May 29, 2024

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.


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15 thoughts on “Mike Scalf

  1. That is heartbreaking. My deepest condolences to Mike’s friends and family. I’ve only met him a couple of times, but it sounds like he was an amazing guy.

  2. This is terrible news. Mike is irreplaceable for all the reasons Sandra mentioned. If only we had known so we could’ve been the inspiration for him he always was for us. I’m without words … such a dear man ;'(

  3. So sorry to hear this….Mike was a great guy and so supportive and caring. I’m just in shock. Prayers for his family..

  4. Totally shocked and saddened. Mike was always so friendly and had a smile on his face. I will miss him. Thanks for compiling the memorable photos and for the heartfelt update letter.

  5. I only met Mike a few times, but on every occasion he was quick to extend a handshake and a smile. I know he will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this loss.

  6. I am so sad to hear of Mike’s passing. What can you say about a person who made you feel special & believed in you? That is what Mike did for me & many other of our family CVTers. My heart goes out to Ginny, her sons & Mike’s family. He will live on in our hearts.

  7. Wasn’t but a few months ago he led our hike at Powhatan Wildlife refuge. What a great guide he was. CVT lost a very special person; it’s obvious how much he was loved. It’d be nice to think he’s on the ultimate peaceful trail with no more suffering. A very sad loss indeed….

    1. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words,
      ‘ the ultimate peaceful trail with no more suffering’

  8. I am shocked, speechless, and sad. I, like many others, had only met Mike on a couple of occasions. He was very nice, friendly, and had a warm smile. But, i did get to know Ginny a little bit, and spoke of Mike and her sons. My heart and prayers go out to Ginny, her sons, Mike’s family, and his CVT family.

  9. I only hiked a couple of times with him, I remember the encouragement and support he offered me and I remember that fantastic smile! Just so so sorry

  10. To Ginny with heartfelt sympathy in the loss of someone so very special. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. Thank you all for the kind comments; Mike would be very touched. Also, thank you for the great photo collection – so many wonderful memories – I know I’ll be viewing them often.

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