Preparing for the great outdoors

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As of today, there are only 5 days left until I fly to Vancouver to meet up with 12 awesome people to hike the North Coast Trail in Cape Scott Provincial Park. This will be my first big hiking trip since being diagnosed with diabetes (and well, ever really).

Connected in Motion is taking care of all the logistical planning for this trip, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! I have put in the hours training and preparing for this trip of a lifetime, so I would like to share some tips I have learned to help you prepare for your next (or first!) adventure in the great outdoors.

As always, if you would like to know more about this trip and support Connected in Motion, please visit my fundraising page!

  1. Walk, walk, walk, and then walk some more.

The North Coast Trail is about 60km of tough back-country terrain spanning rocky beaches, forests, and even a few cable cars spanning rivers! I don’t expect this trip to be easy at all and we were warned to begin training early on. In addition to my regular gym routine of resistance and cardio training, I have tried to get out on the local trails and put in some kilometres on my hiking boots. Seeing how my body and blood sugars react to hiking for long distances and under different conditions is key to help me with my diabetes management while on the trail. This way, I won’t be caught chasing lows or battling highs the entire trip. Plus, the more you walk in your boots before you leave, the comfier they will be on the trail!

  1. Protect your back by strengthening your core.

Backpacks can get heavy quick! Protect yourself from injuries by strengthening your core muscles. Exercises that focus on abs and back are helpful, as well as combination moves such as squats or dead lifts. Darebee has some of my favourite at-home and equipment free workouts.

Please check with your doctor before taking on a new workout regime and be sure to use proper form to avoid injury!

  1. Test your equipment before leaving home.

The trail is not the place you want to find out that your backpack doesn’t fit or that your tent is missing a pole. Test everything out at home or on practice trips before you leave for your big trip! The same goes for diabetes equipment: maybe wait until you get back before making the switch to a pump or a new meter. Try out different low treatments to see how they affect your blood sugars. The less unknowns you have starting out, the smoother your trip will go!

  1. Diabetics need to pack a little extra gear.

Going out into the wilderness with adequate supplies and emergency backups is extra important for diabetics. Consider packing enough supplies to support you for a few extra days than your trip, in case an emergency happens and you find yourself stranded. Low treatments such as dextrose tabs, honey, dried fruit, or candies should be packed in abundance. Hiking and cardio workouts tend to lower blood sugar levels and you may find yourself reaching for something sweet much more often than usual. It would be smart to pack glucagon shot in your first aid kit. When hiking in particularly remote locations, it would also be a good idea to carry a GPS tracker with emergency beacon in order to call for help, should you need it. Try packing your bag and carrying it around before you go on your trip in order to have an idea of the weight and decide if there are any items you can afford to leave behind.

  1. Knowledge is power! Take time to learn about the area you are visiting.

I have spent some time reading about the plants, animals, history, weather, and terrain of the trail we are traveling. It is good to be aware of the obstacles you may encounter while on the trail so that you aren’t taken by surprise. Being aware of wildlife in the area allows you to take proper safety precautions such as traveling in groups, locking up your food, and carrying bear spray. Knowing how to identify noxious plants such as poison ivy can save you a lot of grief. Being aware of landmarks and basic navigation will help you avoid becoming lost. Knowledge is power and will help you prepare for your venture out into the wild!

I am so excited for this challenge and hope that everything goes smoothly. Stay tuned for updates after my trip! You can read more about the Adventure Team on the Connected in Motion website.

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