Merritt British Columbia Canada tourism and travel adventures in and around the Nicola Valley.

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

Show Poster

Show Poster-Merritt Printing design

 

 

Colour Personified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Art Show in Merritt BC will be held from May 5, 2022 to June 5, 2022 at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre.  

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds-Tom Reynolds Photo

Shirley Reynolds Art Show in Merritt

Shirley got her art career off to a great start when she was just a toddler.  Her dad had painted her bedroom but apparently it was a little too boring for her so she took an indelible pencil and drew on the wall.  As you can imagine Shirley’s father was not impressed but took the time to explain to her that drawing on the wall was not appropriate. After this discussion he repainted the offending wall. However, awhile later he came back to find that his artist daughter had “improved” the wall again. From that point on she was hooked with painting and has spent over six decades perfecting her craft.

Landscapes in the Art Show in Merritt BC

Many artists over the years tend to develop a signature style that is associated with them.  While her paintings have grown in complexity over the years she has not settled into a specific style.  Each painting is unique, just like the artist, herself.  When we go camping she loves to bring paints so she can capture the scenery where ever we may be.

Tree at the lake

Reynolds Photo

Harmon Lake

Harmon Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Still lifes ” in the Art show in Merritt BC

As I said before, Shirley’s style is different for nearly every painting.  However, there is one aspect to her paintings that is consistent and that is the use of brilliant colours.  This definitely comes out when she does a “still life” as you can see in the examples below.

Flowers in Pot

Flowers in Pot-Tom Reynolds Photo

F

Flowers-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Abstracts in the Art Show in Merritt BC

As I said earlier Shirley does not have just one style that identifies her work.  I believe her paintings come from her soul so you never know what you are going to get until she puts her inspiration to paper.  While she does a large part of her work on landscapes she has begun to dabble in abstracts.  However her use of colour flows through these as well.

Geometric abstract

Geometric Abstract-Tom Reynolds Photo

movement abstracts

Movement Abstracts-Tom Reynolds photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressionism Style is at the Art Show in Merritt, BC

Sometimes the inspiration for a subject matter requires that the objects are less defined but you get the sense of the painting.  Below are examples of Shirley using this style.

Fall Colours

Fall Colours-Tom Reynolds Photo

Fall Tree

Fall Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is not all she does

While her primary artistic endeavor is painting, her creativity is expressed  in almost everything she does. On several occasions she has set her hand to doing mosaics.  Apparently it is handy to save your broken cups and saucers because you never know when the need to do a mosaic will come. Also you may come across something that would make a great base for your project such as a ball.

Mosaic Globe

Mosaic Globe-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 
Mosaic Tea Cups

Mosaic Tea Cups-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She still hasn’t finished  experimenting with different mediums as she and her daughter, Andrea are going to try their hand at pottery.  

Her artistic talents have also stirred her interest in interior decorating.  Along with the items she is displaying, she has upped the ambiance of the show by providing colourful props that support the art work.

Support the Art Show in Merritt BC

Supporting the art show is one way of ensuring that the arts will be alive and well in Merritt.  When you sign the register this provides evidence to the funding partners that the activity is valued by the community and tourists alike. While you are at the show you can browse the gift shop and help support local artists and the Arts Council.  It is also a good time to check out the programs that are offered.  

 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

 

 

Off-Roading in Merritt BC Canada

 Extreme Outdoor Terrain Action 4×4 Sport

Off-roading Adventure Seeker’s Wanted!

Off-roading in Merritt BC is a top destination spot for all adventure seekers who like a challenge. Moreover, the Merritt BC region provides miles of  trails, extreme terrain action for all 4×4 sporting enthusiasts. With moderate temperatures year-round,  the Nicola Valley is a first choice for many who seek off road extreme 4x4ing. The Nicola Valley boasts endless back country roads, which offer gentle slopes for beginners or steep climbing mountain trails for the brave.  Come and discover some of the most beautiful, scenic, natural place’s found right here in Merritt BC. Canada. I guarantee it will be a most enjoyable outdoor experience.  

Off-Roading Merritt BC

Picture time. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Off-Roading Merritt BC

Scenic beauty. Pic by Tania Stewart.

Sightseeing While Off-Roading in Merritt BC 

Off-roading around Merritt BC will leave you breathless.  With such amazing scenic beauty to see, old growth trees, towering mountain peaks, rock bluffs, grass plains, hidden lakes, wildlife, and the odd cow. Take some time to discover those mountain top lakes that seem to be untouched with exceptional fishing. Certain waterfalls, lakes, mountains, and other natural beauties might be off-limits unless you have an off-road vehicle to drive you there. Allowing you to take a dip in a secluded lake or waterfall, say what! Hiking is great, but to get to some of these places would take days.  

Mountain views while off roading in Merritt BC

Mountain Views. Photo by Robert Neil

Nicola Valley wildlife

Mountain goat. Picture by Robert Neil

Off-road vehicles is anticipated to grow at 7% CAGR between 2021 and 2027. Market Growth

4x4ing in Merritt BC

Jeep Wrangler Style. Photo by Tania Stewart.

4x4ing Back Country Roads Summer & Spring

Albeit most love to go off-roading in the summer months and the spring. Showcasing fresh buds on the trees, birds, bee’s, bear’s all waking up to the warm sun. Truly has to be one of the best times for getting out and hitting the back roads. Although off-roading in Merritt BC, Canada is a year round sport. Many people will find that the warmer months are more ideal. Nature enthusiasts will love the abundance of wildlife found in the back roads. Summer is great for overlanding off-roading. Taking your time with longer trips, staying at campsites, sleeping in tents, or just outside under the stars. Truly bare necessities! 

Birding in Merritt BC

Wildlife. Photo by Tania Stewart

Wildlife while Off-Roading in Nicola Valley

Bear Aware. Photo Tania Stewart

Nicola Valley Off-Roading in The Fall 

Authentic natural environments is my favorite time to go off-roading. Getting out on the back country roads is truly exhilarating for all extreme adventurists. Along with being a bit cooler, fall colors will take you by surprise. Noteworthy, the Nicola Valley is renowned for its Indian Summers, with comfortable warm days and cool nights. Which makes this an ideal time for day trips, picnics, hiking, and just enjoying the scenic beauty. Rocky off-roading in the fall is a lot of fun, but may require a certain skill level. 

Fall mountain top trees. Photo by Tania Stewart

Off-roading in the Winter 

When temperatures start to dip and snow is starting to cover your favorite trails in the Nicola Valley. This doesn’t mean you have to put your Jeep or yourself in hibernation for the winter. Truly, 4×4 off-roading in the snow can be an extremely enjoyable, extreme adventure for those who are up for the challenge. Even if you a planning a two hour tour in the back country or an all day one. Or like us, go long into the night.  

Backcountry near Merritt BC

10m from downtown Merritt. Picture by Tania Stewart

Jeep in Merritt winter

Spring time 4×4. Picture by Tania Stewart

Off-Roading Merritt BC

Discover some of the most beautiful, scenic, natural place right here in Merritt BC, Canada. Picture by Tania Stewart

Off-roading weather conditions in Merritt BC 

When off-roading in the winter, know what you are up against. Understand and be able to identify the different types of snow. Furthermore traversing different snow consistencies will require different driving techniques.  For example, there is hard, icy snow located on north-facing slopes. Soft snow that is sitting in the sun. Knowing that trying to stay on top of soft and dry snow is often harder than driving over wet and heavy snow. Truly plan your course accordingly before embarking out in the backcountry.

backcountry roads in Merritt BC

Spring Snow. Picture Tania Stewart

Nicola Valley mountain scenery

Mountain views. photo by Tania Stewart

Must Have – 4×4 Compass

night skies in  Merritt BC

Spectacular sunsets. Picture by Tania Stewart.

Useful Tip

Airing down your tires is an effective way to increase the amount of traction and displacement your vehicle has on slippery, icy surfaces. Moreover by reducing the amount of air in your tires, more surface area of the tire will touch the ground.  As a result, gives a higher level of traction and displacement. Further, it is easier to stay on top of the snow,  preventing you from spinning out and digging yourself into a hole. 

looking for sasquatch in merritt bc

Searching for Bigfoot. Photo Tania Stewart.

Nicola Valley gravel roads

Back roads adventure.

Snow Tires in the Nicola Valley

Investing in a set of snow tires is perhaps the best way to avoid skidding and sliding on icy trails. Snow tires are specifically designed with deep treads that have larger gaps to optimize traction when driving on snow and ice. Remember, if the road is slippery, you will have less traction. Your tires simply can not grip the ground well when it is wet.

bigfoot in backcountry

Bigfoot lives here! Photo by Tania Stewart.

The lighter your Jeep is, the easier it will be to stay on top of the snow and avoid sinking into the soft surface.

Family day in the backcountry

Family fun time! Photo by Tania Stewart.

wilderness adventures in the Nicola Valley

Lake cool off! Picture by Tania Stewart

Know Your Limits

I can not stress the importance of knowing your limits. Moreover know your vehicles limits. If you are just starting to adventure in the back country. Try low lying roads on dry tracks. Even better, bring a well seasoned off-roader with you or team up with a well seasoned off-roader. Fact,  walkie-talkies are a must. Bring a friend, preferably in their own vehicle.  If you have a break down it could be many hours before anyone finds you. Cell phones do not work here. Keep water, food, flashlights, long distant radio, extra clothing even a flare gun. 

night time exploring in nicola valley

Back roads adventure. Picture Tania Stewart.

Pay Attention to Traction

The biggest hurdle beginner off-roaders face is figuring out how traction works. Traction is one of the most important things you need to understand when off-roading. When you lose traction, you run the risk of having your truck spin out of control or go off the trail. 

Traction basically means how well your truck’s tires are gripping the ground. That is why tires with deeper tread have better traction—the deeper tread allows the tires to better grip the ground. Important to know,  if the road is slippery, you will have less traction. Tires simply can not grip the ground well when it is wet. The same goes for rocks. The less traction you have, the more important it is to accelerate smoothly. 

nature in Merritt BC Canada

Hitting the trails. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC sunset

Sunsets are the best! Photo by Tania Stewart

Practice More Often

Get as much practice as you can. The more you practice, the better you will be at off-roading. You don’t have to practice every day—you might have obligations like work to take care of. However, you can set aside a few hours every weekend to practice your off-roading skills. Find trails near you that you can use for practicing. 

In Conclusion

Discover some of the most beautiful, scenic, natural place’s found right here in Merritt BC. Canada.  If you like adventure and challenges, you will enjoy off-roading here in the Nicola Valley. Meet you on the trail.

sunset in merritt bc canada

Scenic view 4×4 action. Photo by Tania Stewart

Off-Roading in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley 4x4ing

#merrittmatters

National & Provincial AWARD WINNING Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

BC Fundraiser Ambassador Experience

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Bloggers Share Their Hell or High Water Fundraiser Adventure

Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors  – On March 13th, 2022 musicians, celebrities, special guests, dancers and locals came together for the Hell or High Water Fundraiser in an effort to raise, much needed, funds for the displaced families of the BC fires and floods. The event played out over 12 hours on the Experience Nicola Valley website and Facebook page.  Every two hours, an Experience Nicola Valley Blogger from Merritt BC Canada,  joined the Facebook group on social media to enjoy the show with them and to help with any questions. Here is some of their feedback. 

2 Hour Fundraiser Episodes – Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tania Stewart

Many people were reaching out for information, guidance most importantly needing reassurance that they had not been forgotten.  Not knowing if they had a home to come back to or if all was lost, washed down with the river or in the case of the fire’s, dreading but hoping that their home was still standing. What the Hell or High Water Fundraiser has given to so many people is truly amazing. Therefore, it is important to recognize the organizers for putting on such an event in such a short time is incredible. Giving, providing such needed hope to all who have been tragically affected by this shows us how people will stand together in unity and strength. Collaboration, teamwork, and care can make wonderful things happen. The amount of people who stepped up to take part in this event truly shows us how united we are.”

Tania Stewart
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Hell or High Water Fundraiser Telethon Ambassador

Bill Henderson – Chilliwack

The Abrams - Telethon

The Abrams

Taylor James

Taylor James

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Jen Schell

“I really thought that Hell or Highwater Fundraiser was exceptionally put together. The team took in a tremendous undertaking. Therefore,  I feel represented the situation with compassion and empathy. Conveying the message in a beautiful and heartwarming manner. It was a privilege to experience this telethon. The performances were extremely talented. And we enjoyed it immensely.”

Jen Schell
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Bobby Garcia performs at Hell or High Water Fundraiser

Bobby Garcia

Telethon performance by Broadway Crush

Broadway Crush

David Gogo performs at telethon

David Gogo

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Susanne Snider

“Being the opening Telethon Influencer has been a rewarding experience. However, seeing people from across Canada and beyond joining in was so uplifting. The support and positivity for this event was very encouraging. I am very happy and honoured to have been able to help. Lastly, thank you for the opportunity.

Susanne Snider
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Lisa Brokop Live at Grande Theatre in Mission BC

Lisa Brokop

Loverboy

Loverboy

Come Hell or High Water with Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Carole Leroux

“What a great 12-hours!! First time in a long time since the entire household sat in front of the TV over both lunch and supper so that we wouldn’t miss a minute. Therefore, every performance and every interview just seemed to get better and better at bringing these tragic events and their effects to the forefront. The 2 songs that particularly moved me were 1) When Hell came to Town by Dirt Road Opera and 2) the “Last Chance” song by Kenny Hess.  In addition to supporting the telethon fund, we will most certainly be adding these artists to our home play list.”

Carole Leroux

Dirt Road Opera music

Dirt Road Opera

Kenny Hess

Kenny Hess

Beverley Mahood Hell of High Water

Beverley Mahood

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tom Reynolds

“Being on the second shift of this great fundraiser was exciting as the moment began to grow. The music and information was first class. Consequently, the Rick Tippe video was truly amazing. I was blown away when William from Michigan joined our conversation. I think he was an Amber Marshall fan. Being an Ambassador was great fun, especially when surrounded by the hard working and dedicated Rotary Club of Merritt members.”

Tom Reynolds
Hell or High Water Ambassador
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

***

The Hell or High Water website is still accepting donations until May 13th, 2022.  

Hell or High Water Ambassadors Feedback

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC

Merritt’s Top Fishing Holes

 Top Fishing Lakes & Camping Spots Within the Nicola Valley

 

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC – Merritt’s Top Fishing Holes 2022 – Fishing & Camping surrounding Merritt BC. truly will provide you with a wide range of different species of fish when fishing in Merritt BC lakes. Along with unique desert-like temperatures and mild winters provides 12 months an extreme “Year Round” fishing destination spot.  Because most lakes are located within an hour drive of  Merritt, truly attracts a large number of anglers, campers, and even day-trippers. Furthermore,  boasting friendly locals who are always willing to help, answer questions and point you in the right direction to the best fishing holes.  Fishing & camping in Merritt BC. is your next destination spot here in Canada.

“Only problem you may face is choosing the lake!” Tania Stewart.

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC

Lazy summer days on Lundbom Lake. Pic by Tania Stewart.

 5 Favorite Fishing Spots

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC at Harmon Lake

With a small forested site for launching small boats, Harmon Lake is the spot for fishing & camping in Merritt BC. Known especially  for fly fishing rainbow trout, but also as a great place to camp. There are graveled camping sites for tents and motorhomes, a boat launch and parking area for day trippers. On site there are horse shoe pits, and a great family environment with a 24 – 7 site host. Harmon Lake is located in the beautiful Kane Valley, with lake trails, hiking paths, scenic views and to top it off, only 20 minutes from Merritt. Furthermore, “Dog friendly” to boot!

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC at Lundbom Lake 

Truly this recreational spot is ideal for camping, fishing, horseback riding, ATV/dirt biking, along with swimming. Located only minutes from Merritt, hence ideal for provisions or a shop-about in historical downtown. Additionally it is dog friendly, welcomes horses along with other amenities. The most popular species you find here are Rainbow Trout. Again, please inquire where you can fish and make sure to follow local rules and regulations. Lundbom Lake’s surrounding area provides excellent outdoor recreations that will provide you with countless trails, breathtaking scenery, while being only 15m from Merritt.  This recreation site is very popular and offers a variety of sites, with sunny ones or shady ones. Importantly, many sites can accommodate fairly large units. Albeit,  this is one of my “Top Fishing Holes” in Merritt BC.

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC.

Bring your horses! Pic by Tania Stewart.

 

Dragon Flies Merritt's Top Fishing Holes

Dragon Flies at Alleyne Lake. Picture by Tania Stewart

Kentucky-Alleyne Lakes for Fishing and Camping

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park, is a beautiful lake with a surreal turquoise color. Popular for hiking, camping, fishing, and paddling. Hike around Kentucky Lake is kid-friendly and is a great hike for families. Easily accessible, located within a Provincial Park, these two lakes are ideal for anglers, hence making this a perfect place for family fishing. Interesting to note,  Kentucky is stocked annually with 8000 Pennask Rainbows. Ideal for trolling with small lures and spinning gear is the most popular method used on the lake.  Kentucky is considered to be somewhat slow, however it quite often produces large trout in the 4-5 lb. range. Furthermore great for summer kayaking, swimming, or just dipping your toes. 

Alleyne Lake Kayaking

Kayaking/fishing on Alleyne Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart

Alleyne Lake swimming and day trips

Fishing, swimming, camping! All is Good.

 

Alleyne Lake Kayaking

Kayaking Lundbom Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Nicola Lake – Kokanee, rainbow trout, and burbot can be found in this large cold lake

Located 15m from Merritt makes  Nicola Lake one of the most recognized and favorite for anglers. Surrounded by mountains, deep crisp water is ideal for great fishing. Additionally for campers, Monck Park has full amenities located in a Provincial Park. With a boat launch for campers along with a sandy shaded beach, hiking trails. and a small general store. When not fishing, Nicola Lake offers a  wide assortment of recreational activities including camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, water-skiing, wind-surfing and hiking. 

Merritt's Top Fishing Holes Merritt BC.

Large deep lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Nicola Lake in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Lake fishing dock. Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

In addition to providing recreational opportunities, Monck Park protects a ponderosa pine, bunchgrass ecosystem and a volcanic rock cliff landscape.

Monck Park Beach

Monck Park Beach. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC.

Perfect shade for picnics. Picture by Tania Stewart.

For the Love of Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC

Swimming in Merritt BC Canada

Come and experience! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Peter Hope Lake in the Nicola Valley 

Added bonus Peter Hope Lake is located off Hwy 5A, Peter Hope is well known for fly fishing, stocked with Pennask rainbow trout that are known to put up a good fight. Bring a lot of bug dope, hence the abundance of insects. Peter Hope Lake is a popular site for fishing and camping. The campsite is located along the north shore of the lake and can accommodate motorhomes and large 5th wheels. There is a mix of sunny sites with a few shady sites also available. There are 2 boat launches available for use and a rustic playground for kids under adult supervision plus dog friendly.

Paska Lake in Nicola Valley

Paska Lake-Shirley Reynolds Photo

Brook Trout

This lake is fished year round, although most popular in fall/winter. Being aggressive and challenging will test your angler skills.  Try using small spinners, worms, or bugs that are in the area. Grasshoppers or mayflies help, although harder to locate during the summer. Being a non-native species in British Columbia, these fish are stocked in selected lakes by Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC. Furthermore they are also stocked at the fingerling or yearling stage. Interesting to note, being sterile, these fish utilize all of their energy on growth so they can also become trophy-sized fish in a short span of time.

Fishing lures in Merritt BC

Big Fishing Story. Picture by Tania Stewart.

Rainbow Trout

Albeit Rainbow Trout as being one of  the most popular fish in the Nicola Valley. While found in most lakes, during the summer months Rainbow Trout will head to the colder deep water’s. You can find them closer to the bottom of the lake. Try using bright colored spoons, half-back nymph, and small leech patterns. Spring/fall trolling lucky bugs will work. Insects, leeches, small fish, crayfish and mussels are just a few delicious treats a rainbow trout likes to munch on. And likes to live in cool freshwater.

Did you know? The rainbow trout is a member of the salmon family and can get quite large. The largest recorded rainbow trout was 25.8 kilograms! Tania Stewart.

Julie Pollard kissing fish

Kiss the Fish! Photo Julie Pollard

Ponderosa Sports Tackle

Ponderosa Sports Tackle. Pic Tania Stewart.

Kokanee Salmon

Generally found hiding amongst the weeds and shoals, these curious fish want to know what is going on in their environment. Active when windy,  camouflaging themselves in the waves. Fly rod with a small nymph or lucky bug lure is best for Kokanee, as they like to jump into the air while hooked. Prepare for the fight. Kokanee defiantly provide an excellent sport angling experience, while being a tasty treat. Kokanee are also forage for bigger fish such as Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout, and Burbot. Due to this, Kokanee are programmed to flee from larger fish. Fast aggressive flashers or dodgers moving through the water can present a threat to Kokanee causing them to take off.

Fact – These chrome beauties are a popular sport fish in BC, only second to Rainbow Trout.

Camping in Canada

My friend Joanne caught a beauty at our site.

Merritt's Top Fishing Holes

Photo curtesy of Tom Reynolds.

The average size of Kokanee in BC ranges from 7 to 10 inches, but can reach over 20 inches in healthy ideal Kokanee fisheries. They are a fragile fish and do not handle catch and release well and their mortality rate is high even when handled and released the correct way. It is encouraged to limit your catch to feeding your family at dinner, not to just fill your freezer. 

Fact- The word Kokanee comes from the Kootenay First Nation word meaning “red fish”.

Fishing & Camping in Merritt BC

Best Fishing Holes in BC

 

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Logan Lake Ashcroft Lac LeJeune

One of many road trips  starting from the Nicola Valley

When I decide to take a Circle Tour from Merritt BC I tend to head out when it is not the optimum time to visit these places.  Therefore I include items in the  blog that pertain to other times of the year so that you can see what it is like at any time of the year. That is what road trips are all about. 

Circle Tour from Merritt BC Starts In Logan Lake

The first part of our road trip from Merritt heads out Highway 8 to Mamette Lake Road (Hwy 97C). At anytime of the year the scenery is beautiful.  In the Spring you can see the beauty of the landscape coming alive with all the various shades of green.  The summer brings out the pastoral scenery with the cattle and horses out grazing and the loveliness of Mamette Lake.  The Fall showcases the magnificent colours of the trees and shrubs.

While all these seasons are great, the beauty of the area is stunning with the snow covered trees and pasture land.  As you travel along Mamette Lake Road (Hwy 97C) You will come to Left Field Cidery which produces one of the best apple ciders you can find.

 

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Left Field Cidery-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ice Fishing on the Circle Tour from Merritt

Just a little way past Left Field Cidery you come upon Mamette Lake.  In the warmer months you can do the canoeing, kayaking and fishing thing but in winter the main activity is ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Mamette Lake

Ice Fishing Mamette Lake. Tom Reynolds Photo.

Logan Lake on the Circle Tour from Merritt

After leaving Mamette Lake you arrive at the intersection of Hwy 97C and Hwy 97D.  Turning right takes you to the District of Logan Lake.  The District is home to many of the miners who work at Highland Valley Copper.  Because of the mine, Logan Lake has amenities that exceed many other towns of their size.

Snowmobiling, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and ice fishing are favourite outdoor activities.  The community centre boasts an ice rink as well.

Logan Lake

Logan Lake Tom Reynolds Photo

The above photo is of frozen Logan Lake where  you can snowshoe or cross-country ski around the  lake.

Logan Lake by Design

Logan Lake’s claim to fame is that it was established to house the miners that worked at Highland Valley Copper.  The town was established in the early 1970’s and was designed from the ground up using the planning theories of the era.  The town centre is a plaza where cars are not allowed.  It is necessary to park in the lots on the outside of the village square and walk into the shops.

Logan Lake Town Centre

Logan Lake Town Centre-Tom Reynolds Photo

Other Activities on Circle Tour from Merritt

Logan Lake is packed with activities in the warmer months of the year.  For example, there are numerus trails for ATV’s.  In fact Logan Lakes promotes this use.  If that is not your cup of tea you can enjoy fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and hiking.  If it is out doors Logan Lake has it.

 

The Circle Tour from Merritt Moves to Ashcroft

The next part of the circle tour from Merritt BC follows highway 97C to Ashcroft.   Along the way you pass the massive copper mine, Highland Valley Copper which is one of the largest open pit mines in North America. During the warm months you can see the huge slag lake which is an amazing shade of blue.

Highland Valley Copper Mine

Highland Valley Copper-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ashcroft is an inspiring community

When we arrived in Ashcroft it was lunch time so we sought out a place to have lunch and it the jackpot, Unitea café and lounge.  The food was fresh and delicious but more importantly the owner was a fountain of information about the community.  They have a strong arts community for both art and performing arts.  In fact the cafe is home to regular music concerts on their premises.

Ashcroft BC Cafe Coffee shop

Unitea-Tom Reynolds Photo

Ashcroft has an interesting museum and heritage park that attracts a lot of attention in the summer months’

Ashcroft BC Museum

Ashcroft museum-Tom Reynolds Photo

The Circle Tour from Merritt The Last Lap

Heading to Hwy 1 takes you past the turn off to Dessert Hills Ranch where you can get all sorts of locally grown vegetables and if hungry a Taco.  Once you reach the highway you want to go east towards Kamloops where you will come to Cache Creek, home of Ane’s Pizza and bakery which is home to the best fruit pie around. 

Continuing on towards Kamloops you will pass Savona which is on Kamloops Lake.  This is followed by the Tobiano Golf Course.  You will then reach the Coquihalla Highway that will take you back to Merritt BC Canada.

Lac Le Jeune the Final Stop

Lac Lejeune is more a summertime playground but right next to it is the Stake Lake Nordic Ski Park.  If you are into cross country skiing this is a great place for you.  The trails are well groomed and you can find trails for all ski levels.  Myself I love the green trails.

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Stake Lake

When you leave this area you are just one half hour away from Merritt!

Circle Tour from Merritt BC

Logan Lake Ashcroft Lac LeJeune

One of many tours starting from the Nicola Valley

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Skiing Near Merritt

Apex Mountain Resort

Winter Family Fun

I am aware of several choices for Skiing near Merritt BC that are less than three hours away.  You can find Sun Peaks, near Kamloops, it has great snow, a quaint village and usually good weather.  It has all the amenities of a first class resort.

When you go  South from Merritt you have your choice of Silver Star near Vernon, Big White near Kelowna and Apex near Penticton.

We chose to explore Apex Mountain Resort, near Penticton

Skiing Near Merritt on our Apex journey

On a Thursday night our kids and their partners arrived at our home in Merritt. Because of  the wonders of modern science and fibre optic technology some of the crew were able to put in some work remotely before our travels to Apex.

The day started with a great breakfast of specialty eggs, toast and fruit.  Later we had a fend-for-your self lunch.  With the work done we were packed we were ready to leave by 3:00 and on the road.

Lodging at Apex

We were greeted by our hosts Lisa and Greg  who were just outstanding.  They were so helpful and had all the equipment in the world (well almost). As a result they were able to loan us skates and those traction things you put on your feet to help with the icy conditions.

The digs were absolutely amazing.  I have been to lots of short stays and found that most of them are poorly equipped, but not here. There were plenty of quality dishes, pots and pans and utensils.  They even had a spice drawer for upscaling your meal.

Skiing Near Merritt on our Apex journey

Apex Chalet

This Chalet is somewhat deceiving as it appears to be only 2 stories but because it is built on a cliff face there are two more stories.  The unit we stayed in was just below the main level where Lisa and Greg live.

Once we got our bags unloaded from the car (Greg helped), Lisa showed up with a hot out of the oven short bread cookie big enough for the six of us.  What a great treat.

The Apex Ski Hill

The great thing about Apex is that the runs are so well organized so that you don’t spend your day traveling on ski lifts.  as you can see from the map everything is run off just a few lifts.

Map courtesy of Apex Mountain Resort

The kids were up on the ski hill taking advantage of all the various runs where they tackled some of those black diamond runs.  My daughter was decked out in a great outfit for her adventures.

Apex-Andrea & Stephen

Apex-Andrea & Stephen-Kaleigh Milinazzo Photo

It was a good day for travelling up the chair as these three show great smiles,

Apex Chairlift

Apex Chairlift-Kaleigh Milinazzo Photo

and an even better day for flying down the hill.

Apex Ski Run

Apex Ski Run-Kaleigh Milinazzo photo

Snowshoe Trails at Apex

 Snow shoeing is an activity related to skiing near Merritt BC.  Two areas ay Apex are designated for snowshoeing.  The first one is the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre.  This area consists of beautiful cross country ski trails and snow shoe trails.  You pay a nominal fee to use this facility but it is worth every penny.  The trails are well maintained.

On the other hand you can choose the free area which is just a short car ride from the village.  We found Snowflake Lake trail to be perfect for Shirley and me.  While you can cross country ski on these trails they are not groomed and are shared with the snowshoers so they are kind of rough.

Snowflake Lake Trail

Snowflake Lake Trail-Shirley Reynolds Photo

Apex Mountain Relaxing Times

While there is lots to do outdoors it is also great to take some time off from the strenuous activities and chill out. We took advantage of the pub in the village called the Gun Barrel Saloon to have a beer and some nibbles before heading back to the chalet for a gourmet pasta meal.

Gun Barrel Saloon

Gun Barrel Saloon

While I raved about our chalet earlier for its atmosphere and its equipment you need to see some of the spaces we had to relax in.

Apex Living Room

Apex Living Room-Tom Reynolds Photo

Apex Living Room

Apex Living Room- T Reynolds photo

 

The piece- de- resistance was the hot tub with its view of the valley.

Apex hot tub

Apex hot tub-Kaleigh Milinazzo photo

Skiing Near Merritt, BC the Apex Experience

I have to say that we had an excellent time at Apex.  Unfortunately we did not have time to do everything.  Skating in the wilderness run would have been fun as would the tube park.  However we only had so much time and therefore we will have something to come back for.

Skiing Near Merritt

Apex Mountain Resort

Winter Family Fun

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

Nicola Valley Talk

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley Affect Artists

Fires and Floods in Merritt BC

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Joan Jennings Facebook account of the flood event

Fires and floods in Merritt BC have changed the lives of artists and so many people.

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley affect artists and the whole communities that were hit by forest Fires and floods. People who were affected and displaced, some permanently, will never forget this year of crises.

A heat dome in June, forest fires all around during the summer, and then severe river flooding in November kept communities in action while people, animals, crops, and properties were threatened. Immediate action was required from so many people during the 2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley 

It was shocking to experience, and shocking to know the damage that has been done, during these natural disaster events. The after effects are massive, and taking all the efforts of individuals, businesses, companies, and organizations to handle the effects and get back to functional lives.

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley – Arts Community wants to help

In the Nicola Valley, the Arts Council is focused on the members, artists, artisans, and musicians who actively contribute to our arts community. So many were impacted by one or more of these disasters, some losing everything they had to create the art and music they share with us. Some lost their studios, their homes, their way to travel to the Nicola Valley, their pets, and livestock, their businesses.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is looking for ways to support the artists and help get their creativity going again.

One initiative is a t-shirt design by local artist Joel Reid, which will be printed and available at our Nicola Valley Arts Centre Gift Shop. The proceeds will go to helping the artists affected by the fires and floods.

Hell or High Water BC Fundraiser

Hell or Highwater. Donate!

Hell or Highwater

This blog site Experience Nicola Valley, and its affiliation associates like Eh Canada Travel and Rockin River Fest are organizing an amazing fundraising initiative. “Hell or High Water“, with many musicians ready to perform for a March 13 concert from 10 am to 10 pm, with a telethon happening to invite and accept donations. Art, sports, music, travel prizes included!

We hope that some of the funds raised will support the creative community, here and in other affected communities. 

Here are a few stories of the affects the 2021 natural disasters have had on our artists and community members….

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn of Pink Room Crafts

Amanda has been a part of our arts community, contributing her lovely paper crafts for sale in our shop for several years. We

BC Flood Victim

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn, Merritt Artist

knew she had bought a home with her husband, Kevin, and heard about all the renos as the months went by. A while back, Amanda shared that her studio was done! She had it all set up and was ready to create, and give classes to share her art.

Then this, in Amanda’s words….

November 15/2021

We were awoken by a bang on the door at 4:30am on the morning of the flood. When I looked out the window, I remember just seeing the house surrounded by water. My husband went out front and someone yelled that the river broke it’s banks. We just couldn’t believe it. When I got to the other end of our home, I saw that our living room (lower than the rest of the house) already had a foot of water and it was pouring in through the gaps in the doors. Panic set in and we started to try and move things out of the living room, having the sense to shut off the power as the plugs were already immersed.

It was then that I realised I should probably go outside to the garage to move my car. Once I got the garage door open, items started to float out and were taken away by the current, which was picking up speed very quickly. The water was just about level with the footboard of my car but boxes and storage containers were blocking my access to the driver’s door.

One of these containers held all the craft supplies

One of these containers held all the craft supplies for my upcoming wreath making class. I pushed it out of the way only to see it taken by the current and float down the street. I was able to move my car to safety, and collect a few more items from inside the house before the fire rescue and police arrived at our door and said there was no time left and we had to leave. A police officer carried my dog to safety and my husband and I carried a few bags of belongings.

We evacuated to Kamloops along with my mom and dad and their 2 dogs. We were fortunate to be offered a place to stay through my employers, Interior Community Services. They had a youth shelter with a basement that were we able to use.

Just before the flood, I had resigned from my position at work as I wanted to embark on my own arts and crafts business full-time. I had several Christmas orders and was set to teach a handful of crafting classes at the NVCAC.

Going back to our home was devastating

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda’s house, in flood zone affected in 2021

Going back to our home was devastating. The smell was terrible, it was thick with mud inside, and the water had reached 4 feet in parts of our little rancher. We had support from the Samaritan’s Purse to empty out our home but I remember putting off and putting off going into my craft room; in fact it was the last place we cleared.

It was so hard picking through items caked in mud, looking for what could be salvaged in the dark and cold. Seeing over a decade of supplies and tools having to be thrown away was hard. I miss the different papers, cardstock, and paints that I had; I know they are just “things” but all were carefully acquired and represented something to me.

Letting go of doing arts and crafts full-time was challenging at first, but I am hopeful that it might work out again one day.  If I am honest, I have found it hard to start creating again, and not just because of lacking supplies. It’s kind of like going through a period of grieving and I am just not fully through it yet. I made a few gifts for family and friends over Christmas and I enjoyed painting a portrait of my dog, Jeff, for the Creature Comforts show.

Sometimes in life you have to be okay with asking for and receiving help

BC 2021 Flood Event Art Show

Amanda submitted artwork of her dog for our show “Creature Comforts” (bottom right) Photo Jano Howarth

I have been so thankful for the support of family and friends and we are grateful to be able to stay at my parent’s home right now. What I have learned is that sometimes in life you have to be okay with asking for and receiving help. There are seasons of our lives when we are the ones doing the giving, but there are also times when we need to accept support; not always a comfortable thing to do.

I am not sure we will be able to rebuild our home but I know in time, things will be pieced together. For now, I am taking each day as it comes, trying to stay active, enjoying time with loved ones, and I am ready for when the next creative spark hits.

After several weeks of work on her home, Amanda contributed a story and a painting she did of their dog, Jeff, to the community art show we have on, “Creature Comforts: We Love Our Pets and Animals”. It is a touching story and the painting is a beautiful depiction of a beloved pet.

Amanda gives classes as a part of our Arts Programs. She is leading a Kids Art class in February 2022, during our Creative Comforts Art Show. She will take the kids through the Gallery to see work from our artists and photographers, about the pets and animals we love and care for. Then she’ll lead an art activity and give the children time to share their stories of the disasters and their animals.

Computer Digital Artist – Amrit Ahuja

Computer Generated Imagery Artist

Computer Generated Imagery Artist – Amrit Ahuja

Amrit is the sound guy for Open Mic night, and does videography work for the community. But Amrit Ahuja is known most now for his Computer Generated Imagery work with global artists. He worked from his studio in the family home, immersed, and and posted what he was doing on Facebook now and then, so we could keep up with the very current career he has chosen.

On November 15th, 2021, Amrit’s life changed because of the natural disasters in the Nicola Valley …

His texts to me…

Our house flooded completely. But we’re safe.  Just wanted to check in with you. I imagine you’re ready to evac, yes?

… I think I lost all of my gear and work, with no insurance. Just devastated today

I’m just at a relative’s house right now, but we are thinking of going to Kamloops or something. I dunno. It’s just so overwhelming. But doing okay. Keeping my head up.

I asked Amrit if he had the bulk of his work in the cloud? 

Unfortunately not. I’m 90% sure I’ve lost all of my work and gear. I did put my computers up on a top shelf, so I’m HOPING the water or moisture doesn’t get to them.

Then I asked him if he could continue with some work because I knew he was involved in an exciting project.

I did purchase a laptop to do more work but I just feel too exhausted to do so. How are you holding up?

We shared stories of living away from home, in someone else’s house, while we wondered what was happening in our evacuated and devastated town. Our town was divided into sections, getting coloured flags, with  the worst news…red. I asked him if he knew he could return to his home.

I believe we got the red flag, so unfortunately not

BC Floods 2021 Merrritt BC

Amrit Ahuja returns to his flood damaged home. Screenshot from Amrit Ahuja’s video

I think we’ll be looking for a place to rent, until the house is repaired, which may take months and the fact that we can’t go out and clean will make things worse as the water sits.

This issue of waiting to get back to properties that needed  immediate attention was very difficult for people. They had to wait until useable water was restored for the whole community, with the whole sewer system compromised by the flooding.

And then there were stories of property theft…

So now we are stressed about looting too

My response…”So traumatic to be on hold AND knowing you are in for a world of pain. So sorry…”

And he sent a video of his basement…

Bad news mixed with good news

When Amrit was able to come back to Merritt, he settled in with family with months of work ahead. But good news…

I have all my gear salvaged and set up! A bit hard getting my focus back to it. But thankful I still have all my files and such

BC Flood Event Good News

Good news! Amrit’s Mustang was in the shop getting fixed

And because my Mustang needed repairs, it was in a shop in Lower Nic and was safe. So one bad thing turned into a good thing, as our house garage was flooded and wrecked our main vehicle.

Such good news to hear Amrit’s work and livelihood was okay! But as with so many of these disaster stories, bad news was mixed with good news. One of the very tough things while enduring this flood experience was not knowing, day after day. Being in touch with Amrit and several others, personally through messaging and emails, and so many more friends, colleagues, and community members through Facebook kept us informed about all the ups and downs people were experiencing.

Amrit is continuing with his exciting CGI project, collaborating with people far and wide. I’m so glad he has something creative to engage him. Art heals the artist, as well as those experiencing it.

Joan Jennings, Mixed Media Textile Artist

One artist friend spent part of her November evacuated days journaling about her flood experience, and posting to Facebook. It was a fascinating, frustrating, heartbreaking, and heartwarming read, almost every day. And she’s still journaling, because these flood and fire disaster effects are ongoing.

2021

Joan Jennings, Textile Artist

Joan is a fabulous fabric artist, creating both wall hangings and bags. She has been a part of our community for years. I met her in 2017 when she was a part of Art Walk and followed her travels until she was Covid grounded. She lives in a small historic home with her partner who has done extensive and beautiful work on the home over the years. Everything with personal, handcrafted details. One of a kind.

The fires in the summer didn’t make it down into Merritt. They stayed just over the hill, but we were ready. I can’t imagine what Joan chose to get pack up, with all her fabric, materials, and memories.

But the floods were a different story. Joan and Roget had to evacuate, with very little notice. Their home was in one of the areas devastated by the river overflowing its banks.

While I evacuated to friends in the Shuswap, I read Joan’s accounts of their experiences, day by day. What hurt! Loss! And stories of handling all the effects of the evacuation orders and returning to the community.

A few excerpts, in Joan’s words…

I’m just writing up Joan’s stories now. A new blog post coming and I will provide a link… Please check back.

Merritt BC Experiences Fires and Floods, and each of us has a story

BC Wildfires 2021 Merritt

Summer 2021. Fires cresting the hills over Merritt BC
Phot from Facebook

 

Coquihalla Highway Closed Flood Event 2021

Coquihalla Highway closed for major repairs, November 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was affected by the fires and floods this year, along with every other person, artist, senior, biz guy, rancher, child…

My experience of the fires was experiencing the thick smoke, feeling empathy for others affected and evacuated, and helping by taking over for the artisans who couldn’t take a shift at the gallery. And while others put up whole families and hundreds of livestock, I took in one cat for a friend. I felt the fear of fire when the skies just over our hills turned black from smoke, and red from flames. 

I was as ready as I could be, to pick up and go

When our whole community went on fire alert, I was as ready as I could be, to pick up and go. Three of our four highways were shut down from the surrounding fires. 

The firefighters worked hard, rain came, and the fires were backed off enough to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it took weeks for me to unpack my car.

Then, in November, the rivers flooded and I had a few hours to pack up again and this time had to leave the community.

Broken highways made the choice of where to go difficult. For days, I waited to hear if my home was okay. And, as one of the lucky ones, I was able to return to it after 3 weeks. All okay. But all around me were friends and colleagues in various states of distress.

Our artists, musicians, and creatives here are doing their best to get their lives back to normal.

But feelings of uncertainty and being ready to pick up and go are a part of “normal” now, after the fires and floods here in Merritt, BC.

We are all hoping for a better year, this year, in the Nicola Valley…

 

Remember, no matter what, Express Yourself

Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Nicola Valley Arts

Creative Community Facebook 

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Merritt BC under evacuation alert, as the forest fires light the sky over the town.
Photo credit Shirley Lindgren

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

 

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

BC Flood and Fire Relief – It has been awhile since the disastrous floods and fires in Southern BC.  At this point in time it seems that the plight of the people affected by these events have been forgotten. However there still is a significant need. Provincial disaster relief is slow in coming and in all likelihood will not be sufficient to cover all the costs incurred.  As well, many people who thought they were insured weren’t.

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I want to remind everyone what happened in Merritt, Lytton, Princeton, and Abbotsford. 

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

Recovery from these events is a long ways away but the people need your help now.

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

The Hell or High Water concert/help-a-thon is a massive undertaking. The organizing  group has put together an amazing group of artists to entertain you and to encourage you to help out.  For the 12 hour period, starting on March 13, 2022 at 10:00AM there will be appearances of over 50 Artists and another 25 or so dignitaries. To see where you can tune in to watch the Hell or High Water Fundraiser please go to the website. You can follow along and donate on participating websites, social media and, maybe even, TV. 

The great thing about this concert is that the overhead has been kept as low as possible so your donation goes to the fire  and flood relief victims.  The organizers  are donating their time and expertise, the artists are donating their performances and all prizes have been donated.

You may want to know who is behind the fund raiser for fire and flood relief. The “Brothers of Tourism” at EH Canada Travel, Kenny Hess (Founder of Rockin’ River Music Festival), the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Tourism Nicola Valley, Experience Nicola Valley and the Rotary Club of Merritt are all proud to step up and present the “Hell or High Water Fundraiser”.

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

Obviously with over 50 performers I won’t be covering them all but you can be sure that everyone is a top caliber performer and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The lineup includes musicians from all genres with a large tribute to Country and Western.  This is not surprising because this fire and flood relief concert originated from the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt BC.  For the full list of Artists you can go to www.hellorhighwater.ca .

Just to get you excited here is but a few people performing for you, George Canyon, Patricia Conroy, Big and Rich, Kenny Hess, Karen Lee Batten, David Gogo, Jackson Hollow, Lisa Brokop,  Duane Steele and Beverley Mahood.  If old time rock and roll is more your thing then you can stay tuned for Chilliwack or Loverboy.

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

To encourage you to donate to the fire and flood relief concert, Hell or High Water, you can win a valuable prize.  When you donate you can pick the prize that you want to win. You will automatically get 3 chances at the draw and then you get to earn other chances at your draw.  So it is actually better to donate early so your chances of winning become a little bit better.

What can you win?  There are prizes for every taste from Canucks tickets, Rockin River Tickets or a stay at a beautiful cabin on Glimpse Lake near Merritt, BC.

I am an art fan and have to say there is an amazing painting by Canadian Artist, David Langevin that has a retail value of over $8,000. So this will not only be a great addition to your home but also be a great investment in one of Canada’s foremost artists.

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

The crisis is not over!  The victims of the fire and flood need your support. The Hell or High Water Concert help-a-thon is the perfect place to provide that support.  You are not only helping your neighbours but you’re a getting a great day of music.  Also you will be entertained plus have the chance to win a great prize.  You can also direct your donation to a specific community.  Let’s all get on board.

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

Nicola Valley Talk

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

 

Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

Organizing your Christmas Lights and Cheer

Enjoying the Holidays with Christmas Lights

This year putting up Christmas Lights in Merritt BC has extra meaning.  This summer we were faced with forest fires and some people were evacuated.  If that was not enough, the entire town of Merritt, British Columbia, Canada was evacuated due to extreme flooding.  In fact, over 350 homes were severely damaged.  Add to these problems, Covid-19 and you have a year to remember or not.

The nice thing about this time of year is that we have a chance to bring some cheer and light to our town.

Organizing Your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

If you are like me, the worst part of putting up Christmas lights is actually taking them down.  Since I don’t like this job I just strip them down and throw them into a big bin.  Therefore, when it is time to put them up again I have to organize them.

If all the lights were the same colour this would not be a problem.  However, I have variations on a theme and thus I have to separate the strings into their individual colours.

I created my problem by buying my lights in different years.  My first purchase were some lights some describe as “warm” white.  That sounded good to me. However, they tended more to be a yellow than a white.  So the next year I purchased “cool” white.  These tended to be more blue than white. Xmas

The next time I went to the store my wife asked if we could get “clear” white.  Guess what?  These lights were actually white!

I, therefore, divided my lights into 3 piles.

Testing your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

When I took my lights down last year they all worked but I know from past experience this may not be the case now. Somehow the gremlins find their way into the bin and break at least one string.   In my case two strings were 1/2 burnt out.  Since I am not an electrician and don’t have fancy testing gadgets I cut off the parts of the strings that didn’t work and put together the parts that worked. Notice that in this picture 1/2 the string is not on.

Testing L;ights

Testing Lights

Stringing Your Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

Most people who put up their lights put their efforts into decorating the front yard.  They generally follow the roof line, including any peaks.  Also, there is often lawn ornaments of deer, snowmen or Santa.

That is not the case in my house.  We have wall to wall windows that look out onto the backyard so it makes sense to me to put the majority of my effort there.  Also I am afraid of heights and ladders so you won’t find me decorating any areas that are up high.

 The backyard is terraced where the first level is defined by a row of lilac bushes centred by a choke cherry tree.  The second area is our new terraced garden that is on the north side of the house.  The final area is our deck that spans the back of the house.

The Results of Stringing the Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

I would like to say that everything went smoothly but unfortunately that was not the case.  I wrapped the lights around the branches of the lilacs and up into the choke cherry tree.  However, before I moved on I decided to test the installation and, lo and behold, the middle string did not light up. Canadian Tire did not have any of the long strings left so I headed over to Walmart where I found what I was looking for. The lights were labeled  “cool white” which was exactly what I needed.  After stringing the lights I tested them and found out that what Canadian Tire calls “cool white” is not the same as Walmart’s.

Despite the difference I decided to leave well enough alone and continued onto the other areas where I had success.  With the backyard complete I moved onto the front yard.

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting

Back Terrace lighting

Back Terrace Lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stringing Up the Christmas Lights in the Front Yard

As I said I have not put a lot of effort into the front yard.  We have a central flower bed that has a young sunburst locus tree in the centre and barberry bushes around the edges. So I have strung the Christmas lights on the tree and the bushes.

We also came across some kaleidoscope lights that you screw into your house out door lights to add some colour without a lot of work. 

Front Yard

Front Yard

With minimal work the front yard display is not bad.

 Christmas Lights in Merritt BC

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly And the Kind.

“Sharing some acts of kindness and hoping for more.”

2021 Merritt Flood in British Columbia Canada – The community of Merritt BC Canada, has witnessed devastating forest fires, and floods in the last year. It seems this year, 2021, Merritt, and parts of the Nicola Valley, have gone through a merry-go-round of evacuation alerts, and evacuation orders. Some residence left. Some stayed behind. All have their reasons. The end result is a population in a community who are tired, worn out, confused, scared, or optimistic and, yes, some are angry too.

The 2021 Merritt Flood

During the 2021 Merritt Flood and Forest Fires, tragedy happened on all levels of devastation. There is no ignoring that. There are no benefits in comparing one heartache to another. They all hurt. Some more than others. Some life changing. I wish I could turn back time. Make this all go away. I wish my friends had their homes back. Smiling and laughing again would be another wish. I wish living in Merritt was like it use to be. Unfortunately I am no Genie. No lamp to rub just a water bottle to fill. All I have are big wishes with little answers. But I do have hope.

My Super Power

I take pride in my listening and observation skills. So, let me share my take on that. We are all our own master on what we decide to listen too and observe. We can take it all in, flip it upside down, make what we want of it. Some of us process the positive and spit out the negative or vice-versa. But what you process is up to you. Hence why, with all the sadness, I have decided to share some “warm and fuzzy” stories,  sending out some positive vibes to the community of Merritt, Princeton, Abbotsford and to our First Nation friends. I would like to share some of the kind and positive gestures I witnessed along this ugly road we travelled called the 2021 Merritt Flood in the City of Merritt BC Canada. 

8 Acts of Kindness

Because of the nature of my work online globally, and locally with Experience Nicola Valley, I see the good, the bad and the ugly of the internet. There are many sources online of nasty, negative with a big dose of nasty conversations. We all have a choice of which lens we choose to look through for every situation life presents us. Me? Well… when it comes to the Merritt Flood I choose hope. We need more stories of good people doing good things during these challenging times. Hence, why I am going to focus on the positive stories and share some “acts of kindness” I and my friends experienced during the 2021 Merritt flood.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Aesop

(1) ESS and Red Cross

The evacuation had problems on many levels. Remember, no one saw this coming. Yes, there were warning signs and reports and white papers. But…  no one saw it coming on November 15th, 2021. No meteorologists, engineer, politician or scientist told us to buckle in for a massive rain storm and possible flooding. Many of us went to bed the night before expecting to wake up to another normal Monday. Well that didn’t happen. The evacuation order caught us all by surprise. Therefore people slipped through the cracks. Communication was suspect. Volunteers were stretched at ESS and the  Red Cross.  Should I stay or should I go? Yes, the process was not perfect by any means. News flash! Nothing is perfect in a blender of chaos.  

(2) Volunteers

I know why it is tough to get volunteers at times. Just watch how some people treat them, like it was their fault. All they are doing is following direction or the lack of.  A big thank you to the volunteers for taking care of us with the best tools at their disposal. I know you did your best  and you did not design the system nor the process. I also know you are a volunteer, on your time, to make our challenges as comfortable as possible. So thank you to all the volunteers in Kelowna, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, 100 Mile House, Sicamous, Penticton and those in Merritt helping the community get back on its feet again. And if I missed anybody, my apologies. But thank you again! 

Merritt volunteers

Lining up for ESS. Photo credit: Greg Girard

(3) Let Me See The Light

The 2021 Merritt Flood was a sight I would not wish on anyone. Everything changed in a blink of an eye. Before we knew it, we were evacuated and in a hotel room. Everything was new again including an Optometry Office and a LensCrafters, next door in Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna BC Canada. I needed glasses for the first time and I did not have my prescription with me. But I did have time.  Dr. Keevn Otte heard I was an evacuee from Merritt and booked me in and redid my prescription at no charge! Then Ben, at LensCrafters, set me up with my new lens and frames and he too gave me a break on price, on top of the Black Friday Special. I was seeing with my eyes, the kindness of people. 

(4) Green Plate of Hospitality

Not sure of the back story on this one but it goes something like this. Someone at our hotel, the Kanata, was out in public one day sharing how eating out all the time was getting old. Someone, was listening in. Who we do not know? The next morning 50 trays of vegetables and dip arrived at the lobby in our hotel from an unknown source, someone who did not want to be recognized, but did it out of the goodness of their heart. To that mystery person if you are reading this – thank you for your kind gesture.  Loved the mini tomatoes and green peas.

merritt flood 2021

Vegetable tray surprise. Photo credit: Melvina White

(5) Class is in Session

Have you heard of the story of Ewa Olguin, an early childhood educator in Merritt, BC, Canada? If you have not, Ewa was evacuated from Merritt like many of us. At her hotel she recognized many of the kids were from the “Strong Start” Program back in Merritt. Her place of employment I believe. In seeing the children, away from a regular routine and their homes, Ewa decided to start a 3 hour class every morning with the kids reading, playing and learning.  Thank you Ewa!

(6) Is That To Eat In or To Go?

As we stated at the beginning of this list, the littlest gesture can make a difference. How about just smiling. When you eat at one spot for days on days they get to know you. In our case it was Boston Pizza. It did not take a lot of time for them to recognize our orders and to begin greeting us with smiles, and conversations when we ate in or picked up. Thank you for feeding many of us from the 2021 Merritt flood. 

(7) Experience Nicola Valley Pivot

When people are scared, and living in a mist of confusion, information is the currency of choice. I watched as councillors were inundated daily with phone calls, text and emails numbering in the hundreds asking questions and seeking answers. Being on the front lines of the evacuation, mixed in amongst the local population, every day and hour, your sleeves get tugged on a lot.  And yet, the questions were often 2 steps ahead of the answers available to councillors. They could only share what they knew and as information was being released. But they knew communication is the currency of choice during a disaster. So they stepped up. First to video, Experience Nicola Valley was proud to pivot their platform, so they could bring daily video updates, as need be, from Councillor White, Luck and Etchart. And then… some councillors met with the evacuees in the hotel lobby daily for briefings and updates as well. It took some guts to put their face out there. But they were humble, caring and doing what was right updating us the best they can. Thank you!

(8) Friends, Family and Business Partners

When the news hit all over Canada of the 2021 Merritt Flood, I could not believe the emails that flooded my in-box from people checking in on us from all around the world. Some I have not heard from in years and a few in decades. It was a moment-of-truth to see so many people checking in on my Brother and I.  We are so fortunate to have good people surrounding us and supporting us. Thank you and we are grateful for your kindness, support and friendship. 

brothers of tourism merritt flood

Colin and I on Evacuation Order in Kelowna BC. Photo credit: Greg Girard

Social Media

If social media is your only go-too for information, well then there might be issues with that? Working in that field, I  understand the pros and cons of a platform with little rules and high engagement. It is a platform which makes its rules on the fly based on all sides of human nature, good and bad. And there is good and bad. Do not get me wrong, social media, is a beautiful thing. I have seen lives changed for the better when social media is used positively.  Social media is a treasure for small businesses to get their message out. To me it is an art form. However, at times, it is also a bloody battlefield where communication is won or lost. There is one big caveat to the social media battlefield :

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.”
Tracy Morgan

Together, when we start commenting, and sharing and posting and tagging each other with positive stories, good news will travel faster. It takes a movement, to create a message. 

Winter Adventures coming soon to the Nicola Valley. We are open for winter. 

I Choose Hope

I have witnessed how the community is divided along many lines because of the 2021 Merritt floods and forest fires. A disaster will do that to any community. Emotions will run rampant. Loses are off the map. But I have hope because the overall dominating factor in this conundrum are the people of Merritt. They are my baseline in the equation of building back better. Many are my friends. I have been around Merritonians long enough to know they are a strong and good people. Merritt will be back. I will do everything I can to be part of that re-awakening.  

Stay safe. Be kind. 

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program.  Therefore it is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region.