Some tragic news to pass along. My thanks to George and Sandra for composing this.
It is with complete sorrow that George and I announce the passing of our friend Mike Scalf. Mike recently shared with us that he had been diagnosed with mercury poisoning and that the cause was his lunchtime habit of eating tuna fish. The neurological symptoms were progressive and debilitating. We can only presume that grief over the mercury poisoning along with other health issues that were complicating his prognosis led to Mike’s decision to take his life this past Wednesday.
Traversing many miles over mountains and streams fosters close friendships. As backpackers, we become family. Mike was a caring and nurturing leader. Reminiscing with friends over the past day or so, one mentioned how out of shape she felt on her first hiking trip that was organized by Mike. In his kind, reassuring way, he encouraged her by suggesting she set the pace, saying the rest would follow her lead – no pressure. Mike’s love for the outdoors and adventure was inspiring. Another described Mike as her coach, prompting her to do things she would have never contemplated doing before, including climbing at the Via Ferrata and backpacking at Dolly Sods. One of my fondest memories was a rainy morning several years ago when a hike had been cancelled. Mike and I texted our disappointment to one another and hit the trail anyway. His quiet, steady camaraderie will be missed.
Mike was truly a wonderful person. Our hearts go out to Ginny, her sons and Mike’s family.
Sandra and George
Mike joined CVT on May 3, 2012. As an experienced backpacker, he soon began leading trips for our group, all of which are remembered fondly by those who attended. This is a huge loss for all of us.
Funeral arrangements will be posted once known.