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2016 kick over cairns thread

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2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby SSSdave » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:48 pm

On outdoor enthusiast boards for hikers and backpackers over long years, the building and placement of cairns and ducks are overwhelming condemned. And on all web boards one can be sure the subject has occasionally been roundly discussed as has been the case here on HST. Since we are now at sunset with the 2016 hiking season with not a few of us about to go into our winter hibernation, I thought it would be a bit of fun to "kick it around" some again.

Most of us will concede that a few on trails serve purpose as where a trail crosses otherwise difficult to follow areas like bedrock. In fact many trails in the Sierra Nevada high country in such granite areas have trails lined by small stones delineating sides of such tracks. But the real annoyance in this era is that there seems to be an increasing epidemic of cairn builders now traveling on our trails and just about everywhere else. There was a time when the concern was more about ducks than cairns and how on off trail routes they often were rather unnecessary, useless, and often misleading because those that placed ducks were more often the least experienced travelers with poor off trail judgment. This issue with cairns today is different because most are built not as an aid for travel but rather as a rock stacking activity participants learn to enjoy. They not only enjoy the activity of finding, selecting, and balancing rocks in stacks but also in this era reveling in their work then taking cellphone pictures of their creations they then share with others.

As more of the easily manipulated see these things especially children, the more of them join in becoming addicted which is why it has become epidemic. And the activity goes beyond trail side cairns as some enthusiasts are now engaging their work with the same enthusiasm as peak baggers climbing summits. Thus in not a few parks we wilderness people have been coming upon areas well away from trails where there are many small loose rocks strewn across bedrock landscapes where the cairn addicts have apparently spent hours obviously near where they have set up camps doing so across landscapes.

I've often roared, "WHO, WHO are these duck and cairn builders?" Obviously none of we board folks haha. This Facebook link provides some clues including inputs of not a few obvious perpetrators.

https://www.facebook.com/zionnps/photos ... =3&theater

Thus it serves purpose to occasionally remind young enthusiasts and newbies just how much the rest of us including park authorities rather universally dislike the practice. And how much their peers meaning us, are going to swear and then kick the D!@# things over.



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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby balzaccom » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:46 pm

I blame Andy Goldsworthy. (see elbow) Ok. I get it. And I like his work.

But I am really tired of them. It's one thing to create a sculpture for a museum or garden setting. it's another thing to take off into the wilderness and decide to decorate it with you moronic handiwork

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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby bluefintu » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:09 pm

Very good topic. I take my Scouts and yes, they do like to stack rocks just for the fun of it on breaks. I get on them to "leave no trace" and my Scouts will comply or no rank advancement. They knock them down because I told them why.

I do like to find a duck/cairn on some way back, off trail to save me time. Thank you, to you too.
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby Vaca Russ » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:20 am

Dave,

I know a place in the wilderness where the Federal government has condoned the building of cairns:

9%20Cairns%20Sign.JPG
9%20Cairns%20Sign.JPG (96.09 KiB) Viewed 322 times


C1.JPG
C1.JPG (117.15 KiB) Viewed 322 times


C9.JPG
C9.JPG (120.32 KiB) Viewed 322 times


See the full story here:

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=9744

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby TahoeJeff » Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:40 am

I doubt anyone will be kicking this one over any time soon:

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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby Vaca Russ » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:26 am

TahoeJeff wrote:I doubt anyone will be kicking this one over any time soon:



Oh Yeah, TJ, thanks for reminding me. It is a tradition to add a rock to the cairn on the summit of Haskell Peak.

6 Tall Cairn.JPG


7 Sport Cairn.JPG


Thanks,

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” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby franklin411 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:00 pm

I don't have a problem with cairns built just for fun, although I don't do it myself.

I *DO* have a problem with this ridiculous obsession we have with "leave no trace." Dumbest idea ever invented imo. Example: Most people who climb LA's Mount San Antonio (known as Mt. Baldy) do so via an unofficial use trail called the Ski Hut Trail. There are no trail signs at all, since it's not an official trail, and there are some places where the use trail degenerates into a warren of confusing paths.

The official trail, btw, is called the Devil's Backbone trail. It's called that because you're on a 2' wide trail with a steep drop on either side. Usually a few people die by falling off that trail every year due to ice. Last year, it was much more than a few.

The upshot is that the unofficial trail is safer than the very, very deadly official trail, but it's unmarked. A Boy Scout troop put up signs marking the unofficial trail as a community service project, but the Forest Service went in with saws and cut them all down.

Yes, that's right...the Forest Service cut down the signs for the safe trail because "leave no trace," encouraging people to use, and die, on the "real trail."

Stupid as hell. They don't have this idiotic "leave no trace" philosophy in Europe. Routes are well-marked, using paint on trees, rocks, and marker posts, down to the last turn. Crazy philosophy, huh? Apparently they think that human life is important. Or maybe they think it's better to leave paint on a rock than corpses on a mountain.
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby Vaca Russ » Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:24 am

Oh, Yeah! I forgot about the Cairn on the summit of Siegel.

Siegel Cairn 1.JPG
Siegel Cairn 1.JPG (49.25 KiB) Viewed 171 times


-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby fishwrong » Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:33 pm

Hallelujah, the day is finally here. Life is so good, the only thing left to complain about is people "staking rocks in the woods"..... Pardon me, people "Cairning The Sierra"....

I am a firm believer that some portion of human nature demands there be an "us" and "them".... The subject can be deeply principled, but often not. Catholics & Protestants, Democrat & Republican, Giants & Dodgers, or those damned "paper" and "scissors" scoundrels who don't understand that "rock" is the only descent choice in life...

And so it is, we have arrived upon the divine test of good vs. evil.... Rock Kickers vs. Rock Stackers... The fate of humanity lies is within your boots...

For me, I'd like to think I'm enjoying my surroundings enough that a few stacked rocks wouldn't detract from my enjoyment of a place, and I'd appreciate there are others who enjoy the same places in their own ways. I'd like to think that, but I also realize I can be a little "contrary" at times, so if you find an odd stack of rocks placed conspicuously on a mountain, please fell free to kick a rock for me.

Sorry, couldn't help myself. I hope this poor attempt at humor is taken as intended.
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Oct 10, 2016 3:45 pm

If the stacked rocks actually mark a route to where the trail continues, fine. If there is a field of stacked rocks drunkenly piled up in a maze of ridiculous breadth and width that leads to anywhere but the actual trail, and in some cases leads you off a cliff? I'm kickin' it all down.
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby rlown » Mon Oct 10, 2016 6:27 pm

Dinkey Lks 2013 028.JPG


Do you mean like this AT? Have at them. Our Dinkey lakes old ranger trap ;)
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Re: 2016 kick over cairns thread

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Oct 10, 2016 8:20 pm

More like the spot where the trail from First Dinkey to Coyote Lake tops the hill into slab, and drunks and small children all decided to mark the trail without really paying attention to the trail... there's about an acre of rock piles, all 5-10 feet apart, all over the hill.

I know that spot you're standing in -- my trail crew works Dinkey, we're going up there this weekend. I don't think those are still there, but if they are.... ;)
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