Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunday August 15th 4:00 PM

My first mixed crowd. Meaning, my first hike with two groups of people that did not know each other before. A family of 5 with 3 very attentive older children and an older couple by themselves. I know I keep mentioning the makeup of each group. It is important for me in that I feel different types of groups will have different ways of enjoying the experience.

I will admit that on this hike I at first thought it would be a challenge to create an experience that everyone would enjoy but then decided just to run the hike as if it was a single group of adults with a few extra stops for the younger crowd and maybe a little bit of interaction to keep their attention.

I found that it was much easier than I had expected to keep everyone's attention and that the kids were just as intent in their listening as the adults. I also found that often they were lingering in places longer than I was inclined to which, as I have said before, makes me feel like I have done my job. In the end, I felt that all of us were listening with similar ears as we got used to each other and it ended up being a very satisfying hike despite a very pointed lack of bird sounds. This singers taking the afternoon off!

The water features and wind really came out in this hike and as the wind would rise and fall it really emphasized the subtle sounds of water and the rare punctuation of a bird, insect, or squirrel. This time, the mixing of the low river sounds and the drum actually slightly frightened one of the hikers as they really thought it was rocks turning over in the water and then realized it was coming suddenly from further inland. I don't think the fear was too great though as she said she was coming back next weekend.

The water features are really starting to recede but instead of making things less interesting it is in fact making those places more intimate but also more sonically diverse as you can hear more details of minute water drops.

My wife Shannon played the drum for this hike. I am happy to have her here after a month apart. I think she is also glad to be out of Chicago for a few days. It's really loud there.

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