One of my favorite things to do is be in a boatĀ floating down a river.

Over the years, I’ve progressed from floating in a large rubber raft, to a smaller 2 man raft (often called a duckie) to a hard shell kayak.
For many years I always thought that the people in hardshell kayaks were crazy, because they sometimes end up floating down the river with their head underwater, seeking out rocks and other sea life.
About 3 years ago I decided to take a kayak rolling class and see if it was as scary and hard as it looked. After 3 nights in the swimming pool, I finally felt like I might be able to roll in a river. I found a cheap boat on ksl.com and purchased my first boat, a Dagger RPM, 8 foot 11 inch boat that was made in 1999.
I’ve never looked back and now own 3 different kayaks and love floating class III and Class IV whitewater every chance I get.
My song Mountain Air was actually written while I was floating down the Snake River, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I was just back from my mission and was floating in a 1 man rubber raft. I was with some friends and we had just watched a bald eagle drop down in front of us and scoop up a fish out of the river. It was a gorgeous day.
All of a sudden I had this melody pop in my head. I really liked it, so I started singing it. We came up on some rapids and the song kind of came together like magic as I was weaving in and out of large rapids. I kept singing it over and over again and ended up letting my buddies go ahead of me so they wouldn’t think I was losing my mind singing this song out loud to myself.
Luckily I sang it enough times and kept singing it off and on that I was able to remember it the next day when we were finally home.
I’ve always felt like this is what the mountains sound like, but while I was at a concert in Tooele, Utah a year or so ago, I had another cool experience with this song.
I finished performing the song and hadn’t told the audience what I was playing. A burly man with a grey beard asked me who had written that song. He explained that he had heard it many times over the years. I told him that I had written it. He insisted that he had heard it many times while he was hunting and climbing mountains and was sure he had heard the song before and persisted in telling me he had heard it before.
He explained that he had worked for many years as a hunting guide and filmed a hunting TV show and he had heard that tune as he hiked across mountain peaks in Montana and several other places around the country. He gave clear descriptions of the locations he had heard the song and realized each time he had heard it he had been in the mountains. He went into detail about each place and told me that the song should be called the mountain song or Mountain Air… or at least something similar to that.
He had a huge smile on his face when I told him the title to the song was “Mountain Air” and I agreed with him that this is the song that you can hear in special places on mountains, as long as you listen for the music. He loved it when I explained how I had heard the song while floating down the river canyon near Jackson.
Unfortunately, not everyone gets the chance to hear the music that is around us, but its there if you listen closely.
If you’d like to hear the song, it is the 9th track on my album Life Reflections. You can order the CD at www.tonioli.com or find it on iTunes.