Grist Mill, CA

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Water, Wheel, Scenic and Surprising…

When I think of the Napa Valley in California, today I usually think of world class wineries and Restaurants. But the other day I ventured out and spent the morning exploring the still operating Bale Grist Mill just outside of St Helena.

It wasn’t long ago when there were 10’s of thousands of these type of mills across the country. Today there are maybe 100 or so still operational.

As I’ve traveled the country, I’ve noticed several water wheel mills, but for some reason, usually because I was on my way somewhere else, I never stopped to really understand how important these mills were to daily life.

So, as I’m hiking down to the Bale mill, I hear this rumbling, sort of grinding noise. Well, when you have two chunks of rock grinding across each other, I guess it would make some noise. Somehow, the idea of the grinding process making noise, just never occurred to me.

In addition to the sight of the large wheel slowly spinning, with water falling off the wheel at the bottom, there is this interesting groan. Almost like the mill is alive. After thinking about it a bit, this audio file could work in a science fiction film or episode. Think Mad Max or Doctor Who.

Listening to this episode, we have an incredibly unique collection of natural and early mechanical sounds in concert. Something just a little bit different. Enjoy!

AudioTrek… Relax. Explore. Meditate. Sleep.


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