Kim: Camping in Bear Country With Type 1 Diabetes

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Last summer, we went camping in one of our favorite vacation spots: Yosemite National Park. We had done a fair amount of camping since Kaitlyn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, so we were feeling like we had the whole "camping with diabetes" thing down pretty well. However, this was our first time in "bear country" since her diagnosis.

For those who haven't been camping in bear country before, rule number one is to always store your food in bear boxes. Amazingly, a bear can smell even a sealed can of food through a locked car and will tear a door off to get it! It had been a particularly big year for bear encounters in Yosemite, and bears had actually come through our campsite twice while we were there. So, we were VERY careful about keeping all of our food, toiletries, and even our baby wipes in the bear box.

Most of the time, using the bear box wasn't a huge inconvenience. We would get our food out during meal times and then lock it back up when we were done. But the nighttime routine was another story… The first night we were there, I checked Kaitlyn's blood sugar holding a flashlight in my mouth. I finally got a reading and it was low! Argh! I had to find my shoes, zip open the tent, and get her juice out of the bear box. To make matters worse, I woke up half the camp with the insanely loud latch on the bear box. I went back to the tent, gave Kaitlyn the juice, went all the way over to the bear-proof trash cans to throw away the almost empty juice box, and then made my way back to the tent.

The next morning my sister (who was camping with her family next to us), told us that she was convinced there was a bear trying to break into our bear box. We both had a pretty good laugh when I told her that the bear was actually just me trying to get some juice for Kaitlyn. I wish I could say that that was the end of our bear box inconveniences, but the same thing happened two more times while we were there. Next time I might just decide to give her an extra dose of s'mores before bedtime!


About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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