Welcome to Mountains of Inspiration!

Specializing in Media created to inspire…

SkyDance Mountain is a positive life-style entity based in the foothills of the Rocky Mountain National Park, awakening the soul and inspiring the imagination to improve our world and pursue Personal Growth through Love & Simplicity, Joy & Tranquility.

Our passion is creating entertaining and enlightening podcasts, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs, driven by heartfelt stories and songs that awaken the soul and inspire the imagination.


Categories: Audiobooks, Colorado History, Creative Storytelling, Horse Adventures, Inspiration, Mountain Interest, Rocky Mountains, Spirit of the West | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Call of the Wild (Why Wapiti Whistle)

Perhaps the two most haunting and memorable sounds you will ever hear in nature are the lonely call of a loon, and the eerie bugle of an elk, also known as the wapiti.

Late September in the Rocky the elk begin their mating period known as the “rut”.

Abraham, a nine-year old, dominant, 6-point bull elk, has been following his harem of about twenty cows, since late August.  He will continue to do so into early winter.

Just a few short months before, he was hanging out with the guys, wandering through the mountains and the higher elevations in the Park.

Now, here in Upper Beaver Meadows, standing 5 feet tall at the shoulder, and weighing over 1,000 lbs., he urgently paces back and forth, challenging rival bulls by bellowing and paralleling their every move.

Bugling can be heard for miles over the parkland valleys and meadows.

It has recently been discovered that male elk have signature characteristics in their calls that are entirely different from any other bull elk.  Each male puts his emphasis in a different section of his call, setting his voice apart from all the other elk.  Bugling helps males display their strength and prowess.

Being able to hit the high highs and the low lows with a lot of power seems to be a determining factor in the success of establishing an impressive harem of interested females.  The older, larger bulls have greater vocalization abilities than their younger competitors.  Only the largest bulls, the six-pointers can hit the highest highs and the lowest lows of their distinctive call.  The louder the bugle, and the more often the calls, the greater the draw.

Abraham has been training now for years for the top spot among his competitors.  Nostrils flaring, head forward, scent of elk urine emanating from his fur, he continues to protect and intimidate potential intruders by bugling and whistling, while the cows and their calves lazily graze nearby, seemingly calm and unconcerned.

It appears he has some competition, as a younger rival approaches from the south.  They begin to pace, shrewdly assessing each other’s arsenal of weapons – their antlers, size and weight, and strength and ability to do combat.  They also flaunt their vocal abilities, each trying to intimidate the other.

Were this male to continue to challenge Abraham, refusing to back down and walk away, they would engage in locking antlers pushing one another back and forth, possibly sustaining serious injuries.  Fortunately, more often than not, bulls prefer to have more bark than bite, since fighting can cause life-threatening injury and deplete much-needed energy.

Now, as the younger bull approaches, Abraham faces him head on, lowers his head and menacingly thrusts his antlers toward his challenger.  The rival turns at a 90 degree angle and skitters off just out of reach, then stops and looks back at the larger bull.  To be sure this younger male understands who the harem master is here, Abraham lowers his head and belts out a low, very hoarse and mighty warning, “You are NOT welcome here!”  The young bull attempts to counter with a less-than-impressive bugle.  It becomes evident that he cannot compete with the older, larger vocalist.  Abraham lowers his head again and the young competitor dejectedly wanders off, deciding to seek out a less intimidating opponent.

It looks like Abraham has won this battle of the bands, and insured the security and ownership of his harem once again… at least for today.



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A Home in the Sky

The Colorado Rocky Mountains.  A place of breath-taking beauty and rugged peaks of inspiration.  

Sometimes we just need a little inspiration to give us hope and new ideas, reduce stress, spark the imagination, and help us on our journey towards transformation.  We daily need a lift to help us rise above it all.

It’s a beautiful day here in the Rocky Mountain National Park and all is well.

Everyone needs to feel like they have a place they can call “home”.  It may not necessarily be your address, residence, or even where you spend most of your time.  Home is where you long to be – where you feel most secure and where your heart and spirit are both totally alive and awake, and at the same time – at peace.

It is a tried and true saying – “Home is where the heart is.”

In his immortal song “Rocky Mountain High”, John Denver sang of  “…coming home to a place he had never been before.”

The Rockies have an amazing way of doing that to you.  I remember after cresting the hill on Highway 36 heading into Estes Park and seeing the Rocky Mountains up close  and personal for the very first time with my family.  We couldn’t stop saying “Wow!”  Over and over again we kept saying “Wow!”  We even said it backwards.

I immediately felt a soul-connection with this gorgeous, amazingly grand place, and knew that I had come home.

Within its 415 square miles and and over 300 miles of hiking trails, RMNP is home to an abundant and vast array of diverse plants and wildlife.  Rocky is teeming with more than 280 species of birds – from hummingbirds to golden eagles, ptarmigan, magpies, woodpeckers, and brilliant mountain bluebirds.

It is also home to 60 species of mammals ~ herds of elk and mule deer, moose, beaver, badger, coyote, mountain lions, black bear, chipmunks, squirrels, marmots and bobcats.

There is something so sacred and unparalleled about the grandeur of the rugged mountains, pristine forests, lush meadows, tranquil lakes and streams here in Rocky.  A spirit in the wind that calls the heart home like no other place on Earth.  Maybe it’s because it’s a little closer to heaven than in the valley below.

If you get the chance, spend a week, a day, or even an hour restoring your soul in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  At it’s official birth as a national park in 1915, Enos Mills (and others), had the desire and vision for this wondrous land to be preserved and sustained as a haven of peace and repose ~ a place where all could come and feel at home.

He said  ~ “Go into the Parks and get their encouragement. Among the serene and steadfast scenes you will find the paths of peace and a repose that is sweeter than sleep. If you are dulled and dazed with the fever and the fret, or weary and worn,–tottering under burdens too heavy to bear,–go back to the old outdoor home. Here Nature will care for you as a mother for a child. In the mellow-lighted forest aisles, beneath the beautiful airy arches of limbs and leaves, with the lichen-tinted columns of gray and brown, with the tongueless eloquence of the bearded, veteran trees, amid the silence of centuries, you will come into your own.”

“Hear the winds calling you home to the Rockies so high

Follow your heart and you will find a home in the sky

Whispering stars light up the night

See them glow way up high

Follow us here and you will find a home in the sky

Blankets on the fields of sage and moonglow

Remind you that now you’ve come home

Shimmering leaves, aspen and elk

Here at home you will be

A beautiful place to come home to

A wondrous place to be

Blankets on the fields of sage and moonglow

Remind you that now you’ve come home

Hear the winds calling you home to the Rockies so high

Follow your heart and you will find a home in the sky” ~

[“A Home in the Sky” by Etta & Rick Starr, © 2010 -Starry Knight Productions/SkyDance Mountain]

If you listen to the silent wisdom of the mountain it will tell you what you need to know and you WILL find what you are looking for.


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Audio Book Sales Climb In Spite Of Competition : NPR

Audio Book Sales Climb In Spite Of Competition : NPR.

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Audiobook Format – Interview with Tim Hampton

If you are interested in learning more about self-publishing your own audiobook you may want to read Shelley Hitz’s interview with Tim Hampton.


Audiobook Format – Interview with Tim Hampton.

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10 Benefits of Listening to Audiobooks

You may be wondering to yourself, ” So why Audiobooks?”  Here is a list of 10 benefits they offer when you listen to them:

1. Entertainment.  You can choose what goes into your mind during your downtime.  What better way to be entertained than to find a great book or story on audiobook and enjoy?   “Reading is still the best form of entertainment.” – Charlie Mac

2.  Inspiration.  We all need a little inspiration in our lives.  It’s what helps us get up on those Monday mornings and rainy days.  Find a subject that inspires you, and lift your spirits as you listen.

3. Information & Learning.  Put on your headphones and learn something new every day.

4. Imagination.  Spark your own sense of creativity and problem-solving abilities as you are exposed to new stories, thoughts and ideas.

5. A Pleasant Distraction.  Pass the time in an enjoyable way while at the airport, on a plane, waiting for someone, or even at the doctor’s office, by listening to an audiobook.  Instead of worrying, catch up on that book you’ve been dying to get to while giving your eyes a rest.

6. Culture & Awareness.  Get into a good headspace through your headphones by staying connected with your culture and the world around you.

7. Better Health.  Relieve and reduce stress, tension and worries, and slow your heart rate as your thoughts are absorbed in a good, well-told story.

8. Comfort and Encouragement.  Like a good friend, listening to the retelling of a favorite story or book can be a nostalgic gift, lifting your spirits and giving you an extra boost of comfort, courage, strength and renewal just when you need it the most.

9. Save Time.  Get more reading done by multi-tasking – Listen while doing the laundry, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, etc.  (While multi-tasking is not always beneficial or appropriate, there are times when listening to an audiobook can be the best and most efficient use of time.  You’ll learn to recognize when those moments come and take advantage of them.)

10. Self-Improvement.  Make your world a better place by having a better grasp of literacy.  The United Nations credits literacy with all sorts of important things, including ”ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.”

Obviously, there are many more benefits to listening to audiobooks than those listed here.  Hopefully, this short list will help open your eyes, (and ears), and encourage you to dive into the wonderful world of recorded books.  Perhaps there are a few that you may not have even thought of before.

Happy listening!

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For the Love of Reading


On Valentine’s Day and you should be spending it with the one you love.

But like the Stephen Stills’ song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with”.

Maybe today finds you alone, but you don’t have to be lonely.  Books can be amazing companions and take you places you never dreamed possible!  They can be a source of comfort and inspiration, and they can definitely make a long, cold Winter’s night warmer and even cheery.  (Even if you don’t have a fireplace).

But books are more than companions, they are experiences.  The mind doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined.  If you want to take your mind on a vacation and explore places like the Grand Canyon or the wild West or go on an expedition with Lewis and Clark, find a book about those places and head off into an adventure of a lifetime!  Go there.  Learn and grow and, much like a vacation, let the experience become a part of who you are for the rest of your life.  Find a new friend in an old book.

For some suggestions, check out these classics –

“Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austin (a witty and delightful love story/comedy of marriage which traces the courtship of an unlikely couple as they overcome his pride and her prejudice and fall in love).

– “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

“Walden” by Henry David Thoreau

“Call of the Wild” by Jack London

– “The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Emmuska Orczy

– “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Another love story/satire about a gentle visionary who becomes a knight after reading too many chivalric romances.

“Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte (Here you’ll find a classic story of tempestuous lovers in this tale of passion and revenge on the Yorkshire moors.)

These are a few suggestions to get you started, but feel free to do a little exploring on your own to find your heart’s desire.  When you begin, you’ll find that you are not alone.  For as Thoreau said, “…the writer…speaks to the intellect and heart of mankind, to all in any age who can understand him.”  Seek to understand.  Become one with the writer and the world.

So…if you find yourself a little aimless or feeling a bit lonely on this cold, Winter’s eve…whether you love to read, or read to be a better lover, you may want to make this Valentine’s Day a restorative, fulfilling and satisfying one with a cup of hot tea and a good, good read…

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12 Ways to Enjoy Audiobooks

Once you’ve begun a great book, you’ll be looking for opportunities throughout the day to keep “reading” it and not put it down. One of the wonderful things about Audiobooks is that they can be enjoyed in so many instances when a regular book cannot.  Here are a few creative suggestions to get you started…

1.  While Driving ~ Safer than texting.  Just be sure not to miss your exit or use your left turn signal when turning right.

2. While Doing the Laundry or Washing the Dishes ~ Wash your worries down the drain with a great story and get your clothes and the kitchen clean at the same time.  Before you know it, those chores will be done and you’ll be on Chapter 21!

3. While Doing Outdoor and Yard Work ~ You know… mowing the lawn, digging that ditch, pulling weeds, or even washing the car.

4. While Flying ~ One great way to shut out unwanted conversation and get to that book you’ve been trying to finish for the past month is to do it 30,000 feet above the ground.  Not only will it help you relax and take your mind off of the flight, but it will get you there faster as well.

5. While Exercising ~ Why not exercise your mind along with your body?

6. While Enjoying a Hot Bath ~ Soap suds and stories… Ahhhh…

7. While Doing That Mindless Work That Bores You to Death ~ There are times you need to stay focused, and that is good, but you also know there are times when it would be good to have a little company, or listen to a good story, or maybe even multi-task with a good “How-To” audiobook.  Keep your earplugs handy, for just such an occasion.

8. While Relaxing at Home ~ Some people sit and veg in front of the TV.  Why not veg with a good book or story?  Give your eyes a break and let your ears and imagination get a little exercise for a change.

9. While on Vacation ~ Relax in that cabin, or at the beach or by the lake or favorite spot with a new and exciting novel, one of your favorite stories or even a personal self-development book.

10. While Gathered Together All in one Room with the Family ~ Bring back the feel of the Golden Days of Radio by gathering together for a little family bonding time.  There’s nothing like a good story to unite hearts and bring good cheer and smiles.

11. While Getting Ready for Bed ~ Brush your teeth and your mind!

12. While Falling Asleep ~ There’s no better way to end the day than with a relaxing book.  Close your eyes and fall into dreamland with your favorite tales.  Don’t worry, you can always rewind to the last part you remember hearing before zzzzzzzzz…

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What is it that Inspires you?

As I write from my peaceful “cabin” by the Big Thompson River flowing down from Estes Park, here in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, I ask myself “Where can I find Inspiration?”

This time of year, the world seems so cold and drab, unpromising and lifeless, like my hibernating heart, barely stirring within.  Even Nature seems to forget that Spring is just around the bend.  Or maybe She is just content to just let it come whenever it comes and not hurry up the process.  In the meantime, I try to find meaning and purpose, hope and Inspiration to hold on a little longer… trick my heart into beating just another moment, until the warmth and salvation of new life arrive.

So I listen deep within and search for a story.  Why am I drawn to stories?  What is it that speaks to me deeper than the icy crystal stars on a black velvet Winter’s night, and truer than Polaris, stretching out from the handle of the Little Dipper and promising to be North?

It comes down to one thing.

“Inspiration”.  There are so many things vying for my attention in this crazy world, and only so much time to take it all in.  I often find myself watching movies or TV, or even going to the Internet looking for Inspiration, when Inspiration is all around me – in the rushing of the stream outside my door – in the silvery three quarter moon so bright I nearly trip over the shadows it makes through the family of Cottonwoods overhead.  It is even in the soft breathing and gentle rising of Murphy’s chest as he lies here next to me, snoring in his gentle and unworried manner, as only a dog can do.  He inspires me with his calm.

Inspiration is all around me, yet I so often fail to see it.  It is Heaven’s breath, breathing on me from above and within, telling me to simply be still and listen.  Listening is one of the most natural, and difficult things I have ever done.  I want to speak.  I want to shout.  I want to scream or even whisper, but I resist the act of Listening.

I have recently discovered Audiobooks, and have been pleased to find that their effect on my life has been twofold.  They have taught me to “Listen” and they have “Inspired” me to live a better life.  ”As a man thinks, so is he.”  Timeless words that whisper so loudly they hurt the ears of my heart.  Why haven’t I understood this concept before?  It is so simple and life-changing that it is easy to miss.  Man is the only being on the planet that can think about what he is thinking about.  That’s what gives us dominion, and the ability to choose and plan and create and love…

What does all of this have to do with Audiobooks?

Everything.  It is so amazing to come to realize that I can choose what I fill my mind with, that, in turn, creates a beautiful, warm and growing place inside my heart and life, and that ultimately blesses all of those within my circle of influence!  It is my gift not only to myself, my family and friends and loved ones, but to the world…

Inspiring audiobooks are one of the simplest ways I know to go about my daily (or nightly) business, and fill my mind and heart with the makings of  a better world.  They refresh and restore my mind and give me an edge on my own creativity and personal thinking.  They can be paused, rewound and replayed as many times as I like until I am confident that the truth of the words or stories being told are anchored in my heart.  They can even be listened to with family and loved ones, creating a unifying, bonding experience.

There is much more to say about this subject, but right now I find that I am in need of a mini-vacation.  I think I will go and listen to “Walden” and be inspired…

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