I had to ask myself this question a few times recently, “To hike or not to hike with my food allergies?”
Hiking is one activity where I feel great trepidation because of my food allergies. In the past year I have gone hiking twice. Although I love the idea of hiking, in actuality it really scares me. Not only do I have the general fears that anyone might have like, “What if I get lost?” or “What if I trip and fall off the side of a cliff?” My main fear though is, “What if I get an allergic reaction on top of the mountain, with no cell phone reception and no way of getting down except by climbing?” I do realize that anyone having a medical emergency while hiking on a mountain is likely to be in an equally compromising position with the challenge of quickly receiving medical care. I try to remember that.
The thought of being so far and inaccessible can be both exhilarating and frightening. For allergic reactors, it can feel a bit unnerving though, too. I remember when I was growing up, my parents were always the ones making the decisions of where I could go and judging by their comfort level. Now that I am an adult, it means that I have to decide my own comfort level. I don’t have my parents telling me what I should and shouldn’t do based on my allergies. Instead I have to make the decision of whether I feel comfortable or not. Sometimes this can be difficult, but I definitely feel like my parents prepared me well with the tools to assess and make good decisions.
My biggest obstacle on both hikes was not even allergy related. I had a hiking boot issue. I couldn’t find my hiking boots anywhere! I had no idea where they were, and after hiking in my running shoes on the first hike, I knew I wanted my hiking boots for the next one. Of course they were still missing for the second hike, and here I went again, hiking in my sneakers. I was slipping and sliding everywhere! I think it’s time to buy some new boots.
On my hikes I made sure to pack: my allergy medicine (multiple epinephrine, inhalers, etc.), hand wipes, water, lunch, safe snacks, and a sweatshirt for the top of the mountain.
At the top of the mountain.
To use before eating & sharing with friends.
I have one other hiking concern. Peanut butter sandwiches, granola bars and trail mixes are probably the most common hiking foods. My friends ate plenty of tree nut and peanut related products on our hike. I had no reactions because we are all careful. I wasn’t completely at ease though.
But, THIS is what makes the entire hike worthwhile… : )