The Hitchhiker's Guide to Canada: Day 12: First Sight

Ben Collins hitchhikes to Calgary, during which he captures first sight of the Rocky Mountains

- - - Thumb's Up in Medicine Hat at 12:40 - - -

Ride 022: Chris. 3km to the edge of town in Medicine Hat 
After waiting for nearly an hour for a ride in the baking heat I was picked up by Chris who drove me a few kilometers right out to the edge of town...

Ride 023: Scottie. 292km from Medicine Hat, Alberta to Calgary, Alberta 
Before I could even put on my backpack or hold up my sign I was called over to by Scottie, who must I have assumed seen me jump out of Chris' car and identified me as a hitchhiker. Around my age and sat in a brand new truck, Scottie looked on the face of it like a nice lad and just leaving to head to Calgary was keen to offer me a ride. Stood there, I was in both disbelief and delight.

Enquiring about how on earth he afforded a truck which I knew cost upwards of $50,000, Scottie explained how he was cashing in on the BOOM! I mentioned in my previous post. At the age of just 25, Scottie didn't tell me exactly what he earned but he implied strongly that it was in excess of $100,000 a year (£63,000).

Working in the oil fields of northern Alberta, Scottie works two out of every three weeks and getting him there is his company which commissions a flight for its workers right from Medicine Hat. The work, whilst physical and dirty does come with a tantalising starting salary of $80,000 (£50,115) - I'm almost tempted to apply for a visa and move here myself.

However, whilst sat there chatting, the pleasantries of our conversation were rocked a little when Scottie turned to me and asked if I wanted any vodka.

Given it was barely lunchtime, I promptly and politely refused.

This though did not stop Scottie. Despite him driving, he displayed no qualms in pouring himself five or or six shots into a beaker which he then topped up the little space with warm orange juice from a carton he found beneath his seat.

Watching him do all this, I struggled to bite my tongue.

However, all this new found frustration was quickly lost when up ahead I caught my first sight:
15:51 Just seen the Rockies for the first time. Just a shadow on the horizon but they're big. F***ing awesome!
Having never before really seen "proper" mountains I have forever dreamed of coming to the Canadian Rockies and over recent days in particular become rather giddy with excitement knowing how close I was getting. Well today, for the first time, they were actually within sight.
Still 150km away, they stood firm and clear and spanned the horizon. I became awash with excitement and my spine tingled from top to bottom several times over 
The Rockies though were at least not for now the destination for standing between me and the mountains lay Calgary - a city which until now I had given little thought to. But there it was... in the middle of nowhere this expansive city (1.2 million) stood as firm and tall as the mountains behind them and as Scottie and I drove ever deeper downtown my excitement just grew and grew.

- - - Pack Down in Calgary at 16:20 - - -

Today at a Glance
Awoke in: Medicine Hat, Alberta
Sleeping in: Calgary, Alberta 

Time travelling: 03hrs 40mins
Distance traveled today: 295km
Rides today: 2 

Planned arrival time: 15:00 - 18:00
Actual arrival time: 16:20 

Highlight: First sight of the Canadian Rockies
Lowlight: Sitting next to Scottie whilst drinking

Total time travelling: 50hrs 29mins 
Total distance covered: 3,396km