By Rebecca Drew
THIS HUNKY adventure junkie has the ultimate work life balance and spends half his week hiking and running up mountains with his adorable pet pooch in tow who he rescued from freezing to death as a puppy.
Owner of fitMD Personal Training, Michael Dietrich (28) from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, set up his company after a tear to his meniscus and ACL dashed his hopes of becoming a professional soccer player. It was then when he found his passion for all things outdoors, desperate to maintain his fitness and started to explore the backcountry.
Over time, Michael found he was spending up to a week at a time exploring isolated areas of the Rocky Mountains in the middle of winter with just his six-year-old rescue dog, BearBear, who rescued at just four-weeks old from a freezing cold farm, for company and started to document their envy-inducing adventures together on Instagram.
In March last year, Michael decided to move into his RV after his eight-year-long relationship ended to pursue his passion for the great outdoors and now splits his week in half, growing his personal training business for 50 per cent of the time and the rest exploring the lakes and summits of Canmore, Banff and Abraham Lake, which are just four-hours away from his hometown, with BearBear.
BearBear is the dream adventure companion and Michael hasn’t been on a mountain adventure without him and this lifestyle means that Michael is living his life without regrets. Incredible pictures show Michael and BearBear camping in the snow, wading through rivers and celebrating reaching the summit just before sunset.
“I was in a happy and healthy relationship for eight-years but overtime we developed different interests and made the difficult decision of going our separate ways. I had sadness but I was optimistic about starting the next chapter of my life,” he said.
“I did a lot of self-reflection and asked myself what I wanted in this next chapter of my life. I decided to pursue my passion for adventure as it was bringing me so much fun and happiness. I decided to move into my RV full time.
“That once or twice a month adventure turned into three to four days per week. I still work on my business Monday to Wednesday or Thursday but the rest of my time is spent in the mountains, I love it. I hike, I bike, I RV camp, I backcountry camp. I do it all.
“I am not full-time adventure but a healthy 50/50 split of working on my company and a ton of adventure. However, a lot of my work with fitMD is now online so I can work from my tent, RV or anywhere on the road, it’s so awesome.
“I found BearBear at about four weeks old freezing to death on New Year’s Eve. I rescued him and we have been inseparable ever since. I have never been on a mountain adventure without him. He has been on every mountain, every summit, every lake.
“BearBear is such an incredible dog. He is so confident and so brave. He is the best adventure partner I could ever ask for. I don’t know what I’m going to do on the first adventure when he slows down and I need to leave him behind.
“There are some big bucket list hikes that I will never go on cause they are not dog friendly, but that doesn’t really bother me. My time spent with him is much more important than seeing some beautiful landscape. He is the best view I could ever ask for.
“Edmonton is about four hours away from the mountains for me. So, we wake up, grab coffee and treats and hit the road. I rarely have plans for what I am going to do that day or over the weekend but as we approach the mountains I get some ideas and am extremely spontaneous.
“Whatever I am feeling at that given time I do. Sometimes we day hike. On a day where we hike for the day we hike or run up the mountains, see the most incredible days, then make our way back to the truck. We head over to a hot spring where we relax and clean up, then pop into a coffee shop, get some work done, maybe meet up with a friend in the area and see where the night goes.
“The next day I wake up and again last minute decide what I’m doing and I do it. In a typical week I usually get three to five summits, it’s awesome.
“I always have my bags packed and am ready for any kind of adventure. I love backcountry camping year-round including winter, so on adventures like that I have a bag on my back and hike deep into the mountains and have nothing to do but keep myself alive.
“It is so therapeutic, it gives you a whole new appreciation for the comforts of home.”
Michael has an impressive 17.4K Instagram following and is always inundated with people contacting him wishing they could do the same thing.
BearBear is a mix between a German Shepherd, Labrador and Husky and the furthest they have run together was 43.5 miles (70km) in just one day whilst on a camping trip.
“I get so many people messaging and telling me they wish they could do what I’m doing or wish they had my life, I always say you can. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are beautiful areas all over the world, we are spoiled here in Alberta that my hometown is only four hours away from a fairy tale,” said Michael.
“But people here complain that the drive is too far while they sit there and watch episode after episode of Netflix and I’m out there making memories and experiences that fill my soul with happiness.
“So, I guess I want people to just pack their bags, drive to somewhere awesome after work and have some kick ass weekends and live not just exist.
“I started off not having a clue in the world what I was doing. Looking back, I can’t believe I am where I am now and all the things I have got to see and do.
“It has all been so worth it and has filled my life full of so much happiness and purpose. It has been such an incredible journey.”
To keep up with Michael and BearBear’s adventures visit: www.instagram.com/michaeldietrich