Monday, August 12, 2019

Getting out of my comfort zone

My only meetups with other diabetics tend to be outside of Canada over the past 11 years since I started dabbling in the diabetes education/advocacy area, at conferences where you're inside and learning about new advances, meeting new friends, etc.  Most don't tend to involve much activity, so this recent long weekend trip near Sudbury, Ontario back in the beginning of July was a nice treat.

I attended an outdoor adventure with other Type 1 diabetics and their "5.5er's" (either our partner in crime or friend/parent) organised by Connected in Motion (CIM).  It's been over 40 plus years since I went "into the wilderness" as a child in the 1970's at Camp Banting near Ottawa (it was almost closed down last year by Diabetes Canada, but luckily funding from private organizations, folks like myself are keeping it running for hopefully many years as Canada's longest-running camp for Type 1 diabetics since 1953).  All I know is that the 2 weeks away back in those days (giving my parents a much-needed break) was awesome, even better was being with others like myself.   Back then, it wasn't a cheap experience for my Dad to fork out for as the only breadwinner in our house.   To me it was heaven having blisters on my hands from paddling hard in the Ottawa River,  getting dirt under my nails as a child, listening to haunted stories around the campfire, and scaring some of my bunkmates with wiggling legs of a daddy long-legged spider. 

Canoes all lined up for their next adventure

Back to the present, the French River Provincial Park was our first initial meet up for the 2019 5.5er Canoe Trip event.  Majority of people who attend these events tend to live closer to the areas that events are held, so it was a good 8 hour drive through some beautiful parts of Canada as we traversed along the Ottawa River on Hwy 17.  If you're a true Canadian, road tripping is part of what we're known for due to the large size of our country and the cost of air travel here.

Paddling along and well protected from the sun

We'd not calculated properly the time it would take to get there, so arriving in the dark was fun on the Friday night, even more fun later on, once we set up our 2-man tent that's provided (really meant for 1 - but if you don't mind sleeping opposite each other at night ** my feet don't smell **, you are comfy as a little bug in a rug).  I'd not been in a provincial campground, especially one that many Toronto folks can easily drive to, was a wee bit daunting for someone like myself that's not too big on those types of campgrounds.  The main thing, it was only one night - otherwise - Sock Monkey. Yes, he came along despite some of the other attendees thinking it a wee bit odd that an old fart T1D would have a stuffed toy ... ahhhh ... long time insulin junkie ... makes the brain refuse to grow up perhaps???  Well at least in my case it does.  If I keep on attending more CIM events, hopefully, they'll get used to him being part of the team like my American #foundmytribe have, along with my cat ears (these weren't revealed at this event).

Sock Monkey enjoying his cuppa joe in the morning !

All, I can say is, the 3 days we were all together, was absolutely awesome.  Exploring via your own canoe, and feeling like you're in a Group of Seven picture, breathtaking as you paddled along.  Helping each other out, e.g. if your insulin gets fried in your canoe in the sun/heat, everyone has extra vials of insulin to help you (they did get it all sorted out).  For those of us (mainly myself and my hubby Mike) who hadn't canoed in a while, the whole gang was very forgiving as we slowly meandered to them to give them a love tap as we figured out how to steer (as Mike said, very different from sailing LOL).  If we could have been captured flipping our canoe over close to shore, you'd be seeing it here in this blog ... in    s   l   o   w  motion, which is what someone had said it looked like when it happened. 

The fresh air, the water (no one contracted Beaver Fever), the crackling of the fire as our food was cooked over it (no fire ban that weekend - yee haa), paddle going through the water.  If you're a lover of good coffee, then you will not be disappointed with the filtered water we used to prepare our morning wake up call of the wilds bevy!   What a way to start the day off, #insulinandcoffee!  And of course, sitting on the throne (aka thunderbox) .... ahhhh ... nothing like taking a crap in the woods!

I was surprised that at my age, I  could keep up with some of the younger folks within the crowd.  I was a bit worried and having an anxiety attack as I arrived (it's weird as I'm aging, I find large groups are difficult to handle when I've been to diabetic conventions), along with not knowing anyone.  Luckily, the 14 of us all easily melded together as a team.  Even better, there wasn't much of an age difference that would make me stand out like an old fart in a canoe as well   

So, if you're ever thinking it's too late to try an adventure that may be out of your comfort zone.  I can thoroughly recommend going on this yearly weekend event that CIM holds as well as their other events in North America (not just in Canada, but also in the United States).  I know that despite this only being my second time portaging, I'm wanting to do a longer trip eventually.   

Evidence that someone had a low blood sugar - can you spot the gumdrop?

And before I go, all I want to say is " Eat your heart out Gordon Ramsey, cooking over a campfire is the best way to eat ". One of the meals that we had over the weekend, was so delicious, that many of us asked for the recipe.  Thank you, Amy Burrows, for showing us you can eat well when canoe tripping and don't have refrigeration!  

Portage Heaven Buddha Bowl 

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups cubed extra-firm tofu
8 cups hot cooked brown rice
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated beets
2 cups packed baby spinach leaves
2 cups slivered almonds toasted

-- Glory Bowl Dressing --

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup Tamari
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Really, no directions needed.  It's that easy!!!  And we used rice that we had leftover from the previous nights' dinner.  This feeds a crowd of 15 hungry paddlers easily!  Bon appetite!

Time to head back to city life ... waaahhhhh

Psst, if you're wanting to attend one of the Connected in Motion 2019 SlipStream Events -this check out this link for more info.  Meeting up with fellow T1D's over a weekend event and chill around an open campfire.   You still have time to register and I may see you there (you could be bunk mates with me and Sock Monkey). 


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