But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
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"Drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll" is a catch cry often used when talking about certain popular musicians. In the case of this song and its co-creator, John Denver, the catch cry would appear to be wrong. The word "high," of course, is used to describe the feelings a drug taker can experience. But despite a few opinions suggesting young Johnny was smoking pot in the wilderness or even snorting some coke in the Rockies, the man himself was quite adamant. His "high" came from the beauty of nature. The opinions are false. He got his high from the high country.
Denver has left us with some pretty specific comments. He was camping one summer in the Colorado Rockies. It was a dark, moonless night, but the stars were alive and well. He was about 10,000 feet above sea level and, in the '70s, the lights from human habitation were far less pronounced than now.
He was camping with his wife Annie and friends. Everyone had turned in. Denver got up to take a pee and that’s when the meteor shower burst across the sky. He thought he was the only one awake, but then he heard campers near and far exclaiming their delight at seeing this fabulous light show in the heavens. No drugs, just pure adrenalin from a spectacular sky show, all thanks to Mother Nature.
Many folk claim this song inspired them to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Some, though, reckon that Denver’s praise of the wilderness drew many people to the area and thus helped create damage to the environment which followed. If true, the irony is harsh, because Denver was a huge supporter of caring for the environment. The non-profit Windstar Foundation was co-founded by Denver back in the 1970s. It exists to help the planet by running educational workshops in caring for the environment.
Colorado Rocky Mountains
John Denver tragically died in a plane crash in 1997 when aged 53. He was the pilot. But his fame and fans go on unabated. In fact, one site dedicated to Denver has literally dozens of links. The popularity of "Rocky Mountain High" is represented in the name of the Web site, Rocky Mountain High: The John Denver Internet Fan Club
So popular has Denver become that thousands of fans have signed a petition asking that the mountain he was camping on in 1972 when he was inspired to write "Rocky Mountain High" be renamed Mt. Denver. Sadly for fans, federal US laws prevent the re-naming of peaks.
The opportunities for visitors to the Colorado Rockies are way too long to list here. In summer there are John Denver-like camping trails, lakes, hiking, fishing, and boating, and the snow life in winter is fabulous. There are even interactive Web sites to help you plan your life in this four-season playground.
~ Cenarth Fox
Rocky Mountain High Songfacts
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