Cairn - Trail Markers
Cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. It comes from the Scottish Gaelic. Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose, conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, e.g. for increased visibility or for religious reasons.In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. Since prehistory, they have also been built as sepulchral monuments, or used for defensive, hunting, ceremonial, astronomical and other purposes.
Today, cairns are built for many purposes. The most common use in North America and Northern Europe is to mark mountain bike and hiking trails and other cross-country trail blazing, especially in mountain regions at or above the tree line.
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