Sound Waves

Listen when swimming against the current

Published online: Apr 05, 2021 Articles, East Idaho Outdoors Kris Millgate
Viewed 295 time(s)

Video, photos and story provided by Kris Millgate, Tightline Media.

Road trips are all about the sights—what you see at lookouts, in the woods and on the river. Visuals dominate the adventure for most of us, but while following salmon migration from the ocean to Idaho I tried a different approach. No eyes. All ears.

I was on the road solo during 2020, so of course I had my eyes open when I was behind the wheel. But when I wasn’t driving, I closed my eyes and opened my ears. What a terrific sensation. The scenery offers more meaning when you really hear what’s going on around you. Pull over, get out, listen.

I kept the experiment going all summer. And yes, there are indeed places where you can still hear nature during the madness of peak tourist season. Meadows where crowds thin and wild thickens. Caverns where whispers echo like hollers. Trails where footfalls disappear into waterfalls.

Water was my original reason for trying the sensory swap. Fish live in our streams and I wanted to know what our world sounds like to salmon. They road-trip through the Pacific Northwest via river. They migrate against the current for 850 miles from the Oregon coast to the Idaho wilderness, and what that trip sounds like will amaze you.

Water comes at us in all sorts of sound waves. Listen to the video paired with this page. Look first if you must, but don’t move on without listening. Eyes closed, ears open. When swimming through pools, and these pages, the experience means more when you listen.

May we all hear sound waves this summer. 

Kris Millgate


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