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Mount Brunswick Hike Footage

And the sonic culture of YouTube forest walks

When I posted my two-minute footage of a recent redwood forest hike, I mentioned how YouTube is full of far longer journeys. I wanted to share another example of what I’m talking about. This video (not by me) is an hour straight (with a tiny bit of editing) of a walk at Mount Brunswick in British Columbia. The location is beautiful, and the footage fairly high resolution, as high as 1440, which isn’t 4K but will certainly do. Right from the start, the videographer’s footsteps are plainly evident. When walking, one isn’t quite aware of such sounds, because our brains largely blank them out, as they do any repetitive noise that should be ignored in favor of chance sounds that might provide evidence of danger or other reason for alert, if not alarm. That’s evolution for you. By 15 minutes in, the hiker’s breath makes itself heard, and by halfway through, that panting is almost as loud as the footsteps. While the footage remains breathtaking at times (take a look at the view at 50:01), we’re also plainly aware of the effort required to share it with us — it is breathtaking, quite literally, and anything but blissful. At times, the hiker pauses to look around, and in those moments birds might be heard cawing, but for the most part, the panting and foot stseps are our accompaniment. The video is titled “Mount Brunswick Virtual Hike No Music No Talking,” but of course humans can be present, can be heard, even when they’re not talking. I’m not posting this mention here as a critique of the video. Quite the contrary, it’s absolutely gorgeous, a generous act on the part of the individual who posted it. I am registering it as an interesting aspect of the culture of posting nature walks and, by extension, city hikes — that even when there is no talking, it is not as if the world beyond our own presence simply fills the sonic void.

Video originally posted at youtube.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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