Cairn Making – A Meditative Activity That Can Bring You Closer to the Earth and Your Community
Cairn building can be a surprisingly meditative practice that brings you closer to your community and the earth. It’s a great way for you to get your mind off of the everyday and focus more on balance and permanence.
Throughout history, different cultures have used cairns in many ways. 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 derives from a Gaelic word that means “heaps or heaps of stones”. It is usually built as 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. They can guide hikers home after a long day’s hiking, or help them navigate in remote areas.
A well-placed Cairn can help save lives, and guide a hiker group that is lost or having trouble finding their trail. Some people claim that cairns do not belong in the environment and violate Leave No Trace principles.