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A Photo is Worth 1000 Songs – Rare Air: Colorado Mountain Summits Copy

A weekly series exploring photos, words, and songs.
Photos: Arik Solberg
Words: Dave Shiffman
Songs: ♫ on Spotify

WORDS:

The monstrous mountain stands before you.   You know it will require thousands of strenuous steps to reach the summit, and you relish the challenge.

The summer air is calm and the sun feels pleasant on your face, but you’ve equipped yourself for the elements as you know that within minutes, a whipping wind could bring dark clouds full of driving sleet or snow.

Despite the seemingly innocuous conditions, hazards abound. Your ascent is deliberate, not a leisurely stroll but a carefully calculated climb. You pick your path with strategic caution, making sure not to lose your footing or roll an ankle. As if the incline wasn’t enough, the altitude could cause headaches, nausea and fatigue. A misstep could result in a painful fall, a broken bone or even a snakebite. The elevation and remote location make it difficult to obtain help and should something happen, you could be stranded for an indefinite amount of time.

Your pulse races from not only the strenuous activity and subconscious jitters but also a deep appreciation for the magnificence of Mother Earth.

Upon finally reaching the summit after a full day of trekking, you raise your arms and look to the sky before falling to your feet with exhaustion. You take pride in your triumph while enjoying the solitude and absorbing the incredible view of the beautiful Rocky Mountains protruding into the sky as far as you can see.

Your afterglow of accomplishment and isolation lasts only momentarily. A herd of mountain goats greets you with nonchalance, their stoic demeanor bemusing you. For you, hiking the Rockies is a test of tenacity, courage and endurance. For them, it is a way of life

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SONGS: ♫ on Spotify

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Dave is the author of "The Cosmic Burrito", a tale of two friends who drive across the USA in search of the ultimate burrito. In the past, he has written for various music publications and interviewed a range of artists including Sublime, Everclear, Burning Spear, Big Mountain, Bad Brains, Neal Casal and Lucky Dube. Dave has a deep passion for reggae music, Rasta consciousness and island culture. In reggae circles, he goes by the name "Rootsdude," and he has dubbed his extensive music collection “Rootsdude Sound System.” David plays ice hockey weekly for two recreational teams he founded and manages, Team Rasta and The Wailers.