Category Archives: Northwest Soundscapes Project

A little Ear Candy

Hey all! I’ve been busy working on the next couple of releases. In the meantime, I thought I’d offer a little something for y’all to listen to.

I feel fortunate to have been able to record over an hour of unbroken natural sound in the Olympic National Forest at the Snider-Jackson trail head. Starting during Civil Twilight, sun rises in this recording around the 30 minute mark, although the Thrushes were awake and active long before then. Robins, Varied Thrushes, Flycatchers, woodpeckers, squirrels, Pacific Wrens, and more fill these moss-covered woods to the background wash of the Calawah River.

Sunrise was at 5:42 on this morning, with the first almost-audible human-related sounds of very distant vehicles starting nearly an hour after that. It’s difficult to comprehend the sound of the wilderness we are losing. Even here, deep in the mountainous, moss-covered trees of the Olympic National Forest on the border of the Olympic National Park, it’s only by creeping out in the early hours of the morning that we can hear long stretches of natural sound unbroken by human-created noises. With the ever-encroaching settlements of humankind, how much longer will it be before even that is lost?

I had driven out to the Snider-Jackson Trailhead with a friend during the wee-hours of the night. Our original destination was the Quinalt Rainforest, but when we got to the trailheads there were dozens of vehicles already lined up with even more sleeping hikers ready to set out by dawn. We ducked around to the Hoh Rainforest, but with the same result. A little stressed and a little tired we made our way out in the direction of the Bogachiel Valley. Along the way we realized that trail lined up neatly with one of the loudest rivers on the peninsula. While that would make for a neat recording opportunity, we also wanted to sleep and maybe hear birds during the day. We finally ended up driving up to the Snider-Jackson trail, a trail that starts out in the National Forest, but crosses into the National Park about one mile in. It’s a stark contrast… from the “young” (less than one hundred-years-old) trees of the Forest into the giant, ancient woods of the Park. But! Before wee could hike up the trail we to make sure we caught the dawn recording.

I’ll be heading up into the Quinalt in October for a 10 day trip and a long hike. It’ll be the high-time for the Elk rut, and I want to be sure to catch their bugles with as little human noise intrusion as possible.

Happy listening!

-andy

 

Talkeetna, AK, May 31-2, 2017

A NWS Sidetrip: Talkeetna, AK, May 31-2, 2017

This didn’t set out as a Northwest Soundscapes Project trip. I joined my wife in Anchorage for a few days at the start of a summer camp she was helping with and was offered the chance by the camp director to borrow a yurt in Talkeetna for a few days, most likely that I wouldn’t be underfoot for the rest of the camp. Actually just outside of Talkeetna, and a couple miles into the boreal taiga, the yurt was a short hike from Long Lake, a beautiful clear lake that I spent two happy days canoeing on, bringing along my recorder & microphones. Continue reading Talkeetna, AK, May 31-2, 2017

Sinlahekin Valley, May 20-22, 2017

NWS10: Sinlahekin Valley, May 20-22, 2017

IMG_7116.JPGSinlahekin Valley is the heart of the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area, a large unit managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. A mixture of ranch land, managed big-game area, protected wildlife refuge, and dedicated recreation area, Sinlahekin is a beautiful, bio-diverse and extremely habitat diverse region protected from human over-run more from remoteness than anything else.

Continue reading Sinlahekin Valley, May 20-22, 2017

Colockum Wildlife Area, July 05-09, 2016

Infrequent Updates

Okay, we’re now at mid-March, 2017. A year ago this month we were in the midst of Kickstartingthis project. How have we done? What are the hits and misses, successes and failures we’ve had along the way?

NWS03: Colockum Wildlife Area, July 05-09, 2016

I hadn’t originally intended to stop in the Colockum Wildlife Area. In fact, it was a last minute decision made at a pit stop for gas. My original destination had been the Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge before continuing on to pick up my daughter from a camp in Central Oregon. I’m glad I stopped and made the decision to stay instead of continuing as it turns out the main accessible areas of Toppenish are flooded with anthropogenic noise, mainly from the the busy highway that connects to the main entrance. While it would have helped illustrate the problems with the invasion of human-caused noise pollution, it would have been a miserable and likely wasted trip.

Continue reading Colockum Wildlife Area, July 05-09, 2016

Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, June 09-12, 2016

Half-way report, part 2 of 5

Here we are, at the beginning of November, 2016, at the half-way mark for The Northwest Soundscapes Project. How have we done? What are the hits and misses, successes and failures we’ve had along the way?

NWS02: Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, June 09-12, 2016

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Channeled Scablands

The second trip of this project was to the Columbia Wildlife Refuge from June 9-12. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was certainly not prepared for the stunning natural beauty of this location. Located in the the Channeled Scablands of the Northwest, the land around this area was carved out dramatically and violently during a series of ice age deluges. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet dammed up the Glacial Lake Missoula, which periodically broke free and scoured the land here free of soil and most life. Giant pot-hole-like formations called coulees show testimony to the power of the drainage, and to this day provide quiet refuge to animals such as birds, rabbits, and coyotes, as well as providing a rainwater collection point for marshy reeds to grow.

Continue reading Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, June 09-12, 2016

Mt Adams area, May 12-14, 2016

Half-way report, part 1 of 5

Here we are, at the beginning of November, 2016, at the half-way mark for The Northwest Soundscapes Project. How have we done? What are the hits and misses, successes and failures we’ve had along the way?

NWS01: Mt Adams area, May 12-14, 2016

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This was a dry run for recording in Double Mid-Side, to see if this was indeed the path I wanted to go down for recording these ambiences. Fortunately it was!

This trip took us to the Trout Creek Campground near Mt. Adams, Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and back up into the Mt. Adams Wilderness. I’ll be returning here next Spring, not just because I love the area, but also to revisit some of the earlier locations I recorded after having had the long practice throughout the year.

Continue reading Mt Adams area, May 12-14, 2016