Type 1 life adventures
Insulin was off the menu for most of today. Within 45 minutes of scoffing breakfast I was taking the first active steps of this 16 month intrepid adventure.
There was no fanfare and no ribbons were cut (they came later) so I focussed on the auspicious journey/travel metaphor as I set out from the deserted car park of the Macedon train station. I suppose I am now officially in training…Oh, c’mon, I’m allowed one Dad joke, it is Father’s Day here in Australia.
It is also the first day of spring and it was blue-sky delight after what seemed like weeks of endless rain. There would be mud. But for now I hopped onto the easy path adjacent to the railway track, giving myself a cheeky grin for starting a little something.
With my downloaded Parks Vic map to guide me I was heading into Macedon Regional Park and up the side of Mt Macedon to the Memorial Cross. I’d be clambering up to 1000 metres above sea level on a trip that was about 11km there and back. It was apparently well-tracked and not too far from civilisation, so it seemed like a good intro walk to get into the swing of things.
What I love about walking is that I do my best thinking, while my head unwinds. That’s a win-win that doesn’t seem to happen in other contexts. Most other times when I think (too much) my head hurts and I go around in circles. But there is something about being in fresh air, active and without distractions that gives me clear conversations with myself. And yes, sometimes that is out loud.
Trouble is, all that non-distracted thinking can distract me from navigating. So today, within half an hour of setting out on the easiest part of the walking track I wondered if I’d already missed a turn-off.
Estimated travel times on public brochures are averaged between snail pace and speedy Gonzales, so they can’t be relied on to match your own pace (which is something I have to better work out). The first leg took no time at all so I’d expected to hit Bawden Road pretty quickly, but I was still walking. The instructions told me to cross a shallow creek, turn left and begin walking uphill. I’d just crossed my second creek. Was it this one, or the one before?
Then I saw the blessed pink ribbon, which took me to Campey Road and the Regional Park sign. But there’s no Campey Road on the Parks Vic map. I wasn’t sure if the ribbons were official or for some private group activity that could be going anywhere.
In front of me was bushland and a biggish mountain. The ribbons seemed to be going off in a different direction. Follow your instincts, the only way is up, right? But then I remembered dancing to that 80s Yazz tune at the Blue Light disco years ago, launching my hands into the air as we all cried out “up” and I came skidding down on the just mopped up spew spot. I opted for the ribbons.
So glad I did. The ribbons took me on an exploratory detour where I discovered some ace bush cubbies and other things before meandering back to the official walking track / fire roads, taking lots of pics along that way. I’d checked my blood sugar at the humpies: 10.3. Higher than a normal day but about where I wanted it given that things were going to get more strenuous for the last leg, which was a 2km steep ascent of the mountain.
About 45 minutes later I arrived at Bawden Road. So began the proper climb. After 10 minutes I was feeling a bit slow. And I was feeling hungry. Both are key signs for me to check blood sugar. 4.8 was the signal for an early lunch at midday.
There’s no soldiering on to get to the top when you have hypos to contend with. I generally start feeling strange and need to eat if I go under five. I know I need to stop and attend to it. Anyone who walks with me needs to accept that this takes priority over racing to the finish. I’ve caught this one early so it’s easily dealt with. Chicken, vegies, rice crackers and a jelly bean chaser (yuck) later and I’m right to hit the path again.
I remember that I really need to eat like a hobbit when I hike and factor in second breakfast and elevenses.
The bush is lovely. Green and lush, smelling fresh. Birds are welcoming me. It’s pleasantly cool in the shade. But this part of the track is super steep and I feel like I’m puffed. A family is making their way down and papa tells me I’m not quite half way. I realise I may need to turbo charge my way to the top so I pull out the sesame bar.
I understand why my brother’s mates did Kokoda training with packs up that last leg. Sweaty. Ouchy. Coming down the hill later with jelly (bean) legs I’d realise that my struggle up the difficult track was legitimate. I’m not just entirely unfit, it was a hard climb! The way up is taking me a long time also because I keep stopping to take pics.
Eventually and all of a sudden the Cross appears and I’m at the top. I’ve been to the Cross a few times before by car. The expansive views are pretty cool. Lots of unsweaty folk who did not have steaming heads were out and about enjoying it.
There were also a couple guys with a heap of gear cranking an antenna and broadcasting their frequency to other dudes on hills/mountains across the state. One of them tried to explain it to me. I’m still not sure I got the gist of what they were communicating, though I think part of it was about testing how far away they could be heard and with whom they connected. Rockin’ it, old school.
I took a quick civilised chai break at the tearooms, but was keen to get back onto the walking down. Things always look different when you take a new direction.
After Bawden Road it was a pretty cruisy stroll back. It felt great to get sweaty and to shake off winter. BG was 5.1 at the foot of the mountain so I shoved a few rice crackers in my gob to get me home (not supposed to drive under five). All of the activity today will affect me tomorrow so I’ll need to keep an eye on lows to come in the next 24 hours. But overall, being a little bit intrepid today was easily managed.
I realised today that I need to quickly buy and start wearing in new shoes. I also need to get a proper camera because the phone doesn’t cut it for zoom and depth of field. I must book in for that October orienteering course. But first I need to think about where to go next week for Episode #2 of the Sundays in September Series…ideas anyone?