How to hitch hike across Alaska


On my first visit to Alaska, I hitch hiked from Homer at the bottom of the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage.  On my second visit I hitch hiked from Talkeetna to Wickersham Dome trail  just north of Fairbanks.  I was outfitted for a mountaineering trip, not camping in bear country.  So I must confess, I got a little nervous about food, etc. and slept in a public restroom like a vagrant, reasoning that it would provide better protection than camping outside in case of a bear.  Sadly, the next morning revealed an embarrassing problem with this plan. While I slept a couple drove into the parking lot.  I listened quietly, not wanting to admit to sleeping in the bathroom.  I heard the woman say she had to go to the bathroom.  With the door locked, I figured she’d give up soon and leave, saving me the embarrassment of revealing that I’d obviously slept all night in the bathroom.  Alas for the best laid plans of mice and men!  Soon she called to her husband about the door being locked.  I thought he would try for a short time and they’d leave but after a few tries, he wrenched the door open, breaking the lock.  Seeing me lying in a sleeping bag on the bathroom floor his eyes got large, “Oh” or some other inarticulate response dribbled from his lips.  They both got in their car and left in a hurry then.  Unfortunately for me, after several hours of trying, I didn’t get any further north than Wickersham Dome.  If you want to get further, to say the arctic sea, Dead Horse or anywhere else, keep in mind that most of the traffic going further is oilfield and other company vehicles, not likely to pick up a hitch hiker.

When I finally gave up and headed south again, a ride came quickly from a fat old man with a large white beard from North Pole Alaska (which is disappointingly far south).

Pointers for hitch hiking in Alaska or anywhere:

I wouldn’t recommend hitch hiking alone and unarmed for a woman but it can be done, just use common sense and think about your actions.  Be as friendly as possible, mostly people picking you up are alone on long trips and are looking for some company to pass the time.  Look as clean and well dressed as possible when hitch hiking, this can be hard when on a long trip but it’ll help you get a ride quicker.  Be willing to take any ride however short, you never know when the next one will come.  Be patient and have enough food and water to wait for a while.  A good sign saying where you’re going can help too.  If you’re hitch hiking in Alaska, you’re in luck it seems to be one of the easiest place to hitch hike, lots of friendly, willing people to pick you up.

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