Our Enchanted Rock campout is coming up soon. You can find out a little more about Enchanted Rock State Natural Area from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/enchanted_rock/), from the Friends of Enchanted Rock (http://www.friendsofenchantedrock.com), and from the website devoted to Lance Allred's book on Enchanted Rock (http://www.enchantedrocksna.com).
We will be splitting into two groups - the Friends, Companions and Explorers will be at the base camp, the Rangers, Voyagers and Guides will be backpacking in to the primitive camping area. We will have supply checklists handed out at the club meeting, and available on the FORMS page on our website (http://austinsouthpathfinders.com). There is also a page of links to different resources about backpacking, gear, camp stoves and cooking, and the flora and fauna of Texas (http://austinsouthpathfinders.com/#/camping-and-backpacking-links/4548314783). For those new to backpack camping, or looking to brush up skills and get new ideas, we will be sharing with you at the club meetings additional information and tips. Also, for even more additional information and advice, the local REI stores happen to be offering free classes in backpacking in the weeks ahead of our trip. If you are interested, sign up soon, the spots fill fast. [Feb. 17, 7:00-8:30PM - REI Downtown - Backpacking Basics. Feb. 22, 7:00-8:30PM at REI - 9901 N Capitol of Texas Hwy - Light and Fast Backpacking Basics.)
There are some rather interesting features of Enchanted Rock that we will be able to observe during our outing, including the vernal pools that form on the weathered dome of granite. These support plant and animal life, including the Fairy Sword Fern (Cheilanthus lindheimeri) and small Fairy Shrimp (sort of like Sea Monkeys). It may be a little too early for the best showing of wildflowers, but you would be surprised at the number that this apparently barren rocky area can support.
We should also have the opportunity to look into (and crawl through) one of the caves on the back side of the dome, and the TLTs may be continuing with their rock climbing. Because it is still February, the weather can be rather changeable, so be prepared with appropriate clothing, and for those who get cold at night, you may want to bring a knit cap to sleep in.
This is a great opportunity to explore one of the most popular parks in Texas, and also a wonderful setting for a study of how God can support life in some of the most unlikely places.
The SAIL Pathfinder Club will be debuting the new movie "The Secret of the Fossil" in January as a club fundraiser. More information coming soon!