Mike Lundy, Cape Town’s most famous hiking author, passed away yesterday, at the age of 74. People have said marvellous things about him but one comment stood out for me when my friend Frank, also a hiker, said: “Contrary to most work of other hiking authors, his books can actually be used to follow a trail.” This is true.
I felt a connection to Mike, for several reasons. When I got into the hiking thing a few years ago it was one of his books – Easy Walks of the Peninsula – that I used to get me going, proudly ticking off the walks as I completed them. I then met his son Tim via his Facebook hiking group and even took the 4-legged wonder on her very first hike to Silvermine with Tim and a group. Tim is a professional hiker and mountain guide, as well as a member of the mountain rescue team, so his level of hiking is way above my huff-and-puff style and I haven’t hiked with Tim again, much too embarrassed. But I do follow his exploits, online via Facebook and Twitter, doing what his dad called ‘armchair hiking’.
This blog started as a result of a few encouraging friends who liked photos I was posting on Facebook and who told me to do a photo blog. Most were hiking photos, mainly taken in Silvermine, my favourite place. The photos are not great but the encouragement was.
Confession: my fitness level has dropped so much that I haven’t hiked at all for a couple of years. Years of smoking have taken their toll and even the slightest slope leaves me breathless. But now that I have quit smoking, yes I have and this time I think it’s permanent, I expect some improvement and the ticking off in Mike’s book will resume. And the cave walk, I haven’t forgotten that one, it’s lurking in the back of my mind with the rest of my life’s shameful procrastination.
Mike Lundy no doubt inspired thousands of Capetonians to explore their surroundings – his departure is a big loss to the hiking community, not to mention his family to whom we send warmth and condolences.