In 2010 a good friend of mine got married in Sedona, Arizona. So about 80 Canadians left the cold November weather of our home towns and flew down to the warmth and sun of the American southwest. It did not take much convincing to make this happen.
Sedona is a mecca for spiritual hippie types. If you need to buy some crystals that will realign all that is wrong in your life - Sedona is the place for you. Beyond the supposed healing powers of the area, Sedona and it's surroundings are a truly beautiful place. Many hours of the trip were spent simply hiking through the trails in the Verde Valley on the outskirts of town. Nothing in my normal neck of the woods can compare with the landscapes offered in Arizona.
On the morning of the wedding I got up super early and drove many miles, on seemingly abandoned dirt roads, out into the desert away from town. At some random point I decided to pull over and start hiking towards some impressive giant rock formations. After hiking for a while I stopped to rest and got out my trusty Sony D-50 portable recorder. The sounds of the desert at sunrise are extremely quiet. I was literally miles and miles away from any other people. Yet in the far distance I could clearly hear highway traffic rolling across the barren landscape. I could also hear two dogs barking at each other. The sound of each dog seemed to be coming from quite far apart along the horizon. Once I had climbed to higher ground the source of these sounds was still somewhat mysterious. I still could not see the highway or the dogs at all and I could see a long, long way.
Sound does not travel like this at all when you hike into the natural areas of Canada near where I'm from. In summer time the sound of leaves blowing in the trees produces a kind of white noise that far off sounds have a hard time overcoming. While in the winter the leaves are all gone but a good layer of snow acts as an amazing sound deadening system. Distant noises are gobbled up as if the whole landscape has been acoustically treated.
So hearing sounds so clearly that are coming from such far distances was a bit foreign to me. A person would have to really go deep into the Verde Valley to find a square inch of silence in these parts.
Here is a clip from the recording I made on my hike that day acting as a soundtrack to a slideshow of photos taken by my wife, the talented Ehrin Albright, on various hikes we did on the trip. Listen for the traffic and dogs and remember that they were miles and miles away from the microphones. Enjoy.