When I got out of the car to take a photo of the Route 66 sign I noticed there were several rock cairns by the side of the road.
It was quite a surprise for me because up to then I've only known rock cairns as a help to find your way on hiking trails through rough and wild country. There wasn't a hiking trail here and I wondered why they were here. Obviously someone or several people had set them up, but for what reason? Were they some kind of alternative trail markers? Or are they used as some kind of communication?
When I googled "rock cairns" I found that there is even a poll whether one should knock over rock cairns or not. The short article also held some interesting information about legal and illegal rock cairns. There was a reference to the book "Cairns: Messengers in Stone" by David Williams. Here I learned that they can mark a grave, serve as an altar or shrine, reveal property boundaries or sacred hunting grounds, and even predict astronomical activity.
They seem to come from the Himalaya and can be found in different terrain (even in the moors of Scotland). The book sounds quite interesting to me and I've put it on my Amazon wish list. This seems to be too good to pass up.
The Inuit of the Arctic are said to have more than two dozen terms to describe cairns and their uses. That reminds me of the inukshuk in Canada - one even was the logo of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, BC. When we went up the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia two years ago, we found a small inukshuk on a driftwood log at the beach.
The inukshuk is available in my Etsy store
as a photo greeting card.
Check it out if you like!