Andrew Terrill

The outdoor diary of a writer, photographer, and wilderness wanderer

Nature Before Work

frosted trees on mount galbraith open space golden colorado april 2021

 

IT’S NOT EASY running a new independent publishing imprint dedicated to wild nature when wild nature itself calls. Talk about distractions! There are a thousand and one details I ought to be taking care of to make certain that The Earth Beneath My Feet doesn’t sink without a trace when I launch it on June 1st… but how can I sit before my computer screen when the Colorado foothills outside my window are wrapped in snow and are gleaming beneath a bluebird sky?

Truth is, I can’t. And if I did, the words in my upcoming book wouldn’t mean a thing. I live for what’s going on Out There, not for what needs doing in here. Nature will always come before work, even if ‘work’ happens to be a labor of love.

For that reason, I was out and about a great deal last week. Each morning brought fresh snow and a world transformed, and each afternoon bought a thaw and another complete transformation. Each day the seasons see-sawed from winter to spring and then back to winter. The afternoon sunlight and warmth were pleasant enough, but it was the morning cold that most caught my attention, and especially the ice.

For this blog, I’ll let the photographs do most of the talking. I’ve included a few photos of the big views, but far more of the details, especially of the ice. As you’ll see (if you have patience to keep scrolling through – and I don’t blame you if you don’t!) the icy details were something else. But perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise. The details of nature are always ‘something else’ – when one takes the time to stop and look at them. Look close, look hard and it’ll soon be clear: there is no ordinary!

The week finished with my 15th night out of the year, an attempted bivi on a summit at 11,700 feet. Two weeks ago I blogged about how wonderful and liberating it is to sleep without a tent, and how connected to nature it lets me feel. Oh, and also how incredibly comfortable it is! Well, this week’s night out was the opposite of all that – which was inevitable I suppose. Nature has a way of taking cocky humans down a notch or two! The snowbound summit was a benign place when I arrived late afternoon, but by 10 p.m. it had became an unpleasant cauldron of wind and stinging spindrift. At 2 a.m., still unable to sleep from the wind’s roar, from the crazy flapping of gear, and from constantly inhaling snow, I finally bailed, and retreated for the valley, a humbler mountain camper by far.

I think it’s fair to say that nature gave me a powerful dose of reality. It put in my place, reminded me who was boss. But this was not a bad thing. A dose of reality seldom is.

To see and experience reality is one of the top reasons I head into nature. Even of sometimes I have to retreat from it.

 

close up of juniper with icicles near Golden colorado foothills april 2021
Icicles hanging from a juniper on Mount Galbraith Open Space. The entire plant had become a crystal chandelier.

 

close up of juniper berries in snow with icicles colorado foothills april 2021
Close up of ice on a juniper. Honestly, it was hard to step away and move on…

 

mountain mahogany encased in ice colorado april 2021
Mountain mahogany encased in ice, sparkling beneath the bluebird sky.

 

mountain mahogany twigs encased in ice colorado april 2021
Ice beads on every twig.

 

unbroken trail in snow on mount galbraith golden colorado april 2021
The unbroken trail called. As it always does!

 

unbroken trail in snow leading into trees colorado winter
I mean, how could work and a computer screen come before this?

 

ice icicles and snow on ponderosa tree needles colorado april 2021
Ponderosa needles heavy with ice.

 

small pine tree covered in snow
Small pine deep in the woods. 

 

A rock transformed.

 

Shadow patterns on the forest floor. I love the color of ponderosa trunks!

 

snow covered rock on mount galbraith open space colorado
A study in shape, light, and texture.

 

winter snow on mount galbraith open space near golden jefferson county colorado
View north west from Mount Galbraith across the Front Range foothills.

 

clear creek canyon in the snow seen from Mount Galbraith near Golden Colorado
Looking down into Clear Creek Canyon at terrain that sees very few human visitors.

 

icicles and waterfall on north table mountain golden colorado april 2021
On North Table Mountain, the ice was re-forming.

 

ice on rocks near waterfall winter golden colorado rocky mountains
Splattered by moisture, the rocks at the base of the small waterfall were heavily crusted with ice.

 

close up of rocks and ice with icicles in mountain creek winter
A miniature ice cavern.

 

ice on twigs near waterfall in colorado
Twigs hanging near the waterfall were also encased in ice.

 

ice and icicles on twig winter 2021
The closer I looked, the more spectacular the sight was.

 

close up of ice on twig and branch winter april 2021
The details of winter!

 

ice on twig and icicles during winter 2021 golden front range colorado
It seemed impressive that such a small twig could support ice so thick… but then I realized the ice was supporting itself!

 

close up of ice on twig with buds spring colorado
Spring buds encased within winter!

 

icicles moss rock and water near waterfall with ice
Icicles are mesmerizing up close!

 

 

icicles hanging on rocks and ice colorado
The details of winter in the Colorado foothills. More art on display than in any gallery!

 

hiker sitting on snowy summit near mount evans april 2021
And finally… evening calm before a wild night!

 

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