Half a year, over 26,000 kilometers and 264 rides. This how I can sum up my trip to Canada. I don’t believe that I managed to achieve that. Before leaving to Canada, I had only one goal. I wanted to cross this country from east to west. An ambitious plan, in the end Canada is the second largest country in the world. After all, I didn’t get discouraged by distances. Or maybe even at the beginning I was not aware of them?
The most difficult thing was to decide that I’m leaving everything, buying a ticket one way, packing my backpack and going into the unknown. I wondered for a long time if that was a good decision. Looking now at this journey in retrospect, I know that it was the best craziness I’ve done so far in my life. No other trip gave me such a big kick of positive emotions like this to Canada.
You know, it was not always easy. The backpack was sometimes too heavy, the place for hitchhiking not very fortunate and crossing the river ended in abduction by the current and the wetness of most things. Even so, I understood a lot about myself during this journey, met amazing people and saw places that will always remain in my memories.
From April to October I traveled through all provinces (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia) and through two territories (Yukon and Northwest Territories). There was only one territory missing – Nunavut, which can’t be reached by car. At the beginning I was hitchhiking by myself. Around mid-June, I met Delphine, a Belgian. We started to hitchhike together, and so we stayed together until the end of our journey. Even on the same day we had a return flight to Europe. Amazing how randomly met people become our friends.
We managed to reach Cape Spear, the most eastern point of North America. Thanks to great luck, we crossed the Arctic Circle and ended in Inuvik. At the moment it was the farthest point in the north of Canada, reached by cars. At the end we came to Tofino, a Canadian mecca for surfers.
In 2017, Canada celebrated its 150th anniversary. On this occasion, all national parks were free. It was especially important to me because I was mainly interested in communing with nature. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the Canadian cities are not very impresive. Nature, however, is incredibly diverse and beautiful. In Canada there are numerous lakes, mountains, forests, beautiful beaches, prairies, fjords and cliffs. In addition, it is surrounded on three sides by the oceans – Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific.
From 39 national parks I managed to visit 16. In addition, I was in over 20 provincial parks. All these places were amazing in their own way. There are places that especially stick in my mind. These include Bruce Peninsula National Park, Gaspasie, Cape Breton, Gross Morne, Cape Spear, Bay of Fundy, Yoho National Park, Mount Revelstoke National Park, Kluanie Park, Tombstone and Dempster Highway, and Vancouver Island with the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Expect soon some posts about these places.
Canadians and hitchhiking
I was very positively surprised at how canadians are kind and helpful. For this reason, hitchhiking didn’t cause much difficulty. It happened that we were traveling for a few days with one driver. Our record is the driver who took us from Whitehorse to Inuvik and back to British Columbia. The whole trip took us six days.
Sometimes, of course, we waited longer for a ride but it was more because there was very little traffic than that someone didn’t want to stop. There are two elements that make Canada so special for me. One, of course, is stunning nature and the other is people.
Will I return to Canada?
Of course, YES! Actually, since my trip I’ve been there twice. I have the impression that every trip to Canada brings something new and it is beautiful. I like the fact that people value communing with nature and that they care for it. Thanks to that, Canada is unique. It is an incredibly active country when it comes to all kinds of outdoor sports. All this makes me feel very good there.
Have you had the opportunity to be in Canada? Would you like to try such a hitchhiking trip?