Hitchhiking Across Western Canada Part 1
Each highway had its own personality. Highway 3 – Crowsnest Highway – connects Hope. B.C. with Medicine Hat, Alberta. This highway passes through farmland but once it enters western Alberta the mountains have begun. It changes from hard working plain speaking farmers to free thinkers – eccentrics if you wish. Highway 3 in B.C. passes through small communities or those living off grid.
The Trans-Canada had the highest number of travelers going from one province to the next in search of work or a quick buck. The Yellowhead Highway had lots of traffic along most of it. Even hitchhiking at night was good especially between Edmonton and Saskatoon. Truckers stopped for the company and help stay awake. I found the Alaska Highway enjoyable.
It was quite an experience from Dawson Creek to Whitehorse. Traffic was sparse at the best of times but rides were usually long ones. Once past Charlie Lake it’s hundreds of miles between buildings. Scenery is spectacular, wildlife is numerous. Two large herds of massive buffalo roam on each side of the Liard River.
Some places were easy to get a ride out of, others were tough. Large cities are good due to high levels of traffic. Some highways had low volume of traffic so the hitchhiker plays the per centage factor.
Nelson is at the top of the list for short waits. Nelson is well known for being a center of alternative lifestyles, hitch-hiking being one of them. Usually a person is on their way within a few minutes. I lived in Nelson for about 11 years so I was getting rides from some people for the third or fourth times.
They had seen me around town or had known me. Most of the West Kootenays is much the same including the Slocan Valley. The junction between Castlegar and Nelson along with the Castlegar Airport are quite easy to get a ride if you’re going east, a person is gone within 15 minutes. I loved those short waits. Going west is dicey in both places, waits can get lengthy.
Toughest Places In Canada For Hitchhiking
On the other hand, there are places that are notorious to get out from. I’ll mention just a few. Wawa and White River, both in Ontario, are reported to be the toughest places in Canada to get a ride out of. Both are miles from anywhere else, which is the primary reason why. The stretch of road between Prince George and Jasper is pretty barren with only McBride in the middle for towns. Banff and Jasper aren’t easy to get away from. Both are tourist traps towns, Banff is more so. Traffic levels are good but vehicles are packed tight with families and gear. Just keep an eye on any wildlife in case any of them get too close.
I had an interesting moment in Creston a few years ago. I got dropped off across from the 7/11 in Creston on the day the Shambalah Music Festival closed down for the year. As I went into the store I couldn’t help two contrasts in clothing style. The gals from the music festival were over 90% naked. At the same time women from the Bountiful polygamy sect were in making purchases. They wore so much clothing that the only skin showing was their hands and face.
Ron Murdock has lived and worked in Western Canada all his life, and will continue to do so until his last day on Planet Earth. He has a good number of interests and hobbies which include dogs, freight trains, baseball and astronomy. Ron wants to know what the truth is, and nothing but the truth, and will do what research it takes to find it. The best compliment he can get is when a person says his writing, or what he says, gets them seeking.