Young Chronicles XIX: Whitehorse to Victoria, BC

July 23-25, 1983 Mileage 1468 miles

The Young Chronicles details my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed much of the journey west, I head south from the Yukon to Vancouver.

Greyhound Bus: $99 one way. My fear of isolated country and bears continued, as did my complacency. My rationale was based on saving on two nights accommodation.

As I have mentioned previously, I wrote a lot of drivel on my journey. The bus ride was no exception: In despair, the mind searched for an answer, for a reasonable excuse for a positive outlet, for a viable possibility. It is hard when one is alone. Alas, the sun sinks slowly down past the horizon’s wall.

July 25 – July 31 Stayed at Marco’s house in Vancouver. Monday: Beers in hot tub with Ranald, Gareth and Dave. Drinks on Granville Island with Marco and Graham. Tuesday: Caesars with Fiona, Graham and Hug. Wednesday: The UBC Pit with Sandy, Jackie, Graham and John. Thursday: Helped Marco move. Friday: Listened to Anthem of the Sun and Blues For Allah at Stewie’s house Saturday: Lighthouse Park with Gareth, Stewie, Ranald and Dave.

Jumping off cliffs at Lighthouse Park

August 1, Mileage: 135 miles

Ferry and public transit from Vancouver to Victoria.

Ride One: Victoria to Elk Island. Big car from Alberta. Driver hit on me. “Want to spend the night?

Ride Two: Elk Island to Schwartz Bay. TR7. Worried woman. “Don’t you try anything. I have a gun under my seat.”

Schwartz Bay Ferry Terminal

Ferry back to Tsawwassen and Vancouver.

Mortality on Crown Mountain, British Columbia

I did West Vancouver’s Grouse Grind in 52:20 – a straight-up climb of 2800 feet – and was ready for more.

Goat Mountain

Goat Mountain

We carried on over Dam Mountain and then around Goat to the steep descent to the Lynn Valley Saddle. And then It was time for the climb up Crown. Crown25That’s when it hit me. I was flagging, bumping into branches, tripping over roots. I was stopping, looking up, thinking too much about the daunting journey ahead, psyching myself out, getting more and more exhausted, staring at my sweat dripping onto the rocks. Crown18I had to stop again and again, seriously considering turning back, Micaela¬†far ahead, waiting. I thought I might not make it but moved my foot ahead, toiled on, step to step, dragging my inert legs over root ledges, and at long last made it to the top. Crown12I sat, mute, only able to think about the long descent and that horrible climb back up Goat and realized that this might indeed be the last time I would be here on this mountain.

Peak of Crown Mountain

Peak of Crown Mountain

I ate and ate – something I had stupidly neglected to do on the way up – and we began our long return, which amounted to a lot of slips and half falls through the labyrinth of exposed rock and dirt. We devoured our final batch of chocolate and attacked the ascent back up Goat. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Not at all. It was almost a game again.¬†Crown24We were going to make it after all. I was elated to be back, whole, in the parking lot and then in the fair city of Vancouver with a cold Steam Whistle in my hand.steam_whistleThe next morning was not so joyous. My knees were done. I had suddenly degraded to a state of gimpy and old. I glowered across Burrard Inlet, at the distant mountain top, and wondered when I would return. Soon, I promised myself. As soon as I could.