Andrew Terrill

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


I FELT AS THOUGH I was in my early twenties again as I charged along the trail, expanding my lungs and my horizons, feeling excited by each twist and turn, by everything that lay ahead: the night in camp, the quietness, the simplicity and adventure, and by the season – most of all by the season – the ease of it, the warmth, and the sheer invigorating aliveness of it.

Goodness, but I love summer!

I love waist-high grass, thick and lush, interwoven with wildflowers. I love warm air on bare skin, and long days, and lingering evening twilight, and birds filling the air with motion and song. I love green – shimmering in a thousand shades – and the quiet sun-dappled corners of the forest, and backlit leaves on deciduous trees, and pine needles tipped with reflected light. I love working up a cleansing sweat on a stiff climb followed by the cold shock of mountain water on a hot body. I love sitting in stillness and silence, staring outward, merging into the landscape with every sense… relaxing into it… unchallenged by inhospitable elements, at peace, but energized also – fully alive.

Of course, I love winter too – with a passion – and the glorious golden autumn, and the liberating renewal of spring. I love whatever season I’m in the midst of, but it is summer right now, and so for now I love summer most of all.

camp and tent on forest at sunset colorado

This weekend’s walk and camp felt like a celebration of summer, and of life. It was a simple set of miles uphill from my home town, along a rugged canyon, ending at a discrete leave-no-trace camp upon an elevated ridge. Growing up in London I spent years dreaming about being able to do what I just did: walk from home to camp in a wild spot. For years I imagined being able to reach a mountain camp with no travel time, with no gas burned, no pollution, by the power of my feet alone. And I dreamed of putting down roots, learning a place, becoming so familiar with it that I felt I belonged. I dreamed of a relationship with a place. An imagined love affair. An intimate connection. A fantasy, perhaps?

But who would guess that fantasies can come true?

Is it mere luck – the good fortune of the privileged? Or choices? Or sacrifices? Or a mixture of these, and other elements that I’m unaware of? Either way, the gratitude I feel is immense. I feel grateful that, out here, our dystopian world matters less, if it even matters at all.

The sunset was captivating. I sat and watched it, photographed it, watched it some more. As the ninety-degree day cooled and shadows lengthened the light took on a richness it had earlier lacked. Warm hues, billowing clouds, an insect chorus reaching a crescendo, a rogue thundercloud – grumbling darkly as it passed – and then twilight, with crepuscular rays reaching far overhead, banded fingers of shade.

What price such treasures?

The forest the next morning was enchanted, beyond beautiful. I breakfasted in stillness and peace, savoring both, and then walked away from camp as vigorously as I had walked to it, relishing the physicality of being alive. To the few morning walkers I passed I may have looked rushed. But I wasn’t. I was just living.

Heading home, I thought. Which was silly. I was home already.

But goodness do I love summer!

colorado front range trail late summer meadow
Trail into the hills. The late-summer vegetation is drying, but it retains its life and beauty.
colorado front range late summer meadow golden colorado
Detail from the previous photo. Waist-high grass interwoven with flowers.
hill side vegetation colorado front range summer august
Shades of green. Late-summer hues above Golden.
evening light in colorado foothills
Just a few miles from home: paradise!
purple asters growing in creek colorado august
A mid-creek aster. A risky spot, but it appears to be paying off!
sunbeams and clouds over colorado foothills and forests
Afternoon sunbeams.
evening light on mountain slope with pine trees colorado front range foothills
Rich evening light.
sunlight bursting over forest and mountain ridge
The sun sinks into the horizon.
thundercloud above ridge colorado summer
Thundercloud, trundling along to the north.
sunset over the front range foothills and mountains colorado
View from camp. Not so bad.
evening thunderstorm over rocky mountain foothills
A thunderstorm rumbles through.
Crepuscular Rays and shadow bands at sunset in colorado
Crepuscular rays reaching across the sky.
breakfast in the foothills colorado
Breakfast in a perfect spot.
forest path colorado front range golden
Forest trail leading on.
daisies in meadow colorado late summer
Bright meadow!
meadow and forest in mountains colorado front range
Steep Front Range terrain – so much magic so close to home.
poison ivy leaves turning red autumn fall late summer
A hint of autumn in the poison ivy.
plains lubber grasshopper
A giant beast: a plains lubber grasshopper. It was at least three inches long!
deep canyon colorado front range
Canyon country. So many nooks and crannies still to explore. Home!




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