Winter in Minnesota is not always easy. January can be daunting with its subzero temperatures, which have been particularly brutal this year, and the knowledge that spring is still months away. But once in a while we're lucky to have a reprieve from the bitter cold, and yesterday was one of those days. Mild temperatures and sunshine brought the perfect opportunity to venture out and do some exploring. I met a friend at Gale Woods Farm west of the Twin Cities and ventured out on a late afternoon hike that extended into twilight and then into darkness. Winter can bring endless strings of days and weeks of being cooped up inside, so it felt great to get outside and wander. This is just one of the countless parks and recreation areas we are lucky to have nearby, and I'm looking forward to getting out and exploring more of them. It was fun to look around yesterday and imagine what the hills and valleys look like in spring, summer, and fall. A return visit (or two or three) is definitely in order because now I want to see the farm when the trees aren't bare and the valleys are green and the when the ochres and blazing colors of fall take over.