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.

Cairns have been used by many cultures throughout history for a variety of purposes. They could have been built to mark a path, indicate a food supply, or 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 comes from a Gaelic term that means “heap of stones.” They are usually built in the form of a hill of rock. 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.

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.