What is it that makes Enchanted Rock so enchanting? Many, perhaps most of the parks hundreds of thousands of visitors go home to say they climbed a big rock. According to Carl Fabre, The Rock has much more to offer visitors who want to be educated, who want to be involved. In fact, a visit to The Rock can be magnificently memorable.
Carl is a Certified Interpretive Guide. When he was nineteen, he took an aptitude survey, and found out that what he wanted most was to be a nature guide. Over forty years later, after a career as a nurse anesthetist, he became just that. Carl has been a frequent visitor since the seventies, when he began climbing, exploring, camping and photographing at Enchanted Rock. Along the way he became a Texas Master Natural Naturalist, and developed an intimate knowledge of the geology, plant, and animal life at The Rock. He knows enough about the area to customize a tour for his audience, so that each group leaves enlightened, engaged, entertained, and enthusiastic.
Eco-tourists can learn to appreciate the different species of vultures soaring overhead, how to ID them, and their natural history. On his Riparian Zone Tour, Carl’s emphasis is on ethnobotany, and birders can see and explore habitat where birds are more prevalent. His Backside Tour can be a glimpse into the history of rock climbing here over the years, pointing out classic climbs, and answering everyone’s questions on “how do they get up there”, and “how do they get down”? Children’s groups have more hands on experiences with pieces of mesquite, yucca, flint, and carrot shavings (yes, carrot shavings!). Everyone hears stories; legends from the Native Americans about the magic of the area and from frontier times and Texas Rangers. Stories from the early days of European settlers, or stories of its days as a private park. Carl says that ten thousand years of habitation have left plenty of material for his tours.
Carl says, “I will help to you connect your experience that goes beyond the facts; to reveal what things mean here, and how they fit together, and why they matter. I don’t strive to cover the material so much as to uncover it. I can show you tent blisters and doughnuts, rare plants, and reclusive wildlife, the kind of places it takes years of experience to locate.”
I asked Carl how E-Rock could be a better experience, and he came up with two things: “First, I’d like to see an accessible naturalist on the Summit Trail at all times, pointing out what people miss, explaining what they are seeing, and helping when they get lost. That would be my dream job! I’d like to see someone helping people understand that Enchanted Rock is much more than a big piece of granite. Second, I’d like to see a big effort to educate visitors with dogs to keep them leashed. This rule needs to be enforced somehow to keep them from disrupting the native wildlife, out of the vernal pools, and damaging the experience for others.
Is it time you found out what Enchanted Rock is really about? Carl’s Interpretive Guide services can be engaged by calling Rock-About at (512) 415-0804, and arranging an Interpretive Tour.