Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday August 21st 4:00 PM
After having an empty 10:00 and a no show at 1:00, I spent most of the morning today getting dirty and putting microphones where microphones were never meant to go along the trail especially in the caves along the dripping wall where my head can't fit but the mics can. Yes, this trip I actually brought some decent mics with me and have spent some of the free time recording, not only the path itself as I normally do it with the audience, but also some closeup recordings of various smaller water features. I am partly doing this for posterity and partly for a project that my friend Brad conceived of while out here with me to make various recordings and do a deep exploration of the natural tones of the park and their harmonic series to create tonal textures. Brad also provided the microphones (sorry to be putting them where they aught not to go. They are really nice) and also has a studio in St. Paul so I look forward to playing with the sounds there when I get a chance. I think it will definitely be a collaborative effort if we make something from the recordings.
In any case, I held out hope for the 4 PM hike and was rewarded with a family of 4 with two girls who seemed to be around late junior high or early high school aged. We started down the trail on a very calm afternoon with the river raging at perhaps the highest point it had been all weekend or would be to come. Many of the water features began to recede but the waterfall by the bridge was still raging and the occasional interjection of birds emerged from the din as we left the bridge.
I have become more fond of encouraging hikers to spend time listening to the caves I spoke of earlier as I find it gives them a chance to explore certain areas on their own which I think is an important feature of the song path. Each hiker hears differently, so they should have a chance to follow their own ears at times. This group was especially curious in this area and listened to the low drips of the cave intently.
The cicadas were again out in full force and as we rounded the south west end of the loop we listened as their drone became louder and louder against the receding sound of the waterfall near the dripping wall. We then proceeded into an area covered in small sandstone shards and the constant drone of the cicadas with the individual insects turning off their part of the sound as you would approach mixed with the sound of the rocks crunching under foot.
The river was still very high but the sound of frogs and other bugs surrounded us as we stood on the river overlook and not even the constant rush of water could drown them out.
We ended the tour with the sound of a couple of birds of the MCC trail making a regular pulse with some variation. The sounds of the parking lot began to come into focus as we walked closer to the picnic area and made a nice counterpoint to this regular pulse.