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Archive for October 2nd, 2017

As I walked along one of my regular routes today, I spotted a younger couple building a ‘cairn’ out on the rocky outcropping that overlooks the Atlantic.

In our neck of the woods, stone cairns seem to be on the increase, especially along our Marginal Way–and for many, are being built as a remembrance, or as a spiritual guide, or to symbolize a journey meaningful only to themselves. All along our rocky coastline you’ll find many rock cairns… right on up to Acadia National Park.

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Though some may find them quite beautiful, myself among them… because as I walk along the trail spotting one, they make me pause and wonder about the party that built it.. and why. What was the motivation or significance of leaving their mark here?

Traditionally, to me, rock cairns were built to help guide ┬áhikers along the trails–either inland trails, or the many beautiful coastal trails our state offers and are still used in our local state parks, for specifically that purpose. Today, though sadly, many of these guiding stone markers are being destroyed, while others are being randomly erected that have no guiding purpose–and that’s not a good thing. Building false cairns could lead a new hiker in the wrong direction, and could even get people into trouble, harming them ­čśŽ which I don’t think anyone would want to see happen–especially due to a lack of understanding.

I don’t believe the hundreds of thousands of visitors we see here each summer, understand the true purpose of a a guiding stack of rock cairns. ┬áMaybe we need to educate them further. Or maybe–we need to put a mandatory stop to their construction altogether. ┬á I’m just not certain what the best answer is.. or how it can be resolved. But in the meantime.. I’ll photograph my favorites as I have, for many years gone by.

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