Along trails and on beaches across North America, we regularly come upon impromptu rock sculptures and assemblages of natural materials. They are not the elaborate works of art constructed from natural materials by the likes of Andy Goldsworthy or the seemingly impossible stone balancing sculptures created by Michael Grab. Nor are they the obviously religious and ceremonial petroforms and offerings found at sites like Bannock Point in Manitoba. Rather, the impromptu petroforms, sculptures, and shrines we find along trails and beaches seem to reflect a spontaneous urge to touch and arrange rocks, sand, and found objects as a way of experiencing place. Occasionally, we also find incongruous objects—garden gnomes to ring cases—consciously embedded along trails and beaches. The practice seems as widely popular as it is vexing to land managers who view it as annoying as graffiti and, in places where rock cairns guide hikers through alpine or open terrain, as dangerous as maliciously altered trail markers.
Category:Lifestyle and Recreation