The weeks of Christmas and New Years turned out to be incredibly busy. It seems that lots of folks decided that climbing "The Rock" and camping here overnight was just the way to end their year. They came within just a few minutes of closing the park one day as virtually all of the parking spaces were filled and folks were waiting up to an hour out on the highway to get in!
Here is a picture of Enchanted Rock during a busy afternoon.
|Enchanted Rock on a Busy Afternoon|
A couple of days later we got a report that a young lady had injured her ankle and wasn't able to come down on her own. So three rangers and myself headed up to her with a rescue litter, strapped her in, and carried her down to the parking lot. Coming down the rock carrying a litter is tough because the whole operation is about five feet wide with the litter and two guys on each side. The trail, on the other hand, is only about two feet wide, so we were walking on really difficult and uneven ground. While we were bringing her down we got another call on a lost hiker. The park called in the local search & rescue team since we were otherwise occupied. About the time that team arrived the lost hiker was found.
Finally, today the Gillespie County 911 received a call from two hikers who found themselves on a precarious ledge and wanted to be rescued. Problem was they didn't know where they were, and gave descriptions such as "the sun is to our left and we can see a white building". The cell connections here are lousy and we couldn't make contact with them again. We only had one ranger on today, so he took a truck around back while I went up the rock looking for this pair. Fortunately, the ranger met up with one of the other park hosts who has participated in rescues before (Carol), picked her up, and took her around back as well. He turned Carol loose in the most likely area and darned if she didn't walk right up to the lost hikers in a spot where they've found folks before. Carol is a 64 year-old lady that just ran a half-marathon, and you definitely want her on your team when it comes to search and rescue!
Teri and I visited our next stop (Inks Lake) yesterday and located our assigned site. So we'll pack up in the morning, make the short 45 mile drive to our new park, and start a new 3-month adventure.
So stay tuned, and Happy New Year!