Why I hate cairns.

cairn (noun): a mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark, typically on a hilltop

I have a passionate hatred of cairns. Well, not all cairns. I actually like cairns. Please excuse the title of the post. It is clickbait. I am fighting for cairn-hating eyeballs.

But: some cairns are good, and some cairns are bad.

Here’s how to make a good cairn, aka a cairn that pleases me:

–Build something that is aesthetically beautiful and/or cleverly balanced.

–Create a marker that is helpful in identifying a path.

–Place a cairn in a devilishly dangerous location that most people (read: me) can’t reach.

Here’s how to create a bad cairn, aka something that pisses me off:

–Stack a bunch of rocks in some bullshit place in the wilderness.

To make this clearer, let’s do a “Who’s Who” of cairns—below are recent photos of both good cairns (aka ‘cairns’) and bad cairns (aka ‘piles of rocks’):

This is a cairn.
This is a pile of rocks.
Cairn!
Clearly a pile of rocks.
I kicked this one over.

Here’s the point. If your cairn’s message is “I was here,” then please: don’t bother. No one cares. Someone (probably Katie) scrawled “KATIE WAS HERE” on a rock at Cathedral Rock in Sedona. NO ONE CARES, Katie.

So, you expert rock stackers—keep stackin’. If you do it in the right place and it looks dope, I support your cairn. If you are stacking rocks just because you can, don’t bother. It’s not going to last long anyway because as soon as I find it, I’m gonna kick it over.

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