Michael Dietrich | @michaeldietrich
Michael is a personal trainer, hiker extraordinaire, and proud dog Dad. You aren’t born with the nickname Mountain Mike — it’s a name that was well-earned. Michael has managed to climb his way to the top of a large portion of Alberta’s Rockies, and the list just keeps growing.
Do you remember your very first hike that you did solo?
I do! It took some time. I had taken some baby steps at first. I went on several trips with friends going up one specific trail, we progressively made it further and further. From 5km to 8km to 10km. Then one weekend, none of friends could make it so I went in solo, in winter for the first time ever. I ended up going in something like 25km, way past my comfort zone, but for the first time in my backcountry journey I felt what it was like to experience true disconnection. From there, it progressed to where I am today!
What has been your biggest achievement while hiking?
I think my biggest achievement has been introducing others to the mountains and hiking through my Hike with Mike events. I have done some pretty big epic things, but sharing my passion with others makes me happier than accomplishments on my own.
Do you have any desire to do those “bucket list” climbs around the world such as Mount Everest, The Andes, or Kilimanjaro; or is there something special about hiking in “ your backyard” here in Alberta?
Many of the big buzz word expeditions like Everest have become so over commercialized and I really have no interest. I am so drawn locally right now to Alberta. I have a list a hundred miles long of things I want to accomplish, so I will probably chip away here before extending much of my travel internationally. It is also more challenging to travel internationally with BearBear and I have a life commitment of exploring with him. Until his time comes, I will be adventuring with him whenever I possibly can.
How has Chiropractic played a role in preparing your body for long hikes?
Adventure sports are hard on the body, but I love them so much I never want to stop. Resting is REALLY hard for me and the lack of rest has lead me to some serious over use injuries. Dr. Kara has been able to treat repetitive overuse injuries to the back, hip, knee, and ankle, which is such a blessing to keep me doing what I love and enjoy with minimal pain and discomfort. When the things you do become uncomfortable it is very difficult to deal with mentally. I am so thankful to have Kara as my chiropractor.
THANK YOU KARA!
Can you tell us a funny story that happened while you were on a hike?
I was backcountry camping quite literally in the middle of no where. DEEP into the mountains solo with BearBear. I let BearBear out to go pee in the morning and to my surprise I head a voice… Kind of startled I sat up and gently heard, “Oh my god, I can’t believe it, THAT’S BEARBEAR.” Somehow, 50km into the middle of nowhere, some random stranger had seen a YouTube video of ours and recognized Bear. He had no idea who I was though…
You started Hike with Mike and it got a huge response (Whoop, whoop). How does hiking change for you when going out solo vs. with big group?
Wooooooo Hike with Mike! If you don’t know, now you know!
It has been massive, I cant even believe it. I LOVE these events so so so so much, the energy is incredible when you are surrounded by so many happy, excited, like minded individuals. It is so unique to be in an environment like this, but I would not want to do it all the time. Hiking solo, small group or large group each has it’s appeal and totally different feel. They are all amazing for their own reasons. Solo I love the disconnection, small group or partner I love sharing that experience with that intimate group, large group the energy and excitement is just contagious. Being ontop of a mountain with 100 strangers is special. We start off as strangers but finish as friends ❤
You have an amazing hiking partner that usually travels with you. Who has worse breath in the morning, BearBear or you? And can you tell us a little about BearBear?
My nose is right by my mouth and I don’t notice my breath, so I would have to say BearBear probably has “worse breath”. But as messed up as it is, I love the way his breath smells, how his fur smells when he smells like a wet dog and literally everything about him. He makes me soft.
I have never stood ontop of a summit without BearBear by my side, im not entirely sure how many we have done but we are now well over 1000 :)
Any big hikes planned for the year?
What is planning? I just go an make it up along the way.
What would be some advice you would give someone looking to go on their first hike?
Send me a message @michaeldietrich on Instagram and I am happy to guide you in the right direction for your comfort and fitness level, along with the areas you are going to and what you would like to see and experience. If you are going out for your first time, I would love to give you some really good info and get you hooked!
How has hiking changed for you over the years? Do you still get those “wow” moments when you get to the top or finish a challenging hike?
I have become a little desensitized to my surrounding over time. Hiking with new people helps me to reconnect to the beauty that I sometimes overlook and am so thankful for that.
However with the desensitization I find myself pushing that envelope more and more to feel that same “wow” effect. I feel like this is the nature of progression and what will ultimately lead me to becoming a real badass later in life!
Have you always been an adventure / outdoorsy type? Did you family spend a lot of time outdoors?
My family always enjoyed camping and I have always been active, but this whole mountain obsession was kind of by accident. Im sure happy it happened, I feel very very lucky.
If you had to guess how many hikes you have completed so far. What number do you think we would be looking at?
Well over 1000 now. I usually get 3–4 summits per weekend these days :)
(We did the math, 52 weekends times by 3.5 that’s 182 hikes per year!)
Quote or Inspirational saying that is important to you.
“You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”