(1) Where are you from and how would you like to be identified?
Mike "Vortex" Bridgers from Las Cruces, NM
(2) Thinking back to your “day-1 self,” what is going through your mind at the start?
This was my second time setting out on the Pacific Crest Trail. The first time was 2 years ago in 2016, I hiked to 80 miles from the Canadian border and on October 13th was caught in a storm that dumped over 3 feet of snow on the last passes. Day one of this year, setting out once again from the Mexican border I was excited to be back and eager to have a second chance at it.
(3) Do you feel ready?
Absolutely. I had already hiked the first 2,500 miles and had spent the past year and a half refining my gear and mentally preparing to return to the Trail.
(4) What are you most afraid of?
I was most afraid that the weather might turn again at some point and force me off trail again.
(5) What were you most confident about?
Having already hiked so many miles of the Trail I felt very familiar with the terrain. I knew how to plan for long water carries in the desert and was comfortable with the high passes of the Sierra. I had spent 163 days living out of a backpack, sleeping in the dirt, and developing my trail legs. I already felt at home on the PCT.
(6) Does anybody not want you to go?
Everyone around me was very excited and very encouraging. They had seen me struggle through it two years ago and seen how that ended and I think everyone knew that I would be back out here before long.
(7) What made you decide to take this hike?
Unfinished business. I had put everything into hiking the trail in 2016 and the when the weather turned and forced me off, I knew that I would be back.
(8) What do you expect to get from it?
A lot of adventure, some spectacular views, great friends, and a sense of closure once I reach the Northern Terminus at the Canadian Border.
(9) Have you ever done anything like this before?
Only once in 2016.
(10) What have you done to prepare?
Hiked 2500 miles, along with tons of gear research and fine tuning. The biggest thing was cutting the base weight of my pack from 30 lbs the first time around to 10 lbs this year.
(11) What are you looking forward to the most?
The last 80 miles from Stehekin, WA to the Canadian border. Taking those first steps past previous end point.
(12) When/where did you leave the trail?
September 9th, Manning Park, BC after reaching the Northern Terminus!
(13) What caused you to leave the trail?
I had completed the Pacific Crest Trail!
(14) Would you like to add anything else?
For myself, the trail has been so much about learning to push past what I once thought my limits were. You never know how far you can push yourself until you are forced to push yourself farther than you ever thought was possible.