In this episode, I am proud to bring to you a very special interview with Mark Yaeger. I met mark through the serendipity of social media–instagram to be exact. Someone tagged me in a post by Steven Mills Photography that featured a portrait of a guy named Mark who was hiking the Appalachian Trail with type 1 diabetes. I reached out to Steven Mills and he was kind enough to share Mark’s info with me and soon I was in contact with Mark. We initially connected as he was entering Pennsylvania and I was excited to hear that he was heading north because this meant that he would have to pass within several hours of where I am living currently in eastern Massachusetts–and this would be a perfect opportunity for a podcast interview.

In what seemed like only a few days Mark emailed me to let me know that his entrance into Massachussetts was immanent and I made plans to drive the three hours out into the Berkshires to meet him. As per my usual experience, the more you put into something, the greater the value that it has in the long run. Driving three hours to meet Mark and his hiking partner Andrew was no exception–it was absolutely a life affirming experience and I am excited to be able to share it here! In the image below Mark is on the right, Andrew on the left. If you want to see more images and read about how Marks philosophy impacted me personally, read this blog.

hiking the appalachian trail with diabetes

In this episode: I share why it is so special to me to meet up with a fellow T1D on the Appalachian Trail as well as the reality of my upcoming life transition–leaving the east coast, leaving full-time employment and striking out (figuratively!) in search of adventure. It’s a long-ish intro but it’s topical. I promise!

Mark shares about fear and its role in his decision to take on the biggest challenge he could think of, his struggle with blood sugar levels on the trail, logistics of a long distance hike, temperature, weather, living out of a backpack and inspiring other people with type 1 to just try.

I split this interview into two parts because it’s pretty lengthy–and I want to ask for your patience with the road noise that you will hear in the live portion of the interview. When I have an opportunity to grab a story like this as it’s happening, you better believe I am going to jump on it. The fact that we couldn’t afford to book a studio or indoor space for the interview isn’t something that I let stop me–we made the best of what we had, first at a gas station (where 90% of the people in New England who own motorcycles converged upon…) and then we moved to the Berkshire Outfitters front yard which was more welcoming, but still close to the road!

Part of this podcast is my personal journey to push my skills to a higher level in audio production–even if it is in microscopic increments! There are obvious limitations when it comes to equipment and so I am learning to do better with what I have until I can afford to upgrade. This episode is my first that I have edited on Logic Pro X rather than Audacity and I feel like the difference is measurable–and it’s also pushed me a lot technically!

All that to say, I hope you will find Mark’s interview more compelling than the road noise is distracting. I appreciate the patience of each of you as I work to refine my skills through this podcast.

If you’re inspired by this episode and want to email Mark with questions or support, here is his contact info as well as more resources that you may find useful (he gave me permission to share his email, don’t worry!)

If you’d like to support the work LivingVertical is doing by making a small monthly donation to the podcast via Paypal, you can do so in the right hand column on desktop or scroll down on mobile. 1 dollar a month from each of our readers would cover the costs of maintaining this website.

You can also buy one of our diabetes empowerment photo prints if you want to own stunning images from our expeditions!