Location: Great Barrington, Massachusetts/USA
Elevation: 1,642 ft
Note: Monument Mountain is a rare natural gem for Massachusetts. It is not connected to the rolling hills of eastern New England, but rather the beautiful Berkshire Mountain range, which runs through the southwest corner of Massachusetts, before continuing northwest into New York State. In early November the hillsides around Monument Mountain practically glow from the morning frost in the Sunrise, giving it a unique New England appeal… From top to bottom, massive shelves of white-quartzite line the mountainside, with jagged cliffs looming hundreds of feet above the trails, leading to what is known as ‘Squaw-Peak’. Alternative trails are known as “Indian Monument, and”Hickey Trail”, but are both essentially part of the same loop leading to Squaw Peak. As hard as it might be to believe, this is the Macchu Piccu of Massachusetts. The trails here lead through glades of old growth forest and quartzite glens. There are White Pines, Hemlocks, Maples, and Birches in the elevated areas, that change the feeling of the trail as you go. The forest is a barrage of overgrowth and ledges, with craggy shelves at every turn. Some fixtures were obviously toppled by a glacial game that was played over 10,500 years ago, while other stones do not seem random at all.
The Solar Stones: The initial trail runs through a glade of towering Pines for about a half mile. Soon you will encounter an incline in the path that will lead you into Birch groves, baby Pines, and stony footing. As the trail to Squaw Peak begins to elevate, there are stairs that are clearly cut out of the mountain, leading up to smooth rounded porches. On these porches are stones that have specific angular cuts that are pointing directly at the Sun at mid-day. These stones appear at other sites in New England too. The image below is a prime example of the Solar Stone type at Monument Mountain, approaching Squaw Peak. Before coming to Monument” I had found several stones that were cut exactly like this, shown below. I felt that if stones were cut specifically to be “pointing” at something significant, it would most likely be the Sun. So on this day at Monument Mountain I tested my theory. I climbed to reach Squaw Peak just before Noon, and using this method I came across this exact stone, which points directly at the Sun at Noon. These are the moments that hikers live for. Trail features become both an exploration into natural beauty, and anthropological. Standing there, as the Sun was directly above this stone, I felt as if I was momentarily peeking through a keyhole connected to a culture from the beginning of Time. The “Solar Stones” geometry is essentially: a single long-side leading up to a 45 degree angle, which is then cut, creating an arrow head, or apex, pointing straight up; Then the cut goes back down 45 degrees, to a shorter side, which runs parallel to the long side. These cuts are made in solid granite. Take a look below… If this were the only stone that I had seen like this, then I would hesitate to publish it here, but I offer some other examples of beautifully cut Solar Stones with the exact same angles and features. This Solar Stone pictured above is located near one of the most significant “Celtic style” alter’s in New England: the Heath Alter, of Massachusetts. Notice the identical angles. Here again is a Solar Stone with the exact same measurements at a different location. We can at least conclude that whoever created these stones had a sense of ‘symbolism’, which in this case, was to convey how important they felt the Sun was, and that they were very much in tune with its properties. As you continue hiking along, the elevated stone porches emerge (image above) which head directly towards Squaw Peak. Your first clearing will arrive facing north-east, and its phenomenal.
Aligned Stones: The edge of this porch has several stones that are centered and aligned with the massive square tower that stands almost 1000 feet high in the distance. This ledge also seems to be aligned to the peak of the mountain just beyond. If it weren’t for places like Macchu Piccu, where stones are aligned in amazing ways at high elevations to mountains and peaks, something like this would certainly seem impossible. But notice the stones running in a straight line directly down the center of this porch, with tops that are squared perfectly with each other, as if leveled intentionally. Makes you wonder. What could possibly have done this? (left image) This is the magic of Monument Mountain’s porches.
Pattern Stones: Along the trail at Monument” you will also see a type of stonework that fits a specific pattern. This can also be found at other sites in New England. Here is an image of a long singular megalithic slab specifically placed above three smaller supporting stones. Below this are other spots at Monument”, and other places in New England, with the same dimensions of: the long slab on top, with the three smaller below. This is easily something you might pass by, believing it to be simple glacial displacement, but have a look at some other patterned stones in New England that fit this exact design.
Interestingly, over 2000 miles away, there are Dolmens in Ireland that, in profile, fit this is exact numeric design: one long slab over three lesser stones This example is significantly larger, which is the Gaulstown Dolmen, with a capstone weighing 6 tons, suspended roughly 6 feet in the air. This relationship of 1 over 3 seems to be significant for these fixtures, and for the moment we can only guess at the significance of this.
After continuing along the porch away from the north-east alignment you will find Squaw Peak, which has a wonderful 360 view of the river valley. On a clear day distant peaks cut the clouds at a distance. Monument” trails also sponsor some of the more common megalithic features found at places like Mount Monadnock and Mount Watatic. There are classic stone-linings that run straight up the mountain… and the mysteriously cut “X” sections, that produces the diamond shape stones that appear all the way into Maine and New Hampshire. All of these are found here at Mounument”. Give yourself an entire day to search out the pathways that lead through this wonderland in south western Massachusetts. Feel the texture and absolute smoothness of the creases in these megaliths as you go. This is an absolutely wonderful hike that stretches for about 4 miles along the larger picturesque loop. Someone loved and appreciated this place in ways we are only just beginning to understand. See it for yourself, the sooner the better.