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That ultimate quiet...

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That ultimate quiet...

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Old 01-29-19, 02:32 AM
  #1  
genec
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That ultimate quiet...

So, I'm out camping in the AZ desert... I'm actually in one of their fine state parks. I am surrounded (at a good distance, mind you,) by RVs. It's midnight, and fairly quiet... vastly more quiet than in any of the roadside commercial RV parks I stay in to finally arrive here.

But it dawns on me, that in spite of this intense quiet, I still hear some mechanical hum... a transformer, somewhere... making itself known to me by that annoying 60Hz hum... and I get to thinking about REAL quiet. The kind of quiet I have only experienced a few times in my life.

The quiet I am speaking off is just you and nature... I have had this quiet only on rare occasions, that I can recall... once at Joshua Tree... oh maybe 35, 36 years ago, and way way off road, deep in Baja, maybe 20 years ago.

This is the kind of quiet where the ringing in your ears stops, where the wind is the only sound, along with your heartbeat, where your mind becomes expansive (no drugs) and you start to really hear the world.

I imagine this is possible for folks living in remote locals like Alaska, or the outback of Oz, or territories in Canada... or daily in remote Africa or South America.

This is a difficult and different quiet, hard to find in our very industrial America.

The ultimate quiet.

​​​
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Old 01-29-19, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
I imagine this is possible for folks living in remote locals like Alaska, or the outback of Oz, or territories in Canada... or daily in remote Africa or South America.

This is a difficult and different quiet, hard to find in our very industrial America.

The ultimate quiet.
​​​

Not just in the outback of Oz or territories of Canada. I haven't had to go far from home to get to "The quiet I am speaking off is just you and nature".
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Old 01-29-19, 03:19 AM
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Not all, but much of our Christmas trip had periods of time with that kind of quiet ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57701105222642
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Old 01-29-19, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Not all, but much of our Christmas trip had periods of time with that kind of quiet ...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57701105222642
Wow, thanks for the reminder... the ferns did it. I remember another quiet place... on the big island of Hawaii. Several places there actually. I especially enjoyed the area near Havi.

Otherwise, it seems where man is, where there are roads (car noise... so pervasive) and electric machines (motors, transformers, fans) there is always some sort of unnatural noise... and as you get into more and more quiet areas, you realize that there is always some little thing, that isn't quiet, isn't natural.
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Old 01-29-19, 05:24 AM
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I don't "tour" on my bicycles but my motorcycles have taken me many places where I only hear the wind and my own breathing.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon


Dalton Highway


Arctic Circle

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Old 01-29-19, 05:52 AM
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2016 while touring in Montana. I could not hear any man-made sounds. Only the rustle of the wind-blow grasses, the buzzing of insects and the calls of birds. I wanted to stay in this spot all day.

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Old 01-29-19, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Wow, thanks for the reminder... the ferns did it. I remember another quiet place... on the big island of Hawaii. Several places there actually. I especially enjoyed the area near Havi.

Otherwise, it seems where man is, where there are roads (car noise... so pervasive) and electric machines (motors, transformers, fans) there is always some sort of unnatural noise... and as you get into more and more quiet areas, you realize that there is always some little thing, that isn't quiet, isn't natural.
Well keep in mind ...

Population of USA = 325.7 million

Population of Australia = 24.6 million

And yet, Australia and mainland USA are about the same area. So we've got more areas with very few people.

When I moved to Australia, Rowan and I moved into a shack on a back of a 1200 acre property, 2 kms off the grid. Yes, we had to run a generator for power, but when we turned it off, it was quiet.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...57623277367498

Our road into our place.

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Old 01-29-19, 08:02 AM
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I spent some time in the anechoic chamber that Dr. Amar Bose built for audio research at MIT. You want to talk about "ultimate quiet" ...it's incredible how loud the sound of your blood flowing through your ears is when there is nothing else competing with it!

But yeah, I definitely prefer the outdoor solace type of quiet.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:11 AM
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There are plenty of places in AZ that are quiet including being away from flight corridors. I visit them a few times a month.
But you are not going to find them in an RV park.

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Old 01-29-19, 10:44 AM
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This has maps of overall and natural sound levels across the USA
Acoustical Society of America - 166th Lay Language Papers
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Old 01-29-19, 10:48 AM
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Human caused sound levels
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Old 01-29-19, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
This has maps of overall and natural sound levels across the USA
Acoustical Society of America - 166th Lay Language Papers
Neat. In the east you can see a bright corridor that appears to roughly parallel I-95 south from the North Jersey/Manhattan area.
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Old 01-29-19, 11:59 AM
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I tried a sensory depravation tank once and really really liked it. It made me feel like Dave in 2001 when Hal wouldn't open the pod bay doors, but in a serene way.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Human caused sound levels
That is a cool map.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:04 PM
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Sometimes they are called heat maps.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:10 PM
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At least one of the spots on that map is my girlfriends huge Italian family. Loud is all they know.
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Old 01-29-19, 01:58 PM
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The Park Service noise map does not show very well the noise from low level flight corridors (aka, Victor airways). On average they are not loud, but low level flights in the Victor corridors are frequent and very distracting in places that otherwise are very quiet, e.g, some areas in Rocky Mountain National Park. SkyVector shows the Victor airways as blue lines.
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Old 01-29-19, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
There are plenty of places in AZ that are quiet including being away from flight corridors. I visit them a few times a month.
But you are not going to find them in an RV park.
The AZ state parks have RV areas, otherwise they are parks.

The irony of at least one response here was when I was visiting a Park in South Dakota, which was quiet, the only man made noise was the occasional loud motorcycle off on the distance.
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Old 01-29-19, 03:55 PM
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Mountain Biking remote jeep roads in Big Bend NP so quiet all you could feel is the Earth and then my mind was going if I get injured or have a mechanical I am in trouble. This was around 1998 I was more reckless back then.
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Old 01-29-19, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post

This is the kind of quiet where the ringing in your ears stops, where the wind is the only sound, along with your heartbeat, where your mind becomes expansive (no drugs) and you start to really hear the world.

The ultimate quiet.
​​​
I had one of those experiences last year in the mountains above Lake Tahoe. The wife went off trail to collect some pine cones and I was standing there on the trail all alone and it dawned on me that I couldn't hear anything but the wind in the trees, the silence was beautiful
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Old 01-29-19, 08:10 PM
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Quietest place I can remember was on Mt. McKinley/Denali in Alaska. Up on the mountain there are very few people, and at night after the shuttle planes stop flying there's no extraneous noise. Quitetest was at about 9500 ft (camped in the middle of a mile-wide glacier) and at 17,000ft (camped on the flat area of a ridge). The snow helps with sound attenuation.

Most of the continental USA is covered in airplane flight corridors, but there are a few places in the Western USA I've thought it to be quiet:
* the north end of Death Valley NAtional Park (not a lot of attractions up there),
* just about anywhere in the central parts of Nevada( get a few miles off of Hwy 50),
* the central part of the Sierra Nevada Mtns in California (in the basins on the western side of the crest, and away from the John Muir Trail),
* the White Mtns and Inyo Mtns between California & Nevada (both just east of the Sierra Nevada Mtns and rarely hiked/climbed),
* western side of Catalina Island and San Miguel Island (26 miles west across the water from the Los Angeles area/Santa Barbara area, respectively - go farther west and the next landfall will be Japan).
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Old 01-29-19, 09:22 PM
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I grew up about miles outside a town of 10,000 (and we were the big city to all the neighboring towns because we had multiple traffic lights and at one time had both a walmart and a kmart). I lived far enough out of town that you could easily count the cars that went down the road in front of our house (if you could see the road from our house, which you couldn't) in an hour on one hand. And by cars, I'm being pretty loose and including amish buggies. Our nearest neighbor was a good couple hundred yards away through the woods. If you went into the woods away from from the neighbors' houses, it didn't take long to get to areas where you couldn't hear anything other than nature or sounds I made - and deep in those woods was where I spent of lot of my childhood - so college when suddenly I was in a complex of dorms that had half as many people as my hometown was a drastic culture shock.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:10 PM
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I was spoiled by two years in the Peace Corps at a remote village in the Congo (on google maps, look for Mboie, DRC). It's very difficult to find that absolute quiet in the U.S.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:40 PM
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I found ultimate quiet and ultimate dark deep in the caves of SW Virginia. It's nice until it's spooky. Cavers know what I mean.
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Old 01-29-19, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
That is a cool map.
Originally Posted by justslow View Post
I found ultimate quiet and ultimate dark deep in the caves of SW Virginia. It's nice until it's spooky. Cavers know what I mean.
Speaking of "dark," while not blackout dark, per a cave, but again, lack of man made light... camping deep in Baja... the night sky was just awesome. The only darker sky I've experienced is way out to sea.
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