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Head in the clouds

If I could get paid for dreaming, Iíd be a rich man! Iíve got no shortage of aspirations. But, sometimes itís hard to fly with feet nailed to the ground by lifeís circumstances, or limitations, real or perceived.My friend Jim, a fit man in his early 60s, could not be accused of failing to accomplish many fine things in his life. One unfulfilled dream Jim had; however, was to climb a Colorado 14,000-foot peak. But did he have the stuff to summit a monster mountain? He had the drive, passion and heart; but did he have the stamina, legs and lungs to make it to the top?Jim accepted my offer to guide him up his first fourteener. I was delighted to be a part of this adventure in his life. I recommended we try Mount Evans (14,264 feet). We began a customized climb at Summit Lake. Our improvised ascent took us up the broad Northeast Ridge. There is no trail up on this route. We could see the top, knew where we needed to go and simply began to make our way upward. The going was a little slow as we traversed over patches of tundra, shifting rock and even a little snow.As we crested the ridge ó huffing and puffing ó it was jarring to see the signs of civilization (cars on the road and the first peek at the observatory on the top) with a half-mile to go to the summit. We passed the observatory dome, parking area and the remaining rock walls of the Crest House. Another 130 vertical feet through a series of short switchbacks to the top ó and we made it. After a congratulatory high-five and a hug, with pride and gratitude, Jim surveyed his accomplishment. He took his time to enjoy the fulfillment of a dream. I know it was hard, a little painful and a bit beyond what he thought he could do, but he had done it.T. Duren Jones spends time in the Colorado wilderness as often as possible. He has hiked hundreds of trails, completed the nearly 500 miles of the Colorado Trail, and has summited all 54 of Coloradoís 14,000-foot peaks. He loves the outdoors. He hates snakes.ìYour hopes, dreams and aspirations are legitimate. They are trying to take you airborne, above the clouds, above the storms, if you only let them.î- William James

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