I have followed many semi-marked trails that wind up through a forested mountain slope before reaching a beautiful summit. Sometimes, getting back down is not as easy as climbing up. The way down may take a different route and can be quite tricky. I’m not sure if it is always the National Park Service or just helpful people leaving stacked rocks to point the way, but I really appreciate whoever took the time. Like breadcrumbs, those stacked rocks help me find my way home. However, just recently, I came across an article explaining the true history of these stacked rocks.
For centuries, humans have been building such markers. These piles of stacked rocks are called cairns. From middle Gaelic, the word means “mound of stones built as a memorial or landmark.” Supposedly, there are plenty of these memorials built in Celtic territories, as well as in other cultures; indigenous peoples in the United States often used cairns to cover and bury their dead. I really hope that was not the case because in Moab and also Tuco, there were a ton of them everywhere, and they were not pointing in any direction. The possibility of those being graves… well, let's just hope they are not. With that said, you can't always rely on stacked rocks to find your way home. Most of the time, it is pretty obvious that the location of the stacked rocks is just someone leaving their mark, at lease I hope so. It’s always interesting to learn the history of the things that we do as humans.
I give special thanks to the people who left appropriate stacked rocks at critical junctions to help me find my way through the wilderness
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