I have never been a fan of chiropractors mainly because of two reasons. First, I didn’t understand what they did to help people. I only knew chiropractors to crack someones back then after a period of time the person had to go back again and again. Second, I wasn’t a fan is I’ve always been healthy without any spine issues. I swam competitively for 13 years, competed in triathlons, and hike around the world for years.
Working as a contractor I am constantly torturing my body by lifting heavy things, twisting in odd positions, and bending over hundreds of times a day. I suffered a injury to my back at a job site. I was bent over picking up some trash when a 4×4 fell across my lower back. The pain was intense and I was on the ground in pain for 15-20 minutes. My sister, who was in a car accident, recommended I see a chiropractor. A week later of my stubbornness saying, “I’m ok” I finally gave in and made an appointment to see Dr. Dillan at Lifestyle Chiropractic in Seattle. This came at a critical time as I was preparing to hike in the Swiss Alps. In fact, I was leaving the next week and I was desperate to get ‘fixed’!
I met with Dr. Dillan with hopes he could ‘fix’ me with a crack of the back. Dr. Dillan said, “with time and treatment we can heal your back. However, the x-rays show you have other things going on that we can address at the same time which will increase your health and quality of life.” I blurted, “Thats great, what about my trip next week?” He smiled because I knew the answer, it takes time to heal. Dr. Dillan adjusted my back and said it would help a little. He said it is an injury and I will survive the trip he also told me to come back after my trip and get me on a plan to get healthy again. This was not the quick fix I was hoping for.
The next week I was on a plane to Switzerland. On my fourteen hour flight I thought about the eight months of training, how badly my back was hurting in the seat (coach), and how in the world was I going to complete my trek with my heavy pack. This trek is no joke! It’s one of the hardest treks I’ve attempted. What’s the hike? The Haute Route in Switzerland is 150 miles 45,000 feet of elevation gain over thirteen days. The elevation gain is equivalent to summiting Mt Rainier 5 times.
I was in the best shape of my life since I was swimming in college. Now, I grunted lifting up my backpack off the airport conveyer belt. Each day was a challenge to survive the miles, the elevations and the pain. Luckily around day 9 the pain had subsided to a dull ache. The aches and pains became better as the views got better. Life is pretty amazing sitting next to a glacier in a Swiss hut drinking a beer while the unopened one is icing my back. I survived the trip, had a blast and got some amazing photos along the way. I called Dr. Dillan and made another appointment at Lifestyle Chiropractic in Seattle the day that I got back.
About Eric: Since 2002, Eric Winebrinner has trekked and photographed the globe on a mission to visit amazing places while challenging his skill and endurance. He has traveled from the Himalayas to the Outback to New Zealand’s glaciers to the Swiss Alps and across America on many multi-day expeditions.
Traveling is Eric’s passion, however, mountains are Eric’s love. Residing in Seattle, he can hike, train and photograph in the PNW. Eric’s 2015 & 2016 treks include summiting Mt Olympus in Washington, the Manaslu Circuit at an elevation of 17,000 feet in Nepal, Walkers Haute Route- 52,000 feet of gain in 13 days in Switzerland.
Eric is constantly being active in the PNW whether it is hiking 2-3 times a month, training for triathlons, mountaineering and rock climbing. He owns a small business, Property Partners, a blend of real estate and general contracting. He is a alumni of Arizona State University and is involved with local and global charities. As he pursues his passion for adventure he will always return to the mountains that he loves in the PNW.
Hiking tip from Eric: The website www.wta.org has nearly every hiking trial in Washington in its database. You can search areas, distance, elevation gain and it has a trip report for the hike so you are up to date on trail conditions.