What Are Cairns?

Assuming you were curious, didn’t know previously, and didn’t already google it, a cairn is a stack of rocks–which makes you really want to keep reading… Anyway, prior to moving to Colorado, I had never truly gone on a hike. There are nature walks in Florida, and I suppose I hiked around Macchu Picchu(?) but that was the extent of my hiking experience. When hiking my first fourteener with Austin in Colorado, I learned about cairns and how they essentially serve as trail markers. Trails don’t often have much signage and it may be tricky to figure out where to go, especially if the trail isn’t used too often. So cairns are there to guide you. (Keep in mind, this is a most cursory definition. Cairns have a special social and natural history, and have been a tradition originating in Scotland for many years.)

Two cairns on the West Ridge trail to Mt. Evans, Colorado

I chose to title this blog “following cairns” mostly because I’m really profound and poetic. But also because I’m annoyed with being calculated to a fault. Not sure if this is symptomatic of a quarter-life crisis, but I’m trying to learn how to push through self-imposed fears and allow myself to do something so rewarding without worrying. Typically, I would make sure my next move was lined up before doing something this intensive. But fake-self-actualized-read-the-alchemist-once-please-don’t-judge-me Stephanie is just going for it. I’m trying to learn how to trust uncertainty, and just do the things that bring me genuine happiness and fulfillment. I am lucky to have Austin, whose sense of thrill complements mine and who is supportive, patient, and encouraging. We don’t have matching ‘carpe diem’ tattoos or anything but together we are a pretty adventurous duo and we are stoked to have the opportunity to do this together.

By following cairns, I’m trusting the journey and recognizing that to some extent I’m being signaled to break a bit further out of my comfort zone. We hope you all will be at least somewhat inspired to do the same, even if your journey doesn’t involve two wheels. Ditch your calculations and just follow the cairns. We can’t wait to do the same.