Favorite Photo: Arches Rock Cairn

Posted By Allison on Oct 12, 2012


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I love rock cairns. I found this one on the trail to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in February 2012, and it’s surely the best rock cairn I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if a park ranger or a visitor took the time to construct this little arch, and I doubt it will be there the next time we hike this trail, but it is one of my special memories from this particular trip.

Rock cairns are placed along trails to keep hikers from getting lost when the trail is not obvious. Much of the Delicate Arch trail is on sandstone, and rock cairns are a natural way to mark the trail. Early in my marriage, my husband and I took this hike. We became separated along the way. During that time, I missed an important rock cairn and took the wrong path. I soon found myself climbing up the back of Delicate Arch while he backtracked to figure out whatever happened to his new bride. He has never lost sight of me on a trail since.

Rock cairns also helped me get a job. I was invited to a second interview with a panel of potential managers and colleagues. A job interview with one person is nerve racking. A job interview with six can be petrifying. When asked how I handle difficult situations, rock cairns came to my rescue. I explained that on challenging trails, just as in stressful work situations, it can be overwhelming to think of how much work is needed to accomplish the goal. Part of the Delicate Arch trail is a big sandstone hill with no shade. From the bottom, I always find it intimidating. However, if I just focus on getting to the next rock cairn, and then the next, I know I can make it to the top.

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