Camping adventure at Mt Kosciusko

November 1, 2013

I went on my first real hike/camp last weekend at Mt Kosciusko. I have always wanted to camp but when I was growing up I avoided it mostly due to my diabetes and to the knowledge that I felt I had to sit up to do injections. I didn’t understand the theory behind being stuck on the floor or having to stand up to do insulin injections. At that time I was doing most of my injections in my thigh because that was where I was told it was best. I went on some camps during school but usually only the quasi camps where you had a room to stay in. It never troubled me doing injections and testing my blood sugar level in front of friends I was just concerned about the pure logistics associated with doing injections out in the wilderness.

Regardless, I have always loved the idea of camping, I love the wilderness and being out in the open and enjoying the fresh air, and I have always wanted to really do it. So my boyfriend and I decided we would venture out into the wilderness one weekend. In retrospect, I’m sad I had never venture into that world for real before.

We started out on Saturday morning at 0930 after a good breakfast. We headed clockwise around the ‘Main Range Track’ at Kosciusko. The hike started off with a steep descent followed by a rocky crossing of the Snowy River which was interesting with an extra 10kg strapped to your back, but surprisingly we both managed to make it across without getting our feet wet, which unfortunately was not the same story for the group in front of us. Thank god for waterproof hiking boots!

After the water crossing it was a nice steep climb to the hilly area… This climb went through numerous areas of snow covered track where you had to somehow manage to navigate and eventually end up on the same track. I would have been completely lost if not for my boyfriend and the wonderful Magellan GPS tracker that we had bought. There were definitely areas where we would have been lost climbing over snowy hills for a long time without the Magellan! So we traversed for about 6 hours over snowy and/or rocky hills and eventually came to a point in the track where we could no longer follow. We had just crossed through this evil area where there was a hill of about 60 degrees which was covered in snow. On the top side of the hill there were rocks covered in ice, and on the bottom end there was a steep decline and lots of shrubbery. We had decided that with our bags there was no way we were making it straight across the snow so we had to go down and then climb back up. It was a really hard climb, but it was fun to achieve, if you look back. After that there was a bit of a walk before we got to our next snow crossing and then reached the unpassable mountain of snow that looked like it just inclined into another land of snow. we climbed half way up this steep incline on rocks but then realised that there was no way we could get up the snowy hill that was remaining especially with our backpacks! So we went down again, crossed a few creeks, and into the valley where we camped overnight.

Throughout our hiking time we needed to stop about every half hour due to exhaustion and/or because I needed to test my blood sugar. For the first four hours of the trip I had my insulin pump turned off completely and still was having blood sugar readings of 5.0 which is perfect, but also requiring snacks. The breaks were well welcomed though as our legs were pretty dead after the hikes associated with the first 4 hours. We stopped at one point and had tea and brownies before the next snow climb which was really tasty. I think we were two of the most well fed campers around.

Once we got to our camping ground it started to get a bit cold, whenever you stopped for any period of time it got cold pretty quickly, so we knocked up our tent nice and speedily and then got in our sleeping bags and listened to music and read. We were both very much looking forward to our packed dinner of potatoes and curried sausages.

My only issue during our camp was that my tester continued to say “temperature too low”. Yes, I realise it is cold, but I still need to test my blood sugar level! It worked eventually every time and I found the solution while camping was to sleep with it inside the sleeping bag. We were not in the coldest of climates during the hike; I wonder what this would be like in extremes of temperature. The temperature during the day was maybe between 3 and 12 degrees while at night it got down to negatives but it was a bit worrying thinking that my blood sugar tester just wouldn’t work at some point! I have an Accucheck mobile tester and absolutely love it in every way. I love that you don’t have external test strips for it, so much neater and tidier especially as I test so much throughout a day. Has anyone used their tester in extreme circumstances and had troubles with it or thought it was exceptional? Does your tester have a temp too low or too high complaint?

Camping was quite possibly the only thing that diabetes had stopped me doing for a long period, but I am happy to say now that there was absolutely no need for this avoidance. It just shows that type one diabetes does not have to stop you from doing anything as long as you manage your numbers and eating while trying new things. Has diabetes ever stopped you or anyone you know from doing something that you really wanted to?