At least it was the “quietest” place. Now there will be tourists tramping all over it yelling at their kids and guys selling t-shirts and fake microphones and giant ears, and the locals will be sitting around saying, “I remember when this place used to be quiet.”
I enjoyed reading that article.
My wife and I like to day hike a lot, especially Fall through Spring in Southern CA.
We go to one of the state parks pretty regularly and hike well in - we’ll loop 8 to 12 miles - and one of the most enjoyable things is getting far enough in so that you’re in that quiet space. We love snow hiking in the Winter the best sometimes. Then it’s really quiet.
We’ll generally not come into contact with other people at all once we’re hiked a good way on the trails we like. Maybe a ranger or volunteer on horseback. They always remark that they rarely see people on foot where we go.
Occasionally, we’ll come across someone and they’ll have a radio/ipod/iphone playing (often on external speaker) as they’re hiking and I find it so odd… I love music, more than most people, likely. But there’s a time and a place. When we’re out there, I just want to hear the sounds from the park.
Clearly he ain’t been out in the middle of the American deserts. I’ve been in New Mexico and Texas where there aren’t enough plants to even hear the wind.
I’m sure it’s beautiful but there are some sections of the Big Bend region with no fly overs from military or civilian aircraft and the population densities are less than 1 per square mile with zero industrial activity and no roads for miles. The lack of nature sounds in these badlands is striking as well. You just wouldn’t want to visit unless you like the hot barren desolation of dessert.
I liked the story, but the designation and authority of the designator seems rather arbitrary.
I recently camped on an island in Lake Michigan that used to be a farming community, long abandoned. Really similar experience, so incredibly quiet, especially at night. Except for the occasional howling coyotes.
There’s actually a fair number of these islands you can visit in the great lakes, which range from backwoods hiking and camping (North Manitou island) to where Fishermen go to party hard (Put-in bay).
Perfect place for testing the ol’ “noise gun”. Imagine targeting one person in a group enjoying the peace of the quietest place… ##%%$^, do y’all not hear that? WTF! Where’s the quiet?
When the advertiser saw the cathedral spires over the downs in the distance, he looked at them and wept.
“If only,” he said, “this were an advertisement of Beefo, so nice, so nutritious, try it in your soup, ladies like it.”
What We Have Come To
The quietest place I’ve been was in the mountains in the middle of a heavy snow that fell straight down because there was no wind whatsoever. Even though I had a panoramic view of the Cascade Range, the utter lack of sound could be described oddly as deafening.
This is one of the reasons why the Hoh Rain Forest is my specialest place on Earth.
I’ve only been a few times, but the place just feels so ancient. Like a place that is ruined by me even being there to marvel at it.
I’ve spent a few nights camping there. The place is magical. Like I get weepy remembering it.
I woke up one night there, because something felt odd. I opened my tent, and two wolves were sitting at the edge of camp, just silently staring back at me. I didn’t break eye contact. After a few minutes, they got bored and left.
The place electrifies me, and I love it. I wish I could go there more often.
That reminds me of something I heard from a Mammoth Cave tour guide. He described a room deep in the cave covered with crystals that are so fragile body heat alone can cause them to shift. Only a few people are allowed to visit that room once a year. He was one of the lucky ones.
I can’t imagine how awe-inspiring it must have been to stand in the middle of something so ancient yet so fragile.
Also, the first few times I was there, I was still in high school, taking AP freshman biology (I got a D, but was forever turned on to learning about the squishy things), and the biodiversity and lushness just overwhelmed me. I’d been going around in life looking at invertebrates and tetrapods and plants and classifying stuff at phylum-level, because that’s the best I could do at the time. Then I went to Hoh, and it was just an explosion. The place is just so alive. Seeing some animals is nice, but just the plants and fungi alone, all the different species. There might even still be a few in that forest that haven’t been named by science yet.
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