Monday, September 6, 2010
Whitewater Sunday September 5th, 4:00
My first 4:00 hike at whitewater. I have been looking forward to a 4:00 group as the sounds later in the day are much different than in the morning and afternoon. I learned a lot this hike as I had a single couple from Michigan, the husband was a hunter who was really good at identifying bird and animal sounds. Since it was just the three of us I opened it up to talking but they for the most part remained silent. We talked a bit though about various native hunting techniques which he had explored and I told him about my grandfather who was part native american and he revealed he was from the same part of Missouri where I was born in the bootheel and it kind of just went from there. The wife was really obsessed with water sounds so we did some deep and close listening to each of the water features along the path and I didn't have to do much convincing to have her hear it as music. The husband kept talking about how animals make noise to get you to move when you walk by so they can identify you. They realize very quickly that humans are not a part of the forest usually and get a bit upset when they walk by. We heard a sound I had been hearing all weekend but couldn't identify and he pointed out that it was a wild turkey and also pointed out that turkeys can in fact fly.
We stopped just before the second bridge and two hawks started calling to one another from various parts of the valley and flew around very rapidly creating a beautiful duet which filled the three dimensional sonic landscape with sounds and echoes at a very rapid pace while creating a sort of rhythm of its own.
We could also hear a rifle being fired in the distance at rapid intervals. The immediately identified what it was, and it made me think about weather hunting season was here now or if this was perhaps a rifle range. It was really fast. We hiked back and I quite gleefully pushed the go button for the drums in the midst of some rifle fire. It blended quite nicely but really took the two off guard. I kept the source a secret as long as I could until finally we rounded a corner and the husband said "is that your friends?". Busted.
We kept hiking and decided that we would only go half way up the stairs as their knees were a bit worse for the wear. I found a great spot where all three drums still seemed distant and left them there to finish the hike. The quiet of the valley allowed us to really hear how the birds reacted to our drumming. Every time I made a caw or hit the drum, a couple of hawks responded with multiple caws and after we were done we could hear a very busy bird cacophony throughout the valley. The 5 or 10 minutes of "silence" at the end were especially poignant..