 feet in length.  Some of these depressions look remarkably like large footprints etched in stone, but we all know those aren't really the footsteps of the chief deepened by his walk through the years.  We all know that the whispers we hear from the rock in the evening aren't the voices of those victims of the sacrifices but the cooling of the huge granite mass.  We all know that, don't we?

Updated May 25th, 2009