Type 1 life adventures
Technically we didn’t get lost. We just never found the second (or subsequent) flag/s. And technically this episode of the Sundays in September Series didn’t happen on a Sunday. But the acronym still applies for this Saturday jaunt out to Lysterfield with my friend Chel for an intro navigation course run by Adventure Junkie.
Chel and her partner Duncan officially fall into the adventure sports people category, participating in trail runs and MTB events. I’m continuously inspired by Chel’s transformation to become an athlete after coming through the other side of an auto-immune illness.
Even before our session she had completed a ‘draw a boob’ orienteering crash course issued by Duncan over breakfast, and had been armed with the old knuckle diagram trick to recall knolls, gullies and spurs as they would appear on a map.
Me, I was confused just to discover from our host Maria in the theory lesson that there are multiple norths – true, magnetic, grid. Bearings and contour lines were fine on paper but I knew it would not click for me until I could be out there amongst it with the compass to compare the map info with the physical world. Yep, I am one of those people who jiggles the phone at every turn so that the map aligns with my direction of travel. I have a strong sense of overall direction but am less intuitive when it comes to the details.
So this weekend’s SiSS was a timely activity to learn how to navigate rather than taking a serious walk or getting an introduction to a place. Lysterfield is definitely pretty, with its trees, trails and lake. But walkers here run the risk of being run down by mountain bikes or stared down by kangaroos.
In retrospect, it’s possible the roos were staring at us for being so stupid as to ignore their earlier clue. We even commented at the time – while we were trampling and searching for a stream – that the 13 kangaroos bounding by us must have been heading for a drinking session. We’d been able to locate the first marker on our set map pretty easily because it was close to tracks. From this spot we got a little confused tackling more rugged terrain and ‘following’ contour lines to the stream and gully that served as markers for flag #2.
Now, this is where the technical distinction between being lost and not finding somewhere comes into play. We knew we were in the general vicinity of the second flag. We’d identified the gully but we weren’t sure whether we were too high or too low on the hill. Right before us was a thick patch of vegetation that would have been a serious bush bash to get through. Lots of second and third guessings were going on. The kangaroo party was again considered. But just as we were heading that way we found a path going up the hill. It seemed imperative to follow something so clearly laid out before us. So up we went – right to the very top of the hill and the back fence of Lysterfield Park.
Frustratingly, we totally overshot the flag and did not have enough time to go down searching again. Yet at all times we knew generally where we were. We were able without any fuss to find our way back to the base by an alternative route.
Aagh, but so many lessons we learned about navigation and life. Our general sense is ok but we need more specific ‘how to’ honing skills. That will come from practice. Reassuringly, we didn’t get stressed or overwhelmed being unsure of where we were supposed to go. But just how easy it was to get disoriented from one point to another is a reminder of the need to be prepared for all contingencies. We thought we were just going for an hour or so but I was relieved that I’d been a good little T1 diabetic and hauled my daypack and trusty supplies with me (containing some of my tasty navigation slice – recipe below).
On a more philosophical level we both realised that we were duped by the allure of the well-trodden path up the hill, rather than trusting our instincts about the kangaroos going down to the water. We’d also discounted the idea that the flag/answer might be found amongst bushy chaos. Apparently we were only metres away – but we’d allowed ourselves to be misdirected by an expectation of clarity or an easier way. Sometimes the good stuff and the right stuff is to be found in the messy quagmire bits of life. It’s useful to be reminded of that sometimes.
And yes, we may have missed the M3 turn off on the way home…but somehow we still found our way.
(5 minutes to make) It has a wee bit of sweetness countered by the protein of the nuts and the tahini, which means slower carb absorption. So for me this makes it a sustaining snack to prevent rather than respond to a hypo. Crush up 250g of walnuts to create meal and throw into a bowl with a bit of coconut.
Whiz up a few dates with orange zest, juice of an orange, a few spoons of tahini and a splash of oil. Add this to the nut mix then fold in seeds of choice (this version has sunflower, chia and pumpkin). Flatten into a base and bake at 180C for about 10 minutes or just let it set and eat raw. The waft of orange oil through the kitchen is worth baking it though.