Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Field trip: echoes and pyrite in Ophir Canyon

One of the things I found most interesting in this sound book I read was the way the author talked about listening—really listening—to the sounds around us. He talked about how different places in the world have distinct sonic characters in the same way they have distinguishing visual characteristics, and he described having his students go on "sound walks" while blindfolded, so they could experience a place acoustically, kind of like you'd do a "nature walk" to see birds or something. This seemed like the coolest idea to me! So we tried it in various places: near a busy construction site, in our neighborhood, in a downtown area, and then in a more remote country area by my friend Cathy's house. The sounds in each place were so different! It made me think about how much the sounds are part of the experience when we go camping, or hiking. It's so peaceful to be somewhere where all you hear is wind and birdsong!

While we were in Tooele County, we went to a place we'd been wanting to go: Ophir Canyon, where our rockhounding guide assured us there is pyrite to be found! We always welcome the chance to find cool rocks, and this was a really easy site because the roads getting there are all paved, and you can find all kinds of pyrite just in the pile of mine tailings by the road!
Teddy got one of the rocks and walked around talking on it like it was a phone. Very businesslike.

And, as an added bonus for our Sound Unit, we discovered some great places to hear echoes in this canyon! You can hear them in this video:

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