Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday August 22nd 4:00 PM

Just sitting here at the old Chris' Food Center after my last hike of the day. The first day I had absolutely no reservations at all and also the first day that I managed to fill all three hikes!

This time some friends of my buddy Chris Chelgren to whom he had raved about the hike enough that they made the trek from St. Paul. I must admit to having been a bit worn out by the two hikes I had already done as they were both fairly long and it was a hot day, but this hike was especially worth it for me and I am glad they showed up because otherwise I would have missed it!

It began with the meditation which was mostly wind and water with the occasional distant iteration from the highway which I was glad I specifically pointed out because the larger sound environment became quite important in this hike.

First, as we approached the waterfall (which had died down quite a bit even since the 1:00 hike) we were challenged with the sound of a helicopter flying overhead. As we approached, the helicopter reached a climax and began to dye down and though it was loud, it was no match for the waterfall which was still very loud on the bridge. As we left the bridge and the waterfall died out, we could hear the distant whimpers of the helicopters among another serenade of birds, perhaps the same group from our 10:00 hike.

We then approached the dripping walls (walls now since all the natural walls that you walk past just before the mound have been active with water features since the rain) and I stopped at each one even though much of the water activity had ceased. This gave us the opportunity to listen to silence and then subtle water drops emerging out of the silence as we proceeded until we reached the mound where a small trickle still drips down in a regular pattern but it can only be heard from the top of the mound. As we left the intimate setting of the mound, the distant train began to sound its horn and the freight cars began to fill the space around us. The low and reverberant rumble slowly filled our ears along with the occasional punctuation of the horn while the helicopter returned at regular intervals as we rounded the dripping wall (the main dripping wall) and explored the details and the dripping pool as well as the waterfall near the dripping pool. As the train and plane faded into the distance, we rounded the corner and also left the dripping pool as if to end this section of music and entered cicada alley to start the second movement with the low rumblings of the river contrasting the sounds of a group fishing in the waters along the bank. This all contrasted with the return of the helicopter for one more pass as we proceeded along the river to the rocky river overlook and beyond. I managed to keep my mouth shut this time for the loop around the rock crusher and powerhouse and I think my sudden performance was quite a surprise for my two hikers.

As the surrounding man made features seemed to be the ongoing theme of this hike, I decided to follow the MCC trail to the outhouse where this time of day they seem to always be using some kind of noisy device to clean out the septic tanks. A great ending to a great hike.

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