Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gichi Gumi Trail: Monday evening, August 23rd.

I used the mics I was loaned to record a hike that I had envisioned early on along the Gitchi Gami trail at Gooseberry Falls north of Twin Harbors along the north shore of lake superior. I was extremely tired when I was headed up there, but a little bit of water and some snacks and I was ready though I was missing a wind screen so I had to use some socks. Don't worry, you can't catch any communicable diseases through audio recording as far as I know.

Anyways, I can't quite explain the whole hike but will say that it is a hike I would have loved to include in this run of Song Path but the logistics were just a bit too difficult. I think if I ever do the hike in MN again I will do a weekend or two here logistics or not! Here's a map! It starts over near the upper falls just to the west of the Hwy 61 bridge where you follow the river for a bit past a few sets of shallow rapids and then come upon the full fury of the upper falls. Then you follow the trail around to the falls overlook and then cross the hwy 61 bridge. The constant but uneven iterations of cars and trucks driving by constantly punctuate the various water features you pass here including the lower and upper falls which fade in and out of one another depending on where you are standing but when you pass underneath the bridge you get a real show with a giant reverb chamber and all. Then I followed the Gitchi Gami Trail which goes up an incline to an overlook of lake superior and back again. You never quite get out of earshot of the highway but you do pass various grass and forested areas as well as an overlook of the river valley as it feeds into the lake. A spectacular perspective or series of perspectives on this one dramatic place. As you approach the lake itself, you are treated to several overlooks where the sound of the waves crashing on the beach becomes audible. Finally, you are on a cliff overlooking just the lake and the waves crashing against the rocks below. A spectacular audible moment that only lasts as long as you look over the edge. The acoustic shielding that 300 feet of solid rock provides is quite impressive.

As you loop around and leave the lake, the sound of the waves begins to blend into the distant sound of cars passing by on the highway. They are often at the same rate and their rise and fall seems to almost imitate the other. A creek which was very low when I last visited now runs high and provides several sonic features that contrast the sound of the highway and insects that I pass as I walk. Finally, I emerge onto a bluff overlooking the highway itself where the rock below was blasted out to let the road run more straight. Frogs and crickets give a constant din under which the sound of passing cars rise and fall drowning them out and then letting them cut through once again. Another pass under highway 61 brings us to the visitor center and we end with a similar sound world to what we began with. I plan to post the whole recording here eventually but first I have to edit the segments together. Technical difficulties doncha know!

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