John and Deborah Martin moved to Fairfield Glade in 2016 after a four-year exploration post retirement to find the perfect place to build their new home.
After retiring in Maryland, they initially chose to live in apartments in Nashville and Chattanooga, but their passion for hiking ultimately led them to the Cumberland Plateau.
The couple has traveled internationally and hiked Machu Picchu in Peru, the Camino in Spain, the Kerry Way in Ireland, the West Highland Way in Scotland, and both the South and North Islands of New Zealand.
In addition to hiking, they also enjoy kayaking and playing golf, so Fairfield Glade was the perfect fit for them. They also are pleased to confide they have found another unexpected treasure locally.
“We really enjoy the people of Tennessee. Having come from the hipper active East Coast, the people here have a laid back attitude on the plateau, which makes living here so refreshing to us,” John shares.
They both have memories camping with their two children all over the country. When their children went off to college, they biked all over Maryland and started backpacking. This led them to their international hiking adventures.
When asked what advice they have for someone looking for motivation to move more on the trails, John shares, “First, hiking is good exercise. Second, you get to exercise in nature’s playground. Finally, the peace and quiet as you move down the trail tends to clear the mind and produce a sense of inner-peace.”
They are happy to recommend some of their favorite trails. In Fairfield Glade, it’s the Overlook Trail, and Crossville’s is the Maryetta Trail. The Hidden Passage Loop in Pickett State Park and the Twin Arches in the Big South Fork are tied as their favored regional hikes.
As avid hikers, they sought out hiking organizations to join and were quickly introduced to the Friends of the Trails where they helped build trails. Then they moved into the Tennessee Trails Association. Through this, they help with publicity for the Plateau Chapter, where they produce a quarterly newsletter. For Plateau Chapter information, visit www.
The Martins have helped develop the third annual Hike for Health walks, a concept originated by Naiad Kuhlman in 2019 to help cancer patients and survivors exercise.
Since its inception, it has opened to welcoming anyone who would like to improve their health and move more.
Hike for Health will be at 10:30 a.m. Mondays from April 5-June 28.
Visit www.crossvilletrails.com/health-walks for information that includes maps of trail locations and routes, or call 931-459-7019.