Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12th. First day of Song Path

Had the first tour today. I decided that I would chronicle each tour in blog form to give the participants a chance to comment if they wished to share their experience with others.

I have no idea if anyone will, but I thought it would be nice for me to share the experience and to keep it for my own records.

Thursday August 12 10:00 AM, Banning State Park.

Today was another fairly hot day but started early so the 10 AM tour I had was still quite pleasant. The birds were not quite as active as normal at first but the increased water levels and recent rains made many of the stone and quarry features much more interesting. When we neared the west end of loop, we left the trail for a bit and were rewarded with a spectacular "rhythm section" -as one hiker put it- of water dripping into the deep pools below as well as high waterfalls that had formed from rainwater. None of this was present in my initial hikes three weeks ago, but they were a welcomed addition to the hike. I have noticed that the sun has quite an effect on bird and other animal sounds and as we rounded the west section of the loop, the sun burst through the clouds letting out a cacophony of bird sounds which then also instigated insects and a few squirrels who I have noticed make strange threatening noises when people approach. Probably a way of marking their territory, but against all the other sounds, a beautiful addition. At certain times, there were even regular polyrhythms formed between the different animal sounds that were somewhat reminiscent of the rhythms that the water on the quarry rocks was making just previously so it seemed to me a large scale structural element in the sonic composition the park was playing.

This hike, and those I assume that will come the next few days, were mostly about intimate spaces rather than the details of the larger expanse of the park as the sound of the Kettle River dominated the soundscape a bit more than it had previously. On the other hand, there were quite a few more interesting details than had existed before due the the addition of extra water features and when the bird activity increased, there was a lot more diverse sound occurring in the background than had been. There were also more details that you could hear in the river itself as the large eddies that create the famous potholes of the kettle river could be heard loudly with their low swelling noises as large swells of water slapped against the rocks.

In general I was quite satisfied with the hike though I think I might have lingered a bit too long in certain spots as we hiked for nearly 90 minutes. The group seemed quite interested in the sound worlds we stopped in so I decided not to take them away from the pre-maturely. I will be very interested to hear the difference between today and tomorrow though I think the water level may remain consistent as the forecast tonight is for rain. I think I hear thunder now!!

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