Cairn-making is a surprisingly meditative exercise that can bring people closer to the earth. You can make a traditional rock pile or a creative stack to help you focus on balance, permanence and harmony.
Throughout the history of mankind, cairns have served many different purposes. They may have been used to mark out a route, to indicate food sources, or to warn people of danger. In North America, Native American peoples also used cairns as burial sites, a practice called inukshuk.
The word cairn is derived from a Gaelic phrase that means “heaps of stones”. They are typically built in the shape of a hill. They range from small rock sculptures http://cairnspotter.com/data-room-software-keeps-growing-but-no-one-company-is-dominating up to large manmade hills of stones. Some are similar to kistvaens, dolmens and earthworks but built with stone instead.
Hikers, in particular, have a long and varied use for cairns. Cairns can be used by hikers to return to the trailhead at the end of a long day of hiking or to help them find their way in remote wilderness areas.
A well-placed, properly-marked cairn may save lives by guiding a group of lost hikers. Some people, however, argue that cairns don’t belong in nature and violate the Leave No Trace principle.