Friday, April 4, 2014

We Conquered the Rock!

Enchanted Rock that is.
Now that I've been able to tell you about Eric's job change, I can also tell you that he had 2 weeks between finishing at one job and beginning the other.

We took advantage of this mini retirement and did a few things together.
We took 3 day trips and this was one of them.

If you double click on this picture, the tiny specks you see on the rock are people.  Yes, it's that big!
This photo doesn't really do justice to how odd (and beautiful) this formation is.
Two, side-by-side pink granite domes rise 425 feet above the surrounding countryside.
This sort of "bubbling up" dome is called a batholith.
Magma bubbled to the surface about 1 billion years ago (yes, billion) and hardened.
This formation is the second largest of its kind in North America.
Second only to Stone Mountain in Georgia.

I'm here to tell you that 425 feet up is a long way.  
Eric is in much better shape than me and was patient as I took several breaks to catch my breath.
Maybe that's why they call the views from up high, "breathtaking"?

The grade might look challenging, but the rock is very much like the roughest sandpaper you can think of.  
Great for gripping with a rubber-soled hiking boot.

We've hiked it before, and each time I think, 
"Boy, if someone took a fall, they'd tumble all the way to the bottom."
It's a pretty steep grade and there's nothing to grab hold of, should you trip.
Still, thousands of people climb to the top and back down again, every year.

While neither of us have studied much geology, we have both always been fascinated by what rock does-pushing and pulling and layers on top of layers that barely resemble one another.  What was happening on the planet when this dome was formed?

Like all hikes that take you upward, the gift upon making it to the top is the view.
I've searched the internet to find out the name of this beautiful jumble of rocks to the north, but I can't find it.  
I'm certain it has a name.

It's funny to think that Eric is standing, using his cell phone, in a place that another human might have stood 11,000 years ago.  
Probably not using a cell phone, though.

The arid landscape gives up a bit of color in the springtime when we get a bit of rain.  
It had rained the day before we went.  Lucky for us.  
I've never seen this species of barrel cactus in bloom before.

If you double click this picture, you'll see a funny formation at about "4 o'clock"--it looks like a table on a tall pedestal.  Again, don't know what it's called, but will keep searching.

The next several pictures demonstrate that this dome is made up of what geologist called Exfoliation layers. The magma rose and cooled and then another layer bubbled up over the top of the cooled layer---over and over again. 
With the change of weather and possible earthquakes over billions of year, those layers of 'exfoliated' or flaked off.  In a really big way!
  All around the base of the dome, there is a boulder field. 

Not all the boulders are this large, but we wondered if any of these fascinating layers have flaked off in recent history.
Another internet search.
What did I ever do before Google?

This shot makes it clearer as to what I'm talking about.
The rock is really like a big onion.

Beyond the obvious (hiking, exercise, amateur geologists) this trip was an opportunity for us to reconnect and not have anything hanging over our heads.  A chance to remember that no matter what, we were still a team.
Simple things like holding hands or helping me down from one large boulder to another, talking about trivial things meant so much. Dreaming about what this new job means for him, seeing him laugh and smile---they all were huge for me. 

It was a perfect day.  A lovely day.
Thanks honey. 


  1. Awesome in the true sense of the word. The dome looks a lot like the "slick rock" in Southern Utah. It's okay to climb as long as the feet keep their grip and scary to contemplate what would happen if they don't. Love the geology lesson, love the view and the cactus heart is also fun.

  2. Funny you mention that. While on our hike, I asked Eric if it was similar to Utah, as he has mountain biked in Moab a few times. He said slick rock is more sandy in nature. I think it looks the same. :)