Saturday, June 30, 2007

Highway of Tears

I live 50km off the so named for the women and girls that have gone missing on this stretch of road.

There is no public transportation from Prince Rupert to Prince George, about 640km or 360miles. There are several small communities between the two Princes but no linking public transportation.

The Greyhound bus does travel that route twice a day and recently Northern Health has started operating a bus for those needing to go for medical treatment. It is a vast area with a low population, compared to the lower mainland of British Columbia, and a vehicle is an absolute necessity, one simply can't go anywhere without one unless you go by thumb.

We do not pick up anyone, unfortunately it goes both ways, those that are out to do harm can be either the hitch hiker or the driver. It is not surprising that many do hitch hike, it is almost a necessity to do so but what a terrible risk they take.

When we first moved up here my husband told me, in passing, that he had picked up a girl and driven her to her village as it was on his way. Usually we always travel together. I ripped into him, poor man, I told him off thoroughly, he could have had his reputation torn to shreds if she had wanted to cause trouble and tell lies. I made him promise never to do that again. His reasoning was that he was worried the wrong sort might pick her up and she'd come to harm.

One of the men in the village stopped last year to pick up a hitch hiker and a logging truck veered coming down the hill, the hitch hiker was killed. An unfortunate accident, stopping on the highway is dangerous.

A friend of ours has a brother, a great strapping man, who on seeing a couple who looked like they were having car trouble pulled over to help. He ended up with a knife wound, stuffed into that car's trunk while the couple made off with his truck.

I am afraid I will pass you if I see you on the highway, our society has made it unwise for me to be a Good Samaritan. Maybe society has always been the same we just hear about it more often now.

I can't imagine the pain these parents who have lost a child this way must feel, my heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Highway of Tears Website


RUTH said...

It's so sad that today we dare not help another. We also have a problem in the UK with "political correctness" going too far; I've been going as a helper on some school trips and if a child falls over I MUST NOT help them up as I could be charged with abuse!!! My daughter who works at the school is not allowed to help a girl to take her earrings out for the same reason. Such a crazy world when we cannot help our fellow man.

Amazing Gracie said...

Oh gee, that's nonsense!!! Where did common sense go? (I'm referring to Ruth's comments, of course...)We live in a crazy period in history.
I can't imagine any sane woman taking a ride from a man she didn't know! I know there are times we might have car trouble and need help, but the days of getting a ride from a stranger are long gone! Even another woman can be suspect!

Danielle B. said...

I have stopped by your place several times in the past year and have always enjoyed your photos!! It is sad that there is a highway that has 'earned' this name and reputation...I remember hitchiking once in college....looking wasn't such a different time as now...there were still evils lurking in the midst...the crazy things we being young...or desperate to get somewhere.

Hootin'Anni said...

Wow...what a poignant entry!! And well worth the read 'cause anyone...ANYONE never knows these days.

[just checking the Over 50 blogroll member list today to make sure everything is still current. Happy Sunday]

Gene Bach said...

One of the dangers of traveling wher there are very few people. Seems there's always someone out to stick a knife in us. Best to travel in groups in a situation like that.

Gannyaa said...

In 2005 the summer after I protested logging in Haida Gwaii, I hitch hiked home along that stretch of highway. 6 hours or more later and I finally get picked up by the edge of Prince Rupert. I get dropped off some time after passing Prince George. That time I learned of the nickname this highway had earned. I still hitch hike, just not around that area anymore. Wish there was a way to support this woman.

Jeni said...

Excellent post -showing the problems that can exist from several points with hitchhiking and trying to be a "good Samaritan" as well. And the comments were also all very well thought out too. It is a shame, for sure, to realize how far behind our society seems to be moving instead of forging ahead the way it should be to help, not harm each other.

latt├ęgirl said...

I'll have to agree that the first commenter here is living in a rather surreal situation if she is not permitted to help a child who has fallen down. I would do it anyway. Because the alternative is just stupid (for lack of a better word). Someone wants to sue me because I helped an injured child? Go ahead! I will enjoy the process of fighting back on behalf of common sense.

But the highway itself, well; that is just sad, because even those who want to help a hitchhiker can get injured or killed.