We started this project to help others just like us - those with a willingness to venture off the beaten path to find pieces of our history hidden within the landscape.
- Stonefelt & Mack
Kevin Mack and Julie Stonefelt are the creators of Exploring History in your Hiking Boots. We started this project after Kevin got a new job. We knew, at least in the beginning, we would only have one day off together every couple weeks. We wanted to make the most of that time.
Nature energizes both of us. Each of us had grown up playing outside. We both work with people and animals in outdoor settings. We had been hiking, camping, and backpacking for decades. We knew we wanted to spend our time on those rare days together in nature. But we also wanted to get off the most popular (and crowded trails) that were familiar to us.
At the same time, Julie had been hearing about two ghost towns, Franklin and Lester. With our curiosity ignited, we decided to spend our first free days together exploring those places. We had no idea how difficult it would be to find information on Franklin and Lester. At the time, we couldn’t locate any published guides or websites with directions. We were only able to glean a few tidbits from various blogs.
On our first free day we scraped together the information we had gathered, and set off for Franklin. The next free day we went to Lester. After those trips we were hooked.
During our research we found out about a lot more nearly-lost history in our area. We started complaining that there wasn’t a well organized website that contained both history and directions to these locations. That’s when realization dawned on us. We could create the resource we wished existed, for people just like you.
Developing a love of nature as a young child along the shores of Puget Sound, Julie went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at the Evergreen State College. Specializing in natural history and wildlife rehabilitation, she has spent 21+ years working to help people connect with the natural world. In her day job, Julie is Senior Public Education Specialist at the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
During family trips to National Parks from their home in the Midwest, Kevin developed a sense of wonder for the diversity of the natural world at a young age. He channeled that into a professional path after earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. Specializing in natural history and wildlife rehabilitation, Kevin has spent 23+ years helping animals and people. In his day job, Kevin is a Humane Law Enforcement Officer for the City of Seattle.