Few days are ever spent in Full Range walking. Today was one.
The first part of the day took place in Longhorn Caverns, north of Austin, where tour guide Al Jarreau assisted us in stooping, duck walking, and outright sliding our way down through the depths at some 140 feet below the surface of the earth.
We thoroughly enjoyed our $12.40 hour and a-half, 1.4 mile experience down under. The highlight for me was seeing photos of the 1920′s Speakeasy that was crafted out of a giant hallway near the dnd if the passageway that was outfitted with wooden dance floor, bandstand, and dining room.
We were in the neighborhood, so we stopped at Cooper’s Pit, where I consumed close to two pounds worth of pork ribs, sirloin, and brisket.
This place has an outdoor ordering area where you point and indicate how big a piece for the fire tender to cut. Next, he tongs the meat and dunks it in a sauce kettle if you wish, and piles it all up on a plastic restaurant tray for you to eat inside, where they have extra beans, sauce, pickled jalapeños, white bread, and paper towels. I used many paper towels.
At this point our group broke up and Tenzing and I split for Enchanted Rock State park, where we hoped to get in some night hinking.
Monday night was quiet. We drove in and found the best campsite we could, in the corner of a flat shady plain, one that overlooked a meandering stream in a green belt. No one was working, so we figured out how much to put in an envelope, and moved on.
We had good maps of the Park, and it was about 45 minutes before sunset, so we struck out for an elevated western outlook one mile up the Loop Trail. We were right with the experience, and next reasoned that we could reach the 1825′ top of Enchanted Rock from the back side with the aid of our flashlights, care, and of course luck. I
We continued around Moss Lake, then the Echo Canyon trail until we found the intersection of the Summit trail and then wound our way to the top. I forgot to take my headlamp out of my backpack pocket and transfer it to the day pack, so no light for me. At this point in was a dark, moonlight night, So, no problem- I’d walk in front of Tenzing, who put three fresh AAA’s to work, firing a path for me to walk through.
I was extra careful on foot placement- the path was all over the place, but the Rainbow New Balance 890′s stuck like glue. I used a compass and we sighted in lighted landmarks, so that we could find our way back. Once on top, Clarkie and I settled in on our backs and laid into some depressions on the still warm granite, escaped the breezes up there and enjoyed the light show.
We ended up walking 6 miles.
When We got back to camp, I built a fire from kindling and firewood that we scrounged up, allowing us to continue our enjoyment of the night sky festooned with more stars than can be ever counted.
Down more than 140 below ground, then up 1850 feet with our eyes fixed on the heavens, pondering the impossible, all within one 24 hour period.