|Cathedral Rock Cairn|
In December of 2009, I had never heard the word "cairn." The landmark markers were known to me only by their photos, not by their name or purpose. As we began our hiking day on the flat and easy Cathedral Rock trail, we were already completely captivated with Sedona. Beauty was everywhere - from the massive Red Rock sculptures to the laid-back Southwest spirit. So I shouldn't have been surprised to discover unbelievable beauty in an elegantly stacked pile of rocks.
We came across one early on the path. It was simple, at most five stones. But the creator had taken the time to add a certain level of visual interest to it by placing a smaller stone underneath a large one. Despite its gravity-defying design, it stood proud in the pre-snow air.
When the trail opened up to a dry creek bed basin, we quickly realized that the first stack was only a preview of the feature presentation. Hundreds of cairns filled the basin. Stones were carefully stacked everywhere - on the ground, in trees, on fallen branches and on other stacks of stones.
The invitation sent, we quickly accepted, grabbing available stones to leave our own marks on the already over-landmarked landscape. It was great fun stacking and unstacking stones to build soaring, but precarious structures, others that were small and stocky and "mixed media" creations that combined smooth stones with natural elements including leaves, shells and twigs. When it was time to make our way to our second hike, I was sad to leave my new contemplative playground.
I later learned that cairns are left on hiking trails to help passers-by find their way. On that December morning, we found ours, in the shadow of a Sedona legend.
| Cairn Central|