Camping in The Sierras

By Emily Ann Hupe

Emily & husband on trip
In August, the hubby and I went camping with the Walking Trout Foundation. We had met Steve and Charles at the Triumph Foundation Sports Festival in Los Angeles in April. There were these two guys in their forties, sitting by tents that were large enough to accommodate wheelchairs - I was intrigued. However, I became an RV camper while I was still able-bodied so the last time that I slept in a tent, was 1998. I grew up tent camping and I loved it; there is just something about waking up in the mountains in a tent. However, the idea of sleeping in a tent as a paraplegic did not seem like a lot of fun. Steve explained that they take care of everything and it is at no cost to the campers including a guest of their choice so I decided to give it a try! I am always up for an adventure and Steve and Charles were VERY persuasive.
Walking Trout Founders, Steve (on rock) Charles behind on left) & Crew
The Walking Trout Foundation is a group of friends who are longtime backpackers and campers. After years of backpacking and camping together, the guys decided to help take people with mobility limitations on camping trips so they could experience the beauty and majesty of the Sierras.  In 2013, Steve and Charles advertised the first trip by posting flyers at rehab facilities. Tents, sleeping bags, and vehicles were rented, and Steve and Charles took 13 people they had never met to Rock Creek Lake in the Eastern Sierras. The trip was a great success, and the Walking Trout Foundation was born. 

Gadgets for Independence Series: Kitchen

By Wendy Crawford & Robyn Keller

In our last “Gadgets for Independence” article, we shared with you some helpful gadgets for those with limited hand function that are specifically for cutting items like packages, paper, envelopes etc. For this article, we would like to focus specifically on utensils that are for the kitchen.

When I was younger, cooking was not very important to me. I had my injury at 19 years old and making dinner was the last thing on my mind! Now, I actually miss the occasional times that I would cook or bake and would love to expand my skills.

Also, the older that I get, the more important it is to me to nourish my body with nutrient dense, nonprocessed and organic, when possible, foods. Most of the time, this requires making your own meals unless you are fortunate to have a restaurant that serves healthy options close by but that gets expensive!

For many, food is a passion (I’m one of them!) and cooking as a way to express yourself and your love for others. It can also be relaxing and therapeutic. Robyn ( Outreach Coordinator and hard-core foodie) is my inspiration and has been cooking for many years with her C6/7 level spinal cord injury, researching recipes and preparing amazing dishes! (Watch her in action, in her Reeve Minute cooking video.)

Warm Temperature Regulation

By Patty Kunze, "The Rollin RN"

I am sitting at my desk with record setting temperatures outside, and thinking about spinal cord injury and our body’s inability to regulate temperature.  It’s just another ‘thang’ we are unable to perform.  But why does that happen to spinal cord injured individuals?  Why are we powerless to regulate our bodies in hot and/or cold?  Since its summertime, I wanted to discuss the whys and hows to normalize during balmy outside temperatures and how to provide a comfortable environment while sitting in our chairs.

A normal, healthy human is able to maintain a constant body temperature of approximately 98.6ᵒ F despite the temperature of the environment. In a hot environment, the body sends a signal to the brain via the spinal cord to say the body is overheating; the brain then sends a signal back down the spinal cord and tells the body to cool itself by perspiration which evaporates and cools the skin.  This is defined as a “normal” individual.  This definition does not apply to spinal cord injured(SCI) individuals.  The signal is halted at the level of injury.  These definitions can easily explain why I can sit in a room and suffer from heat and my poor husband is wrapped tightly as a cocoon in his blanket. When I get hot, it will take me twice as long to cool down.  Same occurs during a fever associated with illness.  If a high paraplegic or quadriplegic is in an outside temperature over 90 F, especially when the humidity is high, the body temperature will begin to rise.  The ability to sweat or to make goose bumps may be lost below the level of injury.  It will take longer to cool down after a spike in temperature.  A LOT longer!!!!