Tuesday Tales (with Patrick)

It was a Friday morning in 2016 when a former co-worker pitched the idea of hitting up the backcountry in Big Sur, CA for a weekend warrior expedition. Never one to turn down an adventure, I eagerly accepted the invite. As luck would have it, I had also decided to take my first “pump vacation” in years that morning and had switched over to Lantus to cover my basals. I left work that afternoon (luckily, I already had my backpacking gear in the trunk), picked up my friend along with some groceries for the weekend, and we headed south on the 101. We got to the trailhead around 10PM and decided to night-hike a few miles in to get the most out of our weekend. Needless to say, I wasn’t anticipating the evening exercise when I was calculating my Lantus dose that morning. After ~4 miles in, I was LOW. Scary low. We found a small clearing on a bluff overlooking the ocean and set up camp. By that time, I had already burned through about 60% of the low supplies I had packed out for the ENTIRE weekend. Throughout the night, I had to have had woken up at least 3 more times to treat hypos, further cutting into my low supplies.

The next morning I woke up tired, but in range. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake with my Lantus and cut the dose by ~50%. We had a little breakfast and hit the trail. The morning was going great and we covered some decent ground.

By the afternoon, things took a quick turn and my BGs started tanking and continued to tank. We decided to start making our way back in the direction of the trailhead, but about 12 miles into the thick of the backcountry, I had officially burned through all of my fast acting low supplies. We were left with only dehydrated-backcountry meals and two “low-carb” tortillas. I’ll never forget the look on my friend's face when I pulled out my glucagon and administered a mini-dose. We talked through a “worst case scenario” plan and headed back in the direction of the car.

Two more mini-doses of glucagon and 8 miles later, we decided to set up camp for the second night. We cooked one of the dehydrated meals and I ate at least 60 grams of complex carbs without dosing a single unit. Fortunately, I made it through the rest of the night without any more lows. We hiked the last 4 Miles out in the morning without incident.

Lessons learned: excess low supplies are always worth the extra weight; never go into the backcountry (or travel anywhere) without glucagon; never turn down a spur of the moment opportunity to hit the trail!

Patrick Mertes