Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 25, 2009

Cairns

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:33 am

I find myself intrigued by the many different ways people choose to stack rocks.  Here in the desert, cairns are the only way to mark a trail, and there are plenty of rocks from which to choose; endless variations then result.  I’ve made a few myself, repaired some, moved some, and… one can almost begin to see a signature ‘style’ come forth.  There are the precise and rigid piles (“… must find flat rock… must find smaller flat rock…”), there are the thrown-together “anything will do as long as it stays up ’til I move away” piles, there are cemented-together-by-NPS piles, and then there are the absolutely artistic ones that are clear representations of, say, an arch, or a man.  Those bring a smile to my face, but I am fascinated by them all collectively.  The fourth photo is a nine-rock cairn I built to ensure that others would not be led astray at Courthouse Towers, as I was on my first hike.  Two days later I hiked it again and someone had knocked it over.

Rather representational, like a boat, or a child's stacking toy; carefully selected components

Rather representational, like a boat, or a child's stacking toy; carefully selected components

 

There is a skillfully-crafted arch here.  See the pale opening at the center?

There is a skillfully-crafted arch here. See the pale opening at the center?

 

A creative balancingtype built this one; note fewer flat surfaces

A creative balancing type built this one; note rounded rocks

 

I used nine rocks to build this one.  Some are only two rocks.

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1 Comment »

  1. Would those who knock down cairns be called ‘cairn tearers’?
    d

    Comment by Dad — June 25, 2009 @ 9:04 am | Reply


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