LAKE BUCHANAN is the second largest of the Highland Lakes in Central Texas with a length of 30 miles and a width at the widest point of just under 5 miles and a shoreline of 124 miles. When it was built, Buchanan Dam was considered to be the longest multiple-arch dam in the U.S. with a length of just over two miles. It is only 20 minutes from Llano.
There are many unusual stories regarding Enchanted Rock. In the absence of fact, legend and speculation combined to answer compelling questions. In the past, such stories have been the only source of readily available information on Enchanted Rock. The stereotype of the Indians as superstitious savages motivated by fear and ignorance was at the heart of these tales.
It is often said that the Indians feared Enchanted Rock, that they would not even shoot arrows in its direction. In fact, it was not fear but respect, that motivated their actions. The Indians held Enchanted Rock as a sacred, living entity. Who among us would discharge a gun in a church, temple, or synagogue? And if we refused to do so, who could truthfully say fear motivated our actions?
Another common tale is that the Indians feared the Rock because of the mysterious 'groaning' sounds it emanated. Contemporary geologists attribute this phenomenon to the rapid contraction and expansion of granite during sudden changes in temperature. Despite such logic, if those sounds do occur, would not the entire granitic region in Gillespie, Llano, Burnet, and San Saba Counties have been feared or held sacred by the Indians?
Also, if the Indians feared Enchanted Rock, why are there so many ancient campsites so close to the place? There are, in fact, archeological sites on both sides of Sandy Creek, upstream and downstream for miles.
Several tales of Indians sacrificing virgins or other members of their tribe at Enchanted Rock to appease an 'angry god' have been circulating for years. However, in the Plains Indian cultures there is no evidence that they ever practiced human sacrifice of their own tribal members to appease the Great Spirit, or any other deity. What we do find, due to a drastic reduction in their numbers to disease and conflict with Whites, is a tradition of tribes capturing women of other races in order to bear children and increase their numbers.
The tales of intertribal sacrifice may well have their roots in earlier contacts between the Spanish and Aztec cultures which were handed down from conqueror to conqueror. As Peter Furth noted in Man’s rise to Civilization, 'Human sacrifice never occurs in societies beneath the level of chiefdom... Only as societies become increasingly complex does the awareness of kinship lessen; only then does man become inclined to sacrifice one of his own kind or any animal surrogate.' Other studies have suggested that human sacrifice is found in large communities of early agrarian cultures; not among hunter-gatherer cultures.
There is another story of a white woman who escaped her Indian captors, only to spend the balance of her life in total madness at Enchanted Rock. Her howls, it is said, created fear among the Indians. This story actually has a ring to truth. The only problem is, again, the emphasis on fear, which is inappropriate when applied to an entire race. Actually, the Plains Indians considered the insane as having been touched by the Great spirit. The insane were respected, avoided, sometimes cared for, but never molested.
The museum contains the world-renowned Campbell Collection of wildlife animals. You would be hard pressed to find this many species of animals on display under one roof any place in the United States. The museum is not only the home for the animals, but also a learning center for wildlife and natural history.
Llano and its surroundings are covered from head to toe in some of the most beautiful wild flowers you will ever see. Get in your car and take your own little tour. But don't forget to stop and smell the flowers.
Llano river dam and Bridge
Not quite the Hoover dam but one in its own right. I always found this dam to be a beautiful sight and because of its small size , on occasion you can see fish jumping in and out of its waters.
You can follow the path/trail, and take an easy hike up the rounded face of Enchanted Rock to get a great view of Central Texas/Hill Country. For those more adventurous, you can walk around to the back, and do a technical climb with rope and pitons up the sheer face of the back.
A bit of geological information. Enchanted Rock is Pre-Cambrian in age, among the oldest rocks on Earth (oldest age classification). It is igneous granite, but weathers gray, so you only see the individual crystals on new broken edges/faces. It's actually made of a particular type of granite called Llanite (after the town of Llano), and is particular in that it has blue phenocrysts of feldspar. This is the heart of the Central Texas Uplift.
Vanishing Texas River Cruise
One of the best cruises you will ever take. With a variety of different tours of texas.
This historic building now abandoned was one of the first structures in the city.