October 10, 2012

Autumn Colours and Colourful Tales

So there we were, heading home along the old Princeton highway after visiting Roland’s mother in Kelowna this past weekend. We'd stopped at a couple of places along the road to take some pictures of the autumn colours...


...and now we were about two hours out of Vancouver, driving through the Manning Park area, the day golden and warm and everything around lit up by the autumn sun. We were both agreeing it doesn’t get much better than this when we passed a couple of hitchhikers standing at the side of the road. One held a sign we couldn’t read and we drove right on by them. Years ago, in California, after picking up two guys who turned out to be a lot creepier once they were in our van than they first seemed (and in whose company we spent over two anxious hours that felt like four) we decided no more hitchhikers.  Now, as we’d done many other times since that day long ago, we kept going. 

And yet, although I couldn’t read their sign, I did notice how the sunlight lit up the one guy’s white beard and how this made it look very interesting...sort of like a little upside-down halo on his face.  And I also saw that the other guy was quite young and that they both wore hiking gear and had backpacks resting on the ground at their feet.  And I guess Roland saw something compelling in them too because suddenly we were both debating whether we maybe shouldn’t have stopped to pick them up after all. There was just something about the scenario that made us want to help. We drove on, yo-yoing while five more miles passed under the wheels, and then we turned around and drove back to have another look at the two of them, to make up our minds one way or the other. 

Well, long story shortened, we picked them up.  It turned out to be the right thing to do. The best thing to do.  Turns out they were father and son: Peter and Hamish Coldicott of Christchurch, New Zealand.  And yes, they'd been out hiking.  In fact, just a couple of hours before we met them, they'd emerged out of the forest trails in Manning Park after hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to BC.  Five and half months, 4,200 kilometres.  They’d gone on the hike to raise money for a children’s charity in Christchurch where a number of earthquakes have caused some significant damage over the last few years.  

They'd been planning on catching a bus from the trail end but had missed it and, since the next one wasn't going to come until the next morning, they decided to try getting a ride.  They'd been standing at that spot for a little over an hour. They rode with us for about two hours that, this time, seemed like 30 minutes and, tired though they must have been, they answered all the questions we came up with.  The story of their travel, told in a very entertaining way, is here at the walk4kids blog where Peter describes their adventures and shows off some of the photos they took.  I read every single post and looked at the photos and was immensely awed by the big things some people do with their lives. 

Funny how things go sometimes; we gave a ride to a couple of strangers and I feel like we got so much more back in return. How fitting that this should have happened on Thanksgiving weekend!

1 comment:

Libby Fife said...

I can't get over how wonderfully beautiful your landscape is. No wonder painters have been drawn to that area for so long. Thanks for the pictures-really lovely.

Good deal with the hitchhikers. We would never do that here but your story turned out well. Glad to hear it.