So its been a while since we went hiking. (Yes, I did just post a new hike the other day, but we did the actual hiking way back in November.) We found ourselves a bit rusty; we expected to be. In anticipation of that fact, we chose a light, easy walk not too far from home, made sure to wear comfy clothes, and left plenty of time to get home before I had to be at work later that day.
Turned out our legs held up just fine. It was our preparation skills that were lacking. Well, mine were. We arrived at the parking lot, just like the book described, and I began to feel the familiar coldness, shaky hands, frantic thoughts and general weakness that permeated my body. My blood sugar was dropping. I’d remembered to bring my tester, but sadly, the information it provided was no use. I had forgotten my sugar tablets.
The glucose tabs are pretty standard fare for me, always in a small tube in my purse, pocket, car, or desk. Unfortunately I’d finished the tube in my car and hadn’t gotten around to replacing it, and since my backpack had seen such little use in the last few months, there was nothing there, either. I stood at the trailhead wondering what to do – frozen by indecision. Should we keep going? Sometimes my symptoms appeared and then I rebound, just a quick dip. But then, what if it didn’t? It usually doesn’t go away on its own, especially if I’m doing physical activity. But the thought of turning around and going home didn’t feel like an option either. We’d picked a place close to home, but it was still almost an hour’s drive home again. It would be such a waste not to take the hike.
I was just deciding to throw caution to the wind and just start walking when Ryan decided to check the car for anything that might help. I stayed where I was, my mind still somewhat foggy and dense. I held Nora’s leash as she wandered around taking in all the smells around her. There was a thick layer of fallen leaves and it surely held an intriguing mixture of olfactory sensations, judging by the fact that her nose never left the ground. I decided I could at least enjoy the view and began taking some pictures.
Anything that wasn’t paved was covered in trees, vines, and shrubs. Most of those were also covered in a moist green moss that made the place feel lush and alive all over. In front of me stood a sign that described the Native American tribes that had lived in the area over a hundred years ago, about how they lived off the land. I bet they would be able to find something out here that would fix this low, I thought. Instead, with my luck, I’d pick the poison oak. Hope Ryan finds something in there.
Just then he walked back up and held out two smushed Starburst candies and a small cellophane wrapper containing three Gobstoppers.
“This gonna be enough?” He asked. I nodded and ate both Starbursts without stopping for breath. Then I opened the Gobstoppers and popped one out of the cellophane and began to eat it. I reminded myself not to chew just in the nick of time. I put the other two in my pocket and turned toward the trail once again.
“You sure?” He looked at me with raised eyebrows. Low blood sugars tend to have an impact on my appearance, drawing my features into weak expressions, making my complexion stark and pale, giving the impression that I am about to keel over at any time, so this wasn’t an unreasonable question by any means. I reassured him that I really was feeling better already, and that the sugar would continue to work its way through my system, ensuring that I would be fine for the walk.
“Okay. But how about we cut across and make one of the smaller loops instead of doing the whole thing? Just in case that wasn’t enough, I don’t want to carry you out.” I smiled and nodded. I didn’t want that either.
The entire walk was shaded by large oak trees, just as the name had promised. The carpet of dead leaves ensured that Nora thoroughly enjoyed herself, as well. When we came to the first turn, we took it and began to loop back to the beginning. To our left was a large orchard, the neat organization of the smaller trees stood out in sharp contrast to the wild tangle that had surrounded us up until then.
We walked at least a mile, crossing a small bridge and walking through a couple of muddy patches. But the sun was bright and warmed us against the January chill. It was really a good day.
As we took our last turn, I felt another twinge, and finished off the last of the Gobstoppers. Then the car came in sight, and I heard Ryan begin to speak.
“What do you think about stopping for lunch on the way home?” I thought he was genius.
I also thought that next time, I’d make sure to have plenty of candy to spare.