"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Llano,Texas: Cooper's BBQ and Enchanted Rock

A comment from readers Carol and Kevin a couple of weeks ago inspired us to visit Enchanted Rock State Park before we left the Austin area.  On our way we stopped in Llano at yet another famous BBQ - Coopers. We thought we were probably too early for lunch at 10:45, but they were open and there was already a full house - mostly hunters and their boys having an early lunch after being up since dawn we figured.  So we joined the crowd.

Like Kruez Market and many other Texas BBQs I guess, you line up by the smokers and ask for the meat you want. They load you up and you go inside for drinks and sides and to pay.  Cooper's ovens were outside. 

They had a large selection of meats including the standard brisket and sausage, plus pork, beef and goat ribs, prime rib, half chickens, pork loin, and their famous "Big" pork chops (right in front there). Here at Coopers they offer to "dip" your meat in their signature sauce - a thin vinegary, salty-sweet broth. We went for the dip. Oh boy. They let you have utensils here, plus there were plenty of paper towels on the tables. We needed 'em.

The dining room has a lot of character, and is all family style with paper towels, loaves of white bread, pickled okra, and other fixings on the tables and on nearby counters. Free onions and more dip. Generous drinks. Great cobblers of various sorts.  The best pinto beans I've ever had - also free. Well, I should say included in the price, because it was pricey. 

The place had a really fun feel. The whole thing was a meat love-fest. People were happy and talkative about what they were eating. We were too. We both got huge pieces of juicy, delicious meat (chicken and prime rib) and never thought we'd be able to eat even half of it, but let me tell you, it slid right down and before we knew it, it was gone.

With full bellies, a little something in foil for Kona, beans and blackberry cobbler packed in a sack to go, we headed south to Enchanted Rock State Park.  We thought we'd just hike around a little and see what there was to see. After paying the admission fee (Texas has almost no parks without a fee) we struck out on a minimally marked trail in the general direction of what we assumed was the Enchanted Rock summit.

It was a relatively gently climb, so we just kept going up. Even though we were probably not on THE Summit Trail, the summit is pretty hard to miss.  Enchanted Rock is a large singular outcropping of pink granite called a pluton.  There are some interesting boulders scattered along trail.

It got a little slippery for Kona in some places, so we zig-zagged up the incline. She was, as always, a trooper. She just keeps saying to herself that there might be a swim up ahead somewhere.

Once at the top there's a nice view of the surrounding hill country.  We rested up a bit with a few other folks that had made it to the top, then headed back down in zig-sag fashion again.

On the way we passed more interesting boulders...

,...and followed some mysterious (not to geologists) fissures and tracks along the faces of the Rock.

We had to do some serious scrabbling because we lost the (poorly marked I must say again) trail. It kept looking better than it was once we got right into it. We were pretty amazed that Kona could manage it all. 

Once back down into the scrub I got a couple of good butterfly shots. This first little one is a Clouded Sulpher...

and this about 3" one is a Gulf Fritillary.

By the way, I think the butterfly I couldn't identify a few posts ago was also a Gulf Fritillary. 

I'm going to try to squeeze in one more Texas post before we get to Louisiana. This new 4G Mifi Hotspot is great.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Want to leave a comment?