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Another Hike in Guadalupe Mountains

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This time we hiked the McKittrick Canyon Trail in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Missed a switchback turn and followed a steep rock wash about 400' up until deciding to turn around. DUH!

 

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McKittrick Trail Hike

 

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Question: we've noticed the hiking trails in the Guadalupe Mountains don't have the painted markings like what we're used to back east. Most of the trails were obvious, but we did miss that one switchback. There was a stacked rocks zen thing there on that corner. Other hikers we met along the trail said that was to mark the turn. Again, we thought it had something to do with zen or inner peace. Do they also act as trail markers?

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Question: we've noticed the hiking trails in the Guadalupe Mountains don't have the painted markings like what we're used to back east. Most of the trails were obvious, but we did miss that one switchback. There was a stacked rocks zen thing there on that corner. Other hikers we met along the trail said that was to mark the turn. Again, we thought it had something to do with zen or inner peace. Do they also act as trail markers?

 

I've never seen or heard of that type of trail marker. I've been on trails well-marked, and I've been lost on trails not so well-marked. It's always an adventure!

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Cairns are sometimes used as trail markers.

Guess using a stick showing your turn-off to get back wasn't quite permanent enough.

- Instead folks have to devoid the area of it's natural look...

Today, on already well-marked trails, these things seem more to be a, "We were here !!" kinda thing, then some Zen-like experience.

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Thanks. The only other time I recall seeing them were up in Mackinac Island. Thousands of pilled rocks along the shore line!

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Thanks. The only other time I recall seeing them were up in Mackinac Island. Thousands of pilled rocks along the shore line!

Around here, such piles of rocks which are not used for the purpose of marking a trail, but more for "art's" sake, is referred to as a "gravity garden"

 

As far as trail markings go, around my area, paint is quite uncommon to see. I noticed that it is much more prevalent back East than it is here. For the most part, cairns (sometimes referred to "ducks") is what I usually see in the desert areas and above treeline.

 

Below treeline, it's more common to see blazes in trees, metal markers and surveyors tape.

 

Kind of interesting, but a more recent addition is reflective markers for the FKT crowd (Fastest Known Time). We first noticed these on the John Muir Trail a few years ago. Ostensibly to help super light weight backpackers/runners find the route during the night. They were usually afixed to trees with a nail, down low (waist level or lower), and larger than firetacks (and more permanent).

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Thanks. The only other time I recall seeing them were up in Mackinac Island. Thousands of pilled rocks along the shore line!

Around here, such piles of rocks which are not used for the purpose of marking a trail, but more for "art's" sake, is referred to as a "gravity garden"

 

As far as trail markings go, around my area, paint is quite uncommon to see. I noticed that it is much more prevalent back East than it is here. For the most part, cairns (sometimes referred to "ducks") is what I usually see in the desert areas and above treeline.

 

Below treeline, it's more common to see blazes in trees, metal markers and surveyors tape.

 

Kind of interesting, but a more recent addition is reflective markers for the FKT crowd (Fastest Known Time). We first noticed these on the John Muir Trail a few years ago. Ostensibly to help super light weight backpackers/runners find the route during the night. They were usually afixed to trees with a nail, down low (waist level or lower), and larger than firetacks (and more permanent).

 

I'm really confused. Paragraph one says rock piles are "gravity gardens" and are not used for marking trails. Paragraph two says rock piles are cairns and are used to mark trails. :blink:

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For clarification, here's a local gravity garden s local artist started in his front yard:

 

http://rockstacker.com/gg010911/index.htm

 

Unlike a cairn for marking a trai or sometimes a summit, this is more of the zen type thing you mentioned. Cairns are probably more popular in the West because they are easy to assemble and don't require carrying a bucket of paint around.

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For clarification, here's a local gravity garden s local artist started in his front yard:

 

http://rockstacker.com/gg010911/index.htm

 

Unlike a cairn for marking a trai or sometimes a summit, this is more of the zen type thing you mentioned. Cairns are probably more popular in the West because they are easy to assemble and don't require carrying a bucket of paint around.

Yeah, I've seen both types of stacks of rocks: "gravity gardens" in suburbia, and trail-marking cairns when backpacking across treeless rocky areas where other trail indications wouldn't last. It depends on context.

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Thanks. The only other time I recall seeing them were up in Mackinac Island. Thousands of pilled rocks along the shore line!

 

Those are just for fun, not marking anything. On a nice day you can find scads of people out creating cairns.

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