After thirty years teaching writing in San Diego, in 2014, I returned to live in my home state, Colorado. I live in the remote, beautiful and mysterious San Luis Valley. All my life, I’ve been a writer. Sometimes, I’m also a painter, but I am always a hiker.
Hiking: The great love of my life is nature — I have hiked thousands of miles but not in a wide variety of places. No teacher makes much money on which to travel, and my hikes were mostly at Mission Trails Regional Park, an urban wilderness park in San Diego. I was closely tied to these 5800 acres of chaparral.
I began hiking there in 1987, a few years before the landscape was officially designated a “park.” I then worked for the park in a variety of roles. I stopped when financial pressures demanded I take on more teaching hours. With fewer hours of “free” time, I wanted to be on the trails — on foot or on a bike — rather than in meetings, even important ones. The most intimate relationship in my life (so far) was with the lines of trails up and down North and South Fortuna Mountain, and the little mountain known as Kwaaypaay, that I called ‘Big Dog Health and Fitness Spa’ because, when I hiked it, it had no name. From my time hiking in one small(ish) landscape, I learned that no trail is ever the same two days in a row.
I’ve also hiked fragments of the Pacific Crest Trail, trails in Italy and Switzerland as well as climbing most of the way up a Chinese sacred mountain — Huang Shan — and, of course, I’ve hiked and skied in the Rockies. Hiking is one great thing about being in Colorado.
Writing: I’ve written some books. A couple are memoirs — My Everest is about my 30 years living in San Diego County and hiking in the coastal sage/chaparral landscape and higher in the Laguna and Cuyamaca mountains. I’m originally from Colorado. I moved to San Diego in the early 80s and had to figure out a way to live there without losing important elements of my personality. I was very very fortunate to find Mission Trails Regional Park and trails beyond.
One day, I was hiking up Garnet Peak in the Laguna Mountains with a friend from Munich. He looked around and said, “You’re so lucky to live by these friendly mountains. The Alps aren’t so friendly.” He had climbed and hiked all over Europe and in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and, of course, especially in the Bavarian Alps.
I love the Alps. I have hiked in them and found them friendly enough with all the awesome signage and restaurants, but he definitely had a point. Back in Colorado now and while I love the Rockies with all my heart, and don’t want to be anywhere else, these are not friendly mountains, either. You can learn more about My Everest here.
The other memoir is about the time I was working as a Foreign Expert in English in the People’s Republic of China, 1982-83. The title is As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder, a strange title, I know, but once you are into the story it will make PERFECT sense. It was an incredible year, the experience of a lifetime, and the book is a love story. You can learn about As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder here.
Four other books are historical novels, all set in Switzerland, in Canton Zürich. The first is Martin of Gfenn which is an artist novel, about a young painter who discovers he has leprosy. His life leads him to the community of the Knights of St. Lazarus in the village of Gfenn. You can learn about Martin of Gfenn here.
Savior, The Brothers Path and The Price comprise a loose trilogy Across the World on the Wings of the Wind, a family saga spanning five hundred years, about a family living in Affoltern am Albis. Their adventures go from the Crusades through the Reformation to immigration to America. You can learn about them here.
P.S. Trolling: I know we live in a time where people think that other people want to read/hear their hostile opinions. If you troll me, I will block you after I look to see what incredibly interesting and profound things YOU post. I won’t troll you, but at least I’ll know who you are. SO, if your thing is trolling people, I recommend either Facebook or Twitter.
© Martin of Gfenn; Savior; The Brothers Path; The Price; My Everest; As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder; Historical Fiction by Martha Kennedy; “Women’s Wilderness Legend, Waterproof” and all work written on this blog that is not quoted from other sources was done by me and as such is my property. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martha Kennedy with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.