Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Enchanted Rock, part 1

with 18 comments

Our goal on November 1st was Enchanted Rock, the largest pink granite monadnock in the United States.
Look at the size of the trees in the first picture to get a sense of how large the dome is.

Enchanted Rock is also home to rougher and more-irregular mounds of rock:

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 29, 2019 at 4:47 AM

18 Responses

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  1. Do you have this book about Enchanted Rock? I bought it some time ago, and it’s a wonderful resource. Perhaps this will be the year I finally visit the place, instead of just reading about it, or using the book’s photos to help identify hill country plants.

    The first photo reminds me of the photo prompt that led to my blog’s name. That photo showed a man pretending to push a small boulder up the face of the rock, and it was that smaller rock in your photo that caught my eye even before the trees. My favorite of the group is the second, where the ‘flow’ of the rock seems to be pushing the trees downstream.

    The combination of trees and rock reminded me of this great story published in the now-defunct journal, Inquiring Mind:

    “Gary Snyder was once camping with fellow poet Lew Welch in the Mendocino redwoods. As they looked up at trees that were hundreds of years old, Snyder said, “I’ll bet the trees are thinking that we humans are just passing through.” Welch looked around and replied, “And the rocks around here must be thinking that those trees are just passing through.”


    November 29, 2019 at 6:14 AM

    • I’m aware of that book and have considered buying it but so far haven’t. It’s good to hear your favorable review. Let’s hope you make it to the place itself soon. Any time from now through March the temperature will likely make heavy-duty hiking there tolerable.

      That boulder in the upper right of the first picture is an eye-grabber. I included it in other compositions but felt I could show only one, as is my usual practice. As for the second picture, I hadn’t imagined a force pushing the tree downward; I sense it now that you’ve mentioned it.

      You’ve cited a good Snyder~Welch anecdote. I remember reading some of Snyder’s poetry in 1967. He was also the person behind the character of Japhy Ryder in Jack Kerouac’s 1958 book The Dharma Bums. Gary Snyder is still alive at age 89.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2019 at 10:24 AM

  2. You have to hand it to those trees, finding a grip on all that rock.


    November 29, 2019 at 8:41 AM

    • Enchanted Rock provides plenty of spots for plants and trees to get a foothold. Water accumulates in cracks and depressions and places where the rock has exfoliated, and eventually plants succeed in growing there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2019 at 10:31 AM

  3. Only by showing an object for comparison can we fully understand the grandeur and size of a mountain. This really worked for you with the trees, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    November 29, 2019 at 8:46 AM

    • I’m glad it worked to give you a sense of scale, Peter, as was intended. Of course what central Texas offers is nothing compared to the Rocky Mountains where you are.

      The posts that follow will give you closer looks at some of Enchanted Rock’s formations.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2019 at 10:34 AM

      • You are so right, Steve. Even the tallest Douglas fir looks puny by comparison to the Rocky Mountains.

        Peter Klopp

        November 29, 2019 at 10:54 AM

        • I reveled in all that grandeur during our visits to Kootenay, Yoho, Banff and Jasper National Parks.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 29, 2019 at 11:00 AM

  4. Im-bleeping-pressive! I must read all about it. I, too, noticed the small rock before the trees. I love Linda’s quote.

    Michael Scandling

    November 29, 2019 at 9:39 AM

    • As I replied to Linda, that rock in the first picture is a real eye-grabber. Though I included it in other photographs, all were taken with a telephoto and the rock came out rather similar, so I followed my usual practice here and showed only one of those pictures to avoid redundancy. In upcoming posts, however, I’ll show multiple views of an object that are different enough from each other that I won’t be repeating myself.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2019 at 10:40 AM

  5. Some of the rocks seem to be defying gravity holding on. In the bottom picture, are the yellow streaks lichen? That is the one my mind lingers over.


    November 29, 2019 at 10:48 AM

    • Over long periods of time the dome slowly exfoliates, and the the sloughed-off pieces eventually find their way to the bottom. You can see some of them in the lower left, and of course there’s the solitary one in the upper right that’s so prominent.

      Yes, you’re right that the yellow streaks are lichens. I think some of the darker parts of the orange patches are lichens, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 29, 2019 at 11:12 AM

  6. The tenacity of trees finding what they need to endure atop rock is amazing. The coast of Acadia is host to pink granite and we have our own Monadnock here in New England. That’s an impressive hunk of granite.

    Steve Gingold

    November 30, 2019 at 4:43 AM

  7. Crazy monadnock!! 😉


    December 28, 2019 at 8:26 PM

    • Willy Nelson, who lives outside Austin, could have sung: “I’m crazy, crazy about this monadnock.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2019 at 10:33 PM

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