A few weekends ago, Ryan and I hiked to Garibaldi Lake. My blood sugars were a little tough to manage for most of the hike. It turned out to be one of those days.
Blood sugar log:
12.8 @ 9:27am
8.1 @ 9:39am
6.8 & 6.3 @9:53am
11.2 @ 10:17am
5.8 & 6.1 @ 11:25am
7.4 @ 1:21pm
Our first stop was at Tim Hortons in Squamish. I had a bagel and corrected with about a third of the units I’d normally take. Depending on trail stats, I may or may not reduce my basal during a hike, I left mine as is today.
From Tim Hortons, we went to the Rubble Creek parking lot and made it all the way to the lot. My first blood sugar check read 12.8 and I corrected with 1 unit of insulin (my normal insulin to carb ration is 1:10 and my blood sugar correction is 1:2).
About 10 minutes into the hike I started feeling low (my sensitivity is generally great and I pick up on lows and highs quickly) so I stopped to check my blood sugars, it was 8.1. Within 10 minutes of hiking and little elevation gain, my blood sugars dropped 4 mmols. If I didn’t feel low, I would have factored in the cold and assumed my monitor was reading lower than it would have in a warmer temperature range. A 4 mmol drop and feeling low within 10 mins of hiking had ‘bad day’ written all over it. **Note, at this point, if I weren’t hiking with Ryan, I would have considered turning back and saving the lake for another day. But with his search and rescue background and ability to help rationalize my blood sugars, I knew I was in good hands.
We continued on and I stopped again about 15 minutes later for another check. I took a reading from each hand and I was down to my 6s. I ate a fruit-to-go bar, assuming I would continue to drop. At this point, I noticed my water bladder was freezing up.Half an hour later I checked 2 more times and my blood sugars were increasing. This would be great but I was worried about the bladder freezing and feeling dehydrated if my blood sugars went too high, so I corrected the reading with 1 unit of insulin.
As per the remainder of my log, my readings were more or less ok the rest of the day. I fell lower than I was comfortable with around noon and I ate a granola bar and half of a fruit-to-go bar. I didn’t correct my blood sugars again until we were near the parking lot.
All in all, the trail was easy to follow and we put on microspikes at the Taylor Meadows junction. I learned a few lessons on this hike. Good blood sugar control is always essential and even moreso in cold weather. Low sugars can cause you to sweat and sweating in the cold significantly increases your chance of hypothermia. I was worried about sweating when my blood sugars were on the low side and I didn’t put my toque on when I was really cold. I got to a point where Ryan had to lend me an extra layer, hand warmers, and a set of gloves. After rationalizing my blood sugars, we concluded a few diabetes essentials should include wool for insulation, ventilation in outer layers, extra dry layers incase of sweating, and if you’re lucky, a hiking partner as patient as mine :).
Trail stats: http://www.clubtread.com/Routes/Route.aspx?Route=155
Along the trail: