City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

December 23, 2016

December 23rd

Filed under: picnic site 2, picnic site 3, picnic site 4, Sounds, Stream — canopus56 @ 7:09 pm

Stream Sounds

1:00 p.m. The canyon has warmed considerably under morning bright sunlight, but the beginnings of a large storm front arrives at noon and quickly hides the Sun. It is a Friday before the Christmas holiday weekend, and the canyon is filled with the conversations of about thirty people and the sounds of city rumble. Many are traveling to their weekend destinations, but the distant noise of their vehicles, planes and trains do not lessen the sounds from the stream.

Listening closely to stream sounds between picnic site 1 and picnic site 5, I hear that they fall into three categories. The first sound is a like gentle pouring rain, and it is produced where the stream falls over a small three to six inch uniform ledge across the stream bed. The second second is a “plonk”, and it is produced where two rocks constrict the flow from both sides of the stream. There, the stream has carved out a six inch depression at the rocks’ base, and the falling water takes air to the bottom which then escapes to the surface to make the depth throat-ed popping noise. The third sound is rare, and it is the sound of two rocks striking each other. In front of a larger rock, a small horizontal eddy has formed, and within it a smaller rock rests. The current repeatedly lifts the smaller rock and strikes it against the larger, and this creates a deep thud.

Two bow hunters are walking out the canyon. They have successfully taken an elk. Each has one butchered hind-leg in their backpack. They left the remainder of the three-hundred pound carcass rotting in this watershed canyon. More waste of living things.

In Thoreau’s “Journal” on December 23, 1837, he notes a only one robin in his winter landscape. On December 23, 1856, he observes that on the coldest nights, the ground will crack with an audible sound, and on December 23, 1860, he observes larks during winter.


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