Backpacking in the Rain!


Karen and I have noticed that the THOUGHT of leaving and hiking the AT in 3 years is very powerful. When the day turns bad and things go wrong we find our minds taking a strange turn and thinking about leaving this situation behind and walking out of this life and into another life where these current things and problems are not so important, where your needs are reduced to the real essentials and even those are sketchy, tenuous, and fluid, changing from minute to minute. Are we running away from things? Are we running towards something, some goal? Are we deluding ourselves and willfully not seeing the reality of our situation?

We MUST be crazy. I can’t even imagine NOT having a car key or a house key in my pocket because I DON’T have or own one! We will have a few items in storage somewhere but we are planning on selling EVERYTHING that we own to do this! A lesson in renunciation and a step towards saying good bye to this world, to family. We are learning how to let go of things. To let go of everything except the air in your lungs. This thought of living homeless for 6 months, as the reality of it starts to sink in, takes my breath away from time to time.

I’m thinking that stress is in our lives BECAUSE of the things we hold onto and let into our lives. Maybe we are just exchanging stress from things we have for the stress of simply living. Stress will always be there but I hope it will be a simpler stress, not a relationship stress. The stress of I must have a job to have a house/car/etc. versus the stress of where is the next source of fresh water. One leads to cycle that seems to lead to more stress and never getting stress free. The other, once you find the water in this example, means the stress is done, over. At least until the next time…..

Speaking of things….

Back pack has been purchased and today we go for a trail hike with our packs for the first time. And, true to my Irish form and luck, it’s a rainy day!!!

The luck of the Irish isn’t always Good. I believe in Karma. And Karma, She doesn’t like the Irish…

First Hike With A Back Pack, In The Rain…

Nine mile hike in the rain. Yeah! My hands swell when I hike. I’m wondering if hiking poles would help with that or not. My blood sugar was 121 at the start. It was misting and Karen and I took pictures of each other.

Then we got to hiking. I ate half a Cliff Bar. Then it started to rain. After an hour I ate the other half of the CliffBar and ate two thinwich sandwiches that we made. Since it was pouring rain I just ate as we walked and I didn’t check my blood sugar because I didn’t want my log book to get soaked. CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) would have been awesome today! I plan to get a Dexcom in a few months.

It was cold when we finished and my hands were swollen after the hike. It took a while for my hands to warm up but with the swelling, sticking my fingers and getting the test strip out of the tiny vial, inserting it into the glucometer, getting an “ERR3” code, repeat, then repeat again, finally, on the fourth attempt the glucometer worked and my Blood Sugar was 116!

We got a hot decaf latte at Dunkin Donuts and 3 slices of leftover veggie pizza and 3 handfuls of Cool Ranch Doritos with another hot coffee for lunch. Took a nap and at 3:18 I had a Blood Sugar of 158!

My blood sugars have been wild during the daytime because of the season change to more humid weather. When that happens I need to remember to increase my basal insulin two units and then all my numbers go back to where they need to be and I stop the rollercoaster that I have been on for the past 2 weeks.

Getting there and getting it figured out!

I cannot tell from your picture, but when i was first diagnosed I took off on a 30 day backpacking trip. I found that A stout frame was better than a lose pack and that placing the weight, 60-70 lbs on my hips helped the swelling in my hands. I carried M&M's for the trek and that seemed to work for lows. We did not have cliff bars in that day.

I also found that using plenty of water made a big difference to reduce swelling, I have no explanation why. For Rain, a daily experience, I used trash bags with slits where the straps were located. In those days we did not have blood testing so it was all guess work in those days.

The two most important issues, dry feet and a dry bed roll. Getting either my feet or my bedroll wet was miserable. The dry feet, are essential you cannot have enough dry socks on the trial. I found that if I could layer the socks it was advisable to move the layers away from the skin. To today's socks next to the skin became tomorrows socks on layer 2 and the 3rd day they were furthest away from the skin and day 4 retired.

it is the little things that make life on the rail tolerable and for a diabetic possible.

I got along fine but I was also 17 and had diabetes for 30 days before I left. I loved it and I wish you well

I also used to backpack a lot. hard to believe I never got into trouble, as this was the days when there weren't portable glucose meters and I was taking one shot a day.

if you do decide to do the AT, let me know when you'll be in New Jersey. I live right next to the AT, there's a picture of Kittatinny Ridge taken from my backyard on my page.

Thanks! I've got a lot to learn so the start is 3 years away right now. I'm certain meeting someone in New Jersey would be awesome by that point! Thank you! I've 2 mail drops planned and 5 towns with pharmacies near the trail so my biggest worry about getting fresh insulin is covered. My pack is an internal frame Osprey Atmos 50. Trash compactor bag liner but after 2 days to completely dry I'm looking into the trash bag cover for sure. I've run a couple of marathons and will probably use trail running sneakers instead of boots to speed up the drying time during the overnights. I got some thin Merino wool socks that are AWESOME compared to the old scratchy wool socks of my youth. I'm actually thinking about getting many pairs of them. They are so comfortable and kept our feet warm when soaked from the rain. I have hiked in runner socks (Thorlo brand) with no problems but we will see how the feet are with 40 or more pounds on my back as I get used to this. I've NEVER backpacked before so this will be interesting.