You get to the island. You are ready to take the M185 around and see the beauty that surrounds you. As you are doing this you start to notice something on the boulders that catches your eyes. Stacked rocks. Soon you then see people stopping to stack their own tower. Why? What is this? I had the exact same thought as I saw it myself. So here is what I was able to find out.
Stacked rocks are also known as Cairns. There are many reasons I came across as to why you might see these. Some are used as markers on a trail to let you know you are on the right path. It is in cases when you get lost and the trail could become difficult to navigate. I don’t believe this is why along the shoreline you encounter the stacks on Mackinac.
Generally what they symbolize is that you were there. It is a symbol of your presence. Which makes sense. You are on the island and entranced with all the beauty why not participate. Some they say are meant to show the spiritual balance in nature. This I love. To place them in a tower to align what has been damaged or broken. Other people do it in honor of a lost loved one.
Mackinac isn’t the only place you will see this but it is the first one I noticed. With M185 being repaired this year it would seem as though the one area always heavy with these stacks would be missed BUT news just came out that weekends the whole island will be available to ride around, they will just close during the week to finish the roadwork. With this being said I for sure noticed more stacks earlier in the ride that I thought I had seen before or perhaps they were always at that location it just blended in so seamlessly.
So while you are there be sure to stop (place the bike completely off the road) and leave your stack. Or do it in honor of a loved one. It for sure is the little marker I enjoy so much on the island.