For most of my life this is what constituted mountains in my mind. Enchanted Rock in Llano County in central Texas is still very special to me. Whenever I am in the area I make a point of driving the loop road that passes by the park to enjoy the views…
The prominent granite dome is visible for many miles in the surrounding basin of the Llano Uplift. The weathered dome, standing above the surrounding plain is known to geologists as a monadnock. The rock is actually the visible above-ground part of a segmented ridge, the surface expression of a large igneous batholith, called the Town Mountain Granite of middle Precambrian (1,082 ± 6 million years ago) material that intruded into earlier metamorphic schist, called the Packsaddle Schist. The intrusive granite of the rock mass, or pluton, was exposed by extensive erosion of the surrounding sedimentary rock, primarily the Cretaceous Edwards limestone, which is exposed a few miles to the south of Enchanted Rock.
The first time I saw the “Rock” I was in high school on a geology field trip. At that time it was still privately owned. The owners allowed camping and digging for the crystals that were common in the area.
Since that first visit I have been by the rock many times over the years. I even introduced my children to the top of the rock on a visit one summer. It was that visit that taught me about my wife and oldest daughters lack of an appreciation for high places. Walking up the rock was disconcerting to them both, even though it wasn’t that steep.