Big Shoes, Little Feet

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
I have no idea what size shoe Chronicle outdoors writer Russ Mohney wore, but I do know I could not possibly — neither literally nor figuratively — fill those shoes.

I’m not an expert on much of anything and I didn’t grow up in this area. But I have a new pair of walking boots, a “beginner’s mind” and a willingness to listen to the wisdom of our local experts and gather it together here each week for you as best I can.

If you are a local expert on an outdoors related topic, please contact me; I’d love to talk to you.

The outdoors section isn’t just a hunting and fishing page — although that’s a big part of what we cover here — there’s hiking and biking, trail riding and walking, clamming and beach combing, birding and wildlife watching. We cover anything to do with actively enjoying the outdoors and nature.
I live in the heart of Lewis County and have grown to love her — her beautiful views and her people — in the almost 20 years that I have lived here. This is my home and I hope it will be for many more years to come.

I’d love to learn more about this amazing area that we live in, I hope you’ll help me explore it.

Seminary Hill Natural Area
Saturday morning freelance photographer Holly Peterson and I took a walk through the Seminary Hill Natural Area with Robert Godsey as our tour guide.

We met the local Friends of the Seminary Hill Natural Area — Sandy Godsey, Stellajoe Staebler, Judy Bell and Klaus Wallis — and new Friend Ken Yarab of Chehalis and neighbors Matt Evans, his son, Nik, 11, and their handsome Schnauzer.

The trail was wet and muddy in spots, but that’s to be expected in a typical Southwest Washington spring. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be stunned by the variety of flora and fauna that covers more than 70-acre hill overlooking Centralia. Nor did I realize the depth of the love for the area that I was going to encounter as I met each of the park’s Friends.

“In the summer,” said Judy Bell, “when everything has blossomed out, this place is like a cathedral.”

I can’t wait to see it, Judy.

Mark your calendars, the next planned event for the Seminary Hill Natural Area is the Earth Day Work Party, April 23, when local noxious weed control expert, Bill Wamsley, will lead a work party through spring clean up.

If you would like more information on the Seminary Hill and how you can help maintain the natural beauty of this natural area, call Sandy Godsey at 736-7045 or send her an email at, she’d be happy to talk to you.

The Bird Word
I didn’t have much luck on bird watching this week and don’t have a great image to share with you from my backyard ponds or my porch feeders.

I spent quite a bit of time chasing a little brown bird around the pond on Friday. I suspect he was a winter wren, but he wouldn’t come out of the cattails long enough to let me get a good look at him. His song was amazing. Go to to hear the song of the winter wren.

I did get a distant shot of a wood duck and his mate as they flew away. It was the first time I had seen one all season.

We have a couple of wood duck nest boxes given to us by the Wirehair Pointing Griffon Club, but they are still sitting on our front porch. I hope it’s not too late set them out, I’ll be getting that done today.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer who enjoys watching and photographing the wildlife in her own backyard in Cinebar. Contact her via email at