Adventures in the Texas Hill Country – Enchanted Rock, Llano and Willow City Loop

Inaugural Retirement trip – Part 5

This trip is turning out, like most for me, to be a long process of sharing our experiences, after our return home, and then taking off again on our test RV rental. But as my dear husband said last night, “no one is holding their breath, so take your time.” 😀 Nothing like a reality check from those who love you the most! So, I am completing this post in my camp chair, with an incredible view of Tennessee’s Douglas Lake, with the Smoky Mountains in the backdrop. Life is good!

If you are just joining our Texas journey, you can go back to the beginning here.

In the last post, we were enjoying our first night back in Fredericksburg, at the lovely Angel’s Lodge Above the Creek. When we last stayed at Angel’s, one of the really unique features was that they delivered a tray of coffee and breakfast goodies to your suite each morning. I guess that got too expensive, labor intensive, or logistically difficult because now you receive a coupon each morning of your stay toward breakfast at your choice of three local restaurants. No problem, we love discovering new local restaurants, so after a great nights sleep, we headed off to the Sunset Grill for breakfast. The grill is adjacent to a motel, and has a real throwback interior design which, along with the large and scrumptious breakfast portions, took us back to the days of the old-time diner! Yum!

For April in Texas, the 54 degree (F) weather was chilly, and we wore fleece liners under our mesh riding gear. Our destination for the morning was about 17 miles north of Fredericksburg, the Enchanted Rock state natural area. Hwy 965 was an unbelievable treat for the rider, and the camera. The road twisted and snaked its way north to the state natural area, and was covered in a wild array of wildflower colors. Pics of the flowers will have to wait till after our visit to Enchanted Rock proper. I know, what a tease…

No words required!

No words required!

Jerry waiting patiently for the photo op.

Jerry waiting patiently for the photo op.

 

We first visited Enchanted Rock 20 years ago when we were exploring our budding relationship and hill country surroundings, and simply fell in love with the park and the massive rock. It has been wisely left totally natural so that we humans can be humbled by the grandeur of Mother Nature’s best work. It is what Georgia’s Stone Mountain probably was before it was turned into a commercial, theme park monstrosity.

That said, I will shut up and let the photos of Enchanted Rock do the talking.

Approaching the summit trail

Approaching the summit trail

 

Incredible beauty growing out of granite

Incredible beauty growing out of granite

Views to die for!

Views to die for!

The resillience of Nature

The resilience of Nature

Just one of the 360 views on topJust one of the 360 views on top

The hike was probably a little more difficult than our first time, 20 years ago, but we enjoyed and savored every step! At the summit, we met a hiker from Houston named Jeff, who shared his travel philosophy and plans to attend a unique music festival south of Austin. It is these chance encounters that make travel so inspiring and enriching. He also took our picture. 🙂

Cheesy tourist shot

Cheesy tourist shot

A few more shots from the summit and the hike down around the long way.

Showing just how insignificant we humans really are, in the big picture

An inkling of how insignificant we humans really are, in the big picture

 

Pops of color against the granite

Pops of color against the granite

The rock's smaller sister to the south

The rock’s smaller sister to the south

A lake on the backside of Enchanted Rock

A lake on the backside of Enchanted Rock

Massive boulders moved by unimaginable forces

Massive boulders moved by unimaginable forces

Million dollar view

Million dollar view

Once we completed our hike, we continued North on 965 to Hwy 16 and we were blown away by the wildflowers lining both highways! These pictures don’t do them justice, but they are all we have. It was truly indescribable!

Bluebonnets and orange Indian Paintbrish were spectacular.

Bluebonnets and orange Indian Paintbrush were spectacular.

 

I am not sure what the yellow flowers were

I am not sure what the yellow flowers were

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Our post-hike destination was the small town of Llano, to re-visit Cooper’s Pit Bar-B-Que. We experienced Cooper’s twice previously, so our mouths were watering on the way there.

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At Cooper’s, you choose your main dish from a smoking pit by pointing at your choice, which is then loaded on a tray which you take inside to choose your sides, drinks, etc.

Choices, choices!

Choices, choices!

Our choices: ribs, brisket & turkey!

Our choices: ribs, brisket & turkey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we enjoyed our Bar B Que, we visited with two ladies from Nashville who were also touring the hill country and exchanged must-see suggestions. They let us know that Southern Living magazine recently heralded the wildflowers in 2015 the best in ONE HUNDRED years. Wow!

From Llano, we headed back south down Highway 16 and detoured on the Willow City Loop. We stumbled on this hidden gem many years ago, and it appears the secret is out…we saw literally dozens of cars on this rural 20-mile loop, which combines scenic views of craggy ridges, fun elevation changes, free range longhorn cattle, and fields of every color wildflower you can imagine. In spring, of course!

Wonderful views

Wonderful views

The ever-present Texas Star

The much loved, and ever-present Texas Star

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Bluebonnets prevail!

Bluebonnets prevail!

Boot art

Boot art

 

Longhorn cattle!

Longhorn cattle!

This was the big Daddy!

This was the big Daddy!

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After navigating the cars and motorcycles on the Willow City loop, we headed back to the inn and I experienced blog frustration with not being able to load any pictures. At this point, I was not sure if it was a wifi issue or a tablet malfunction, and was hoping for the former. Of course, it turned out to be a tablet app issue. But we didn’t find that out till much later.

Giving up on the blogging idea, we took a few more pictures of the Inn.

The lovely pool

The lovely pool

Jerry in front of the patio fireplace

Jerry in front of the patio fireplace

A lovely sentiment in the gazebo

A lovely sentiment in the gazebo

Then we walked to the Lincoln Street Wine Bar and market for a light dinner of cheese, fruit, and bread. Just a perfect way to top off our day!

With all the hiking exertion, we felt we must treat ourselves to another jacuzzi bath, and then again slept like babies.  Join us next time when we head deeper into the hill country to tackle the Three Sisters. You can go directly to that post here.

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11 thoughts on “Adventures in the Texas Hill Country – Enchanted Rock, Llano and Willow City Loop

    • Thank you, Lynn! We sure understand why you love the convenience of taking your home on wheels with you on your adventures! Hotels are nice, but having it all with you is great! But, I am getting ahead of my story, LOL!

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  1. What a beautiful trip you had, Lynne! So happy for you!

    sounds like you’re already onto your next adventure! Busy lady!!

    I’m back in Lawrenceville the week of the 25th of May. I have two new hires that are in for training that week, so I imagine I’ll be doing dinner with them most nights – but if you’re around, I’m sure I could beg off for one night! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We loved Llano! We stayed there 2 weeks in a nice RV park and did a lot of riding around there. Didn’t like that it was the deer hunting capitol only because there were so many deer!!! LOL I was a paranoid nutcase most of the time while riding but really enjoyed the area anyway. If you do get a RV you should go back there and stay.

    Liked by 1 person

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