Cairn making can be a surprisingly relaxing activity that will bring you closer together with your community and 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 made to mark a route, to indicate a food source, or to warn of danger. Cairns are also used as burial sites by Native Americans in North America. This practice is known as inukshuk.

The word cairn derives from a Gaelic word that means “heaps or heaps of stones”. It is usually built as a hill. They can range in size from tiny rock sculptures to huge man-made stone hills. Some are comparable to kistvaens or dolmens, but built out of stone instead of ephemeral Earthworks.

Cairns serve many purposes, and are particularly useful to hikers. They can be used to guide hikers back to the trailhead after a tough day of hiking, or to aid them in finding their way in remote areas of wilderness.

A well-placed trail cairn is a lifesaver and can guide stranded hikers or those who have difficulty finding their way. Some people, however, argue that cairns don’t belong in nature and violate the Leave No Trace principle.

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