Within reach A little splash of summer helps you find all the holes in your boots. When the snow and ice is gone, and the sun is out, it's refreshing to take a walk in the woods. We have lots of woodlands here in the Finger Lakes, and much of it is legal to explore.

After being cooped up in the house since November, the unseasonable warmth drew me outside like moth to flame, and yes, before a minute was up, my feet were soaked. Not letting the water dampen my spirits, I walked back into the woods nearby, just to soak in the world.

monroe Life Emerges

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised, but there were signs of life everywhere. A family group of Cardinals swooped past me and I caught sight of a pair of Golden Eagles circling lazily over the field to the North.

Under the carpet of autumn's leaves, 2018's wild flowers were making plans to spring up and colorize the mostly brown sleeping forest. I told them to keep hidden – winter's not over yet!

Indian Summer and the January (or February) thaw are actually a very clever ruse by Mother Nature to make you think it's really spring, and trick you into putting away your long underwear. But I digress.

monroe MG 0198

With the leaves gone, it's easier to find the hiding places the deer call home. They were apparently out when I called… Within the underbrush and under the few large evergreens, little protected caverns with pine needle carpets make welcoming homes.

The rabbits were everywhere. Not the brightest of creatures, they keep the foxes and Eagles well fed. If you get the chance to go out really early, the sunrise through the bare trees can be spectacular. Be sure to bring your camera. Moments like these are truly special! And the white birch trees without their leaves show a personality not seen in the summer.

If you don't have a 'woods' next door, you can always visit the Lime Hollow center, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Finger Lakes National forest – the beautiful places are within reach and waiting for you!
monroe Winter Sunrise

'Within Reach' highlights the food, wine and fun of places 'within Reach' of Lansing NY.  Of course, your reach extends exactly as far as you want it to. I am Monroe Payne, Uncle Monte to some. Come with me as I visit, taste and play in our own back yard, the beautiful Finger Lakes of Central New York.