Hikers without a Trail

Several years, I found myself stranded in the middle of a 480-foot, exposed slickrock “trail” with my wife, four young kids and only a flashlight and a headlamp between the six of us. Oh, did I mention it was midnight? Well, it was. And there we were, stuck on the trail because we’d lost sight of the cairns.

We wanted to hike to Delicate Arch by moonlight. After a short rest about halfway up the slickrock, however, I scanned ahead for the next cairn, as usual, but it wasn’t there! Somehow, a critical stack of rocks had been accidentally or maliciously disassembled, leaving us stranded in the dark on the edge of a slippery and possibly nasty drop if we went the wrong way.

Forging Ahead in the Dark

After a few moments of fruitless searching, I handed the headlamp to my wife and instructed our children to wait with her while I went ahead to scout the way. I found the next cairn more than seventy-five feet ahead.

“It’s here,” I hollered into the darkness. “Come on. Follow my light.”

I watched their quavering headlamp rise, move slowly toward me, then stop again half the distance away.

I waited, wondering if I should leave the cairn to find out what the trouble was, but they soon resumed their trek. When they reached me, I asked, “What were you doing back there?”

“When it seemed like we were halfway,” my wife explained, “we stopped, gathered some rocks, and made a new cairn. That way, we won’t have this problem on the way down, and the other hikers won’t have a problem on the way up!”

It’s easy to see why I wanted to marry her; she’s always thinking ahead.

Cairns are a Cooperative Movement

Cairns are a great example of the power of a cooperative movement. Anybody can create them. They’re an easy way to crowdsource trailblazing, and everybody benefits.

There’s a sense of belonging when you hike a trail marked by cairns. In those stacks of rocks, you can sense the presence of those who have come before and those who will come after. You feel connected by a common objective (finish the hike; enjoy the scene), and you’re impressed with a deep sense of purpose. By hiking that trail and by adding a rock or two when needed, you are enriching your own life and the lives of others.

Direct Primary Care is a Cooperative Movement

Direct primary care is also a cooperative movement. There’s a sense of belonging when you join the team of doctors and patients working together to fix things that are broken or knocked down in the healthcare system. You are enriching your own life and the lives of the providers working with you. You join your efforts with those who have come before and those who will come after.

So what about you? If you’ve joined Voyage Direct Primary Care, what do you like about being part of this cooperative movement? If you haven’t joined, what benefits can you see from connecting? What cairn could you add to the trail?