In your life you will need someone who points you in the right direction and guides you through tough times. You need a John Oats to Darryl Hall. In the world of outdoor adventures to include trail running our John Oates are called cairn’s. By definition, a cairn is a human made pile of stones, but they have a much more noble calling. Cairn’s are used to keep us from drifting away from the trail into oblivion. Cairn’s are put in place by fellow adventures, probably because they made an unexpected trip to the unknown. Cairn’s are rocks because that is what nature provides us, but sometimes cairns are built because nature called. When venturing to parts that are a bit less traveled by two-legged or two-wheeled beasts, trail markings become a bit more scarce. After running for several miles, then deciding to “see what happens” you sometimes realize you may have thrown the baby out with the bath water. I know that doesn’t fit but I have never been able to use that saying before. So as panic starts to set in, you start hoping for a sign from above. Then we get the sign, from below. It comes in the form of weird ball of grains and grass. After the initial “what the hell?” you realize you may be saved. Oh thank goodness, I’ve found poop. You realize that something living, that doesn’t eat humans, has been where you are and by your sense of smell, its been fairly recent. You are immediately relieved, you must be close to something. Unless some wild horse is particularly in love with that trail, you may be saved. As life would have it, every day has a night, and for every good Steve Miller song there are two terrible ones. You now realized that Mr. Ed must have eaten two bales of hay and a prairie full of grass. I was always told horse shit doesn’t stink. To paraphrase Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber “that person is full of crap, man”. It doesn’t stink like spoiled milk left in the trunk of car mixed with cooked Brussel spouts, but it does stink. As you dodge natures dirty snowballs, you start to wonder if a hungry mountain lion tracking you down might have been a better option. You press forward. Then alas, civilization. You survived. You lived to make yourself miserable for one more day.
In life when times are tough and you feel you may have lost your way, find your cairn. This may be family, your friends or co-workers. Trust and rely on your cairns to bring you to safety. Let your cairns guide through the tough times. Just remember, the guiding light may just be a piece of shit.