Stonestrider

Seek and Find The Sacred


November 10, 2017

Coconino National Forest

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Location: Flagstaff, Arizona.

Elevation: 7000 ft

Note: Coconino National Forest raises some amazing questions and answers about what has really taken place in the beautiful forests of the world. Before wandering into any part of the massive Coconino’, it seems appropriate to have a discussion about the very real enchanted statements that exist in sacred zones. Coconino is certainly one of those sacred zones. Therefore, this article begins with a “Forward” in order to offer logical evidence, rather than tired theories from post-modern science, theories which are quickly being understood as totally ridiculous. Here at Stonestrider is some of the most vanguard and comprehensive work on what is actually revealed by these megalithic stone works, and you will learn something incredible from it. There is an anthropological side of hiking in ancient places, and every so often it is important to review connections, patterns, and evidence. By looking at this material, please understand that you are stepping into something truly magical. I thank everyone who takes the time to consider the evidence in the beautiful places of the world by reading an article like this, and we will wander into Coconino after explaining a few wonderful things about what is taking place here.

Forward: After drifting into roughly 30 forests internationally, and sponsoring this website with many truly challenging expeditions over the course of the last five years, I’m gonna take the chance of going full-on anecdotal for the first time, due to the relevance to The Coconino National Forest featured at the moment, which is one of the largest and most beautiful Pine forests in the entire World (and obviously the continental U.S) Allow me to step back for a moment to set a scene about what Forests mean to me. As a teenager I read, and re–read the works of J.R.R Tolkien, which many students utilized to break the boredom of raw academic classes, ever since the massive novel was first published in the 1950’s. Intrinsic to my photo’s, if you look with a certain eye, are Tolkien’s descriptions; images of mountains, river-glades, and forests which certainly engage all of our imaginations to this day! I realized, while going-over the content for this particular article, that in my mind, before I wander into any forest while out on the trail, that I am always comparing it to one forest in particular from Tolkien’s fictional masterpiece, that forest being Lothlorien. In this regard, I have searched for many years for forests that most closely resembled an enchanted experience, where the deeper you walked in, the more magical and dimensional the experience became. And amazingly enough, from this inspiration I discovered the real-time magic of forests internationally. These are profound discoveries that should be shared, which is the focus of this article.

Forests often have particular emotional effects on people. Tolkien, in the Lord of The Rings, also creates a polarity about forests. His characters journey through the beautiful, mystical, spacious, ageless, enchanted Forest of Lothlorien; and then later into the dark, rustic, knarly, timeless Forest of Fanghorn. Some are light, and some are dark. And darker still, is Mirkwood Forest in The Hobbit, the epic prequel to L.O.T.R. (There are other forests as well, like the heart-warming Buckland Forest in the opening of LOTR,(#TolkienNerd), plus what you find in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, or Science Fiction stories of today)

The main point of all this ‘fictional forest referencing’ is to understand that forests have, and promote, specific styles and characteristics all their own, just like people. Some are bright and carefree, with pleasant pathways, and golden Autumn leaves, as in New England (Image/Upper-Left); while Other forests, like Ballachulish in Glen Coe Scotland, are dark and looming, with strong and rustic ancient knolls. Walking through Scottish forest is truly intimidating, with a fear of getting lost in the fog and rain; yet the glens are gorgeous! (Image/Upper-Right). Take a look at another Glen in the Snowdon Forests of Wales, which is as pleasant-a-vale you will ever walk through in your life. This particular glade, which almost looks fictional in real-time, are woods made of an extended family of trees, spacious and airy, with an obvious brightness that nearly forces you to squint just to decipher the full scene. (Image/Lower-Left). There is a small standing stone at the top of the knoll in this image, which can’t be seen from this spot.       

 And along those lines, how could I exclude a forest which is, in my opinion, one of the most enchanting paths that has ever been, which is the smaller, but incredibly beautiful, Kinnitty Forest, in the absolute heart of Ireland. This is a rare Celtic Wood, that has been vanishing steadily since the Colonial Period. Irish forests are particularly rare due the British need for resources across the Celtic see just 100 miles away. Kinnittty is a rare gem.(Image/Lower-Right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

And before finally moving into the deeper meaning of forests, I could not complete this small tour without having a quick glance at the most dense and intimidating forest I’ve ever seen, which is the brilliant Rawah Forest of Medicine Bow National Park in Colorado USA. These are shimmering glades that sway and sift through each other like green-ghosts. In almost all the forests I’ve been I have disappeared into dells that looked to be harboring some kind of clearing or stone-altar; but in Colorado I dared not wander in any away from the old rocky paths. As I have described in other articles, it would be like wondering into the depths of the ocean at night, and like the ocean, it is an overwhelmingly profound statement about the abundance of Nature’s forces, ever blooming in our complicated world. (Image/Below)Forest Mysteries:  I hope with this brief set of examples that it’s a little more clear how forests have enchanting and unique personalities. This “enchanting” vibe, if you look even closer, doesn’t come from the glades alone; there is something even more strange and mysterious beneath the tree tops. There are megaliths and impossibly crafted stones. This mysterious trend is an international phenomenon, where specific geometric patterns of stones, along with incredible feats of megalithic engineering, emerge deep within the woods, beneath sacred mountainsides, from Glen Coe, Scotland, all the way to Arizona, USA.  After establishing proper anthropological and mathematical similarities in stones from forests nearly 3000 latitudinal miles away from each other (that’s North to South) the obvious question emerges: “How can this “glacial” arguement continue to hold up? Free-sitting boulders at advantageous vantage points in the forests of New England (Image/Below/Right) Ireland (Image/Left) England, Scotland, and Wales are technically similar to free-sitting boulders in Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona. How the hell is this possible? Did the most recent Ice-Age glacier of roughly 40,000 years ago reach all the way down to Arizona’s volcanic mountain deserts? It just doesn’t make sense. Technically, the continent-sized ice mass that covered what would be the American West was called the Cordilleran, which looks to have stopped on the border of what would eventually be Canada. So, simply put, how are scientists claiming that free-sitting boulders like this one in the Coconino Forest in central Flagstaff was moved by the same glacier as the boulders in New England and Ireland? (Image/Lower/Left)

I examined this Arizona boulder, and more importantly, the slope of the ledge it sits on, and the angle is very telling of how unlikely it is that this boulder remained on this ledge from an at-random geologic process. There is 15 degree slope on the ledge-top, as you can see. To counter that, on the boulder’s base, is a cut of about 15 degrees, fitting the boulder to the ledge perfectly. This is a fixture; an intentional fit, in my opinion. Additionally, there are markings all over this boulder, which is a type of “ledge-boulder” found in sacred zones all over the country. The odds that all of these boulders are placed at random at the very edge of vantage-giving ledges is, to put it blatantly: gastronomical multiplied by gastronomical; impossible.

Take a look at yet another free-sitting boulder on a rounded ledge which is ‘vantage-giving’. This boulder is 2500 miles away, in New England. See how rounded this ledge is? For this boulder to remain fixed on top of this rounded precipice it would have to sit in the absolute gravitational center, which it does. Again this an example where if you use logic, and not simply dismiss the statement with brazen theories about ancient ice-sheets, the truth will come out. Someone, or something put this boulder here in order to say: “This is my zone; see how strong I am; beware!”

If this “territorial fixture” still doesn’t seem realistic to you, take a look at this amazing statement at Cavan Burren National Park in Ireland. It should be understood by the reader that Cavan Burren is filled with sacred megaliths; altars with standing stones, small temples, and Neolithic engineering. Someone claimed this space for themselves in antiquity, and  in this space what do we find? A free-sitting boulder perfectly placed on a tiny platform of bedrock. Modern “science” is telling us to believe a massive glacier rolled this single boulder hundreds, or even thousands of miles, only to land it perfectly square and set on this minuscule 4 by 3 foot space of embedded rock? No. Impossible. Absurd. Illogical. And to me, insulting. Again, this is clearly an example of a boulder which was placed by an individual(s) in ancient times, as a statement to others that this zone is occupied, and by someone with incredible strength and know-how. Furthermore, here are some of the Neoliths found within just 25 yards of this boulder: (Image/Left) and (Image/Below/Right). How can we go on believing the academic narrative of the post-modernists? They are blatantly lying to us in their white-papers, mini-museums, and gift shops. Why? What do they not want us to conclude? Well, regardless, perhaps these academics didn’t expect someone with a Degree in Western Literature, and some perspective, to make the effort to actually study these places in detail. Perhaps they are RELYING on the fact that people don’t make the effort to stride into these sacred zones from one continent to the next. And these free-standing statements can be found in forests all over the world.  Here’s a look at some of the very strange and distinct boulders that remain in Cavan Burren Forest, just 100 yards from the Wedge Tombs. Celtic glades in Ireland are rare, and these boulders are strewn into the landscape like an above ground cable system. Covered in glowing green moss, they just looked to have some positional secret yet to be understood…

And now take a look at a similarly stoic boulder in the forest of Cococino, 4000 miles away. It has precise indents on its side, also with a strange glow, which is of course rusty orange, rather than mossy green. These boulders seem plotted, or planted, rather than randomly tossed about by ice. They are both squared and monumental, as opposed to disheveled. Another very real possibility is that the stones were there long before the forests grew. Were the stones there before the glacier came along? In some forests you can easily see that the stones were there first, as the trees grow straight over the rock. The point is, there are a great many questions that are not answered by the one size fits all modern answers of “glacial displacement.”Coconino National Forest: Welcome to a Ponderosa Pine vale that stretches from the northern to southern heart of Arizona. Grand sections of forest emerge all the way from the Grand Canyon down to Sunset Crater Flagstaff, continuing even further down through Oak Creek Canyon, in Sedona. In this environment entire glades of trees are literally on the edge of burning at any given moment. Many trees are already lying prostrate on the ground with limbs seemingly reaching to the heavens, begging to be finally ignited by the Sun. I had just never seen trees like this before.Even with the challenge of an extremely arid climate, many incredibly delicate and beautiful statements emerge in the dry hedge and shade. These wildflowers just look so resilient against a massive canvas dry-wood in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will have to make a decision about where and when you want to wander into the Coconino’. The northern section of the Forest sits at the edge of the Grand Canyon, near the great Southern Rim. This requires traveling through the beautiful desert plain to arrive at the Canyon. The central section of the Forest is roughly 150 miles south of the Grand Canyon, stretching from Sunset Crater National Park to the The San Francisco Peaks, which are the rugged mountains that engulf the city of Flagstaff. Much of the Forest can be found at the base of Mount Humphries, climbing all the way to the peak, which stands at 12,365 feet above Sea Level, and offering 6000 feet of Prominence. That’s a pretty serious climb, and one which I did not make during this particular excursion. The area is truly a wonderland, with possibilities in every direction, and it is nearly impossible to miss a mountain, canyon, or forest trail, in this part of Arizona. Flagstaff is the place where I chose to enter the Coconino first. The Coconino Forest at Buffalo Park:  There are half a dozen parks and entries for the Forest in Flagstaff. Buffalo Park is a 700 foot elevation hill encompassing about 5 by 15 miles of quiet grassland above, and on the edge of Flagstaff. At the top, after sifting through the Forest, the area opens up to a surprisingly vast and peaceful scene. (Image/Below)This plateau is like the American West’s rustic version of Ireland’s Hill of Tara (Image/Below/Left) although it was far less lush than the near perfect setting of Tara’. The quiet was very similar though, both hills were places to feel the high winds and absorb the day. It was easy to see that this hill, perhaps 500 years ago, would’ve certainly been a serene place for the Natives, who built stone huts in the deeper forest just a 1000 yards away from here. The size and scale of Coconino and Tara’ is eerily similar.  The trees and stone-fixtures surrounding the Hill at Buffalo Park seems as enchanted as the megaliths in, say, the Mourne Range in Ireland, or the Berkshire Range in Massachusetts. As explained at the beginning of the article, certain areas felt more like claimed cliff-spaces from the beginning of Time. Buffalo Park is just a teaser to the more dense forest which is closer to Mount Humphries, a beautiful wilderness looming in the immediate distance. 

The image above is another look at the small cliff-face with a distinctly placed free-sitting boulder, etched just below the top of the broad hill beyond. I can’t stress it enough, how similar this is to places in New England, where magical things often loom in deep gully’s, which unless you stop and dip down into them, you would simply pass by, gaining no knowledge of the concealed area at all. Here’s another look at the surprising frequency of boulders beneath the trees in this wonderful place. (Image/Below) 

Once you are ready to step into the larger Coconino Forest at the base of Mount Humphries, you can simply drive up to one of the many Trailheads. I used the entrance at Trinity Methodist Church, sitting on the literal edge of the vast woods. There are dozens of trails winding through this spacious and beautiful set of glades, with massive stones set in incredible positions that give serious pause. This amazing stone was there to greet me as soon as I walked in. (Image/Below) You just can’t make this stuff up.

This stone is essentially standing straight up at about 4 feet high, with only a five inch width, which is relatively thin. It is also buried deep within the ground, and make no mistake, this a massive rock. There is a type of streak across the center, with an oblong leaning of the overall shape. I was excited to see a type of “statement stone” as soon as I began my hike. The forest felt strange, mysterious and beautiful. Stones like these in New England are very similar, but this seemed a different style all together! As I progressed further towards the base of the mountain, another stone, more convincing as a Standing Stone, emerged. (image/Below)

Here is another huge stone standing straight up at about 5 feet tall, and about three inches in width. At this point I was having that moment, just like I’ve had at Cavan Burren National Park in Ireland, and Monument Mountain in Massachusetts, when I said to myself: “O.k, what in God’s name is going on in this enchanted place?”  And that feeling of ‘Lothlorien’ begins to sink in, all over again…

Take a look at this boulder above, which was on the edge of the woods. It was so isolated and stoic, extremely similar to the boulder at Cavan Burren National Park I described above. I could not help but feel that this was another territorial marker, just like at Celtic sites. I even pictured it painted with various markings to increase its distinction, as they are depicted in the mythical xbox game Skyrim, protected by giants living their primordial existence. Hundreds of distinct statements like this can be found in the Flagstaff Coconino. Something spectacular is going in this place, so spectacular, that its hard to totally understand. Aside from the threat of fire in July, the place was incredibly peaceful. Against Mount Humphries, the forest seemed ultimately protected from the North, tucked-in enough for the natives to build there homes here, which of-course they did. The trees are spaciously placed with a rusty orange glow along the tough exteriors and the forest floor, very much like New England Pine glades. The air is so dry that you can taste the hovering heat in the pocket of your tongue, like the taste of charcoal in the wind at a barbecue. Any spot is a great spot to sit down, take a nap, take a picture or video, and just fall into the peace and quiet of this massive natural space. It is pure medicine for your mind, against a modern world constantly driving us into the lower aspects of existence, which is the material and monetary contest we experience to survive. The Coconino’ makes you forget, in the best possible way; through the wind in the trees.   

Coconino Forest at Oak Creek Canyon/Sedona: After walking out of the Forest at Flagstaff, I had real and tangible reasons to believe that the Neolithic Culture inhabited this place, just like the myths of the Natives speak of. The following day, heading down to the southern extreme of the Coconino’ from Flagstaff, to Oak Creek Canyon, there are two southerly highways. Take the 89A, not Route 17. The 89A is one of the most beautiful back-highways in the country, and scenic Coconino forestry all the way down into the Canyon. The distance from Flagstaff to Oak Creek is only about an hour, the entire trip a wonderful experience. Bring cameras and water,  and be ready to freak-out on the beautiful southern extension of the Coconino!

Oak Creek is its own excursion, with magical stones, free-sitting boulders, and habitations well worth several treks. (See “Oak Creek Canyon” at Stonestrider.com for the complete experience.) The most important thing to understand is that the Coconino forest reaches all the way to this southern tip of the central portion of Arizona. This forest is massive and gorgeous, and as mysterious as any Celtic place I’ve ever seen. The trails here are cool and distinct, marked by lonely boulders that seem to be markers, yet again. The Forest grows thickly, with perhaps the tallest of Ponderosa Pines in all Arizona, featured in the very top image of this article. The Coconino Forest is enchanted with a rare Trinity of locations; found in Canyon, Mountain, and Desert.   

The Coconino Forest of Arizona is another dreamscape with mysterious statements strewn throughout the gigantic woods. It is the majestic wood-belt of Arizona, and in terms of scale, trumping Celtic forests in every possible way. Did the same Neolithic Culture which I believe existed in the forests of Celtic places exist here? I believe they did. Let yourself wander beneath these Pondersa Pines. There are mountains, volcanos, canyons, deserts, and grassy plateaus, where you find this Forest’s trails. It is an all-embracing Forest that pushes through the most arid of environments to ultimately give life and shade to this part of the world. The most important message I can convey at the end of this article is that reading about a forest is all well and good, but entering into one is the overall goal. You can get there and experience this massive life-force for yourself; it’s not a cliche. Seek it out, and find it out. Use your own mind to experience places like this, and don’t let the information-comptrollers and false-history writers deny you your allotted connection and interaction with this amazing primordial source of life in our world. Look and decide for yourself what happened in this gorgeous place. Go strong. Stonestrider.com.  

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August 30, 2017

Hulapai Mountain

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Location: Aspen Peak/Kingman, Arizona/USA

Elevation: 8,417 ft

Prominence: 1700 ft 

Note:  Half a world away from the ancient Celtic Ranges, where Standing Stones guard the mythical heights of Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England, are the epic mountains of the American West. Among the vast options of the grand natural spaces that dominate northern California, Montana, Oregon, and Colorado, are the mysterious high Ranges of Arizona. The Hulapai Range is a few miles south-east of Kingman Arizona. From Kingman you will take the ‘Hulapai Mountain Road’ straight into the heart of the Range, climbing slowly upward into a set of elevations that look like an American Mount Sinai. The comparison is a good one. The air here is absolutely void of humidity. With temperatures that climb up to 116 degrees in July, the trees, some half burnt, radiate a charcoal scent which carries on the wind; and you can taste that scent on the back of your tongue. Amazingly,  there are some similarities to Celtic mountain ranges here, if you have the right perspective. There are other-worldly rock fixtures, free standing boulders that stack the mountainside, and an amazing  magical stone near the peak, which you will see in this article. Aspen Peak Trail at Hulapai: As you approach the Range you will notice golden glades, not purely green zones. The bright Ponderosa forest at the belt of these mountains is spacious and inviting . In Celtic Ranges, the signs of the Neolithic Culture usually increase the further up you go. By this logic, if there is Neolithic cultural evidence at Hulapai, the highest peak would most likely yield the most evidence. Aspen Peak is the highest vista in this range, and the focus of this hike.  Make sure to bring at least 1.5 gallons of water along with a sports drink for necessary electrolyte/sugar replenishment. Ration your intake. Also bring an extra shirt due to perspiration, several granola bars/ carb eating options, including jellybeans for when you reach the peak.    There are options for approaching Aspen Trail. There is a lower entry through the hills and woods off the Hulapai Mountain Road marked by a sign on the left, which is more of a challenge with an extra 1000 ft below the campground trailhead (and about 1.5 miles of extra trail through rocky glades and curiously rounded stones).  If you want to cut that part of the approach off, you can make your way, by car, passing the Hulapai Ranger Station on the road, and then take the right onto the main campground, which is the more popular entry. After passing the numbered cottages and the RV’s in their designated areas, and you will see the marker for the ‘Aspen Trail’; here you will begin your challenge. Aspen Peak Trail’ is marked with signs on the way up, but remember on the way down to follow the signs that say “Campground” to get back. 

 

The first portion of Aspen Trail is a bold introduction to the Ponderosa Pine “vibe”. Dragonflies with a shiny blue armor orbit dazzling red cactus flowers beneath the forest. (Image/Left) This initial 1000 feet of incline is a winding set of switchbacks and vistas. The boulders here are rounded like leavened bread, adding a unique surreality to the openings in the glades, and there are hundreds of thousands of these rounded fixtures. 

How it is that these boulders came came to be rounded and stacked individually is hard to imagine. As you continue into the 1500 foot level of prominence you will come to the ridge which opens up on the northern view of Kingman and the overall desert plateau. It isn’t just the vastness of this view over the northern ridge, but the stillness that presides over the radiating gold that takes your breath away. Arizona is like “spirituality that happens at a glance”; there’s truly an underlying force that imposes an evolved slowness over everything; it’s the ‘un-rushed’ spirit that survives among the high desert winds. If you move too fast, you just won’t make it. Everything you see is whispering “Pace yourself, and take your time.” The land feels like natures assigned setting for prophecy, which is one hell of a calling card.

After taking in the northern vista on Aspen Trail’ you will begin to see the peak as you curve slowly around the mountain face, eventually making your way to the southern side. There is a view of the southern ridges beyond as the path first crosses a rickety wooden bridge that is your ‘gateway’ to the uppermost vale.(Image/Below)

From here something otherworldly happens. Just like  in the Celtic heights of enchanted places like the Rowan Valley in Wales, where massive ‘cut’ stones just start to appear out of nowhere, Hulapai seems to support similar ancient stoneworks specifically in the advantageous heights, where anyone approaching would be seen for miles before arrival. There are several stone-linings along the upper path. It is a good possibility that these stones were placed by the Neolithic culture, then supported by the Hulapai tribe, and reinforced in modern times. Clearly the area was sacred for someone if they were taking the time to create stones-works at 8000 feet, which is what we see here.  In Celtic elevations, often times when you find stone-linings that begins to announce a sacred zone, there is a singular solitary statement monumentalizing that sacredness. It is beyond astonishing that as you travel a little further along this last 200 yards of trail you will find a single Standing Stone unlike any of the other hundreds-of-thousands of rounded stones you’ve passed. The Standing Stone is cut abruptly on the top, with a a right angle cut into its right side.  It stands about 6 feet high, with an absolutely flat-cut face, like a table standing up at about 4 inches in width. It is totally opposite the rounded features of the common boulders here, in every possible way; and it faces the peak.

This Standing Stone is most likely one of the oldest sociological statements in all of Arizona, among hundreds of such statements. If it is related to the Neolithic culture of ancient Celtic places, then this stone is no less than 4000 to 6000 years old. It is truly priceless. It might very well be that this is what is known as a ‘Solar Stone’, marking mid-day on this mountain for eternity. ‘Solar Stones’ appear in Celtic highlands, as well as the New England mountains.  It is no mistake that from here you  can follow the last portion of Aspen Trail towards a grand monolithic peak laid out dramatically before you.  Continue towards this massive pinnacle to make the dramatic Aspen Peak. Even looking at the rock features in this uppermost area, you will see that there is not a single stone cut with right angles at the top and sides, like the Standing Stone that marks the upper trail. 

At the peak you are able to see a beautiful northern desert plateau. At this point you are 8,417 feet above Sea-level. 

Aspen Trail at Hulapai is a spiritual challenge. You will have to put aside your usual hiking tendencies and regular comforts. Plan carefully. This is a stellar place.  There are deer running through the forest below, and a high wind rushing over the desert; it may carry all the way to the Pacific Ocean in California! The Peak here is like an epic  guard tower for the entirety of the ‘American West’; Hulapai being on the western edge of the mountain ranges of Arizona, which continue all the way up to the Rockies of Colorado at its eastern edge. The wonders that exist deeper into the Arizona interior are astoundingly worthy of such a “tower”, where the ancients once dwelled, high above the world. Just let it all sink in.

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July 22, 2017

Oak Creek Canyon

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Location: Oak Creek Canyon/Arizona/USA

Elevation: 7,200 ft.

Note: The majestic Oak Creek Canyon is as much an expedition as it is a unique hike, even by international standards. It’s an achievement just to commit to this adventure, which is located in a massive 16 mile crevasse beneath the dramatically elevated Ranges of Sedona and Flagstaff in the great State of Arizona/USA. This may be the most popular hike in all of Arizona, which is less extreme than the Grand Canyon, and more accessible, with beautiful Coconino forestry surrounding the rocky trails running along the surreal stony tributary of the Verde River. This is another photographic paradise, where the curvatures and contrasting colors of the Canyon create the feeling of a rocky oasis; a secret cavernous fortress; a brilliant natural hideaway which has protected the precious stream that has flowed here since the receding of the last ice age, some 21,000 years ago. 

Route 89A runs dramatically into the base of the Canyon, twisting and turning along ledges that will require careful driving. Like the N71 that stretches across Killarney National Park in Ireland, or the A82 that cuts through the natural gateway to the Highlands in Scotland, 89A in Arizona has the potential to be one of the most dramatic drives of your life. Upon reaching the central base of the Canyon there is a toll with a small entry fee, along with an active parking lot. In this part of the world ‘climate conscious’ strategies should be practiced carefully in order to insure an engaging and healthy quest into the Canyon. Most importantly, for a hike in this region, is an early arrival, which insures the coolest possible temperature for your excursion, as well as the best odds for parking inside the reserve. If the parking Lot is full, which could well be the case by 8:30 a.m, most of the remaining  gregarious trailblazers will attempt to park along the base of the 89A roadside ledge, which is certainly possible, but dangerous. Start early and increase your odds for a great and seamless experience.

The first vision of Oak Creek Canyon is of a domineering rock-tsunami of glowing golden stone that stretches for miles in each direction. 

 After crossing the main entry bridge, the Oak Creek trail branches off into several alternate options, each with varying ability levels. The initial trail follows the flow of the Verde River to the north, where dramatic caverns emerge like tunnels carved out of the rock-face,  funneling a seemingly miraculous flow of water. On the right side of the initial trail is a rounded out rock cavern. This cavern is elevated with an entrance that is supported by stone-linings. These are similar to linings which can be found in New England and Ireland, although they are not a major feature throughout the trail here at Oak Creek. Additionally, there are several free standing boulders above the entrance way, and along the trail, which are often an indicator of something more than just natural “random rock” placement.  The interior of this cave is perfectly smooth. There are no signs of it being chipped away at with some kind of pick-axe or prehistoric chisel. Even more mysteriously is a perfectly square 4 foot shaft angled straight towards the sky, specifically along the outer canyon wall. This is very similar to the square shafts found in almost all the stone chambers in New England, as well as the Great Pyramid at Giza.  These shafts often point to the Sun at a specific point on the skyline, and more specifically, to the Winter or Summer solstices, which are moments that will flash dramatically through the shaft at that specific moment of the year. This also exists at New Grange in Ireland, the oldest megalithic temple in the world. How could a primitive native culture cut a perfectly square shaft through 4 feet of solid rock? While considering this question, observe the dramatic view from the cavern, which is truly a wonder. Moving on from this cave, the trail  follows a stream into the deeper woods, and becomes an experience unlike any hike you’ve ever taken. The trail extends back and forth over the rolling stream, leading into the deeper glens of the gorgeous Cococino Forest. There are free sitting boulders at each significant portion of the trail, seemingly and mysteriously assisting the hike. At some points the boulders indicate a scenic place, and at other points they indicate an actual direction on the trail. It is hard to ignore the specific placement of these boulders, and what it might indicate. What culture is capable of moving boulders above caverns and along rivers, and to specific points on the trails?    Continuing, this woodsy path quickly escalates into a humbling epiphany of enchanted woods. Oaks, Ash, Willows, Ponderosa Pines, and Cottonwoods burst broadly forth from the landscape, all surrounded by a red-rock coliseum of natural stone.   Heading north along this beautifully forested route you will encounter a feature of colossal level granite shelves that lead dramatically up the chasm like a massive set of porticos. The color of these ‘shelves’ is so in tune with the surrounding forest that you might actually mistake these curvy and knotted red-rock exteriors for fallen wood, but it most certainly is not. It is a testament to the original look of this ancient trail, where once upon a Time, the first Time,  the rock was barren and uncovered by the forest, revealing it’s incredible original story. Just use your imagination and picture these giant steps climbing up the canyon in an incredibly broad way!

This is a truly magical trail complete with brilliantly bright butterflies, dragonflies, fields of wildflowers, and gigantic trees. The rolling of the stream along the path creates a wind-tunnel that is invigorating, especially in such a dry climate. Feel free to jump in the water here, or perhaps picnic for the day. There are trailblazers of all ages climbing, hiking, and splashing through the woods. The protective feeling of the massive chasm of rock all around you creates a wonderful experience. The Native Americans considered this canyon absolutely sacred, and it is easy to see why. It’s a magical hideaway with miraculous qualities which could sustain a tribes existence with surprising sustenance, as well as profound beauty. Make the best preparations you can and explore this incredible place.  Get a true taste of the southwestern American trail experience! And finally, welcome to the newest season of Stonestrider.com! There are some incredible and mysterious new surprises to be revealed here publically for the first time in the coming articles!  Seek and find.

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