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I was on a popular hiking trail in my area a couple of weeks ago and saw easily 10 stacks of rocks like this in random places. Seemed like every time you turned a corner there was one.
 

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I didn't do it
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I've dismantled a few of these over the years. I just don't like the sight of 'em.
 

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I am not saying everyone should put cairns up, like they seem to be doing, but I honestly don't pay THAT close attention when I am out trying to enjoy nature.

In this day and age, you are not exploring new territory, no matter how much you want to be. You are not exploring the edges of the map and filling in uncharted territory. Especially on a trail, who do you think built it? People, or civilization as you put it, have been there before, and will be there after you.

Now I want to keep nature, as protected as we can, but using nature in this way isn't hurting anyone. Now if you made cairns out of pop cans? Yeah that is a different story. Stacking a pile of rocks is like building a snow man or a sand castle.
 

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There's a guy who builds a lot of trails near me who does this all the time. All rocks that get dug out during the trail building and maintenance process. I think it's more of an ego thing though. His name is Cairns after all.
 

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Best comment to the article:

As an Environmental Psychologist from Boulder, Colorado I cannot disagree more with the author here. Rock stacking, and the placing of cairns has been going on for millennia, it is a part of the human condition. We stacked rocks before we could write, we used them for alerting others that water was close by, or where an encampment was. This is not some blind rock stacking, this is humans expressing their bliss in an all-too-human way. My main issue with the article is that it smells of elite hiking, of having a purpose above other people's purpose. The Forest is our original home, and as such we are innately drawn to it. I have seen inner city children who are exposed to the wilderness begin stacking rocks for no seeming reason at all other than it makes them feel happy and good.
I think the author ought to breathe and look at the intrinsic beauty of a cairn and the human being who stacked it. And above all understand that cairns are temporary, they are not increasing erosion, there is no need to assert false pretences to try and get people to stop rock stacking, it's simply not going to happen. I urge the author to google Andy Goldsworthy and see that human/nature art is magnificent and not something to get angry about when hiking.
 

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IMO for hiking trails, cairns can be really handy. Some trails are close to invisible, on rock slabs, and such, and without the cairns the uninitiated can get lost. They are often very handy on stream crossings.
 

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Damnn rockers
 

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Is it a cairn?

Whether to define the trail border, act as a corral, as part of the trail construction or just for fun, trail decorations are just part of the scene. It's not like the trail is a natural structure anyway. Like to see Mookie take the wall apart! Here ya go mate - hate on these

Natural environment Soil Forest Nature reserve Trunk Natural environment Plant community Soil Forest Woodland Soil Trunk Woodland Old-growth forest Soil Plant community Soil Forest Woodland Biome Human Rock Soil Bedrock Forest
 

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Best comment to the article:

As an Environmental Psychologist from Boulder, Colorado ...
Funny, that was about all I needed to know from that comment!

But my kids do like to stack rocks, or at least try to add a rock to already existing cairns. Sometimes you have to find motivation to keep 'em going on a long'ish hike.

I also get a kick out of people hiking on a trail 10 miles from a million person city where you see another person every 5 minutes or so, acting like they're out being 'one with nature.' Between checking their phone when they get data service, of course!
 

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I didn't do it
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Whether to define the trail border, act as a corral, as part of the trail construction or just for fun, trail decorations are just part of the scene. It's not like the trail is a natural structure anyway. Like to see Mookie take the wall apart! Here ya go mate - hate on these

View attachment 1000727 View attachment 1000728 View attachment 1000729 View attachment 1000730 View attachment 1000731 View attachment 1000732
That did it, I'm heading over there right after work!
 

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mtb'er
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Best comment to the article:

As an Environmental Psychologist from Boulder, Colorado I cannot disagree more with the author here. Rock stacking, and the placing of cairns has been going on for millennia, it is a part of the human condition. We stacked rocks before we could write, we used them for alerting others that water was close by, or where an encampment was. This is not some blind rock stacking, this is humans expressing their bliss in an all-too-human way. My main issue with the article is that it smells of elite hiking, of having a purpose above other people's purpose. The Forest is our original home, and as such we are innately drawn to it. I have seen inner city children who are exposed to the wilderness begin stacking rocks for no seeming reason at all other than it makes them feel happy and good.
I think the author ought to breathe and look at the intrinsic beauty of a cairn and the human being who stacked it. And above all understand that cairns are temporary, they are not increasing erosion, there is no need to assert false pretences to try and get people to stop rock stacking, it's simply not going to happen. I urge the author to google Andy Goldsworthy and see that human/nature art is magnificent and not something to get angry about when hiking.
Ironically enough, today's Bizarro comic:

Organism Vertebrate Adaptation Interaction Terrestrial animal
 

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I will keep stacking them up so that the people with nothing better to do can keep unstacking them. I consider it to be a good public service. I mean, those people could be out raping, murdering, stealing, robbing, dealing drugs, or abusing drugs, right?
 

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I will keep stacking them up so that the people with nothing better to do can keep unstacking them. I consider it to be a good public service. I mean, those people could be out raping, murdering, stealing, robbing, dealing drugs, or abusing drugs, right?
Might be better if you ask Mookie, although I hear he's unavailable after work;)
 
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