Note: The recordings featured here are “3D binaural soundscapes”. Please wear headphones for a profound listening experience that will make you think you’re actually out there, immersed in the natural world!
This is the trip I had planned for 2020, but had to cancel due to the pandemic. It will take me to the Hill Country of Texas where I’ll visit Lost Maples State Natural Area, a wonderful wild area that sports a healthy population of land-breeding Barking Frogs. Then on to Kickapoo Cavern State Park, home to around a million Mexican Free-tailed Bats. After that … a week or longer in Big Bend National Park, where Elf Owls and Cactus Wrens will be in full song. Oh my, will that be fun!
After Big Bend, I will travel to Arizona, where I’ll spend the entire month of April exploring the Sonoran Desert and associated canyons and mountains, perhaps with a side excursion into California for Mojave Desert recordings. What’s in store for the month of May I do not know for sure. I might very well spend more time in the Southwest and then slowly saunter home. Or, quite possibly, I’ll head to the Prairie States and then travel northward, maybe ending up in North Dakota or even Manitoba.
But what I look forward to the most, what I’m dreaming about day and night, is my visit to the Aravaipa Canyon, which is located about ninety miles southeast of Phoenix, at least as the crow flies. I discovered this fascinating spot during my 2017 expedition, and I simply cannot wait to be there once again:
But there is a caveat. I would consider Aravaipa Canyon to be “heaven on earth” were it not for one big downside for the nature recordist … JET OVERFLIGHTS! I consider them to be the “Curse of Aravaipa,” the one thing that disturbs my experience of this incomparable wild area. Unfortunately, the canyon lies along the flight path between Phoenix and El Paso. As a result, during the day and well into the night, one passenger jet after another pass over the canyon. Even though flying at high altitudes, the rumble of each jet is quite audible and definitely disturbing to one’s sensibilities. It can be so maddening … sometimes one is lucky to experience just ten minutes of silence, before the next jet arrives. Aarrgghh! Jets shouldn’t be allowed to fly over designated wilderness areas!!!
Fortunately, the overflights rapidly dwindle after 10pm, and by midnight nature’s quietude reigns supreme. The calm lasts all through the rest of the night and into the first light of dawn, making it possible for me to gather pristine recordings until the jet activity starts up again, not long after sunrise. Were it not for the jets, I truly believe I would experience “Aravaipa Nirvana,” and perhaps become so transparent and infused with Zen no-mind that I would literally vanish into the ether of the place, never to be heard from again. So maybe it is fortunate that the jets pull me back from my immersion, forcing me to remain here in the ordinary mundane human world, where I am compelled to share occasional peak experiences with others. Life could be worse, I suppose.