Alive and Well in Nelson

The trip yesterday was the longest journey I have hitchhiked by myself. Arriving in Nelson at just past 10pm, I was riding on an adrenaline high that can only be found at the end of a successful adventure.

9:45am. A good friend of mine was heading up to the Entheos site to start building, so he offered me a ride out to Hope, which is a much better place to start hitchihiking from than the Vancouver city limits. The weather was ominous, the clouds were dark and the rain was pouring, but my spirits were high.

12:15PM: Starting on the easterly side of Hope, I waited only about 10 minutes on the highway before my first ride picked me up. A mother and daughter comb; beautiful women with space in their Jeep for my belongings. Turns out, the mother was doing the same favour my friend had just provided.. and was driving her daughter out of Abbotsford to a good hitchhiking spot for the daughter to get to Osooyoos for fruit picking. Perfect! Now I would have a companion for a small part of the journey. In addition, I recieved a crazy boost of confidence from the daughter, as she admitted to hitchhiking from Vancouver to Montreal and back one summer.. all by herself. Van to Nelson? “Easy.”

3:45 PM: Getting dropped off in Keremeos, we thought it would be an easy hitch into Osoyoos. In this area, the weather was warm, the sun was shining and we had each other’s friendly company. This made the 1.5 hour wait for a ride seem like 20 minutes or so. Scooped up by two young college kids heading to a week long cabin party on Osoyoos lake.. my newest friendship was coming to an end. A quick embrace and a wave goodbye and I was again alone.

For some reason.. I have always been wary of getting a ride in a semi-truck. Maybe it’s the intimidating size of the vehicle, the urban myths, engrained stereotypes.. or just even the thought of trying to jump from a truck cab that’s so high. Whatever it is.. I generally hide my thumb when they drive by. Things change though, after waiting on a hot road with no shade, no food in my belly and only 4 hours of sunlight left with over 300 kms still to cover. After an hour of waiting outside of Osoyoos, I was elated when a huge truck rumbled to a stop. Throwing my inhbitions aside, (after asking the usual screening questions of course), I jumped in the cab.

Dave was his name, an ex-firefighter with a passion for Harley Davidsons and a smile in his eyes. He drove me all the way to Castlegar in great time and we parted with a hug.

8:15PM Walking across town to find my last ride.. I was a little worried that I would have to spend the night in Castlegar.. most likely in the bush on the side of a highway. (Don’t worry friends.. I did have a tent, sleeping bag, and very sharp scissors. ) Knowing that I would be comfortable doing this.. my biggest worry was the thoughts that would run through the minds of the friends in Nelson who were expecting me that night. The universe allowed me only about 5 minutes of this contemplation.. before providing me with my last ride. A friendly middle aged man heading home to Nelson after seeing Men in Black 3 in Castlegar. He picked me up because of my “enthusiastic wave”, and to advise me not to hitchhike… the kindess of strangers.. amazing.

10:15PM Door-door service. He dropped me off at the house of an old high school friend. Mission accomplished.

What a rush! I still feel high from the journey. I’m now in Nelson for a minute, leaving to the Loki site tomorrow. Details on my camping adventure and festival secrets to come.

Here’s a map of the ground I covered.

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