What is my new hobby, you say? Two words: Stacking. Rocks.

Alright, bear with me.

Rock cairns, as they're called, have always been a cool thing to look at. You see them precariously perched on the edges of hiking trails, the ends of driveways, or along the beach. During my walks along the prom in Portland, I've smiled at the teetering towers of rocks along the shore, with the gorgeous backdrop of the bay beyond. It's incredibly calming for something that could topple over at any moment. Recently, I realized I should venture out and try my hand and building my own cairn, since I love them so much. Let me tell you, it's my new favorite thing to do. Here's why:

1) It's A Creative Outlet


This particular cairn is one I built myself. Managing to keep these teetering boulders from smashing your toes isn't the only balancing act you engage in which building cairns: you can balance types, shapes, and colors of rocks to create your own unmatched creation, every time.

2) You Can Start At Any Level

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Listen, you don't have to be one with the earth to manage a rock cairn. Especially on our beaches in Maine, there are plenty of easy-to-stack square rocks that make the hobby less intimidating (and less risky for your toesies).

3) It's A Workout


As evidenced above, it can be fun to vary your cairns in size and weight, but I definitely felt my arms and back the next day. Lift with your legs!

4) You Gotta Use Your Noggin


I didn't make this cairn, but I admire whoever did. It's a gorgeous demonstration of one person's impressive grasp on physics. It makes you wonder in what order he or she assembled the rocks, and how many times they toppled over in the process. With that in mind...

5) It's a Practice In Patience


Be forewarned: it's easy to get caught up in the moment while building a rock cairn. You have to get to the point of putting enough dedication into a tower to keep attempting it after it falls over multiple times, but not *so* wrapped up in making it work that you rage quit out of frustration.

6) You Can Have A Sense Of Humor About It


Who stuck that stick in there? Why does this cairn man have a hairdo of seaweed? Whoever this other builder is cracks me up. Which brings me to my final point:

7) You Can Bond With Strangers Without Ever Meeting Them

I have never once witnessed another person making a rock cairn, but I see new ones weekly. And they're so creatively done! Is it one person? Is it 5? Who knows. But I enjoy leaving cairns for them to find, and I'll do my best the ramp up my game to match their stick-filled, double-tower stacking skills.

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