Monday, September 13, 2010

Whitewter, Sunday September 12th. 1:00The last hike

Thought there were a few people signed up for this hike, after waiting about 15 minutes for stragglers we left with only one couple from Wisconsin though they were originally from Germany and immigrated to the US in 1967 via Canada. They had lived in Wisconsin for about 20 years and had more recently moved to Minnesota and were camping. They were a bit older, (72 and 74) so I suggested a hike where we just stayed in the valley. They wouldn't hear of it! So up we went.

First off, this hike was another one where the wind was kind of still and the birds were also a bit more quiet at first. So we focused quite a bit on the water. These immediately got everything I was pointing out in the meditation and were totally in the moment pretty much the whole time as far as I could tell. We took many long stops, probably as much because I was starting to already fell nostalgic about the place as the fact that they seemed to really hear every detail, even in the quieter moments. The second foot bridge was especially impressive this day because the water level had risen enough to make the rumblings of the rapids loud enough to resonate off the cliff walls in this small space. A really nice and new feature that I didn't so much notice the day before because it seemed there was always a lot of human activity here.

As we approached the second larger bridge, the wind began to kick up a bit and though it was very subtle, the lack of other sounds at that moment made the rustling through the trees and subsequent falling of leaves quite dramatic. We pressed on to the mysterious valley after standing on and crossing the bridge briefly and followed a couple of younger girls who made lots of noise so we could hear how their sound changed up ahead in the valley. They quickly got out of ear shot and we then stood in the valley where I was waiting for the wind to kick up again but instead was surprised by the sudden burst of bird sounds that emerged as we stood and waited. I think we sat here for about 7 minutes just listening to the textures change. Finally, a woodpecker started to peck quite quickly, not like the pecking we had heard before where they were getting in at the bugs, but a high pitched and rapid pecking that woodpeckers apparently use to warn each other of coming threats. After each iteration of this pecking, the rest of the birds really perked up and started their chatter with more intensity. Finally, the woodpecker stopped and we started a higher tempo trip back. I stopped earlier than usual to hear the sound of the drum resonating around the valley and were rewarded by an especially quiet moment where it could be heard almost from the mysterious meadow (usually it becomes audible after the first large bridge).

Then the stairs. As we rounded each corner, we had to take a short break which allowed us to really hear the way the drum sounded. As we got to the top, there where quite a few people up on inspiration point so in a way, this hike was more like 10 people for the finale. My drum, as I had mentioned, was going south, but I thought I could get one last show out of it. Though the head was nearly completely caved in, I continued to hit it thinking that it would still make a good sound but after the hike, Martin (the husband) noted that my "friends drum sounded so big and huge as did your voice and his but the drum you played sounded like.......a tin can!!"

I guess I should have taken him out of commission after the previous hike but I think the drum enjoyed being used one last time before going into the museum. Anyway, he looks much cooler now!

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