Day 90 – 366 Day Project

Day 90 – 366 Day Project

“Cairn”

 

Day 90 of 366 Day Project

“Magic is everywhere, explore & be amazed everyday!”

Out exploring today I came across this stack of rocks by the beach…all neatly placed by someone. I’ve seen similar piles of rock stacks during my travels. I remember the huge ones at each summit we reached on our Mont Blanc trek through the alpine areas of France, Italy and Switzerland. A type of landmark reaching the summit and or boarder between countries. So stumbling across a pile today I thought I’d do a little research. Here is what I found.

160330 - Day 90 Rock Stack-2 wm

What is a stack of rocks called?

For thousands of years people have used rock piles to mark their paths and find their way home. Today, those rock piles are known as cairns and can be found all over the world as trail markers and landmarks.

What is the meaning of a pile of rocks?

A cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn (plural càirn). Inuksuit in northern Canada were markers used for finding your way and to locate caches of food or other stores. A cairn also marks the mountain summit in Graubünden, Switzerland.

A cairn can also mark a mountain summit and are used as trail markers in many parts of the world, in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, as well as in barren deserts and tundra. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering.

Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons.

“Everybody wants to reach the peak, but there is no growth on the top of a mountain. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.” ~ Andy Andrews

In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times; but, since prehistory, they have also been built for a variety of other reasons, such as burial monuments and for defense and hunting, as well as ceremonial, astronomical, and other purposes.

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