The Alaska Highway is long and lonely. 2000km of bumpy and sometimes gravel roads from Edmonton to Whitehorse only feels longer with my old ’86 Toyota. It’s worth every gallon of oil it drinks to get me someone I’ve never been.
by Jeff Spackman
After a single afternoon on the road I was ready for some company, so I picked up Jeramie, a hitchhiker from out east. His beard was bigger than mine and I could tell he was better at roughing it. His sign read, “Every ride helps”. While we drove nearly yelled over the engine talking about the places we’d been and the things we’d seen. We talked about our families back home and how to best live our lives. He packed as lightly as he could, but his mother had given him 2 cans of maple syrup to remind him of home.
Looking back, it was his sheer ability to step into the unknown that impressed me about Jeramie. He didn’t know where his next ride would come or if the weather would stay good for him. He believed in himself and in others. He was sure his ability to live was because he did not fear death.
We became quick friends. I think it’s hard not to connect with a person with such a passion for life. It’s contagious. Our first night we found a lake in Northern BC to camp. It was nice to be able to chat without the diesel engine trying to interrupt. As we set up our camp on shore we noticed the aurora borealis at the end of the lake. We talked for hours as the green and purple lights danced above us. I snapped a few pictures, some of my favorite of the northern lights.
The weather wasn’t great, but all along our drive we stopped and explored. When we finally made it to Whitehorse we said our goodbyes. It had been a long drive and we were both tired. Just before I could drive off he reached into his bag and handed me a can. I wasn’t expecting anything. It was a big heavy can of maple syrup.