Standing Stones of Pt Reyes (2)

It wasn't really a wall, so much as a line of stones on the ground.  It may have been a wall at one time, but there's no proof of that.  It is a perfectly straight line of rocks imbedded in the ground, stretching from one cliff to the other.  It goes directly across the hiking trail; obviously some of the stones were removed when the trail was put in.  Either that, or we are looking at the top of a wall which has been completely buried except for the uppermost layer.

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Now I felt a sense of reverent awe.  Who had laid these stones, how long ago and for what unknown purpose?  I walked slowly along the ancient wall, from one end to the other.  At the western end lies that huge boulder, balanced near the cliff edge. 

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I examined this stone now.  I recalled now Russell having mentioned it in passing.  If this were Scotland or any part of Europe, no one would question that this object was thousands of years old, an artifact of the Druids or other ancient seafarers.  It could not be a natural formation - it was at some time in the remote past propped on end, with smaller rocks around the base to hold it up.  It sits here on the edge of the world, a lone beacon.

But not quite alone.  Now I noticed something else - looking northward along the cliff, I could make out another similar stone, just on the horizon line at the peak of the slope.  I needed a closer look. 

Walking toward the next stone, some quarter of a mile distant, I had time to examine the immediate landscape more closely.  The more I looked the more amazed I became.  I seemed to find traces of an ancient civilization everywhere.  There were numerous places where stones from the field had been gathered together and piled into mounds, exactly like those ancient graves in the British Isles.  Why had no archeologist every excavated this place?

I considered the theory that some dairy rancher had made that stone wall to prevent cows from wandering.  If that were so, then it was evident this rancher was not concerned whether his livestock fell over the steep cliff at either end of the wall. 

When I got to the second standing stone, balanced precariously on the western bluff, I became aware of yet another mystery. 

To the north there was a third stone.

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This third stone was more distant - perhaps half a mile.  Yet the three were clearly a deliberate group.  As far as I could tell they were laid out in a perfectly straight line.  More important, they were positioned exactly so that standing at the center stone, I could spot the north and south stones just at the horizons.  Yet the northernmost stone would not be visible from the southern, or vice versa.   It was as if someone in the remote past had laid out a line of semaphore signals stations. 

Of course I walked on to the northern stone.  This was the end of the line.  The trail proceeded on about a mile further, nearly to the end of the point.  But I could see from here there were no more standing stones. 

Oddly, I discovered imbedded in the third stone a bronze plate marked "U.S. Geodetic Survey."  All three stones were about the same size - solid granite, five to six feet high, several tons in weight.  Whoever put them there went to a great deal of trouble. 

Later, I determined that the remnant of wall, if that's what it is, is closely aligned to magnetic north.  (Whatever that means.)

I also realized, later, that there may have been other standing stones ranged along the cliff further south at one time.  There's at least one spot with a small clearing where another stone may have stood - in just the right position for a line of sight with the southernmost stone.

Since that first summer afternoon I have gone back to visit the site a number of times.  I'm still amazed at all the hikers who sail past these ancient marvels without seeing them.  Dowsers and geomancers believe these artifacts have the quality of directing earth energies along certain channels.  Perhaps they also have the ability to direct the attention of passersby in other directions? 

There are other mysterious stone artifacts throughout Northern California.  At Tilden Park in Berkeley are found stone circles and walls miles in length.  They are all anomalies - they serve no apparent purpose, no one knows who built them or when.  Sometimes a wall will disappear in the side of a hill, only to re-emerge several hundred feet away.   There are numerous theories about them.  No one knows how old they are.  Yet no professional archeologist has ever taken enough interest to excavate. 

Maybe it's better that way.  I like to visit the stones of Pt. Reyes and let my imagination run wild.  Perhaps these stones are only the top of a great buried city.  Or perhaps the standing stones were beacons to warn ships away from the rocks.  Or the grave markers of ancient kings. 

I'm also puzzled by all the people I know who think the world around them is completely explored and understood.  In a sense, they have more imagination than I do. 

The Pt. Reyes stones had yet one more trick to play on me.  I have a number of pictures of them from previous trips.  However, for the purpose of this article I made one more trip to get some more recent photographs - in case there were any changes I hadn't noticed. 

After I got back I discovered the shutter of my camera was broken.  The rocks were being invisible again.  I had two completely blank rolls of film.

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(For more about stone walls, look Here.)

(And also take a look at Rocklines.)