Saturday Salutation: The Cairns of Strangers

This week, my husband and I scrambled up the boulders of Mt. of the Holy Cross one of Colorado’s spectacular 14ers.  The trek was a beautiful journey of cairns, challenge and connection.

The most tangible beauty came from the dramatic 360 views on this clear, cool summer day.

There was also intense beauty in pushing through when the summit seemed unattainable.

And, I was ironically warmed by the connection I felt with my husband as he looked at me and said, “we are losers if we don’t finish this.” I knew he was right, and I also knew he wouldn’t push me past my limits, (after all, this is the man who once said, “honey, I know what you said, but you really need that epidural).

Mostly, I found beauty in the community of strangers– some of whom we connected with on the trail, and others whom had come before. As the trail became most obscured and the trekking became most treacherous, hikers had built large cairns that seemed to surface from nowhere– beautiful monuments to the support and teamwork of like-minded adventurers.

Finally, as we were nearing the end of our descent, there was the beauty in the hearts of the 2 men hiking back up in search of some strangers they had met along the way (a task that seemed unfathomable to me at that point).

“It’s getting late, and they seemed tired, and it’s just taking too long, we’ve got extra water, we are going up to find them and see if they need help.”

Thank you God for the Cairns of strangers.



Posted in Communication and tagged , , , , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.


  1. Karin,

    That’s a very inspiring story. It’s great to hear that those two people went back to help some people that didn’t even know.

    I lived in Colorado for about three years. It’s so beautiful there. The views on this hike must have been incredible.

  2. Greg and Glen, thanks so much for your comments. Greg, yes! The views were amazing. This was our first trip in the summer to Colorado (we are frequent skiers)… we loved it, great biking and rafting too.

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