Gorge-ous Ithaca: Lake Encounters

I know what you’re thinking. That I am neglecting something in the tale of my trip to upstate New York last summer. Waterfalls, rocks and way too much geology – enough! The region around Ithaca is known as the Finger LAKES, not the Finger GORGES, after all. Something’s missing!

What about the LAKES?

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Gorge-ous Ithaca: The Geology of Taughannock Falls

Before I came to Ithaca, NY, I never really questioned why waterfalls occur where they do. It’s a simple equation: Steep mountainsides + creeks = waterfalls.

I wouldn’t have called the Finger Lakes Region “mountainous,” though. Not compared to the Adirondacks or the Appalachians. “Rolling hills” is more like it. So where did all these gorges and waterfalls come from?

To find out, I walked through Taughannock Gorge – and back through time.

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Gorge-ous Ithaca: Getting to Know the Finger Lakes

Expectations. We’ve talked before about the expectations I bring to each new area I visit. How I go to a new place with certain assumptions? Only to find the surroundings have something unexpected to say for themselves?

Last summer brought me to a new region that has been on my bucket list for a while: New York’s Finger Lakes. In lieu of the usual family gathering in Michigan, my cousin and her husband invited me to join their son and daughter-in-law and a close friend for a week at their home in Ithaca, New York. For them it would be a stay-cation; for us, a chance for new adventures in a year where a change of scenery was desperately needed.

The company of family and friends was incentive enough. To further entice me, Becky and Ron promised lots of outdoor activities. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, gorges, waterfalls…

Gorges? Waterfalls?

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At Lady Autumn’s Command

It’s getting annoying. The constant, imperious interruptions. Can’t a girl get some peace?

I have been promising Wild Edge readers a Finger Lakes series for weeks. But every time I try to sit down and edit the photos, something else intervenes. From outside my window, the call comes, beckoning – no, demanding.

GO OUTSIDE. BRING YOUR CAMERA. NOT LATER.

NOW.

I tried, but failed, to resist the siren song of September. October was no different. It’s the trees this time. Changing day-by-day to brilliant gold and crimson. The march of the seasons goes relentlessly on, no matter what. One ignores it at one’s peril.

Once again, I am at Lady Autumn’s command.

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Pteridomania: Fiddling Around with Those Fantastic Ferns

Have you caught Fern-Fever yet? Are you now seeing ferns everywhere when you wander through the woods?

In this series so far, we’ve been learning how to identify ferns. We’ve also taken a deep dive into the complicated world of fern reproduction by spores. Now that you are an expert, here’s a little pop quiz.

TRUE or FALSE…

Just kidding! There’s no quiz. It’s time to leave all the botanical nitty-gritty behind, and meet some new ferns. Join me in a fanciful field trip to get to what really matters: the wonder, beauty and just plain weirdness of those fantastic ferns.

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Pteridomania: A Sori Subject

In the throes of Fern-Fever, my friends and I spent countless hours trying to identify ferns in the field. The divisions and shapes of the pinnae, the form a cluster of ferns takes and the habitat where it lives all offered clues to a fern’s name.

But I quickly developed a habit of turning the fronds over to look at the underside, for I knew the strange structures found there held the key to the identity mystery. What was I looking for? The “fern-seed” of Shakespeare?

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Pteridomania

It was just a little over two years ago that my friends and I came down with a severe affliction. Don caught it first and in no time Robb and I were infected. The symptoms were unmistakable: feverish minds, euphoria, aching backs, frequent confusion, blurry eyes, obsession…

What dread disease plagued us? Why, pteridomania, of course…

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Milkweed Morning

It was a dark and steamy morning…The clouds offered conflicting gifts. Limited light made photography a challenge. On the other hand, with dew points in the 70s, the absence of the blazing sun was a relief. There was a dense layer of mist hovering over the surface of the creek, and the woods were cool. But my destination this morning was the meadows where patches of milkweed could be found. Continue reading

Paradise Island

Location, location, location. In real estate, it’s what everybody wants. When it comes to coveted property, Great Egg Harbor Bay has it all. Centrally located and convenient, with a wealth of nearby dining options, the bay is dotted with islands large and small. Most are sandy salt-marsh, nice enough for shorebirds. The discriminating wading bird will be searching for a little bit more. Something with trees, thickets of vines and shrubs, security, and privacy. Perfect condos in which to raise one’s young.

Hi, folks, I’m Harry Night-Heron, real estate reporter for KRTR 99.9 FM, Critter Radio. Welcome to A Home in the Wild where we take a look at the best properties available in the area! What do we look for in a rookery? Location counts, sure, as do the little amenities. But I’ve always said that the mark of a high-end property is the company it keeps, and this neighborhood keeps plenty of it.

Today we offer you a little community that I like to call… Paradise Island. Let’s meet the neighbors, shall we?   Continue reading

Catskill Reveries: Beyond the Catskills

My friends and I came to the Catskill Mountains with preconceived beliefs, only to find our admittedly low expectations far exceeded by the beauty of the region.

Although the Catskill Mountains were the center of attention during our week-long vacation, they aren’t the only attraction in southeastern New York state. We’d visited the Hudson River Valley, but smaller ranges like the Taconics, the Shawangunks and the Helderbergs tempted with their own unique charms. Still, with our trip at its end, Robb, Don and I were out of time to explore any of the rugged places beyond the Catskills.

Or were we?   Continue reading