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The soundtrack of my life

This last summer I did something that Iíve never done before on a hike: I brought music. On long-distance treks, I always wanted to be alert to a predator looking for its next two-legged, trail-delivered meal.The Lost Lakes Trail is a 19.5-mile loop in the Flat Tops Wilderness in northern Colorado. It was going to be a long day, so I thought Iíd try something to get me through this endurance test. On my iPod were some movie soundtrack instrumentals, Celtic choruses and some Christmas music (why only around the holidays?).I often ìhit a wallî at about mile 12. Long hikes are physically challenging, but just as much a mind game. Halfway around the loop, I pulled out my Shuffle and put on my ear buds. If a hungry mountain lion was going to get me, it was probably going to happen anyway, music or not.This trail is spectacular. I had already found countless (lost) lakes, been in thick forests and surveyed open parks covered with an explosion of high alpine wildflowers.I stood in a meadow, clicked on the iPod, and something unexpected and extraordinary happened. The music, starting with a sweeping instrumental, became a soundtrack as I walked. It was like a 360-degree IMAX theater experience, but live, not filmed. The peaceful music acted as background narration for what was unfolding all around me. The music did help me finish, including the last 5 miles of alpine tundra above tree line. We arrived at the SUV after 10 p.m.Later, I got to wondering what sort of soundtrack is playing in the background in my everyday life, far from the mountains. If I viewed my work-a-day world as a film, would I hear loud and chaotic music, shouting in my head? I know the answer to this question: Many times the ìmusicî is like screeching violins in a horror movie! Perhaps itís time to bring some of the wilderness tranquility to my day-to-day living.The lions in life might still hunt me; Iíll still be looking over my shoulder. But, hopefully, Iíll go down with serenity and a smile.T. Duren Jones gets out into the wilderness as often as possible, and does he have stories to tell! Heís 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, especially the higher places.

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