Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hitchhiking on Highway 99 :: West Van --> Whistler


I had been told that it was easy to hitchhike up to Whistler. I decided to give it a shot. Here was my experience.

I woke up on Friday morning with few plans, but Whistler was in the back of my mind as an idea. When I saw the ferry pull in at 8:30 AM (you can see the ferry from the window of the house I've been living in), I decided I wanted to be on it. I rushed around the house, throwing things into my bag that i might need - three carrot sticks, two mandarins, and the leftover cheerios in a bag. All set to go!

I ran with full vigour to the Snug Cove ferry terminal and leaped on. By 9 AM, I was standing on my own two feet at Horseshoe Bay and hoofing it up (that's the term my dad always uses) to Highway 99. I wasn't quite sure how to get there. I walked up the hill, through the round about, backwards on the old highway, and then I found a hiking trail straight up the hill towards 99.

It was a scramble up some rocks and a slope, but I made it to the Highway. Hopped the barrier. Jumped over the meridian. And I was set to go. There was the perfect pull-off and I stuck my thumb out with optimism.

Cars whizzed by and I realized this wouldn't be quite as easy as hitchhiking on Bowen Island. Not too bad, though. I was picked up within six minutes.

Bud was my first ride (also known as Baldur). He was an older man from Iceland and we got along just fine. He thought I was a sweet little girl and patted my head three times. He drove me most of the way, to Squamish.

In Squamish, he told me a good place to pick up another ride.

I wandered over and there were already two other hitchhikers. They told me they had been there for three hours already - not a good sign. I stood there for a good amount of time and realized that it could take a long time to get picked up, standing by them. Being a single young girl, I had a pretty good chance of getting picked up. I wandered away and within 10 minutes, or so, a giant truck pulled over and I hopped in.

Ryan, who was somewhere in his late twenties or early thirties, was the one to give me a ride this time. He was going all the way, all the way to Whistler. I was set to go for the next 53 km or so.

Mid car ride, I realized that Alex was in Whistler. I hadn't thought about that before I left, otherwise I would've worked it out with him before hand. Ryan had an iPad (which I definitely called an iTablet) with internet so I could shoot him an email. I told that, if he got the email, we could meet at the library.

And it's at the library where my time in Whistler (click here for the post on that) began.

As it got dark, I decided it was time to hike back before the cars couldn't see me. I walked along the non-existant shoulder of 99. At the end of the block, there was a clear spot to stand in with a wide shoulder and out came the thumb again.

The fourth or so van pulled over. You know those creepy giant vans with no windows? The ones they tell you not to take candy from? That was my ride. An older long-haired man reeking of pot offered me a ride. I got in, but then found out he wasn't really going far enough to get me where I needed to go, so I told him I'd wait for a better ride. A girl in a VW, Laila, picked me up and took me to Creekside, where I could better get a ride out of town.

It was only 7 minutes or so before another van pulled over and I got a ride all the way back to Horseshoe Bay.

It was Vito. Oh Vito. Blaring his reggae.

He got a call. I wasn't listening till I heard, "... yeah. I picked up this good looking hitchhiker. She's a hippy from Bowen Island. Well, actually, from Seattle..."

Glad to be the hippy from Bowen Island.
I don't think I'm a hippy.
He says I am.
He also says it's a phase I'll outgrow...
Based on the adults I hang out with, well, whatever "I am" seems to be sustainable.

He said he was headed up to Whistler on Sunday and Wednesday and said if I wanted a ride again, I could count on him. I grabbed his email and am set to go back to Whistler on Sunday. He also might be doing a trip inland and offered a ride for that sometime in the future. I think I'll have to pass, but it was a kind offer.

So, that were my 204 kilometres with strangers.
It was really lovely of them to give me a ride.

Baldur, Ryan, Laila, and Vito.


1 comment:

Your words make me grin.

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