In honor of today being is the official publication date for my new book, Cairns: Messengers in Stone, I wanted to focus on the cairn on the book’s cover. It’s a Bates cairn, named in honor of Waldron Bates. According to the website for Acadia National Park, Bates was a Bostonian, a lawyer, and a pathmaker. Starting in the 1880s he and his family began exploring Mount Desert Island in Maine. He also helped create trails around Bar Harbor, including writing a trail handbook. In the 1906 manual he wrote, “Build the cairns as show in the accompanying pictures: two large stones with an opening between in line with the direction of the path, across these one flat stone, and on top of this long stone in line with the direction of the path. Use large stones and set them firmly in place.”
Recently, park rangers at Acadia have reinstituted the Bates cairn at the park. I believe it is the only place in the country with this type of cairn.
John Barnett of 4 Eyes Design made the drawing. He was also the book’s designer. Thanks John.