Day 0 – The longest hitch

GDT kms: 6

Daily kms: 12

We started today with a rough start as neither of us were able to get much sleep on the bus. We arrived in Pincher Creek around 3:45am and then needed to wait until 5:00am for the Timmy’s to open.

We grabbed breakfast and sat around Timmy’s for around an hour taking advantage of the last good quality wifi we might have for a while. Around 6am, it seemed like there was enough traffic on the highway that we would be able to hitch.

It took us over an hour and a half to get a ride – maybe this isn’t abnormal, we haven’t hitched many times before, but we’ve never had to wait this long for a ride. The wait was made worse by the fact it is extremely windy in Pincher Creek. When you come in on the bus, you’ll notice some red glowing lights and wonder if aliens are landing; as the sun comes up, you’ll realize the lights are actually on wind turbines. Wind turbines need wind to run – so don’t be like us and assume you’ll get a hitch quickly and don’t need to put on your warm layers.

We were about to move and try a different spot further down the highway when we got picked up by Merlin and his wife who work in Waterton as a chef and hotel manager respectively. Apparently this is the slowest year they’ve ever seen – not surprising as much of the park is still closed due to the fires last year.

Once we got into town, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the day. We checked into and setup our campsite, mailed our duffle bags and travel clothes home, bought fuel and bear spray and grabbed lunch. After lunch, we set off on the trail to tag the border and the official start of the GDT. The trail itself was still in great condition albeit a bit exposed due to the burn.

When we got back to town, we got ice cream (definitely check out Big Scoop Ice Cream if you are ever in Waterton, they live up to their name!) and listened to a ranger talk in the park. Then we grabbed dinner, charged our services in a coffee shop and tucked ourselves in early to walk up at 5am the next day!

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