Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Keep on Trucking

Jul 16, 2013

When I was researching my book, Trucking in British Columbia, I heard a lot of stories about the pioneer wheel jockeys who hauled through the Fraser Canyon in the 1920s and 1930s. The route was winding and steep, without guardrails of any kind, unpaved and potholed. Rock slides were a constant threat and the roadbed could simply collapse into the canyon at any moment, washed away by rainfall and snow melt.

I was reminded of all this when I viewed this fascinating television documentary from AlJazeera on YouTube. It shows the dangers faced by truckers today crossing the high mountain passes in northern Pakistan. Of course, conditions are more severe in Pakistan; for one thing, the altitude makes driving more difficult and the cost of making a mistake more dramatic. Still, the film captures something of the challenges faced by early truckers here as well.

Warning: the film is hair-raising and should be viewed with a hand over the eyes by anyone with a fear of heights.