David Gay

DavidGayI was introduced to backpacking in 1979 when I did the Fanie Botha Trail. Over the next few years I assisted with and then led annual backpacking trips for a youth group. As a high school teacher I started an outdoor club and made backpacking one of its main activities. I also got involved as a Scout leader and led several Scout backpacking trips.  To broaden my knowledge of the Berg I decided to join the Mountain Backpackers Club and - because of my previous experience - I immediately became involved as a leader. I have helped to introduce many, many teenagers to the activity, but when I am not leading these young beginners I now prefer to do more challenging trips which allow for further exploration.

Backpacking is my main form of exercise, but I also find it therapeutic, challenging and adventurous. I particularly enjoy the sense of freedom and independence it brings, but a backpacker’s feeling of “self-sufficiency” at the end of each day on the trail is probably the most rewarding of all. It also brings out the pioneering spirit in one, which is a rare commodity now that there are so few wild places left to explore.

I am not fond of hot weather and find it a hindrance to one's enjoyment while backpacking. I much prefer the cooler winter months, which I find quite exhilarating. The Berg's drier, clearer winter weather also offers more opportunities to explore.

The southern Berg is a special place for me because I explored it almost entirely without someone to guide me. Just about every cave, pass, nook and cranny I have discovered for myself. This region of the Berg has many caves, passes and relatively easy valleys which allow for flexibility when planning routes or coping with poor weather. It also has many interesting rock formations, offers great views of long stretches of the escarpment, and remains largely unspoilt by commercialism. I am now an Honorary Officer with KZN Wildlife for the southern Berg region, and report back regularly on what I see there - the condition of paths, caves and rock art, environmental issues and the wildlife.

For a while I was a SAMGA accredited, Satour registered Mountain Walking Guide, but due to continuing changes in accreditation and legislation I let this lapse, and my hiking business - Landlubbers Adventures – is now dormant. I am also an accredited Rock Art Guide. You can visit my website at www.berg.co.za where much of the knowledge and experience I have gained over the years is there for the sharing!

Professional Qualifications: BSc. Chem. Eng; UED; MCSE

Other Qualifications / Memberships: Scout Wood Badge; KZN Wildlife Honorary Officer

Occupation: Systems Administrator

Other Interests: Aviation; military history; architecture

Hiking Since: 1979

Club Member Since: About 1993

Leading Since: 1980

Fixture Types: Backpacking only



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