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World Listening Day: What's the Quietest Spot You Have Ever Visited?

Today, July 18, is World Listening Day. Now you know.

One of the day's purposes is to "raise awareness about the acoustic ecology movement, including ideas regarding how noise pollution can be reduced."

A worthy goal. As a fan of quiet in outdoor and wilderness settings, it is Quietmy perpetual hope that fellow backcountry visitors will please, pretty please:

1. Avoid using external speakers on electronic devices.

2. Keep mobile phones shut off unless an emergency arises.

This seems like a fitting occasion to note the work of author and audio ecologist Gordon Hempton, who believes silence is nearing extinction.

He has identified a spot in the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park as the quietest place in the United States.

Read about his work in a Newsweek article from 2010, which includes this video:

I remember once sitting a rock near Seavey Pass in the far northern reaches of Yosemite National Park and being knocked out by what I perceived to be utter stillness and silence. It was a fantastic moment that caused me to listen intently. About 20 minutes later when I finally moved on, I found the boot-crunch of my steps to be strangely noticeable. It's interesting how deep silence can alter human perception.

World Listening Day trivia I learned via Twitter today: The word "listen" has the same letters as the word "silent."  

What's the quietest spot you have ever visited?

Photos © by Ted Chase (above) and REI (below). 

Posted on at 7:03 PM

Tagged: national parks and world listening day

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The Hoh rainforest is great, but the quietest spot that I've been was up on the Carbon River just below the glacier on Mt. Rainier about 3 days after Christmas of 2001. 8ft of snow muffled most of the sound and the rocks around the river were pure white with ice. Beautiful and not another person around for miles.

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T.D. Wood Staff Member

Sounds nice. When I hiked Mount Rainer's Wonderland Trail some time ago, the meadows in Indian Henry's Hunting Ground on the west side were uncommonly quiet. The quiet really stands out in my memory.


The quietest spot I have been is in the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management area of West Virginia. While I have hiked a good many spots on the East Coast, this is by far my favorite. No one is around for miles because it seems to be WV's little hidden gem (please don't steal it from me ;) )!


I was hiking in Connemara, back home in Ireland, in the early '80s and woke one morning close to the summit ring of the Twelve Pins to a thick mist and not another sound. I think I sat outside the tent for twenty minutes or so until I shivered, moved, made noise and broke the magic.


Kalahari Desert. I swear you can hear the stars.


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