Location: Stanislaus National Forest/California/USA
Note: The booming beauty of California is truly a thing all its own, as distinct as places like Ireland, Jamaica, or The Southern Alps of Italy, and France. The legendary Californian Valley can easily be seen from outside the atmosphere, perfectly ensconced, like an elongated womb, by the limitation of the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the Stanislaus National Forest rising into the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to the East. The vast variations in morphology, from the Sea-levels of San Francisco, to the Valley, filled with golden hills and glades of Orange groves, rising to the rugged rocky pinnacle at Yosemite’s Half Dome some 5000 feet above, could make a heart glow through the eyes. Fixed like a Jurassic rain-drop, between the eyes of Stanislaus National Forest and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, is Pinecrest Lake; a deep sapphire jewel, against a golden and green-grey wilderness.
If you are lucky enough to find Sonoma California (Image/Right) you will have found the main mountain-port village, tucked quiantly into the gorgeous golden hills on the very edge of the overall wilderness of West Coast Forest and Mountains, for jumping off into Stanislaus National Forest. Sonoma is like a Seaport town would be, to the wide-open Ocean, except it is a landward port. Highway 108 shoots-out like a lightning bolt from Sonoma, north-east, into an ocean of rising Pine and Sequoia trees. Just an hour driving along Highway 108 and you will arrive at the mountain-town of Strawberry, California, and Pinecrest Lake (which is a slight right turn-off from 108.) Pincrest is a small resort with the option of swimming, hiking, and just sitting on the mountain-view beach. It’s spectacular, with a view of the first ridges of the Sierras.
Hiking any lake is a lesson in circumambulance, the eternal cycle of starting where you finish, and finishing where you start. Renown German psychologist and dream specialist Carl Yung considered the discovery of The Self to be a process of circumambulation, rather than any basic linear process. The experiential side of hiking can often times leave you feeling a little different by the end of an excursion, as opposed to when you started; and yet you are the same person. The larger the challenge, the more likely the hike will bring an interaction, or feeling, that is new to you. Appreciation, confidence, tranquility, perseverance, less inhibited feelings, all result from hiking circular routes. And a circular route with a view like this, with the option to swim, or just sit in the Sun, can inevitably combine all of those feelings into a humble, but supreme joy. Even a few short moments of this rare feeling is enough to sustain you for the year to come. Off you go.
The trail at Pinecrest begins at a playful beach where families are enjoying the scene. One of the comforting aspect of lake trails is that you can’t get lost, so you can step boldly. If you begin to the right side of the beach, you will see a fairly impressive megalith set on the shallow water. The boulder appears to model the arch of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in this incredible background, with 3 distinct indents near its core. It is aligned parallel to the scene of the mountains behind, which may be an indicator that this place might have megalithic secrets to share. In sacred sites in Ireland, Scotland, Arizona, and New England, Stonestrider.com has documented hundreds of locations where fixed boulders model the landscape. In these zones, free standing boulders sit at the top of rocky pinnacles, or imitate the arch of the valley below. Below is a megalith that was carved to fit the exact curvature of the lower Valley at Mount Bearnagh, Ireland (Image/Below/Left), and a marker-stone high on Mount Katahdin, in Maine USA, pointing directly at the peak in the distance.(Below/Right)
Another example of a fixed boulder is this stone (Image/Left), set among incredible foliage in the heights above the Blackstone Valley in Upton Massachusetts. The stone is pointing directly at the apex of the small mountain beyond. This stone, interestingly enough, also has three distinctly indented slashed gashes, just like the megalith at Pinecrest.
The trail at Pinecrest dallies through small rock gardens, contrasted by tall stones and gnarly Oaks and Pines. The right-side path of the lake, running counter-clockwise through these rocks and brambles, includes the option to swim at any given moment. This a joyful retreat for families, not the typical reclusive cultural jag of many stonestrider.com sites. Elder folks, children, extended families, and couples, are cruising through, conversing on every type of topic, while attempting the entirety of the trail. At the 2.5 mile mark, hikers will come to the opposite side of the beachhead starting point. There are a set of miniature cliffs reaching right up to the lake; elevated ridges and points of vantage over the entire scene. Interestingly, at the center of gravity of one of these high-points, is a perfectly placed, free-standing boulder. (Image/Below) There hundreds of thousands of these gravitational-fixed, strategically placed, boulders in the high points of many such beautific scenes across the Continent, and Western Europe. I need to address this glacial argument for a moment. Please consider the rediculous logic post-modern scientists are force-feeding us: Take a look at some other free-standing boulders in different places beautiful locations in New England, Arizona, Colorado. Ireland. Are scientists saying that the same glacial-sheet, from Ireland to Arizona, placed these boulders in gravitational perfection? Really? I have to struggle just to make this theory make sense.
Does anyone ever raise the point of fact that these boulders are placed at the precise center of gravity for balancing, all at grand scenic points across America, and Western Europe?
What shafts of ‘glacial-ice’ could lay these boulders in the perfect gravitational center, literally hundreds of thousands of times? This boulder in Red Rocks National Park in Arizona (Orange/Below) is literally lock-fitted, and tilted towards the course of the Sun. This is scientifically significant points of observation totally dismissed by the ‘scientific community’. The Neolithic zones around these boulders are also amazing. It so obvious that these boulders are skillful markers of once-occupied sociological spaces. Scientists are incredibly pompous to
ignore the gravitational aspect of these sociological statements. What irks me most is that these control-freaks honestly think you are dumb enough to believe that glacial-ice is responsible for these gravitationally-perfect, lock-fit, solar oriented Neoliths, always found in zones filled with incredible statements? I’m so completely exhausted from presenting the evidence, scientifically, only to listen to stuffy, passe, agenda-freak-concerned ‘scientists’ that give me their robotic, totally inconsiderate of the mathematical physics, response to the mounting evidence. I’m sorry to burst everyones bubble, but History is not what you were told in High School or Undergraduate. It is far deeper, and even mystical in nature, with miraculous evidence to challenge our very cognitive abilities. I used to believe what other people believed, but you have to acknowledge the evidence, or consider yourself voluntarily blind. Just take a look at the digital cut of this boulder along the Pinecrest lake side, not far from the free-standing boulder. It looks like a wood piece, cut from a carpenters table. It reminded me of a cut stone I found a few seasons prior to this, that was almost identical, in the forests of western Massachusetts. (Image/Below).
Scientists say that this phenomenon is natural? If this happened naturally, a split from an earthquake or something, how does that explain the perfection of the cut? New England does not experience Earth quakes. Where is the other half of the stone, if it simply, split? How does a boulder just split, perfectly? These don’t exactly move, EVER. to go one step further, consider an example of a cut-boulder that does have an adjacent face, at Mount Watatic in Massachusetts. It literally looks as if someone intentionally sliced this boulder, like a hot knife through butter, and then sanded a perfectly level and centered stone, directly between them. Look at the flatness and levelness of that middle stone. The centricity alone sets off all sorts mathematical principles, and design. As you can see, the rocky pathway behind, goes up the mountain, and stems directly through this cut ‘gateway’. How can scientists claim this is random? It is absurd to me that they claim this is mere chance. Totally absurd. And just as the trails wind through amazing works of Neolithic Stone at Watatic Mountain in New England, the trail here at Pinecrest seem to portray the exact same portfolio. These are ‘worked’ areas. Who did it, and how, is something people are allowed to consider without the bizarre ‘science-ing’ that ruins the entire process of thought for which these works are meant to inspire. Why can’t we understand that if they are ‘worked’ cultural statements, then they were left behind intentionally, for the very purpose of consideration. “Scientific” theories are pushing the ridiculous idea of ice-sheets placing boulders in perfectly fit gravitational porches…. in Arizona? And that same force did the same thing in Massachusetts? It’s ridiculous. There are so many geographic and physical absurdities to the glacial-ice displacement theory, that it is hard for me to believe that people actually sit through classes at Universities, listening to it.
The scenic hike at Pinecrest continues to a rocky, river-cut, plateau, overlooking the lake. Here, there is a flow to the hike, a trust in the ruts, roots, and rocks, as you make your way. It is such an encapsulated beauty, the feeling of hiking along a practically hidden lake, at a high elevation. This whole area is surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest. This is the sister Lake of ‘Lake Tahoe’, which is just to the north of here. Pinecrest is one of the most majestic mountain/lake scenes in the world. It has that far-away feeling, that deep distance from all things ‘controlling’, safely away from the grind of every day life, and observational angst and overload.
As you continue passed this halfway point of the rocky porch, you can stop and swim, enjoy the Sunny scene. The rocky ridges mingle with the trail, in a nearly perfect picturesque way.
The milkiness of these hedges hugging-into the rocky ridges, is endearing. Nature is constantly embracing itself, exfoliating and observing at the same time. It really is something to think about, that absorption and exertion in one; The relief of the blue softness of water, against eternally sun-kissed stone. Stanislaus National Forest is a treasure, in scale, and vibrance; A massive force, pushing us to the edges of our understanding.
The trail bends as the Sun ambulates above. There are small Redwood groves mingled with Ponderosa, Oak, and Birch, arching over the water. The trees have a luminosity hard to describe. The refractory light of this particularly clear and mineralized water, reflects upwardly along the bark, making it seem like the trees are reflecting inner light from below, while receiving the Sun above. It all glows.This water is a priceless commodity in the density of the Forest. In indigenous times, before modernization, when this vast wilderness was uninterrupted, this place would have been a briliant magnet for every form of life, for as long as the lake has existed. There are booming crevices with stacking boulders so large that fallen trees look like broken branches in their embrace. There is a grandeur here.You will cross a small water-bound bridge towards the last stretch of pathway and have a look back at the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the distance. Beyond the Sierra Mountains is an intimidating and elevated wilderness that stretches East into deserts, then more massive mountains, then the Great Plains. This is a fine place to be, compared to all that vastness to the East. The last portion of the trail winds back into the Forest, and then to the beach where you began. It is truly endearing to consider the delicateness of the flowers that flourish here, at the final portion of this 7 mile circular jaunt, against the backdrop of the absolute severity beyond. (Image/Below/Left) It reminded me of a trail of lavender foxgloves I once wandered into in the ancient heights of Wales, north of Mount Snowdon. (Image/Below/Right).
It is this type of ‘connectivity-of-thought’ that is the real marrow of mountaineering; when you have visions of another similar location, while passing through a real-time moment. You are literally alive in your past, present, and future, when this happens. It is so hard to produce this spiritual transcendence in the clamor of modern “interactions”, if you can call them that, these days; With texting and emailing, and constant bullshitting to no end, it is hard to find this frame. The realness and delicateness of these flowers struck me, after all that craggy rock on trail. It was humbling to see. I will quote the illustrious Dr. Seuss, while mentioning these flowers, flourishing in a stadium of extremity; That after all that effort, of working through the large-scale challenges of this rugged place, these flowers should remind us, finally and after all, that “A person is a person, no matter how small.” Thanks for reading. And for God’s sake, go for it.
Location: New Hampshire/USA
Elevation: 2000-5000 feet
Note: I have wandered into countless forests, to find mysteries that date back to the beginning of time. I never expected to find anything of the sort, just trees and hedge, mingling with the moonrise. At certain times in my life, that would’ve been reason enough to dissipate into the hills with my cameras. I have been that individual, in the far away distance, in one moment, an acknowledging speck in the distant glances of happy travelers from the valley down below, and in the next moment, vanished.
Once I began to see the legitimacy of what is clearly an oppressed anthropological Culture in the woodsy places of the world, I simply couldn’t tell people fast enough. But as I began to inform people, friends and family, I realized that I was actually performing a new type of vanishing. This vanishing was related to the idea of who I used to be, what I used to say and think. I have one friend, in particular, who, when I would point out some fixture in the stones, would say to me: “It can’t just be beautiful can it? It has to be something… more?” Well, I‘m here today, to say to the entire world, in my least vanished state, that yes, sometimes, if you are truly lucky, it can just be beautiful.
Just look at The White Mountains.
I have travelled many times to the White Mountains intent on the discovery of The Megalithic Culture. In truth, Mount Chocorua, Mount Washington, and more than a half-dozen more of the mingling granite peaks here, in the heart of New Hampshire, hold world-class evidence. But on this excursion, in the Autumn of 2019, although I knew they were certainly there, I would not allow myself to see a single rolling stone. This is the time for trees.
Autumn in New England is a rolling tapestry of trees, an impressionism in real-time, an ocean of foliage. The Mountains roll like stilled tsunamis, continual colors into continual colors, until the sky contrasts the distance. The backdrop of blue, when the Sun is in the sky, fills the scene with brightened colors, deeper shadows, and depth. When a grey mist rolls over the peaks, the shadows seem to vanish, and the colors become slightly more miraculous, against the grey. Ingesting scenes like this somehow creates a mechanism in the heart for turning natural miasmas into rather simple suggestions; like the idea that there is an infinity of everything, spanning in all directions, over the one majestic scene. A true understanding of Nature, that humans are created with a literal connectivity to the lessons of the landscape, becomes clearer in scenes like this. The beauty of the moment is enhanced by the knowledge that it is soon to pass. It underscores the very nature of our lives. To spend time in a space like this is in fact to come many steps closer to what it would be like to wander freely among the stars, blazing against the backdrop of an infinite blackness by the starry billions, and long after you are gone.
Note 2: Mount Pemigewasset Trail/Franconia Notch State Park/NH
The White Mountains sit at the central heart of the State of New Hampshire. It would be a good guess that the State itself established its original boarders in order to encapsulate this Mountain Range gem. To the West is Vermont, and the beauty of the Green Mountain Range, running throughout. To the Northeast is the massive State of Maine, where Mount Katahdin looms in awe inspiring autonomy, like a section of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. (Image/Below)
The main highway that runs straight into the White Mountains is Route 93. One of the most popular and beautiful stretches of road in all of New England in Autumn. Make the choice to drive route 93 through the southern portion of the White Mountain Range, and connect to Route 302, which makes an incredibly visceral swing to the East, through the gorgeous White Mountain passes. Just like any of the Celtic Ranges abroad, this region offers excursions into National Parks, Waterfalls, Lakes, and photogenic stretches of valley, all along the main highways. Due to the amount of incredible choices for hiking, as well as its proximity as a gateway to the central Range along Route 93, Franconia Notch State Park was chosen for this Review. Trail choices here include Flume Gorge (easy), Mount Pemigewasset (medium), Little Haystack Falls (hard), and many more. A Ranger on site recommended the stellar view of Mount Pemigewasset Trail (Image/Below), which is achieved by a moderate hiking experience through absolutely classic New England forestry, with very few rocky formations along the way, for a change.
The trail begins on the north side of the Franconia Notch Parking lot. This is an active scene in Autumn, with cars piled along the side of the highway due to the amount of hikers intent on capturing the views of the region. There is a central lodge with a cafeteria, and information center for guided tours into the Mountains. A sign marks the trail for Mount Pemigewasset, along with a distance description of 1.5 miles to the peak. This measure is significantly off. Understand that it is about 2.1miles to the gorgeous peak at Mount Pemigewasset, obviously making the total hiking experience about 4.2 miles. This hike begins beneath a small picturesque bridge which passes beneath a bustling Route 93. If anything, this bustling is an indicator of exactly what it is you are hoping to get some distance from. Drifting into these Woods is a sonorous escape, where the sound of sifting leaves slowly overcomes the constant murmur of automotive assertion taking place down below. As you slowly climb, the woods whisper over a wide clear path, with roots, rocks, and golden-red leaves. This is a gorgeous forest, on par with the Black Forest of Germany, and beauty of the Scottish Pines in Glen Coe.
There are no variations on Pemigewasset Trail. You follow the clear rocky path, inundated with gold and rouge. The stones do seem deliberate, but this is not that type of Trail. This is a place to admire the raw and massive force that a New England forest can be, a venerable wonderland of the greatest depth, and degree of beauty. As the incline of the Trail continues the glades begin to change. Families of Birches emerge to greet you at about 2000 feet. Even while hiking in the elevated forests of Wyoming, for example, you might unexpectedly wander into a vast family of Birch trees. They simply pop-up wherever they wish, offering a gorgeous glimpse at the often whimsical mentality of trees; something that many of us just don’t consider in our constant ‘problem-solving state’ of ‘corporate function’, and bullshit. The beauty of where glades decide to grow is a marvel made specifically for hikers to ponder, and has a magic all its own, especially when walking through the miniature white pillars of a plentiful Birch boardwalk, closer to the clouds than the clamoring cars below. If you reach these Birches you know you are close to one the prettiest small-Mountain views in all of New Hampshire. As you pass through a narrow corridor of small trees, the vista emerges before you. Take your time breaking through, and prepare to receive your reward. This is a once in a lifetime scene. For those just visiting New England, it may be the only time they see such a vision. This is vista that offers a glimpse of the southerly course leading across New Hampshire back into Massachusetts. The multiplicity of the colors can be disorienting, so do not stand too close to the edge at first, and don’t take selfies near the ledge as well. At the Grand Canyon last year, many people died due to this tendency to ignore the significance of the ledge while leaning-back for their photos. Sit down with your friends, and loved ones, then take the pictures. There is a little bit of forever in the foliage here, sitting down is a small price to ask.To the West is a view along the edge of the Forest, revealing the edge of the immediate Valley. Somehow, it feels as if you could leap down into the softness of the tree-tops, and bounce out of view in just a few bounds. The scene is that surreal. The stony top-platform feels like a fortress beneath your feet, as the contrast of the soft foliage drifts off over the Valley, and through the woods.The way back down is doubly easy, as it always is. When you finally arrive back to your car, having seen the foliage, continue onward to the North, up Route 93 to Rt 302, and follow. This is one of the most wonderful drives in all of North America, winding through the Passes of the White Mountains, where hundreds of Waterfalls lay hidden, while some roll down completely open to the road. Silver Cascade Falls is just such an open view along Route 302. (Image/Below)The White Mountains have a blessed status among Ranges; They blush before sleeping, as the Winter sets in and the trees let go. Let it be a lesson to all of us, that all of our growth, and gain, and loss, will one day hang loose, and simply let go. For those who become sad at the notion of this, just remember that the universe of colors for the following year to come, has already been coded. This code, of course, is unable to be seen, but you better believe is more permanent, than even the White Mountain stone. Get into it, and good luck as you go.
Location: Sequoia National Park/California/USA
Elevation: 13,000 ft
Note: I guess this is as good a place as any to talk about Fire. It was no mistake that at this point in my life I was brought to a Forest which is most ultimately and most intimately connected to Fire. Even the smallest most myopic little spark can begin a blaze so vast in a place like this, it could easily be seen from Space. If that isn’t an aphorism for how even the smallest falsity to a loved one can lead ultimately to total distrust, then I don’t know what is. In this way, different lessons emerge in different forests, which is just another reason why some adventurers get hooked on the next hike; Reading a forest is more often like reading a novel, as experiences culminate you want to see more. learn more. It is eye-opening that the very existence of these exquisite and hallowed pillars of arbos depend upon a practically sentient process of distributing this most prophetic fourth Element. There is also another lesson, no less profound, relative to Fire here: if there is no fire the forest will inevitably stack its dry-brush and suffocate, blocking-out the sunlight from the soil; Too much fire, and the forest will obviously be destroyed, and in the most drastic way possible; But finally, say a thresh-level, low-glowing, and slow-rolling fire begins crackling distinctly beneath the stellar Sierra night; Amazingly, this specific type of fire cleans out the waste. and the Forest is literally reborn.
Studies have shown that many of the trees, in a nearly human display of maternity, will not let go of their seeds until this specific thresh-level fire has taken place. The fact that Fire is scientifically the biological nemesis of any tree is just an incredible lesson on the subtleties of Nature’s relationships, and so our human relationships. We can’t go through life holding-on to our mistakes. At some point, to flourish, you must risk the burn, and leave all the waste, for the fire and wind. Some forests are in harmony, while others struggle in the era.
And just look at the results here. We have the oldest Forest on Earth, in one of the highest elevations on Earth, with the tallest trees on Earth. Many people in other parts of the world are not aware that this particularly rare and ageless Forest requires a quest into the upper elevations of the Sierra Mountains. Sequoia’ sits on the high rocky corner of a massive mountain rim (Image/Top). I myself have lived in the United States all my life, and never realized that Sequoia is literally a Forest that touches the clouds, not just the average woods that could be arrived at by crossing a mere stretch of common roads.
The approach to Sequoia National Park begins on the south-eastern edge of the massive Californian Valley. Porterville, Lyndsay, or Exeter are all classic Californicana’ overnight points for an early morning approach into the initial elevations of Tulare County, a small rolling region blissfully tucked into the golden foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Forests begin to emerge along Three-Rivers Road, Route 198, which is also known as General’s Highway. The entire world changes from gold to green in a matter of miles. This is the main labyrinthian route into the 10,500-foot heights above-sea-level, leading ultimately into Sequoia National Park, and a supreme vantage of the Sierra-Nevada Rim at Moro Rock Trail. There are 39 additionally exquisite options to hike here at the most hallowed Forest in the world, and for a look at the largest and oldest Sequoia Tree, the ‘General Sherman Tree Trail’ is here too. General Sherman Tree Trail: The most ancient and massive tree in the world is found here at Sequoia, known by the rather crass title of “General Sherman”. American Civil War General William T. Sherman is best known, ironically, for burning every major industrial center of the American South in 1865. ‘Fire’ as a historical theme emerges here again. The stupidity in naming the most sacred Tree on Earth (a Tree that is extremely vulnerable and threatened by Fire) for the name of a man who is known chiefly for burning half the country to the ground, is embarrassing. Whatever the real name of this Tree is, I can guarantee you, it is not anything like “General Sherman”. Nevertheless, follow the signs along the Park’ road for several minutes until you arrive at the designated parking ground. The simple singular trail loops gradually down… through a grove of gorgeous Ponderosa and Sequoia, where “General Sherman” looms irreverently above all else. It’s a short looping walk around, before heading back up. It would be best to choose a secondary hike, a more significant one, through these woods. I chose to get back in the car and drive over to the main car-park, near the entrance, and have a walk up to the incredible vista at Moro Rock Trail.
Moro Rock Trail: The walk along the Forest road from the main car-park to Moro Rock is the first and most basic option for seeing the precious Sequoia glades here on the high south rim of the Sierra’s. Just a few miles of slightly elevated walking gives a marvelous glimpse of both the Jurassic scale, and serenity here. Soldier Trail can be found to the left along the lower road, or near the entrance at the top of the road, by Moro Rock. There are lavender rushes that run for hundreds of yards beneath the ancient wooden monoliths, so strong,. yet so vulnerable, as shown by the charcoal bruises of the bark. forever resisting the burn. Pathways weave beneath trees that are, in their own right, perhaps one thousand to several thousand years in growth.
If you follow the short Soldier Trail or the road, you will break through the Forest and come to the climb for Moro Rock. This is only a ten minute jaunt up some granite stairs and cuts in the rock. Aside from the grand overall viewof the Sierra Rim, it is also an opportunity to see just how rare, and skyward, this elevated Forest really is. A look at the Forest from here reveals the exquisite nature of this place; The altitude, the edge-of-the-Earth vibe, the familial feeling of this relatively rare corner of related giant glades, just takes your breath away. From above, nothing seems to be in jeopardy; But within the glades, we know full well about the battle taking place against the severe weather patterns of the last decade. Sequoia’ is so ancient, so connected to the earliest Earthly realm, that it is a wonder these timeless trees have not yet literally learned to speak. The Peak at Moro Rock is an opportunity to ingest all of this.
Mortality. Time. Grandeur. Family. Rarity. All themes that touch the heart here. The subtle relationship of the Elements to the natural world, and the naturals world’s relationship to us, is on massive display. You must sometimes extend yourself to find the rare places, and the ancient places, the sacred places. Try to understand that seeing a place like this is not important because of its raw natural beauty, or heavenly scale; Sequoia is not important because it may one day burn; It is important because it whispers to you, with every bending branch, that our time will be up in the relative blink of an eye, in the sight of these glades. Here is one of the most sacred scenes in nearly all incomprehensible Time. See it if you can. Stonestrider.com
Location: Sonora, California/USA
Prominence: 2200 ft
Note: It takes a single day driving east from the nightmare that is San Francisco to reach the dreamscape that is the Californian countryside. Sonora California sits about 130 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, amidst a set of small golden mountains, on the epic edge of a rising continental landscape. This classically Western country town, where Mormons still mingle wearing their 18th Century attire, among hikers, shopkeepers, bikers, and laid-back locals, is an ultimate jumping-off-point for the definitive hiking experience of the American West. Like a Californian version of Tolkien’s Shire, Sonora rests on the peaceful but ominous precipice of several mysterious mountain ranges and wastelands that rise thousands upon thousands of feet, both above and beyond into the east. The comforting colors, the cinematic warmth of the hills, is truly one of the most inviting regions one could ever imagine. (Image/Below)
Looming just beyond Sonora is a vast Sierra Nevada Range, encompassing Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, Kings Canyon, booming with peaks reaching all the way down to Sequoia National Forest, some 300 miles to the south. When crossing the continent from the east in the 18oo’s, many settlers found crossing the Rocky Mountains to be much less of a challenge than the extremity of the Sierras, which should give you some idea about the intense ruggedness of this final American Range, before reaching the Pacific. (Image/Below) The town of Sonora sits atop an elevation 2000 feet above New Melones Lake. The incredibly scenic E18 highway runs down from town to a bridge- crossing. On the west side of the water, looming above the bridge, is a small but beautiful solitary Mountain known as Mount Zucca. (Image/Below)
Rumors of the “goldscape” of California were enough to bring minors, prospectors, and contractors all the way from Europe, and as far away as China. Mount Zucca is the perfect image of what was described to family and friends back east; a glowing, flowing, and beautiful scene of golden hills. It was as if the landscape itself, the very colors of the hills, were scintillatingly hinting at its valuable core. Two billion dollars worth of pure gold was literally pulled from the rivers of California from 1849 t0 1855, which is the equivalent of about sixty-seven billion dollars worth today. It was enough to bring the myth of American Manifest-Destiny into an undeniable reality in the newspapers of the Nation, even as the Native population was being brutally eviscerated. The Hupa, Wintu, and Yana tribes would’ve been found among the gorgeous hills near Zucca Mountain.
Some mountains are more like elongated ridges at their tops, running long, like Mount Katahdin in the State of Maine/USA. (Image/Below/Left) Other mountains cluster, like the Three Sisters at Glen Coe Scotland. (Image/Below/Right) Aesthetically, solitary mountains have a unique and special effect on the mind, like the Cross in a Church, or a Buddha in the Temple. Mountains that stand alone, like Errigal in Ireland, have a central peak. It doesn’t matter what size a particular mountain is, to have this quality, as long as it stands alone. That’s why, even though Mount Zucca is three times smaller than Mount Errigal, it still has the same epically solitary and stoic quality.
So when I looked at Mount Zucca for the first time I actually had a momentary vision of Mount Errigal, some three thousand miles away. Flashes like this are valuable; so I took notice and decided to Climb Zucca’ that very moment.
Trail: Californian small mountains have the cool Celtic quality of treeless sides. It is much easier to gauge the hike from below with mountains like this. It’s a good feeling. The trail here is absolutely clear from below; a slightly winding incline, with a fine path throughout. It looks to be about 2000 feet to the top, a perfect practice-hike for greater challenge of The Sierras, about an hour-and-a-half to the east. Starting out, about seventy-five yards from the bridge-crossing below, on the western side, you will see the trail head stones just above the road, for Mount Zucca. (Image/Left)
The lower path is lovely. Glowing rushes surround you as you float up the hillside. I chose to take this path a few hours before Sunset, so as to catch that Sunset, and still have enough light left to make the way down. You can take advantage of the long shade in the late day, cooling you down if you so choose to utilize it. The angle of the sunlight is cinematic, making for some really solid images.
Every mountain has a unique story to tell. If you heighten your senses, and move mindfully, you may start to see signs that someone may have lived here once. As someone who has climbed in dozens of peaks, I can say, with a strong amount of evidence-supported confidence, that those ancient cultural signs tend to have specific similarities, and are usually carved into the stones. Heading up this trail, those signs are abundant. Get ready for a sacred scene.
Mount Zucca would’ve been an ideal place of habitation, tucked into the overall Valley, and just above the River, where fish would be readily available. Several signs of ancient habitation appear in the qualities of the stones here in this beautiful place. It looks like someone else has noticed the somewhat distinct features of these fixtures of stone as well. (Image/Left)
Someone cut these stones to be noticed. Look at the fitted, subtle angles, quaint notches, fitting this setting together like a puzzle. This is not the product of any random natural process. Fixtures like this can be found in forests in New England by the thousands, on the other coast. (Image/Right) It’s a great sign. It would make sense that a valley as beautiful as this would sponsor Neolithic Culture.
Continuing steadily upward, the terrain is dry, and the air is breezy in the late light. The path slowly rises above some gorgeous forest on the northwest side of the Valley. In contrast to this wide open skyline a distinct Neolith appears. It is not uncommon to see large boulders in the heights, but it’s the cut angles in stones that are meant to pull us closer. Often times the cuts on these stones specify a vantage on the Sun, or the Moon. Interestingly enough, this massive protruding rock is cut distinctly on it’s face, and looks upward into the path of where the Sun would rise.
It isn’t just the stones that gives a mountain like this a special feeling. Many years ago now, I was hiking on a small Mountain in Kinnitty Ireland, similar to the size of Zucca’, and at the top of that small Mountain I found seashells along the footpath. It’s a cool feeling finding seashells in the heights. It seems that once upon a time, just like in the Celtic heights, this Valley was flooded. Why is it that National Geographic articles don’t cover the fact that there are seashells in the heights of so many mountains across the globe? Why haven’t we read about this phenomenon in our Highschool Biology books? Why wouldn’t they want yo to know about this obvious phenomenon? Halfway up the trail, Mount Zucca already shows many of the signs that the mythical Celtic Mountains do, signs of the earliest Culture on Earth, the Neolithic. The boulders in the heights are specific and angular. For many portions of this you don’t see any boulders at all; just a beautiful ultimately calming vantage of swaying dry brush and soft light. The specificity of where the stones are found is important.
As you make your way into the heights there are additional stones that have the strangest look, carven, cut, molded, all in one. And what a view. These redundant earthy mounds climb softly up and ahead, while the Sun looms behind. The temperature is pleasant, and the air is wonderfully clear up here. In the delightful heights of New England and Ireland we find similar strange stones guarding the upper heights, like small towers protecting the edges of a miniature empire. The special thing about stones like these is that they often contain a 3 dimensional surprise; looking from the front you find a unique expression of specially stacked stones, layered and fitted. But from above, looking down, you see an almost impossible X-cut straight through each level of stones! This precision cut, passing all the way through each layer of rock is meant to impress us. The delicate detail, combined with the brute force necessary to make a cut like this is mind boggling. And furthermore, this X is an international Neolithic symbol, used the world over. What a creative way to express it here! Take a look:
From the side it would be almost inconceivable to think that such a unique and impossible expression exists in these rocks. The straightness of these lines is absolutely modern looking, and yet we know it is not. Here are more X…
…sections near the sacred peaks of mountains across America (Images/Above); Clark Mountain C.O (Right), Hulapai Mountain A.Z (Middle) and Monument Mountain (Right). Are geologists or anthropologists blind? Do they even climb these mountains? I’ve never seen a single one up there. I’ve found enough X sections to write a study on them alone. But for the moment, in seeing this, the full realization that Mount Zucca is a sacred peak should sink in. What a gorgeous scene.Continuing towards the peak, you will work your way up around several small boulders to emerge to the peak. The full spectrum effect of the California vibe hits you in this place. To the north is a scene that looks more like Mexico, with brittle earthy toned shrubs and chocolaty-gold soil. Other peaks are not tree-less like Zucca, and perhaps that in itself holds some kind of meaning yet to be determined. It’s altogether heart warming.
To the south is a near perfect vision of the lake stretching along the Valley. This is a doubly advantageous height, with a clear line of sight on anyone approaching, along with access to the water.
If you look along the right-side line of the picture just above, you will see each stone fixture, each with unique characteristic, lining the trail to the top. It is not at all disheveled, but rather, super organized, as if someone put their particular mark all along this Mountain, a long, long time ago. From the highest point of Zucca, there are cut boulders settled into the peak that look like parallel cut stones overlooking the entire Valley. It’s a nearly perfect parallel vista. The Californian experience is encapsulated in this small Mountain. Just like in New England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and most likely the world over, there are signs in the stones of magical things. The reason they are magical is because many of them are nearly impossible. These signs are almost always in the most beautiful heights. Achieving a peak is rewarding on every level. This a spiritual zone, a place literally lit up with impossible things, mingled with panoramic natural beauty. Further up the valley, in the forests of the town of Sonora, there are stones with cut triangles embedded in the rock. It is hard to believe. Clearly this was a Neolithic haven. The equilateral triangle is impossible to miss, even at a distance, at the center of this massive fixture within this pristine grove. Of course, equilateral triangles are specifically carved into the rocks in New England on the East coast. This image on the left is just one of hundreds to be found in the forests.
It appears that Californian small mountains are as enchanted as the rolling heights of New England and southern Ireland. As opposed to the infinity of green in the Celtic parts of the world, everything here is sun-kissed, including any person who stays in this region for more than a week. This is a nearly flawless area for everything that hiking can be, sacred stones, gorgeous heights, clear paths, and Sun through the day. Come to California and discover the sacred aspects of this scene for yourself. Sonora is the perfect spot for small-mountain mystic experiences, and only an hour and a half away from one of the most massive mountain ranges on Earth. Seek it out! Stonestrider.com
Location: California/USA/Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
Elevation: 3,500ft to 14,500ft
Note: There are plenty of instances in history where people ascribed personas to mountains and landscapes. There are even instances where saints and sages believed that God literally resided within certain mountains, like at Mount Arunachula in southern India. This seems like the best way to introduce the experience of The Half Dome at Yosemite National Park. The best words to describe Yosemite have already come from an American sage, who also saw God in the mountains here. When gazing upon Yosemite for the first time, you can absolutely understand why. Although American naturalist John Muir was originally from Scotland, a place where the Highland Mountains blast out of the landscape with a most massive rugged intensity (Image/Left) it would actually be at Yosemite, many years after migrating to America, that the mountain-made anointing would find him, filling him with the inspiration to ascribe this place the most sacred Range on Earth. This is the Sierra Nevada’s of California. About the Half-Dome Mountain heights John Muir would write: “…it seems full of thought, clothed with living light, no sense of dead stone about it, all spiritualized, neither heavy looking, nor light, steadfast in serene strength, like a god.” (image/below)
This type of language, written about the Half Dome in this excerpt, would eventually lead the American populace to christen John Muir as a Prophet of the North American West, like a Moses of American mountain chains. Muir became a disciple of the landscape, almost a child in spirit, as he recognized the context of his life against this vast wilderness. And although John Muir truly is an example of what really can happen to us out there in the heights, or in the thick of the forests, it is important to realize (for at-least a moment) that there was an entire nation of Native Americans who were already disciples of the land. Natives were simply being destroyed, even as John Muir was announcing his ‘good news’ to readers back east. This was ‘good news’, of course, that the indigenous Ahwahnechee (Ah-wen-nahk-ee) Native American Tribe had not only understood, but utterly embodied, for God-knows how many thousands of years, at what would become Yosemite National Park. And who could blame them? Look at this place! Peaks here look like the Taj Majal, or the amphitheater of Dionysus, all seemingly carved by the clouds roughly 5000 feet above the Valley.
Yosemite is a near perfect enclosure, in terms of a potential indigenous living spaces. You don’t simply “look” here, like when when someone points out a new sky scraper in the city; here you cast your gaze upon the bright granite domes, 1000 foot waterfalls, and the vast central valley laid out like a pure earthen common. All of this is under ultimate protection by a massively-squared mountain jawline looming in the heights, all striking the senses in a dynamic cinematic ingestion. The image below is (Mount) El Capitaine, seen on the right, as if it were a crafted monument. There are 16 trails in Yosemite Valley, and every one of them has exquisite traits and value. Beginner level trails like Lower Yosemite Falls, Mist Trail, and Artist Point, are great routes for conversation and catching up with loved ones. Those who are taking it easy for the day, encamped in the Valley, enjoy taking advantage of the relaxing views. (Image/Below) Mid-level trails like Upper Yosemite Falls, Snow Creek, and ‘Four Mile’ are kick-ass romps along well defined paths and patios which bend through the forest, follow wide rolling streams along towering waterfalls, which reveal double-rainbows at certain hours of the day. (Image/Below) Amazing. The Hard level trails, like Pohono, and Half Dome, are expeditions that require physical and mental preparation. Pohono gets 5 full stars on All-Trails.com, and is loved for the brilliant vistas it climbs into, along with a beautiful scenic loop at the back end. Many hikers take-on Pohono with the intention to camp overnight, as the overall trail runs for about 20 miles of challenging inclines and rocky paths. The challenge of Pohono is well worth the reward, with once-in-a-lifetime photography happening, and great vibes throughout. Finally, the most challenging and famous trail is the Half Dome. The Half Dome is about 5000 feet of elevation cresting the entire Valley of Yosemite. The cut of the Valley from the west seems to emphasize the Half Dome, directing the eyes towards it like an ultimate centralizing fixture, sitting on the high mantle-piece of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. (Image/Below) On the left El Capitan is cut straight down, while on the right the Valley seems to lean away in order to let anyone coming from this direction visualize the shape at the dead center, The Half Dome. Half Dome Trail: Ok, let’s go for it! This is one of the most coveted and beautiful trails in the entire world. A few months before you go, there are a few things you will need to do. In a quick gloss-over, lets look at the essentials…
Half Dome/Preparation: In the months before you take on the Half Dome, you will need to purchase a small water purifying pump, and a water pack, filling it with at-least a gallon of water. You will also need a “sports drink”, or something with sugar, so you can keep your body wakeful while trekking up the Valley. Fill your pack with peanut-butter bars, energy bars, a sandwich or two, and some jelly-beans (but to celebrate only at the peak, and not before; The sugar is a an extra reward for your brain after a serious physical effort, but too much sugar along the way will burn too quickly in your digestion, creating less effective energy, and burn-you-out before the peak). Ingest food and drink strategically. Take bites and sips while you go, don’t eat or drink too much in one sitting on the way, or it will stifle your metabolism and physical rhythm, forcing your body to shift into digestional function, rather than the necessary motor focus…If you “down” drinks and food too quickly, fatigue will hit you hard, inducing lethargy. And last but not least, bring ITunes (headphones) that contain nothing less than the soundtrack to your life. Your favorite music during a tough climb can truly make the difference between making it, or feeling like you just can’t go on. Music is nutrition for your soul, and causes you to remember other climbs you’ve made, as well as good moments in your minds-eye, while you make your way. These are the basics of what you will need in your pack. Now you’re ready to rock-and-roll.
Half Dome (High Sierra): First and foremost, be inside Yosemite Valley just after sunrise to give yourself plenty of time to make the peak. Eat a good breakfast. Realize that during today’s climb you will be trekking a total of 16.4 miles, the first 8.2 of which is heading progressively up rocky stairs, misty cliffs-sides, and deep forests. Get a good last look at the Half Dome (Image/Below) before starting out, and then start towards the trail-head, which is a mile walk just beyond the main parkin- lot at Yosemite. One of the toughest parts of this endurance challenge that you’re taking on is having enough strength in that 8th mile, by the peak, to free-climb a vertical wire-staircase that runs straight up the side of the Half Dome. Only then will you emerge at the peak at one of the most beautiful Valley’s in the world. Be capable of a very strong grip, and enough strength to keep your footing on the rock-face along the side of the Dome. After you get your head around these things, you are ready. And the most important thing to realize is that you can do it. Thousands of people make it to the peak here every year, and the trek along the way is simply once in a lifetime.
High Sierra Loop Trail: The High Sierra Loop Trailhead, for all the trails running out of the main Valley, is just a short walk beyond the Yosemite Valley Parking Lot and encampment area. You can just follow the foot-traffic of people literally funneling into the mountain heights, where the sign sits just above the starting path above the river. This is the High Sierra Trailhead “Rubicon”, from here you can no longer purchase water, or any other supplies. You’re on your own from here, and you’re ready for it. But in a truly heart warming way, you can begin your climb among the company of families and seekers with the joy of an exodus, surrounded by that great vibe and assurance that each and every one of these people has left the office far, far behind. Fantastic domestic Rangers are also on hand throughout the trail to answer any questions, should any issues emerge. One of the coolest aspects of hiking through an Internationally acclaimed Park like Yosemite is that you can come across people from all over the world. In this excursion alone I spoke with people from at least half-a-dozen other countries. Another humbling realization can also come while speaking to Americans here. The North American continent is home to so many wonderful families and persuasions. Anyone who tells you that the American ‘moment’ has passed hasn’t gotten away from their television nearly enough these passed years. American families are wholesome, loving, caring, and truly wonderful down-to-earth people, of every creed and color; whether they be a large Latino unit from southern California, a Hindu-American couple from New York City, or a 7th generation European collective from the American Midwest; you can find them all here at Yosemite each and every year, soaking up beautiful and challenging Natural experiences, developing a deeper love for the Country in which they reside. And along the way, you might take a moment to realize that the Native Americans, the beautiful original caretakers of this wilderness, are for the most part, gone. This is a good place to let such a thought sink in. Let it sink in, then let it go; you have a mountain to climb.
So this is where your expedition truly begins. There is little concern about getting lost here; signs for the Half Dome are placed along the trail. Remember to stay within eye shot of the trail while hiking, and that this is a very real wildlife reserve, with emphasis on wild life. Black Bears (who are actually Brown in color), Black Tailed Deer, and a myriad of creatures are at play here at all times, so be aware, and don’t wander off. The first few miles of the lower trail is a comfortable and scenic concrete path, warming you up for the rocky incline bringing you towards the brilliant Vernal Fall, and then Nevada Fall running along the mighty Merced River. On this comfortable lower trail take the opportunity to put your head-phones on and get some music going before the incline begins. One of the most challenging portions of the overall hike is coming up; a towering set of stone steps that will lead you above both waterfalls, with an interval of Forest in between. Take several halts to appreciate the path you are on, and rest. This is a rare cinematic path that historically significant souls have treaded, drawing inspiration and peace-of mind with each bend in the trail. There are places for quiet moments and rest, as well as very public forums of interaction by the small lakes in the heights. Realize that you are entering an elevated wonderland. Leaving the lower concrete path behind, a new rocky path will take you towards the grandeur of Vernal Falls. The grand incline begins. You will need to watch your step, not just for your own safety, but for the other people making their way as well. The vibe starts to get a little crazy! Rainbows appear in the mist all over the place, and a view of the harrowing, yet enticing, heights emerge above and beyond.
The Rainbow Factory: Stepping up to Vernal Falls is a negotiation with other hikers. Share the narrow trail and keep your footing. In many places you will need to use your hands to lift yourself along. A cool mist begins to envelop everyone, giving a shimmer to literally everything you see. If the Sun is out the effect is supreme, and the Sun is almost always out. This is a drop the size of a vertically hanging football field. Here there is a bold geological contrast worth noting. The gigantic granite escarpment looks like a section of a modern dam, with linear parallel shafts sliding at a perfect 90 degree angle straight to the bottom. And at the bottom, a collection of boulders is sitting, precisely piled, at the point of impact of the forceful flow of water. It almost looks like a mechanized effect. In mathematical terms, the height of the waterfall determines the amount of acceleration the water experiences coming down; And the greater the acceleration, the greater the impact and size of the mist that will emerge. With an appropriate vantage on the Sun, Vernal Falls is literally a waterfall factory. Neolithic historians are able to see the possibility of design in a place. On this website alone are several waterfalls that seemed to be engineered in the Neolithic Era, like Bear’s Den Falls’ in New Salem Massachusetts, or the indigenous Falls’ of Donegal Ireland. Regardless if this, whether this is an intended Neolithic site or not, it is enough to sit back and accept the incredible beauty it has produced for over 12000 years. This is part of the Mist Trail Loop, and a lot of people at this point will head back down from here; in the upcoming forest you will feel an increased quiet. First, as you climb the narrow stair above Vernal Fall, you will come to a Lake that is the color of hard jade, radiating beneath the trees. Nevada Falls: The tranquility aspect of this expedition starts to set-in once you head into the forest just below Nevada Falls. There is something about the consistency in the granite, the white-grey gardens of stone that have been collected into steps, which is comforting. The mountain is what it is. The clean consistency of color and contrast, and the specifying your steps along these crags, creates a type of vindication for each and every hiker. There is no shortcut here. As the real work of the incline sets in, you are relating to the specific characteristics of this particular mountain, which is truly a touching, and at times refined beauty. Combine all this with the boundless foundational force beneath you, and you will be taking-in the energies of the climb of a lifetime. Getting above Nevada Falls is no small feat. You’ve climbed for about 3.5 miles, which means your total hike will be about 7 miles if you decide to loop-it back down. There is a crossroads up here. To take a right at the top of this Fall is to begin heading back down along the loop, but to take a right is to head towards the Half Dome. At this point you have expended a good deal of energy. It might be a good idea to take a few minutes and dunk your body in the cool of the Merced River, which runs along the base of the Sequoia Forest, before beginning the switchback inclines of the high glade. Cool yourself down before going on, it goes over like a baptism after the climb you just made (Image/Below) From here the amount of people you see dwindles into quieter singularity, yet again. Those heading back down will wish you luck as you take a right turn, and head towards the high Sequoia Forest trail which dreamily precedes the ultimate goal above. John Muir wrote of this glade: “The coniferous Forests of the Yosemite Park, and of the Sierra in general, surpass all other of their kind in America or indeed the world, not only in size and beauty of the trees, but in the number of species assembled together, and the grandeur of the mountains they are growing on.” This is where you are. Trekking among these Sequoias and Birches 4000 feet above the Valley brings on the sudden feeling of quietude. After moving alongside stretches of rushing and falling water for the last 3 miles of incline, you will feel a distinct and pristine stillness. Footfall here is light and padded among the one mile stretch of dry sand that leads into the forest; the trees roll-out a venerable carpet of soft pine-needles. leaves, and rusty moss, and feels almost hollow beneath the soil, compared to the previous impactful reality of the granite stairs. The vibe changes. The coolness of the shade, along with the sudden rustiness of colors, both above and below, re-boots your perspective. And you feel as if the Forest is listening, which in truth, it is, and in more ways than most of us realize. The effort to break the tree-line will carry you over huge root-kingdoms and boulders, all meshed together and mingled into a dry, but somehow lush looking fauna. Take advantage of the shade and snack a bit here. You may hear an owl, see a family of chipmunks zig-zagging just above the brush, or a deer drift by, soft and fair as a feather.
Breaking the tree-line at any mountain is a powerful experience. I was reminded of the distinct and abrupt breaching of the tree-line at Mount Katahdin in Maine many years before. It’s amazing how other moments can effortlessly appear in your minds eye, and combine to create a sort of Zen collage of similar moments and mountain ranges. In both vision, and sensation, getting above the Forest leads to that final approach you’ve been pushing all day for. And in the distance, in this particular instance, is the Half Dome, a solid granite semi-sphere kissing the sky through the trees.From here things get other-worldly. All of a sudden beneath your feet is what feels like a single ovular stone, from which trees are still growing, like the Moon if it had an atmosphere. Follow the impressions of footfall in the sandy rock face, heading towards the Half Dome. There is one last incline of stone stairs cut into the rock before you come face to face with the most monumental peak in the United States. After about a half hour of slow work stepping up through the stones, the incredible scene opens up. Step up and come about, and cast your gaze North. This is the roof of California.
As you do an about-face there is an exhilaration. On this massive stone porch laid out before you is a small collective of the most determined climbers on the West Coast. Just beyond is what looks like a line, even smaller than ants, crawling up a vertical stretch of monolithic stone, the one which John Muir described as “like a god”. Those ants, of course, are not ants at all, but people. This is the final phase. You’re about to climb the length of 1.5 football fields, straight, up. You didn’t come all this way to turn back now. Get a good drink of water, and your bearings, and off you go.Imagine free climbing a 150 yard vertical set of wires at 5000 feet, with people coming both up and down, while you make your own way. Your grip must be absolute, but also relaxed somehow. Adrenaline kicks in. You get that “How the f$ck did I get here” type feeling. But push up through the sections of wooden supports between the wires, and in about a half hour, you should make the peak. Try not to look down until the Dome starts to level off beneath your feet, and then the whole world will be beneath you.
And then finally, you arrive. There is no other purpose to be up here, save for the spiritual one. There are no trees, no water, no hunting game of any kind. There is a purity in this context, that all non-essentials, both in attitude and physical effort, have melted away. If you carry too much in your bag, or your heart, it will make the challenge that much harder. So if you make it, you will, for at least a few spectacular moments, have a more essential picture of yourself.
Now you can eat the Jelly Beans.
Spend some time to quietly celebrate up here. Take some photos, give thanks, but don’t wait too long, you have to make your way back down. The return trek might feel as if you are chasing the Sun. Light shifts along the Valley, changing the way the wilderness looks, with softened glows and down angles as you glide past with the benefit of gravity. Things cool down. The most important thing to keep in mind is your ankles. Be mindful of your steps, that you are landing flat, without obstruction. A stone or pine cone beneath your boot will roll your foot over, especially with the help of the extra bit of gravity. Use your back side and hands too, as you make your way down the winding stone stairs. Slide along where you can, and soon you will find you are descending beneath the waterfalls, with not even one fifth of the people that were trekking in the morning. You need to make good time here if you are going to make it back before Sunset. Hydrate, snack, and think about the well earned dinner awaiting you.
End of The Epic Day: Just yesterday MSN published an article about the 12 deadliest recreation sites in the world, sites that people just keep showing up for each year, due to their beauty and mystique. Guess what climb is number 12 on the international list? That’s right…Half Dome. Folks like John Muir or Teddy Roosevelt, back when, didn’t climb to the Half Dome in the same way we do; they perused the landscape, trekking with Natives or shepherds, slowly feeding their flocks along the way, or hunting quietly up the Valley. We are an ultra-modern culture these days, and to our detriment, speed is everything. The faster we do things, the more likely we are to be seen as innovative, and this definitely effects the way people hike in a place like Yosemite. Y0u can see it in the way people move, or lack there of. You need to have a focused and steady mentality here, one of respect for the landscape, and awareness of how you really feel. People literally die trying to make this climb, for lack of planning, or for lack of inner knowledge of what they are capable of. You’ve got to be ready for this place. It is one of the most challenging single day hikes on Earth. All the trimmings are there: ridiculous views…
…realizations, interactions, cool moments, everything; but make sure you come prepared. If you do these things, you will arrive, with your last reserve of energy, to the Valley floor just in time to see the Sun setting behind the Yosemite ridges. What you take with you from here, is the inner understanding of what you’ve learned about yourself; And believe me, one of those things should be that you have the juice to make an ultimately beautiful moment, out of even the toughest of climbs. Take that back into the world with you, if you take anything. Thanks everyone for reading, and please share if you enjoyed this experience. Stonestrider.com
Location: Jefferson County/Colorado
Note: Sometimes profound moments, truly kick-ass feelings can happen in sacred natural spaces. This is reason enough to get out there. These places can truly touch you. Don’t believe it? Look at the guy in the image above. In a single moment, there is a host of things to realize about what hiking, climbing, and achieving the peaks of mountains and forests is about. You can boast about how many dozens of mountain ranges you’ve seen, and climbed. You can impress everyone at the party with all your daring, and drive, for your past efforts. You can take credit for the beauty of an image captured, as if you created the landscape that produced it. But if you did all this, it would be obvious, that despite all that you’ve done, you haven’t understood even half as much as the young man featured in the image above. He is completely in tune. He’s in tune with that illusive peace-of-mind we all search for out on the trail, wherever that may be. All you have to do is look at him to know that it’s true. There isn’t even an ounce of distraction in his physiognomy. Everything about his posture says “thank you for my life”. It could take a lifetime just to reach this simple state, yet on this day, I turned a corner on the trail at Red Rocks State Park in Colorado, and there it was, right in-front of me.
To begin, it should first be noted that people coming from far away to the great South-West of the United States might be a little confused by the label “Red Rocks” when typing it in your search engine. There are actually two National Parks with this particular name. The larger, more exploratory ‘Red Rocks National Park’ is an exotic scene in Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is an artists and cross-trainers paradise, with massive ‘rock temples’, and Messas for miles. The second, much smaller ‘Red Rocks State Park and Auditorium’, (which is at present also a famous concert venue) is just south of Denver Colorado, a wonderful hiking park with a several hiking trails overlooking the surreal satellite-faced stones along a ridge of gorgeous small-mountains leaning over a dramatic valley below; and yes, both parks in Arizona and Colorado have ‘red rocks’. Red Rocks Colorado, this place, is where we found this epically tranquil young man in the image above, and the place that set me straight as to what real appreciation is.
The Scene At Red Rocks State Park: Welcome to an ancient geological center of photogenic oblong stone-slabs that seem to have been built into the mid-section of a small mountainside. The main trail here runs up through these stones, back down the face of the mountainside, returning to the trailhead in a sort-of ‘boomerang’ path back to the trailhead. The lower trail is clear, working away from the parking lot, lined with incredible wildflowers, super tough brush, and ridiculous views of the valley below while you begin a comfortable climb. If you are lucky there might be a concert happening while you hike, and you can listen to music booming-out all over the valley while you trek. The higher up you go along this singular Trail, the more obvious the uniqueness of the stones here becomes. Just about all of these slabs are facing the same angular direction, and this is something that should be noted. This place looks like a stone satellite center! How is it that these massive slabs are facing the path of the Sun in the sky, throughout the day?
The highest point of this relatively comfortable stroll, with a healthy incline, is a set of caverns and small cliffs of red stone. People are at play up here. I came across a couple having a full photo-shoot, complete with lighting and several photographers (that did not wish to be photographed), as well as the very “Zen” young man featured at the top image of the article. The path becomes a picturesque set of stairs leading you into this little world of colorful caverns, views, and people.The elevated scene here is a pristine and good energy just above the valley, where the wind drifts at you from really far away. It’s a quarky scene for those coming out of the experience of The Rockies’ to the North, with all its grandeur; but for every dominant scene, there are fascinating intimate scenes, of smaller scale, that are just as engaging and touching; Red Rocks is one of those beautiful and more eloquent experiences, where you don’t have to work so hard to sit and wonder, in a wonderful space. A surreal and significant ridge with several geological elements that look more magical than scientific, is unveiled up here. The trail sifts and continues through a small city of orange stones, before bending, and finally heading back down mountainside.
Reading these stones is a lesson in angular interpretation. The slabs are blatantly flat on their top-faces (Image/Below), and are situated towards the course of the Sun throughout the day. It just doesn’t look random at all, like the Easter Island Giant Stones, all facing one direction. You have to decide for yourself if you believe Nature flattened and angled these stones, or if it is the work of a culture attempting to capture the energy of the Sun, by crafting the stones. Take a look at the most iconic slab here at Red Rocks State Park; this Monolith sits like a keystone above everything; like an ‘example stone’ for all the other satellite style boulders on this ridge. There is clearly a cut-face on the top of this massive slab, made to face the course of the Sun through as much of the day as possible, and every other stone in the Valley is aligned and parallel to this “keystone”. The uniformity of these stones is almost mathematical in precision, and exacted to the point of complete parallels; how can we not notice this?
Aside from this angular interpretation of these cliff faces, there are also the free-sitting boulders. These boulders are provocative when considering that they are almost always found in Neolithic sacred zones, near Dolmens and Standing Stones. I say this having discovered hundreds of free-sitting boulders in New England and Europ. The free-sitting boulder in the image below even looks as if it was ‘fitted’ to other rocks set beneath it (if you look close); it looks slid into place, and locked-in by the use of the smaller rocks. And notice the parallel nature of the face of the free-siting stone and the rock slab sitting beneath it; both parallel and level. Did the last Ice-Age reach this far into Colorado? Do people really believed ice aligned these boulders in perfect parallels with the rest of the ridge? It seems ridiculous when given real consideration, in real-time. This pattern is consistent with free-standing boulders in hundreds of other places across the globe. There is almost always an orientation where they are found. The greater question becomes: “why do so many Americans NOT look… just a little bit closer?” It’s not just with Neolithic sites, but with so many other important parts of the non-material/spiritual aspects of life? #WTFisgoingonwithAmericans? I don’t mean to belittle Americans too much, I am American, but why don’t Americans care, in the same way that the English. French, or Irish do; about the Neolithic sites in their country? Why don’t we designate these sites in the text books of our high-schools? Just a few thoughts that might enter your thinking while trekking through this beautiful zone.
Just beyond this free-sitting boulder is an enclosure at the top of the trail; like a miniature canyon. This enclosure has the feel of safety, seclusion, and the comfort of a secret garden. There is a fissure in one of the longer rock faces, with a massive boulder sitting directly above that fissure. It feels ‘centralized’ here, like a good space for concealed fires and domestic action. It’s a good bet that there were ancient occupants living here, and for how many generations?.. we may never know. And within all of this scene, the massive slabs of stone, the free-sitting boulders, all facing and absorbing the Sun in exact parallels, throughout the entire course of the day.
Continuing your trek you will pass the half-way point of the trail, and turn a corner inside these loose-leaf rock caverns. The Valley rolls continually beyond, with a stellar view of literally tons of “stone-tables”, all facing the Sun along the mountainside.
Coming down, beneath these satellite-sized slabs, you can get a real feel for the massive flattened faces of these parallel stones. The orientation of everything here is towards the Sun, and it must have been a sacred place to the ancients, most likely seeing this place as a solar oasis.
Just a few hundred yards back down the mountainside, and you will arrive at the lower trail, then finally back along the road to the trailhead.
Following the lower trail you will complete a simple path that runs just over 2.5 miles, arriving back at the trailhead by the road. There is a real sense of serenity, a vibe that has existed for thousands of years before someone was eventually smart enough to build a music venue in this acoustic cavern. This place must be such a gem for locals living in Denver, and total joy to visit for those coming from other parts of the world. It is one of the few hikes in the West where you can go for a hike, and then unwind with a great concert. Anthropologically and mathematically there is more to understand here. The stones obviously have a specific orientation which should be analyzed celestially. It is entirely possible to do this in this age of digitalized research, and it would most likely yield relationships to Solar and Lunar cycles, as well as constellational connections. It’s a mouthful I know, but it’s substantial stuff like this that gives an area that extra something that less eventful geological areas lack. An overall look back reveals a gorgeous place. If you spend time in Denver, definitely take the day to hike Red Rocks State Park, and see a concert after you’re done! If you’re lucky you may even catch that great vibe that the guy in the top image of this article exudes. And most reassuring of all, is the knowledge that a very real and extra special vibe is totally possible, and awaiting you, somewhere along the trail of your choice. Next time, the person in the “Zen” picture, and moment, could be you! Red Rocks State Park is another opportunity for just this type of wonderful day. It’s Denver’s little rock-and-roll Disneyland. Thanks for reading, and please share with a friend if you enjoyed this review. Go strong. Stonestrider.com
Location: California, USA/Central-Sierra Mountains
Elevation: 1,300 ft.
Prominence: 14,490 ft
Note: So here we go again! There’s that crazy moment of “holy sh#t” here that makes the whole thing worth it, right from the start. At first glance, the raw ugly ruggedness with which this supreme scene has existed should hit you pretty hard. There is a cosmically harrowing vibe here, with a depth so broad that it seems to almost want to pull you in. Gravitas. On approach you will emerge from the beautiful Sequoia Forest heights, to be suddenly struck by an inestimable depth of imploding rock. Just driving here is no piece of cake either. First, the small mountains of Tulare County California, shimmering in dry gold (Image/Below) recline eternally as the dramatic ‘gates’ to the overall kingdom of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. You must crest the small mountain roads of Tulare, and reach about 7000 feet above the Valley, just to approach the secret singular road into Kings Canyon, and descend again into the 7000 feet you just climbed! This is the rocky naval of ancient California, with ‘heavy-weight’ mountain statistics that hold as many truly sacred secrets as it does mesmerizing statements of ‘size’ and ‘scale’. Welcome to Kings Canyon, God’s rocky deep pocket.
This is literally a secret rock-kingdom that suddenly appears out of the Sequoia National Forest, like a stone-age Lhasa, tucked-into the massive enclosure of the Himalayas. In ancient times, the Natives that first explored this place would’ve absolutely been the ‘rangers’ of their tribes, super tough, with a spiritual connection to the landscape that made them the most capable for the needs and challenges of this descent. Really try to let yourself imagine the gritty resourcefulness of the ancient peoples that took this place on. A wrong step here means your life. The supreme forces of Mortality and Nature are dramatically at play in this rusty eternity. Here, it’s about balance; it’s about centering yourself; it’s about the significance of each step. Accepting the lessons of this place puts you in touch with a more rugged, more balanced, more real version of yourself. When returning to the mundane world, sitting on some couch with friends or family, a voice in your mind may possibly echo, behind all the chatter: “Deeper, simpler, tougher, stronger…you”; and somehow, it’s the remnant of the voice of Kings Canyon National Park inside you.
Returning to the realities of the present day, Nature enthusiasts of today make their way down in a vehicle, of-course. Tune up, gear up, and then go. Don’t get stuck on the side of a highway that barely clings to 14,000 feet of gravity gone wild because you forgot to check the oil. Have the car and supplies ready. Eventually, after about an hour of ‘marble-running’ your way along the highway, you will come to the dramatic base of the Canyon highway. (Image/Below) Take this dramatic stretch of singular highway all the way to its very end. You will come to the circle of campgrounds, trailheads, a ranger station, and even a restaurant, which all serve as a fine oasis against the intensity and concentration that comes from finally surfing a vehicle all the way down here. The hardest trails, Like John Muir Trail’, or Rae Lakes Trail’ are steep treks out of the Canyon to elevated lakes that feel miraculous in such a place. Medium level trails like Paradise Valley Trail’ or Mist Falls Trail’ are river-hikes that take you to gorgeous Falls, and multi-colored pools. Roaring River Falls Trail, a relaxing mostly level forest trail, winds through the various channels to a gorgeous Waterfall, and is highly recommended for first time hikers. Roaring River Falls Trail: After the effort of reaching this sunken stone bastion, a trek along the Canyon floor on Raoring River Falls Trail’ is a good choice for a relaxing photogenic foot-path experience. The views of river-ways rushing and rolling also produce a breeze that sings through the trees, which seems surprising when surrounded by this stadium of stone. The miraculous channels of the Kings River, Scenic River, and Kings Wild River, all branch off, and then merge-up again, in various places throughout the base of the Canyon’. It must have been the shimmering blue of the canyon waterways that truly enticed the first Natives to take the chance of inhabiting this rugged scene. In some places the hue of the river is a deep green, while in others an icy blue, pushing the palette of your vision, and testing any assumptions about what could be around the next bend. Unassuming wilderness. The trailhead parking-lot is less than a quarter mile from the very end of the single Park’ road. It’s located just on the right of the road, passed the campgrounds and restaurant. Park, grab your gear, and cross the bridge to follow the path along the river to your left, and the massive Canyon wall. This is a hike along a gorgeous river oasis, complete with rare Redwoods, Birch, Ponderosa Pine, and Maple, all gathered in grand familial groves along the flowing water. Settling into the rhythm of the Trail here, where immaculate and utterly impervious stone meets a shimmering freshwater rush, you may consider the amount of profound ideas that have emerged out of extreme and contrasting natural spaces such as this; the Anointing of Jesus in the River Jordan, against the vast arid backdrop of the Shamaliyah Desert; The River Nile connecting, like a chord, to the Great Pyramids, rolling out of the Sahara; or perhaps the birth-myth of The Hopi Native American Tribe, said to have emerged from beneath the Grand Canyon in the beginning of Time, to dwell along what would be known as the Colorado River. There is extremity here, on many levels. It seems that beautiful moments and realizations have emerged in the harshest of places, which may very well be Nature’s way of saying that regions, even on the verge of burning, are capable of revealing something abundantly profound and beautiful. Roaring River Falls’ provides precisely this kind of heartfelt contrast. The Trail dips through tall glades of the toughest trees you’ve ever seen, and you can feel the enclosure of rock, like a massive hug waiting to happen. No more than about 2.5 miles along this path will lead you to your reward, The Roaring River Fall! This blast of a bright-blue-pool, which emerges against the rusty Canyon façade, is nothing less than a slice of liquid Heaven heaved against stone as hot as flint in friction. Just the steel-blue color of the circular pool here alone, is medicine on your eyes, where the trees literally have charcoal in their veins, and the stones glow golden grey. This is a great spot. Take a moment. Dunk your head. Scenes like this for the Native peoples would have been like the ultimate pool party. After finally stepping away from Roaring River Fall, there is an opportunity to cross over to the other side of the narrow Canyon, along the road, and search for signs of Neolithic Cultural statements. These signs in Ireland, and New England, along with the dozens of other sacred zones explored at Stonestrider.com, have come to be known as: stone-linings, standing stones, cairns, and many, many, other wonderful statements from the ancient world. The Jack Kerouac side of strolling this road is hard to deny; stepping with a sense of surreal cinematic freedom along a secluded stretch of road embedded in a massive Sierra Nevada Mountain chain!… as the Irish say: “Good on you.” About a mile-and-a-half down the road, headed north, and back towards the Roaring River Falls Trailhead, the forest begins to reveal stonework, mixing and matching among the trees. Stone-linings, similar to those found within the forests of Massachusetts/New England/USA, and the heights of Glenveagh Mountain in Ireland, as well as the valleys beyond Mount Snowden, in Wales, are found here in this miraculous place. These are the signs of a Neolithic Culture that once dwelt all across ancient America, and the World. Following a stone-lining is spiritual process, an act of hope and faith that it might connect you to something spectacular, and lo-and-behold it will in Kings Canyon. Just along a trail to the left of the road, a stone-lining zigged-and-zagged its way to a beautiful seven foot standing stone, unlike any other stone anywhere in sight. This Standing Stone also had a 45 degree streak cut across the center, which is a common meme among standing-stones in other parts of the world, as described here at Stonestrider.com. If you take notice of the particular rounded “E” shape on the lower right side of the Standing Stone, it may serve to help you understand that this stone was absolutely “stood-up”. It just so happens that not even 10 feet away is a massive boulder with a rounded “E” shape in it’s side, and face. Clearly this Standing Stone was sliced precisely from this boulder. If you were to take this Standing-Stone and lay it across the boulder, matching the rounded “E” shapes to each other, it would fit absolutely flush; in shape, in interior roundness, right up to the jagged tip. Take a look at the common view of stones just beyond this area, leading up to the Canyon Walls; it is totally and absolutely disheveled, indistinct, and completely contrasted to the Standing-Stone. There is literally nothing else like it in sight; It literally just stands out among a universe of low-lying rotund stones. (Image/Below)Another tangible sign of a sacred Neolithic zone is the appearance of mass amounts of quartz growing beneath the hardened face of the rocks. There is quartz all over the boulders in the vicinity of the Standing Stone here; beautiful sections of glowing quartz, shining and expanding in the face of this arid dimension. This is also prominent in sacred groves and spaces at Neolithic sites all across the globe. From Ireland to California, the Ancients chose places to be based on factors like vantage, resources, and the presence of quartz. The properties of quartz are well known to science in this present day. We use quartz in our computers and cell-phones to basically redistribute electrical charge. This stone literally harnesses and balances energy, creating stability just by it’s mere presence, even in the harshest environments. (Image/Below) Quartz would also pick up on the subtle friction and electricity coming from the river, which is abundant in this miraculous place. Someone knew exactly what they were doing when they claimed this area, engineering a gorgeous Standing Stone to claim the spot, and warn others that it was claimed; God knows how long ago.On the way out of this magical and mysterious place, stop and sit down at the campground if you can. There are people here from over the World; Japan, India, China, Switzerland, and of-course America. Speak with these folks. The look on their faces is like they have found the ancient water-wells of someplace like the Sinai desert perhaps, and are now saved by presence of water. And just look at the beauty of Grizzly Falls, located near the entrance of the Park! It’s nearly impossible to imagine gorgeous waterfalls like this from the arid vista far above, and yet there are many to be found here. Beyond Grizzly Falls, the western side of the Canyon is marvelous, with quartz-stone chasms and ‘ultimate stone-stances’, all against a fantastic few of successfully quenching Ponderosa Pine trees, protesting in contrasting jade against the stone and the sky. What a scene! Kings Canyon National Park is a full spectrum gem, secretly shining from the depth of California’s primordial core. Just to get here requires a mandate of grit. Elegant and extreme contrasts exist here to push our understanding into realizations about what is truly important; i.e: Just the simple presence of Water, is Life itself. A humble set of well placed steps can successfully carry you through even the steepest of consequences…etc, etc… In a place where the trees are vulnerable to burning to ashes at any given moment, maybe take one of those moments to appreciate the small stabilities that exist in your life, keeping you from that burn. Beauty can prevail anywhere in Nature, even in the deepest parts of the world, harsh and hidden within massive mountain ranges. Kings Canyon is like a fortress built by the Universe, made specifically for remembering the essentials. Perhaps this is why so much spiritual thought has come out of the arid wastelands and chasms of the world; they just put what’s important front-and-center. Come to Kings Canyon National Park and experience the road-less-travelled, the wisdom of canyons, and the possible apparition of fire amongst trees, at any given time. What? A forests of apparitional fire in a quartz canyon.. where the ancients once lived in magical unison with the landscape! What more can I say? Go strong. Stonestrider.com
Location: Crook County/Wyoming/USA
Elevation: 5,100 feet above Sea Level
Prominence: 1,267 feet
Note: The only way to introduce the most mysterious small Mountain in America, which looms 1000 feet above the Black Hills Forest of Wyoming/USA, is to contextualize it by mentioning other places with very similar megalithic traits. Just to get you in the mood, take a look at these places: A coastline in Northern Ireland made entirely of hexagonal stones (Image/Left); an elegantly scenic mountain ridge where three perfectly square slabs of stone, with absolutely concentric rings imprinted on its face, sits stoically above the beautiful Black Valley of Killarney, Ireland. (Image/Below); or a secret grove where a… 40 ton boulder balancing 15 feet high, supported by three standing stones, in Ravensdale Ireland, looms just south of the Mourn Mountains (Image/Left); or how about two colossally stacked, and perfectly balanced boulders, tucked deep within a Forest in Massachusetts/USA, each weighing about 30 tons, where the top boulder is balanced at about ten feet high. (Image/Right);
and last, there is an entire Mountain in Wyoming/USA that is completely sculpted into perfectly parallel square shafts reaching 1000 feet high for over a mile in circumference.(Images/Top/and Below) This is The Devil’s Tower National Park.In this era of informational sharing, places that were once thought to be singular anomalies on Earth are now being connected to similar statements across the globe. Not only are these places being connected through physical similarities, but we find that the strange explanations that have been used to justify their unique features are also very similar, (as if it was decided uniformly in some boardroom far from the public, perhaps in the Smithsonian’s basement in the early Century) The bizarre explanations don’t make sense, especially when you see these places first hand, and get a look at the attributes that are not described online; traits like the elevated parallel shafts above the coastline at Giant’s Causeway Ireland, which is the most similar place to the Devil’s Tower in the World. We will look at the problems with the explanations, and the disregarding of certain evidence later in the article; but for the moment lets enjoy the mysterious scene above the grand Plain in Wyoming. The Devil’s Tower is an exceptional place, making it very hard to look away. It is almost guaranteed that you haven’t seen anything like this in your life. The Tower’ sits isolated above the golden-green landscape, an absolute silhouette. Even from far away, it is easy to see the unique exterior of geometric stones. Seniors and children alike will stare wide-eyed as they approach the Trail surrounding the Tower’. Human’s have wondered about this place forever. Lets have a look… Trails at Devil’s Tower National Park: The main Trail here is straight-forward and interactive; it basically circles the Tower’, winding past massive boulders which can be climbed, all surrounded by Ponderosa Pine Forest. The Forest supports wildlife in abundance; Deer, Hedgehogs, Hawks, and Grey Squirrels wander freely. There are other trails that drift away from The Tower’ if you are interested in a longer trek. Everything sort of circumambulates Devil’s Tower, the longer trails being the more distant concentric from the small Mountain. The broad and beautiful landscape of Wyoming is what makes the Devil’s Tower so significant; there is simply nothing else like it on the North American Continent. It is the tranquility of this scene that is striking once you arrive. The Tower’, however, does not look as if it was quietly created, but rather, it seems is as if whatever sculpted it was most likely the loudest sound this valley ever heard. It just looks that way, with huge boulder’s all disheveled at the base, perhaps like giant crumbs from the most massively creased cake of all time. A Confusing Geological Scene: A geologic diversity exists throughout the Park’, with variations in specific stone and coloration. Below is an image of the lower portion of the Park’, where hundreds of hedgehogs have burrowed opposite these bright red ledges. The difference between these ‘red-ledges’ and the upper Tower’s white stone ridge is so distinct, so completely different, that it is hard to accept the current “volcanic explanation” about the birth of the Tower’. “Scientists” have basically stated that The Tower’ was created through a “volcanic event”, and yet the lava dispersion is restricted absolutely to the Tower’, while the lower scene reveals absolutely no similarity, or any other signs relating to this…”volcanic event“. If both areas experienced the same flow of lava, why are they so completely different? How did the lava-flow go upward, or simply stop flowing downward, to build The Tower without affecting the ridge below’?! No other active lava flow that we currently see on earth, like in Hawaii, Italy, or Japan, does anything remotely like this. And where is the active lava here in this landlocked and level landscape? How could the information centers possibly endorse this explanation? There is no sign of any active volcanic source beneath, or around, The Tower’. Amazingly, there is another small Mountain, in another part of the world, with exactly the same logical dilemma concerning the “lava-flow explanation“. Now lets compare both scenes…International Connections to Devil’s Tower: Many times, if international hiking and anthropology become part of your life, synchronicity and moments of wonder will happen. It’s one of the reasons hiking becomes a lifestyle. Crazy connections happen. On July 13th 2016, I would first see the inexplicable parallel hexagons carved into the mountainside at Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland. And exactly one year to the very day, July 13th 2017, I would be standing 2,300 miles away, beneath another impossible set of parallel shafts, etched into a Mountainside in Wyoming/USA. The similarities between these sites are astounding, in every possible way
Take a look at the parallel shafts along the side of Devil’s Tower; do they look at all like flowing liquid/lava?(Image/Below/Left) At “The Giant’s Causeway”in Northern Ireland, look at the parallel shafts etched into that small Mountain above the coastline.(Image/Below/Right) Again, there is no look of lava-flow whatsoever, but the very same parallel shafts. This is cause for true wonder. It is interesting that the parallel shafts in the small Mountainside at Giant’s Causeway are not advertised. Most people would never know or see anything about them unless they had hiked the trail personally. It is a good bet that the people who control the information about these sites know full-well that most people have a hard time carving out the time to see them for themselves. At Giant’s Causeway only the famous hexagonal stones on the coastline are advertised. Why wouldn’t the shafts in the mountain be advertised? Perhaps because it doesn’t fit the “lava-flow” narrative. The lower portion of the coastline is a patio of hexagonal stones, which is what they say was created by a lava-flow coming out of the Ocean; but how did the lava come out of the water, and then up a small Mountain 200 yards away, without leaving any trail of lava between the Coastline and the Mountain? (Image/Above/Right) Look at the coastline of hexagonals below, this distinct statement simply stops! And then almost 300 yards away, and 200 yards up, a section of parallel hexagonal shafts is carved right into the ledge, as you see above? Totally illogical. There is nothing but consistent green ledge and rounded regular stone between the two places, NOT lava flow. Below is another perspective on the separate statements at Giant’s Causeway. Clearly these are two very separate sections of geometric stones from the coast to the upper ridge. What in God’s name are these scientists talking about? It’s as if they give us explanations that sound….just “scientific” enough to keep less informed people totally bewildered. And there are more places of parallel stone shafts in the world; on the island of Sardinia/Italy, Scotland, and Russia, to name a few. How can these explanations hold up for us? These are the moments that people should start to see that if you just accept the explanations of others, you can pass up your universal human right to know the truth. I hope my readers are starting to understand that connecting the dots in the world for yourself is possible, and places like Devil’s Tower and Giant’s Causeway are literally there to inspire you into galvanizing your own perspective.
Dreamscape Wyoming: Returning to the landscape at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, the hills and ledges drift away with a steady consistency, making Devil’s Tower that much more incredible, and bizarre.
The vastness of Wyoming is supremely humbling. You can drive, and drive, and drive, and drive, and the land just keeps going. It was only after I experienced this spacious dimension that I had a realization about how the Native Americans must have felt about the land. The Lakota and the Cheyenne must have been so deeply connected that it must have seemed that no one and nothing could ever displace them; they were fully embraced, protected, and immersed in the land. The Union Army arriving on the Prairie would’ve been like an invading army of Aliens emerging, in the hundreds of thousands, from the clouds over the world of today. And the Native Americans say that there were people here before them, tribes of violent Giants that they were forced to hunt, and finally exterminate. If you feel that this ancient story is completely absurd, just understand that the account of the Tribes of Israel upon entering the Promised Land in the Old Testament is exactly the same. Moses sends Joshua with his spies to explore the new land before them, and they return with reports of Giants inhabiting the heights of what is now the Mountains of Israel (Numbers 13:33) Most “educated” people simply choose to ignore this information, and dismiss it as myth. What are these people afraid of? The Devil’s Tower forces us to reconsider the information we accept in our lives; how we accept information. It is a place that challenges you, and pushes you to consider possibilities that are hard to fathom. Whatever the actual case may be, the Devil’s Tower is a magnet for our imaginations, a mysterious refuge that pulls us boldly towards it. This has been a sacred refuge for as long as anyone can possibly remember, and should be shown to the entire world in this unique and wonderful light. There are connections and relations at megalithic sites that make a difference in how we perceive and understand the world. That in itself is enough reason to get out there, and take a look. Thanks for reading, and please share this article with a friend. Stonestrider.com
Location: Grand Canyon National Park/Arizona/USA
Elevation: 6,804 feet above Sea Level
Depth: 6,093 feet to the base
Note: The Grand Canyon isn’t just one of the biggest chasms on Earth, it’s a place to mark the phases of the world. Let yourself imagine an earlier phase of History, a phase when a troop of Native Americans of the Arizona desert plateau , perhaps Hopi, Navajo, or Hulapai, are slowly making their way across the high plain. They are going back to their Garden of Eden, to the bass of the Grand Canyon. The approach starts many miles away, through broad Plateau’s brush, and surrealist cloud cover. They make their way back to the beginning, through the Coconino Forest, and along the rolling hills at the edge of the desert. They are walking in, taking their time, without even an ounce of fear. The Hopi, keenly aware of the stars, observed that it is time to go back, to descend into the The Canyon’ and celebrate the origin of their people, a people they believe literally emerged from beneath the base of The Grand Canyon, once upon a beautiful time. In sandals, or even bare feet, they arrive at Grey Mountain…Perhaps after spending the night at the base of Grey Mountain, making a fire and eating, they continue into the region of canyons. The landscape becomes a waking dream. They pass by a smaller Canyon to the east (Little Colorado Canyon/Image Below). The beauty of that Canyon is enticing, with a massive cloud hovering above, lending the area shade, where no other shade can be found for perhaps dozens of miles. Out among these mountains and small canyons are megalithic cairns which look to have been constructed specifically with flattened boulders, very similar to structures in Ireland. Take a look at one of the huge layered cairns that sits directly in front of, and parallel to, Grey Mountain here in Arizona (Image/Below/Left). Now take a look at a cairn in Kilclooney Ireland that sits parallel to a small mountain (sacred zone) in County Donegal (Image/Below/Right). Cairns in Ireland are estimated to have been constructed roughly 4000 to 6000 years ago, and by the look of this desert cairn, it may very well have been constructed in the same early period. These structures are both dilapidated, but it is clear that the original condition of these cairns were once much more orderly, and certainly served a specific function. The overall idea to consider by referencing and comparing megaliths is to realize that a similar Megalithic culture did exist in the high Arizona Desert, many thousands of years ago, and we should acknowledge this.
Continuing their journey, the natives would’ve drifted ever closer to the Kaibab Forest, silent as ghosts. They wade into the trees and brush, where they rest in the shade, and watch a storm-cloud approach, like a slow-rolling blessing from above.The brush becomes glades of tall pines, as the terrain rises slightly. The absolute lack of humidity topples many of the trees, half burnt into the ground, while surprisingly, there is a somewhat miraculous amount of greenery as well, which would be an incredibly welcoming sight after passing the open desert. They breach the tree-line after a few days, and like a green-curtain pulled back, the Canyon is suddenly revealed. It is astounding, to say the least. This is the naval of the world; the center of everything; the most sacred place; and what is now known to us as the South Rim of “The Grand Canyon”. The Hopi never took this stellar scene for granted. Perhaps they would’ve camped and rested here, watching the stars for the evening, before finally ascending into the sacred place.
South Rim Trail: Opening with a semi-fictional narrative about what most likely took place for perhaps 10,000 years with the indigenous tribes of this region seems the most appropriate way to honor this sacred space. The statistics should be secondary, as well as what the modern world has done to ‘The Grand Canyon’. The Hopi truly believed an elaborate myth that is still accessible today. They would return to the very area at the base of the Canyon’ annually in order to remember their magical beginning. It is worth noting that the Judeo-Christian myth credits God with making human-kind out of the soil of the Earth in a central ‘Eden’ as well; a strangely similar story of human origin. It is important to include the incredible landscape that surrounds the Grand Canyon as well; the the dusty hills on the edge of the desert near Flagstaff; Grey Mountain; the beautiful Little Colorado Canyon; and the Kaibab National Forest, which is the last natural statement before the Grand Canyon’ itself. All of this runs along a beautiful and well constructed highway.
Directions: From Flagstaff AZ to the Grand Canyon their are a few options for making the amazing drive north. To see the places mentioned above, take Highway 89 North to Highway 64 west. It’s that simple. The Grand Canyon is a 277 mile long, by 18 mile wide, gap in the Earth. It is 6000 feet from to bottom where we find a river running through the stone. The Colorado River runs straight through the center of Canyon’ from North-east to South-west. The “official” story is that the Colorado River cut this Canyon.. (Although I find this very difficult to believe) Below is an image of The Colorado River from the South Rim.The idea that Colorado River carved this Canyon is illogical for many reasons, and many Geologists challenge this theory. The Canyon is filled with temple-like elevations that have absolute right-angles which in no way coincide with the idea of slow rolling water erosion. In fact, most of the geology at The Grand Canyon points to this chasm being created in a somewhat rapid spasm of massive force, not a slow process. Layers of stone point to the preservation of fauna in distinct singular periods, not an evolved encasing of step-by-step progressions of species; there are no interval species in the strata. There is no indicator of an “evolved erosional process” given to us by our high school text books, but rather, something much more forceful and immediate created this place. How could this be? There are more mysteries than answers here, even at this digitally analytical point in history. Mysteries: Across the Canyon near the North Rim is just one of the many elevations within the Canyon that has been given a Coptic name by early century archaeologists:’Isis Temple’. A majority of megalithic works all around the world usually reveal a symmetrical style. Even from many miles away, the symmetry of Isis Temple can be seen, with a lower entrance at the center, aligned with a five-sided pinnacle at the top. This would’ve been a major undertaking by any Neolithic culture. Artifacts with strange symbols have been found within the entry cavern at Isis Temple, along with artifacts in several other labeled elevations within the Canyon.(Image/Below) The Hopi do not take credit for any megalithic craftsmanship in the Canyon, so these “temples” must have been made by someone else. Who could’ve done this? Every thing points to a Megalithic Culture, similar to the one found in Celtic places.
There are also Free-standing boulders in hard-to-explain places, and Standing-Stone fixtures all throughout the lower Canyon’. Along the South Rim there are ledges where boulders, weighing perhaps 20 tons, sit on thin ledges high above the Colorado River. (Image/Below) It is extremely hard to explain how a boulder such as this came to sit on such a narrow and level ledge, roughly 4000 feet above the base of the chasm. This is one of the most dramatic examples of a Free-standing-boulder I had ever seen, among hundreds of examples stemming from Ireland, Scotland, England, all the way to Arizona. Below is the full view of where this boulder sits. What an incredible scene. Someone at Grand Canyon National Park is certainly aware of the possibility of Megalithic culture, and Standing-Stones, as the Park has created an artificial Standing Stone set up along the South Rim Trail. Everything about a Standing Stone like this says “Megalith”.(Image/Below) Just like Megaliths in England, Scotland, Ireland, and New England, Standing-Stones like this usually indicate the claiming of a specific area by those skilled enough to place the Stone; and they had to be strong enough, and smart enough, to do it. Below is the image of a Standing-Stone of the exact same proportion at Avebury Stone Circle in England, 5,200 miles away. In England, Megalithic culture is acknowledged. In the United States, Megalithic anthropology is suppressed, and mocked; but here on the South Rim there is an opportunity to decide for yourself if a Megalithic culture may have existed in this beautiful place. The South Rim Trail is the best beginner option for the Grand Canyon. The Trail’ is a curvy surreal pathway that takes you through dozens of photographic options for this portion of the Park. (Image/Below)
You can simply step off the Trail’ at any time to capture the scenes that appeal to you here. The massive cliffs and chasms have a magnetic quality which seems to call out to the explorer in all of us. The image below is a perfect example of the photogenic power and quality that exudes from the South Rim.
Final Note: The Grand Canyon is a study for every generation. The Canyon’ has qualities that are surprisingly subtle for such a massive space. Before the constraints of the National Park constructed in our current era, a young tribesman, that had yet to come to this area, would’ve wandered into the Kaibab Forest with literally no awareness of the massive vortex of space lying before him. From the Forest there are no signs of the Canyon. It appears so suddenly after clearing the tree-line, so “out-of-nowhere”, that the underlying message is that you truly never know what you may find out on the trail. It is as if Nature itself is trying to tell us: “Never make assumptions; something truly awe-inspiring might be waiting just up the path.” This article is an introduction to the South Rim Trail of Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim is the more convenient approach for the trails to the bottom of the Canyon, complete with guides, mules, and horses. Be over prepared with water and sunscreen in your packs, along with a small medical kit. For those attempting to make it to the bottom for the first time, the South Rim is your best bet. The South Rim approach is about 4 miles total to the base, while the North Rim is about 8. The upper South Rim Trail is obviously a photographers paradise with a leisurely path that allows you access to ledges which drop a mile, straight down. The glowing goldish’ texture of the stone is mesmerizing to us. The symmetric elevations that rise as temples out of the base, near the Colorado River, force us to wonder almost impossible things. There is even a celestial theory that the temples of the Grand Canyon coincide with the belt of Orion’s major stars.. (Google it). The natural beauty of this place, the vastly humbling abyss of stone, is clearly presented for us to consider. The capability of Nature, and the luck of being alive to witness it, is also part of this experience. But the last thing, a thing that seems to exist in every protected space, from the American West, to the Celtic heights of Scotland, is the earliest Neolithic culture that seems to leave its mark on every sacred space on Earth. All these things are there for you at Grand Canyon National Park. Remember, there is no need to get too close to the ledge, rather, step back a little, and listen to what the landscape is telling you. And always go strong. Happy New Year!
Dedication: This article is dedicated to my father Robert Vincent Vigneau, who passed away yesterday peacefully after a life of international travel and odyssey. Thank you dad for teaching me, at a very young age, to step into foreign lands with curiosity, logic, respect, and no fear. I love you, rest in peace. Robert Vincent Vigneau 1943-2017
Location: Princeton/ Massachusetts/USA
Note: The small mountains of Massachusetts are a cozy set of elevations that generally rise to about 1700 feet. This description isn’t exactly awe inspiring. One thing that is awe inspiring and of the most pinnacle quality, among these small ranges, are the ecosystems, the fauna, the rivers, the trees, and the soil. This is similar to the reputation of the ancient British heartland, Wessex, where Danes and Saxons carried out brutal campaigns to possess the nutrient rich soil. The Viking homelands of Denmark and Norway were at an extreme agricultural disadvantage, with a majority of un-plantable mountain faces and temperatures too cool and damp to create any consistent crop. Also take a look, for example, at Irish grounds; the grass is often brackish, and inundated with stone. In less modern periods, you could spend your entire life trying to clear a set of Irish fields to produce a crop, and still lack success. Imagine an Irish farmer’s response to the soil in the ‘New World’. In most of New England the soil runs consistent and deep, soft and rich, producing beautiful crops. The image above is a long glance at the beautiful Wachusett Valley, in Massachusetts, in Fall. This multicolored Valley runs from Concord all the way to Princeton Massachusetts, to Wachusett Mountain itself, with many towns between. The Mountain is just barely to be seen in the image above, at the back-center, a shadowy statement against the horizon. It’s just an amazingly beautiful place in Autumn. And just like in Old Europe, any tribe passing through this region would want to stay. Some History: For this land, Natives fought other Natives. Then Natives fought the Colonials for this land. Then Colonials fought the British for this land. Seems like everyone agrees, this land is a good place to be. A hike up Wachusett Mountain (Image/Above) is an opportunity to feel this regions beauty and value. After recognizing all this, there is yet one more culture that seems to have been here, before anyone else. There are mysterious megalithic signs in the landscape, and yet this earliest Era is never discussed in New England. This is an Era most of us just don’t really consider. Our undergraduate textbooks usually begin with the Greeks, progressing to the Romans, to the Medieval, the Renaissance, Colonialism, and finally the Industrial Revolution; but our classes really never offered information about pre-Grecian cultures, and more importantly, the implications of these unresolved mysteries. The Egyptians had roughly 30 Dynasties over the course of a thousand years, and built the most perfect megaliths the world has ever known (to-date engineers still cannot replicate them) yet the implications of Egyptian mysteries were never discussed in our western classrooms. Why? To keep them obscure; to relegate that portion of history into “conspiracy theory”, rather than part of our overall discussion. The one thing that Western academia couldn’t do is hide the megaliths and the dramatic statements that remain in the granite. The woods at Wachusett State Forest are not unassuming at all; the megaliths here, in several different ways, are trying to tell us something. But first, lets wander in.
Trails: To arrive at Wachusett Mountain State Reservation in central Massachusetts simply take Route 2 West, which runs across the entire State. Connect to Route 140 South, and drive just for a few minutes. Turn onto Mountain Road into the Reserve, where you will see the sign for the Trailhead parking. There are essentially 8 trails here. Most popular are the “Mountain Loop”, which almost circumambulates the Mountain in an 5.8 mile hike with solid views; “West Side Trail”, a moderate 2.8 mile loop featuring paths strewn with wildflowers, and classic 400 year old forest groves; and “Summit Loop”, a 4.9 mile stretch that includes a serious effort to the peak gaining roughly 1000 feet for the best view of the region. After achieving the peak, the trail will take you down to a full New England Dolmen which sits in the forest (quixotically named: “Balance Rock”)
Featured Trail: “Summit Loop Trail”/Upper trail: This is the most popular trail at Wachusett. The lower trail is a stony path with curious patterns in the rock. It legitimately looks as if the stones here have been hewn into a criss-cross pattern, like a quilt. The stones are distinct, separate, pieces laid in parallel sections. (Image/Below) I just can’t understand how an of this could be considered natural. In one swift diagnostic you can see the math in the stones. As the path rises, it then changes. A different set of large, individuated, flat plates of rock emerge in a spotty but specifically patterned line up the trail. How could the lower path set be so distinctly different from the one just 100 feet further up? And look at the distribution of the stones; each plate is essentially equal in size and spacing on this second path. Very strange. (Image/Below) Native Americans of this region considered these trails sacred, serving as miniature highways through the mountains. They must have seen the strange distinctions in these stones and considered the place enchanted in some way. Wachusett indeed was considered a holy place by the ancient tribes of the area. On a misty day such as this, these pathways are like woodsy tunnels. There is a strange comfort in the distinctness of the path that rises before you through the fog. Here is yet a third trail with a unique style of a singular layer of stone spread like butter, evenly, just before the upper clearing. (Image/Below) This a third style of stone along the same path within a thousand feet.How can we not notice this?
No one is expected to concede to the idea of an ancient culture that could hew massive mountain stones into patterns and structures, and yet, ancient cultures are seemingly beckoning us to accept that very thing. Although it is not written in our textbooks, megalithic craftsmanship is in the antiquity of literally every nation. Russia, Peru, France, Italy, Ireland, China, America, England, Scotland, Greece, Turkey, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, and many, many, more. Just google any of these nations, along with the term ‘megaliths’, and hundreds of variations of examples from forests and mountains worldwide will appear, most of them very hard to explain. You will begin to realize that the trail you are on is most likely a sacred one, one that sponsored megalithic culture, with several incredible supporting statements. And if you visit several sacred trails over time, you will see the pattern of those trademarks. One such trademark appeared embedded in the lower rock face of the mountain here, an “X” section. (Image/Below) Now, taken on its own, this could be dismissed as a singular fracture in the granite. But these “X” sections have a way of popping up all over New England. Here is another one at “Monument Mountain”, a sacred mountain to the west of here…(Image/Below/Left) This colossal “X” section is also located about 100 yards from a beautifully cut Standing Stone. (image/right) This is no accident.
The two “X: sections just above, one located at the sacred Mountain of Monadnock/New Hampshire/USA (Left), and the other literally hewed into one of the the stone linings at Monument Mountain/Massachusetts/USA (Image/Above/Right), reveal varying levels of intensity, but are clearly crafted. It is as if the tool used to create these markings was of intense and focused heat that hewed the rock in exact ways. It clearly was not chiseled into the stone.
Take a look a this massive “X” section on the left; it is located near the peak of Mount Clark in Colorado/USA. This “X” section is located on a 40 ton boulder sitting just 30 yards from a large Standing Stone (Image/Below), legitimizing the anthropology of the entire scene.
As I have written many times over the years, it seems that the “X” sections are type of logo that signifies a sacred zone. It is no accident that they are most often found near the peaks of mountains that were considered sacred to the Native Americans and Celts. The “X” is a “calling card” of the ancient megalithic culture. On the left is an image of an “X” section near the peak at Hulapai Mountain /Arizona/USA. Look at the precision of this section! It’s on an isolated trail 7,300 feet above sea level, incised into a mountain side! It looks like modern water-cut stone. This “X” section is also located roughly 30 yards away from a Standing Stone, of equally unique precision. (Image/Below)
At Watatic Mountain in Massachusetts/USA there are several “X” sections of less intensity, but exact precision sliced into the stones, and yes, they are located near a Standing Stone close to the peak. (Images/Below) These sections are obviously cut to be noticed. We may very well be looking at the first axiomatic and intrinsic symbolism of all language. Whoever created these sections absolutely wanted us to see them, that much is clear. And below/right, again, is the Standing Stone that the two Watatic Mountain “X” sections are near to.
Are you seeing the pattern here? How is it that in a 100 years of modern anthropology, not a single anthropologist, geologist, or even social scientist, has now marked the obvious patterns and trends found in the heights of megalithic spaces of New England? How can Harvard or M.I.T professors, continue to belittle the most blatant and obvious patterns of evidence in these distinct spaces, from their desks? They will refuse to acknowledge, even with the related patterns of evidence, which literally point to a megalithically capable culture existing in the beginning of Time. The academics bully their narrative against the evidence because they can’t handle being dynamically refuted with evidence from people in the field. I hope that the readers will consider the evidence, not the theories of desk-chained theorists.
Returning to Wachusett Peak, at the top of the Summit Loop Trail, there is a solid rock dome over the uppermost mountain face. Carved into that ‘rock-dome’ are geometric patterns with distinct right-angles which could never occur in Nature; entire sections of rock cut with parallels, triangles, and right angles. (Image/Below) This is at the top of a mountain, not near a street corner! It almost looks modern! If people do not see this, it is because they have been programed not to. This is what you will find at the peak of Wachusett Mountain.
“Summit Loop Trail” Lower trail: Heading back down the trail there are the classic stone-linings running through the lower vale. These are beautiful stone-fixtures that run like cables from one peak to the next in the hills, literally connecting, and synergizing the landscape.
Continuing down the ‘Lower Loop Trail’ you will find autonomous boulders near the Linings, very similar to Cavan Burren national Park’s megalithic statements in Ireland. These are the literal signs of megalithic culture all over the world.
Above is an image of a unique boulder at Wachusett. Below is an image of the Boulder at Cavan Burren National Park/Ireland, which is near many megalithic altars. The Wachusett boulder, which is subject to the same pattern, is guarding by a sacred area where a full New England Dolmen sits at the bottom of the Loop-Trail path.
Here is a look at A Dolmen that has been ridiculously labelled “Balance rock” at Wachusett Mountain (Image/Below). This Dolmen is not simply two boulders sitting on top of each other, they are two colossal stones, fixed and set, in a observably crafted style. Each stone looks to be a bout 30 tons! The lower boulder was clearly angled, and cut, to support the upper. It is set before an altar of smaller boulders, which are set in a pattern in the foreground. This entire scene is a magnificent and extremely powerful statement about how important Wachusett was to someone, in the beginning of Time. This is a good place to stop and consider what it must have taken to create this Dolmen!
In other parts of the woods, off trail, there are small Cairns that have been toppled. Look at the similarity of the toppled Cairn at Wachusett (Image/Left) and the toppled Cairn at the Dolmen of Kilclooney Ireland (Image/Right)
Mount Wachusett State Reservation is yet another sacred megalithic zone full of natural beauty and wonder, on par with any Celtic or American Western zone. The best time to experience this place is in early Autumn, as it is with all New England sites. Although I was unlucky in my excursion to see Wachusett in a veil of incredibly thick fog, the statements here are still overwhelming and inspiring. Yet again, you are being introduced to a trail that, through several subtle, and not so subtle signs, is trying to get your attention. Aside from that, the Forest here is gorgeous. Open your eyes and heart to see which way the evidence here truly leads; touch the markings and stones for yourself. Hike, climb, and meditate on the energy of this synergized landscape. Wachusett is a miniature-wonderland that has been endeared by every single group that passes through, since the very beginning. There must be something much more than typical about this place; the megaliths are indicating that very thing! I hope you will take your turn as well. May the road rise to meet you! And thanks for reading.