Cairn building can be a surprisingly meditative practice that brings you closer to your community and the earth. Making a traditional or creative rock cairn can help you take your mind away from the daily grind and focus on permanence and balance.
Cairns have been used by many cultures http://cairnspotter.com/category/uncategorized/ throughout history for a variety of purposes. They were used to mark a route or indicate a food source. In North America, cairns were also made to serve as burial sites for Native American peoples, a practice known as inukshuk (the plural is inuksuit).
The word “cairn” comes from the Gaelic for “heap of stone”. They are usually constructed in the form a hill. They range in size from small rock sculptures to large man-made hills of stone, some of which are comparable to kistvaens and dolmens but built of stone rather than ephemeral earthworks.
Cairns have many uses, especially for hikers. 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 Cairn can help save lives, and guide a hiker group that is lost or having trouble finding their trail. However, some people argue that cairns are not a natural part of the environment and are in violation of Leave No Trace principles.