Two Vancouver men hitchhike to Yukon, making stop in Fort St. John during journey

A pair of Vancouverites hitchhiked their way up to Dawson City in the Yukon and were forced to make a longer-than-expected stop in Fort St. John along the way.
Karna Thakara and Pierre Goullet hitchhiked their way to the Yukon. (Goullet)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A pair of Vancouverites recently hitchhiked their way up to Dawson City, Yukon, which included a longer-than-expected stop in Fort St. John.

Karna Thakara and Pierre Goullet met while working together in Vancouver and, four years later, decided to embark on a hitchhiking journey to see British Columbia and the Yukon.

“We saw this magazine about the Yukon, and it just looked absolutely amazing, “ said Thakara.  “Four years ago, we decided that we have to find our way there.”

The pair of travellers said hitchhiking seemed the most authentic way to travel and would give them the most exposure to the province.

Thakara and Goullet planned for the trip to take approximately two weeks or even three if needed, but they made it there in only a week.

The pair were initially unsure if hitchhiking was legal in B.C., and after receiving different answers from friends and family,  decided to do it anyway. They said if they were asked to stop, they would return to Vancouver.

Karna Thakara and Pierre Goullet before they embarked on their journey. (Goullet)

The travellers said, for the most part, people were willing to give them a ride.

The first issue they faced was along the Highway of Tears, specifically in Prince George, where they were stuck for a full day.

“We finally asked people, ‘What’s the thing about this town?’ Nobody even looked at us, and then they told us about everything,” Goullet said.

 “We learned all these things the hard way.”

They decided to leave Prince George on foot to a campground in Salmon Valley before carrying on.

The pair were dropped off near a bar in Hudson’s Hope, where they were invited in for a drink by some locals. They ended up pitching their tents in a resident’s yard for the night before carrying on.

The pair faced the second issue of their journey when they became “stuck” after arriving near Fort St. John. 

After facing difficulty finding a ride, Goullet said they stayed about 48 hours near the same gas station and guessed it was because not as many people go further north for tourism, and the truckers weren’t allowed to take them.

During their delay, Thakara and Goullet attempted to purchase some food from a woman on her farm. 

“So we knocked on their door, and they had some canned peaches and stew, so we bought it, and we paid them,” Thakara said.

According to Thakara, an officer arrived near the gas station where they were staying approximately two hours later, indicating the woman was concerned about the travellers and had placed a call to police.

“The cop came by, and he was like, ‘You guys are not from around here, that’s for sure.’”

The officer talked to the two Vancouverites for about ten minutes and ultimately decided they were harmless.

“The cop was very, very nice. He was great. He even offered us a ride just to get us back on the road. He was very professional, very human,” Goulette said.

Thakara with his sign to get to Fort Nelson. (Goullet)

Eventually, they found a ride from a kind motorist to continue on their journey.

Because they arrived quicker than expected, the two travellers were able to extend their stay in Dawson City by a few days.

“We just enjoyed it there. We took our time and went to Dawson City, we went to Whitehorse, we went to Atlin, just south of the Yukon border,” Goullet said. “It’s beautiful. If you have the [opportunity], it’s wonderful.”

Thakara and a kind driver upon their arrival to the Yukon. (Goullet)

Though some people would not pick up the pair of hitchhikers, Goullet said the people who did were kind and generous, giving them food and advice on places to see in their area.

“That was really cool because everyone knew so much about the area, so there was almost a personal tour guide every time we found somebody,” Thakara added.

Both men said hitchhiking is a way to reconnect with people and may be a viable way to travel, but emphasized the importance of doing so safely and never alone.

They documented their travels on an Instagram page, completing the journey on August 18th.


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