Messengers In Stone
The Mountaineers Books
5.63 x 7.28 · 192 pages
CDN $18.95 · pb
Writing messages with rocks - - building cairns, to be specific - - is a medium that transcends millennia and continues to speak to our imaginations even now.
From meadow trails to airy mountaintops and wide open desert, cairns - - those seemingly random stacks of rock - - are surprisingly rich in stories and meaning. For thousands of years cairns have been used by people to connect to the landscape and communicate with others, and are often an essential guide to travelers. These manmade rock piles can
indicate a trail, mark a grave, serve as an altar or shrine, reveal property boundaries or sacred hunting grounds, and even predict astronomical activity. The Inuit have more than two dozen terms to describe cairns and their uses!
In Cairns: Messengers in Stone, geologist and acclaimed nature writer David Williams (Stories in Stone: Travels through Urban Geology) explores the history of cairns from the moors of Scotland to the peaks of the Himalaya - - where they come from, what they mean, why they're used, how to make them, and more. Hikers, climbers, travelers, gardeners, and nature buffs alike will delight in this quirky, captivating collection of stories.
David Williams is a freelance natural history writer and author of The Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from Seattle and the highly-praised Stories in Stone. His work has appeared in Smithsonian, Popular Mechanics, California Wild, and High Country News, and he is a contributing writer for Earth magazine. Williams lives with his wife in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Visit him online at geologywriter.com.