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Weddings in Merritt BC

Wedding Planning, Venues and Destinations in Merritt British Columbia Canada

If you are looking for inspiration for your big day, look at these ideal locations for weddings in the Nicola Valley 

Wedding Venues Merritt BC – The Nicola Valley is quickly becoming a top destination spot for couples planning their dream wedding. Wedding venues in Merritt BC give you some of the most amazing natural scenic beauty, along with moderate year-round temperatures.  Albeit,  summer weddings are magical, there are more couples opting for fall and winter dates. Increasingly, more love birds are choosing the Nicola Valley as their “Dream Wedding” destination. Foregoing traditional rented halls,  couples are discovering or seeking a more earthly natural wedding ceremony. Including having their reception held at the same venue. Having that choice to hold the most important day of your life amongst some of the most beautiful scenic natural places found right here in Merritt BC. Canada

Wedding Venues in Merritt BC Canada

Wedding Venues in Merritt BC Canada. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

“Couples are planning their wedding place’s with great importance on affordability and thorough venues.”

Merritt BC Canada weddings

Brides and Bridesmaids. Photo credit Tania Stewart

Nicola Valley wedding celebrations

Nicola Valley wedding celebrations. Photo credit Tania Stewart

Unique Wedding Venues in Merritt BC

Whether you are looking to hold a rustic outdoor event or rent a historic hotel with its cowboy saloon, or a fishing lodge that caters to your needs in fine detail. or a farmer’s field, or a mountain summer camp with rustic cabins. Unique wedding venues can be found here in and around the Nicola Valley year-round. Moreover, the Nicola Valley has a few hidden gems that would make your dream day complete. Providing a historic hotel, scenic lodges summer camps with cabins, and enmities that are endless. Equally, many couples are seeking venues that enable them to have the ceremony, reception, and dance with accommodations for guests within one location. 

Wedding Planning Has Challenges

Planning a wedding is hard. From the guest list,  invitations, the choice of venue, and the honeymoon. With so many things to think about it can become very overwhelming. Considering the endless questions and doubts can bring bride anxiety to its fullest. What theme to choose,  vendors, dress styles, location, season, table settings, and more, literally can bring on Bridezilla! Most can say that the most important thing besides your wedding dress is your choice of venue location. While I can not help you with your theme, here in the Nicola Valley can offer you some magical wedding venues. Along with a few catering recommendations. 

Happy times. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

Weddings with friends. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

Wedding ceremony in merritt bc

Wedding ceremony and vows. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Wedding Venues in Merritt BC

There may be nothing more romantic than an outdoor wedding.  Whether you have the wedding on a lake, river, beach, mountainside or in a field. Bringing in the natural elements always lends a beautiful backdrop. Truly, the amazing outdoor beauty, the Nicola Valley has in abundance. Picture the amazing sunset that graces the mountain tops as it sets, bringing in the night stars. The romantic allure, combined with the aromas of the season out right beats any cramped hall. Even more, nature will accommodate your outdoor wedding any time of the year you choose. Worth to take note,  that with outdoor events you will need to factor in the weather. Rain, no problem, pole tents with portable fire pits will save the day. Having a backup plan is essential. 

Mountain crests, sunsets, starlit skies! The photographs will be priceless! Tania Stewart

Open Field Wedding Venues Merritt BC

Rent a field for a wedding and it can never be overcrowded, no matter the number of guests.  Outdoor wedding locations give flexibility to sitting arrangements and movements. So, if you’re thinking of a small backyard wedding ceremony idea or a big wedding, the outdoor allows space for fresh air and easy breathing.

Wedding Venues Merritt BC

Photo courtesy Douglas Lake Ranch

Historical Quilchena Hotel Resort

Exchange your vows at this historic hotel resort called Quilchena.  Ideal for a country-themed wedding while being centrally located. Its historic history makes this your ideal unique wedding opportunity. Available to rent as an un-staffed & user-ready facility for those seeking a smaller event occupancy with a spacious room. Packages include house-kept rooms, cold storage, dining areas, a conference room, ready kitchen for catering. And most of all a “Private Saloon” with bullet holes from the old western days. Wedding guests can come and enjoy what the Nicola Valley region has to offer. 

Wedding Venues Merritt BC

Western Saloon. Photo by Tania Stewart

Wedding Venues Merritt BC

Quilchena Hotel. Photo by Tania Stewart

Your Private Wedding Retreat in Merritt BC

Moreover, come and escape the city and enjoy all the scenic beauty the Thompson-Nicola has to offer.  The Historic Quilchena Hotel is a truly timeless venue for your upcoming special day. Celebrate your wedding with the turn of the century charm. Experience your event surrounded by period antiques, heritage rooms, and even a pedestal wash-sink. Moreover, maybe a ghost or two. Truly this venue will give all couples the ability to fuse their distinct personal styles with an exquisite historical hotel that makes a celebration to keep. 

Corbett Lake Lodge Weddings

Corbett Lake Lodge is located 2.5 hours from Vancouver and 15 minutes from Merritt, BC.  The lodge provides stunning backdrops along with exceptional scenic beauty. Truly the perfect setting with beautiful views, wildlife, woodlands, and grasslands makes Corbett Lake Lodge your ideal wedding destination spot. Dreaming of that rustic wedding or a simple intimate ceremony, there is no place more suitable than Corbett Lake Lodge.

Wedding Venues Merritt BC

Wedding Venues Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart

Wedding Venues Merritt BC Canada.

Wedding Venues Merritt BC Canada. Photo Credit Tania Stewart

Facilities and capacity

Corbett Lake Lodge with vast open spaces and endless photo opportunities to capture all your special moments. Additionally, features a full-service bar and lounge area that can seat up to 60 people. Accommodations include cedar cabins offering views of the lake. Additionally,  full kitchens, bathrooms with showers, along with fireplaces. And if this is not enough, the team at Corbett Lake Lodge is always ready to assist. Helping you with your wedding planning. Providing excellent services to make each detail more personalized and unique. 

Merritt BC Catering for weddings. Photo credit Tania Stewart

Merritt BC catering for weddings. Photo credit Tania Stewart

Corbett Lake Lodge. Photo credit Tania Srewart

Corbett Lake Lodge in Merritt BC

Best wedding photos

Capturing beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. When planning an outdoor wedding and deciding on the location. The rule of thumb is how will the scenic background fit in with your pictures. Albeit, magnificent backdrops of nature with the sky, colors, and all-natural elements will only enhance your day. As well as keep your guests happy with open fresh air. Worth noting, that ceremonies are for a day, but the memories last a lifetime.

Unique Rustic Wedding Venue A-P Guest Ranch

A-P Guest Ranch Nicola Valley Merritt BC.  This rustic “Western Guest Ranch” is owned and operated by Andre and his wife Susan Patry. Established in 1986, this scenic ranch is nestled in a valley setting in the heart of B.C.’s prominent ranching country. The ranch is surrounded by impressive fishing lakes and thousands of acres of rolling terrain for picturesque trail riding and winter sports. Importantly Andre and their family at A-P Guest Ranch believe in providing 5-star treatment for all their guests. Along with great “Lodge Packages “(including meals & lodging). A-P Ranch also has a Bed & Breakfast. Also for those campers with tents or trailers,  there are camping facilities as well.

Love at AP Ranch. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

Love at AP Ranch.

Married at AP Ranch.

Love at AP Ranch. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

In Conclusion …

Merritt is an ideal wedding destination with small town hospitality. We have the venues, the parks, the wilderness lakes and photographers for your wedding photos. We have some great pubs  and restaurants for your bachelor and bachelorette party. Prior to the wedding we have spas and salons which can get you all beautiful for your special day. See you soon about your Merritt BC wedding. 

Weddings in Merritt BC

Wedding Planning, Venues and Destinations in Merritt British Columbia Canada

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

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nicola valley talk show

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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. 

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

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Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett 

Downtown Merritt Mural Walking Tour

“I Grew To Love Country Music Because Of The lyrics,” Aaron Pritchett

Hold My Beer –Aaron Pritchett country music artist  who was born on August 2, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By the same token, Aaron grew up and was raised in Kitimat, BC, Canada – a coastal community in the northwestern region of British Columbia.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Aaron’s love of music didn’t start with country music. Growing up he would listen to the rock ‘n’ roll legends of his parents like Elvis, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Van Morrison, and James Brown. Correspondingly, as Aaron grew older, Canadian acts from the 1980’s, especially Bryan Adams, were a major influence as well. Consequently Pritchett’s single ‘DRIVE’ was co-written by Bryan Adams and British writer Phil Thornalley.

“Def Lepperd, AC/DC, bands like that; they are all a big part of the rockier licks I use in my songs today. I grew to love country music because of the lyrics . The songs are all about true life experiences.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals

Aaron Pritchett – Featured artists of Merritt BC Murals

Embarking On The Touring Scene

Aaron Pritchett started his career as a DJ at Rooster’s Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows, BC. As a result of his DJ career, he also played in a house band throughout BC and Alberta playing cover tunes.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett’s Big Break

In 2001 everything changed for Aaron.  In short he entered a singing contest called “Project Discovery” sponsored by CMT (Country Music Television). Most importantly Aaron won $10,000 in cash, and a professional music video directed by internationally acclaimed director, Steven Goldmann.

Aaron put his winnings towards recording his first album “Consider This”. The title track from the album was co-written by Pritchett and BC country music legend Rick Tippe. Soon after, he got to record three songs with one of Canada’s top producers, Tom McKillip. In short, it was then, when Aaron Pritchett won the Project Discovery Talent Contest, at the Canadian Country Music Awards, he started receiving national recognition and attention.

Aaron Pritchett on the wall

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Country Music Charts Recognizes Aaron Pritchett

Pritchett was now on a roll with some of his songs climbing to the top of the charts. Songs like Hold My Beer. As a result his success continued to grow with the release of his next albums – “Something Going On Here” in 2003 and “Big Wheel” in 2006. During this period of Aaron’s country music career he toured promoting his albums to his growing fan base.

“Combine humble, driven, talented, great songwriter and a focused artist together and you have Aaron Pritchett.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Merritt BC Murals Connection

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada has played a big roll in Aaron’s career. Not to mention Aaron has played a big roll in building Merritt’s country music brand. For instance, Aaron Pritchett was a regular attraction over the 17 years of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest). His debut performance at the festival was on the “The Little Big Stage” in 1993.

Pritchett said, “the times I performed in Merritt were quite an experience”.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Winning Single

Winning Independent Male Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s in 2004 and then Songwriter of the Year in 2007 put Aaron on the country music map. His winning single ‘Hold My Beer’ was not the song Aaron and his co-writers thought would ever make it big. Were they surprised.

Signed To The Record Label 

604 Records, the production company of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, signed Aaron Pritchett to a label in 2008. Soon after, the “Thankful” album was released on September 9, 2008. Aaron promoted this album on a tour of Western Canada with Toby Keith and Jessie Farrel.

Aaron released his next album “In the Driver’s Seat” on November 9, 2010, under his own record label Decibel Music. Pritchett’s first greatest hits album, “Body of Work: A Collection of Hits”, was released on May 12, 2015 under Big Star Recordings.

In June 2016, Pritchett released the album “The Score”.  Moreover, the title commemorated his 20th year recording and the anniversary of his first album . The lead off single “Dirt Road In Em” went on to become #6 on the country music charts and was earmarked as a comeback single in Pritchett’s career. The second release from the album, “Out Of The Blue” followed suit reaching #9 on the charts. The release of “When A Momma’s Boy Meets A Daddy’s Girl”, climbed the charts and sat at #10 on the Canada Country Billboard for 8 weeks. Because of the results of Aaron’s efforts he was nominated in 2017 for Country Album of the Year at the Juno Awards.

The Country Music Team

Aaron is often heard praising his team for all his success. In addition Aaron credits his success, in the early part of his career, to Country Music Television and radio airplay. In addition, Aaron credits each and every fan that has supported him along the way. An early highlight of his career, was playing for an audience of 20,000 people in Ontario, Canada and listening to them singing along with his songs. 

“Without a team it is impossible to reach your goals.” Aaron Pritchett

Above all Aaron credits industry icon Heather Ostertag for much of his success. Heather is the Past President of FACTOR, Past President of the CMAO and owner of Heather Ostertag and Associates.

“Without Heather, many aspects of my career would never have happened. She has been a major supporter, a strong mentor and one of my best friends to this day. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for believing in me.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Recognition as a Canadian Country Music Artist

To sum it up nicely, Aaron is considered, one of Canada’s favorite entertainers and all around good guy. Firstly, he has been honored with multiple Canadian Country Music Association, Juno and British Columbia Music Association nominations and awards. Secondly, some of the hardware he has taken home include Independent Male Artist, Independent Song, Entertainer, Male Artist, Album and Group of the Year Awards.

Aaron Pritchett has earned his title as one of Canada’s most energetic and electrifying entertainers in the industry. Most importantly, to all of us here in Merritt BC, Aaron has been a staunch supporter of The Merritt Walk of Stars, The Merritt Mural Project and The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merritt Walk Of Stars

Hundred’s of International and National Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival over the 17 years of the festival. As a result, those stars left their mark permanently in Merritt BC by creating hand prints (or, in one case, footprints) accompanied by signatures. Therefore, each  artist print is encased in concrete stars.

In 2003, those hand prints became the motivation behind the Merritt Walk of Stars – a self guided walking tour throughout the community . More importantly, the project helped solidify Merritt BC, Canada, as the Country Music Capital of Canada. Today, more than 100 bronze stars are located in plaques throughout the community. Aaron Pritchett created his star in 2004.

“It is huge to get a star,” he said. “It a real honour to be among the artists who have made stars in Merritt. As well as be recognized among some of the names that are included, in The Walk of Stars.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett On The Merritt Mural Walking Tour

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals is part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery. These beautiful works of art can be seen all over downtown Merritt BC.

Therefore, as a result, not only did the program serve to enrich our society, but it helped to transform Merritt BC, Canada into the largest outdoor country music art gallery you’ll ever visit. Subsequently, Aaron had his mural painted and sits on the wall of City Furniture on Voght street in Downtown Merritt, BC.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

Merritt, BC Canada has its own history of cowboys, cattle ranches and country experiences. Country music is a part of the heritage and country lifestyle of Merritt, BC, Canada. Because Merritt has hosted an annual Country Music Festival for many years, it consequently became branded as the Country Music Capital of Canada. There was a short festival hiatus from 2012 to 2014. As a result Rockin River Music Festival took over the festival in 2015 and, since then, every August long weekend people come to Merritt for some top quality country music.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame opened in Merritt, BC Canada in 2009. However, in 2012, it became an arm of the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society in order to create a venue to display artifacts related to the inductees of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. As a result, in 2018, there is a total of 139 inductees in the Merritt Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Downtown Merritt, BC, Canada on 2025 Quilchena Avenue. Moreover, make the effort to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame and enjoy their  displays of your favorite artist inductees.

In conclusion make the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame your starting point for your visit to Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. In addition please visit our downtown coffee shops, restaurants and local shops for a unique shopping experience.

Moreover, say hi to Aaron on social media and let him know you met him here on Experience Nicola Valley. Further more, Aaron can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to send us a selfie of you with his mural too.

Hold My Beer by Aaron Pritchett

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 First Nation Traditional Foods in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada First Nation Traditional Foods & Lodging

“We harvest berries in the traditional Nicola Valley areas, as well as, fish and hunt using the old ways and new ways.”

What type of First Nation traditional foods and lodging in the Nicola Valley have helped my people endure the hot summers and cold winters? My people, through many generations, have experienced the changing seasons of the Nicola Valley for generations. The extremes of our Nicola Valley weather systems have taught us many survival skills and have played a large part in growing our appreciation of our lands. How did the First Nation people survive is a journey I would like to share with you? 

My Ancestors Were Nomadic During The Spring, Summer, And Fall Seasons

My ancestors used to live throughout the Nicola Valley territory traveling in groups. Living a nomadic life on the move provided my people the food necessary to last through the long cold winter months. Families would gather together in our seasonal villages and enjoy cooking over the open  fire, and celebrating our traditions.

First Nation Traditional Foods and Lodging

Saskatoon berries I picked

We lived on berries …

First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries.

And We Hunted And Fished…

My ancestors’ diet wasn’t limited to just berries. No… we also fished and hunted wild game. During the fall seasons, my First Nation people would fish the mighty Fraser River. My people of our village would catch enough fish to survive the long winters. During the entire year, dependent on the weather, village hunters pursued wild game while hunting with bows.

 How Did My People Preserve Their Traditional Foods In Merritt BC?

traditional foods and lodging

Tule mat lodging

    In the early days of my people we often preserved our traditional foods by drying it on specially made mats of tule reeds. Tule reeds were gathered during the winter months on the shores of nearby lakes. Properly prepared these reeds were used for drying and preserving many of our First Nation foods. My people would also make larger mats from the tule reeds to double as floors in their makeshift lean-to’s during the warmer months.

How Did The Nlaka’pamux People Carry All This Food?

traditional foods and lodging

Cedar Root basket

As gathers and hunters we required transportation of our goods. Before the introduction of horses to our culture by the Spaniards, my people would use dogs to transport our goods. Because we lacked horses at that time my people would walk to and from,  here and there with their dogs. The dogs would be saddled with food packed in ceder root baskets.

Where Did My People Live Back Then?

traditional foods and lodging

Traditional lodges made out of cedar bark at Tuckkwiowhum interpretive village in Boston Bar

My First Nation ancestors used all sorts of materials from the land and waters. Because of our nomadic nature we were often in need of a portable shelter.  In the summer months we used temporary shelters because of the ease of transportation moving from location to location. These portable lean-to’s were created out of fir boughs and tule mats. If the location required a longer stay my people would build these lean-to’s with cedar bark. 

What About The Winter? 

First Nation pit houses

Interior model of a traditional Sheeiskin

Those summer temporary shelters wouldn’t hold up to the long winters of the Nicola Valley. During the winter season our shelters would take on new materials to create a new kind of shelter more durable to the winter conditions.  This new shelter covered in earth is called a pit-house. In our first Nation tongue Nlaka’pamuxcin it is called a “Sheeiskin”

Lots of thought and planning went into these structures. They would spend weeks looking for a proper location, then, when they found an acceptable spot, the community would work together and help build a pit house.

The sheeiskins were typically conical in shape with a hole in the center, which would let the campfire smoke escape through the hole.  The First Nation men would enter down a ladder through the same center hole. while the women would enter through a side entrance. Each First Nation pit house could usually hold up to 3-4 families.  There are locations in the Nicola Valley where you can still see the pit houses left behind from old sheeiskins, like at Monck Provincial Park.

Traditional Ways Are Still Around

Our First Nation traditional foods and lodging made it possible for my ancestors to survive the four seasons of the Nicola Valley. 

traditional foods and lodging

Chokecherries I picked

Today we still harvest berries in the traditional areas and fish and hunt using the old ways – as well as the new. Our respect for our elders has never wavered.  Elders are given first servings of any food we have gathered, and they are the keepers of our history often sharing their stories of our traditional and cultural ways.

A questions I have for you:

What is the traditional name of the First Peoples in my own area?   

Please feel free to contact me with your answers. I always love learning about new cultures. 

Or, if you also are Nlaka’pamux, share your stories with me!

See you later!  

(In many First Nation’s languages there is no word for “Good-bye”, as that word may be interpreted as I will never see that person again.)

 

 

 

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

“…I love nothing better than hiking for awhile, then finding a sweet spot in the sun to spread out a blanket, yummy foods, and delightful bevvies.”

After over thirty years in the Nicola Valley, and an increase in weight of ten pounds per decade, I feel well-qualified to blog about Nicola Valley Food Adventures!

I love the Nicola Valley and all that it has to offer, and I am a Foodie, so I am especially keen on Nicola Valley Food. As well, I adore adventure, so I am always up for discovering new Nicola Valley Food Adventures.

What is a Foodie?

The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines Foodie as: A person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet. 

Yup, that would be me!

And since I love to write almost as much as I adore food and adventure, I am going to blog about the fabulous foods of the Nicola Valley, as well as adventures that involve food, whether home-cooked or prepared in a restaurant.

I can’t go anywhere without packing a goodly bit of nosh. I blame it on my deprived childhood: six siblings fighting over scant servings.

Food Adventures of My Youth

From an early age, adventures included food. I remember when my older brother and I (he eleven, me six) packed up a can of creamed corn in a plaid shoulder bag, and embarked on an adventure. We walked downtown, climbed to the top of Quesnel’s water wheel, opened the can of creamed corn and devoured its contents. Creamed corn never tasted so good!

Casbar Drive-in movies with all of us kids sardined into the Pontiac station wagon always included very buttery popcorn and a chocolate bar at intermission. The downtown Carib Cinema: a bag of Liquorice Lozenges or a box of chocolate-covered raisins. Coming home from a day at Dragon Lake: a soft ice cream cone or a Coke Float.

Sunday drives: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, an orange for dessert.

Tobogganing in winter was generally followed by a steaming cup of hot chocolate and cinnamon toast. Drives to the Coast included a stop for a hamburger and French fries in Hope. And trips to visit the Grandparents in Alberta involved camping at Mt. Robson, roasted wienies and marshmallows, and those cute little boxes of cereal for breakfast. Birthdays: angel food cake; sports days; boiled hot dogs on steamed buns with fried onions. Sunday drives: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, an orange for dessert.

We loved our trips to visit our cousins in Prince George, where we could count on a fresh batch of Auntie Al’s Nanaimo Bars waiting for our arrival. While there, my cousin introduced me to her favourite movie watching food: Cheezies and grape pop.

Time at Skaha Beach in Penticton wouldn’t be complete without a cardboard container of salty fries, drowning in ketchup and vinegar.

Trips to Vancouver included a trip to the White Spot Drive-In on Granville

Trips to Vancouver to visit our paternal grandparents often included a much-anticipated trip with Uncle “Fud”  to the White Spot Drive-In on Granville Street to enjoy the best burgers, fries and pop, served on a tray bridging the rolled-down windows of the jeep. What a treat!

White Spot Drive-In on Granville

One trip with my Dad included a stop in the Fraser Canyon for a huge bag of fresh bing cherries upon which my younger sister and I gorged ourselves, only later to have them all come up. They had tasted much better going down!

Adventures included food; it was as simple as that!

Adventure = Food

I was hiking with a new friend last year when I was suddenly consumed by the thought of a wienie roast! It dawned on me that almost all of the time I had spent outdoors during my lifetime had involved food in some form or other, and that I felt quite deprived when it didn’t!

My friend was happy to take along a banana, a Gatorade, and a chocolate bar. He would get frustrated with me taking time to pack and then eat a picnic. I would spend time creating a fabulous feast to take on our outings, as I love nothing better than hiking for awhile, then finding a sweet spot in the sun to spread out a blanket, yummy foods, and delightful bevvies.

A Nicola Valley Food Adventure on top of Mount Thynne

His preference was to stop for a minute, eat his banana, gulp his Gatorade, and continue hiking. The chocolate bar was saved for the ride home.

I required Food Adventures!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Wildflowers on the way to Mount Thynne

A primo Nicola Valley Food Adventure that we enjoyed last July, was a trip up Mount Thynne when the wildflowers were in bloom.

We drove out Coldwater Road, crossed under the Coquihalla and continued up the road through Brookmere, always a scenic journey. When almost to the top of the mountain, we parked and hiked the ugly, steep bit, with my picnic pack on my back. After a good hike, we found a perfect little hollow, protected from the cool wind, where I lay down my blankie and spread out my delicious fare.

Fabulous Food + Nicola Valley Adventure = Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Variety is the spice of a fine picnic, and I’d included kalamata olives, roasted red pepper strips, hummus with carrots and celery for dipping, feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, as well as a delightful, chilled Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. I’d even carefully wrapped and packed my favourite champagne flutes from which to enjoy the bubbly.

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

To me, it couldn’t get much better than this! Fresh air, exercise, wild flowers, fabulous food, fine wine and the most spectacular of views! This was a true Nicola Valley Food Adventure!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

View from Mount Thynne

However, my friend wasn’t a Foodie and, unfortunately, he didn’t revel as I did in my lovely picnic.

When I told my son this story, he asked, in disbelief, “Who isn’t a Foodie?”

Truly! My boy was raised to enjoy and appreciate great food, and it was unfathomable to both of us how someone wouldn’t adore food as much as we did!

It soon became apparent that I couldn’t be a good adventure buddy with someone who doesn’t appreciate great cuisine in the same way I do; who doesn’t see an adventure as something with which to pair fine food. He was, undoubtedly, an incredible Nicola Valley Adventurer, but he was not a Nicola Valley Food Adventurer!

Here’s to Nicola Valley Food Adventures!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Atop Mount Thynne

Stay tuned, my friends! I look forward to sharing many Nicola Valley Food Adventures with you!

Cheers!

JdW

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Things To Do in Merritt BC

From mountain biking to horseback riding to fishing, are just some of the adventures in Merritt, BC in the Nicola Valley, Canada.

“Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. To enjoy Merritt BC activities one must exit the Highway!”

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada? Planning what adventures you are going to explore? Coming to the Nicola Valley, BC, Canada soon are ya? You have come to the right blogging website. You see… we here are local experts because we have experienced what we preach. I have explored the Nicola Valley on many occasions and I too asked myself, “where do I start?” Such little time and so many things to do in Merritt BC! That is the question, right? What to do when you get here. Well, lets get to it then. 

Highway #1 is not home to things to do in Merritt, BC

The Nicola Valley is guaranteed to inspire and impress when it comes to adventure but, to do so, to truly enjoy your experience, you need to exit Highway #1. Highway #1 is the “express lane” in Canada. It is the best route to get from A to B quickly, but it is by no means a route for exploring communities and Merritt BC Canada is no different. Highway #1, also referred to as the Trans Canada Highway,  is not the road that leads to Merritt  adventures and sightseeing bliss.

Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. And… to truly appreciate the Nicola Valley you need to know where to go and how to get there. That is where “moi” comes into the picture. I am honored to share with you the 3 things to do in Merritt BC which caught my fancy. 

Things to do in Merritt BC including Fishing
1.  Lakes Are A Top Things To Do in Merritt BC Hands Down

“Merritt is a fishing haven with 200+ lakes! Pick a lake, any lake, and stay for awhile.” ehCanadaTravel.com July 30th, 2017

The Nicola Valley is covered in lakes, both easy access and “far-flung” remote. Many are equipped with wilderness campsites so you can stay a while and camp, fish, hike and/or mountain bike. The saying around these parts is “A lake a day for as long as you stay.” Pretty catchy eh.  

Nicola Lake is the “Grand Daddy” of all the lakes in the region. It is easily accessed from Highway 5A just east of Merritt, BC.  When visiting Nicola Lake I have seen people swimming, fishing, water skiing, picnicking, and kayaking. Has to be a pretty decent lake right… and it is easy, easy access. 

Personally, I like the “far-flung” wilderness campsites located at remote lakes. No services? Fine with me. I am happy when I have my tent, camera and  lots of nature, wildlife and adventure. I too am a bit bias towards wilderness lakes. Here are a few lakes to check out which I have had the privilege to camp at –   Lundbom Lake, Lily Lake, Marquart Lake, Gwen Lake and Helmer Lake.

Things to do in Merritt BC includes mountain biking

2. Mountain Biking Is Definitely a Things To Do in Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley has 4 distinct areas designated for mountain biking enthusiasts. They include Iron Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Swakum, and the Coutlee Plateau area. They provide a good assortment of  easy going and challenging biking trails, some short and some are considered long haul. All provide some adrenaline and amazing sightseeing scenery.

Mountain Biking BC sums up the Nicola Valley mountain biking experience the best.

“… you will find fast and flowy singletrack, challenging steep and rocky trails, gentle riding classic grassland routes, and scenic forested pathways. Merritt has something for everyone!” Mountain Biking BC

You can find mountain biking trail information and rentals from the following local bike shop.

Breathe Bikes
1960 Quilchena Ave,
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Website: www.breathebikes.ca
Email: bikegeektrav@gmail.com
Phone: +1 (250) 936-9702

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada includes horseback riding.
3. Horseback Riding is a Nicola Valley Things To Do

Saddle up in the Nicola Valley and you will surely experience the cowboy life! You do not have to be a full-blooded cowboy or cowgirl either to enjoy horseback riding.  In fact, some say (including this blogger) horseback riding is best enjoyed when it is the first time. You will not fully appreciate how fun horseback riding is until you go sightseeing. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

“A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it…” BRL Equine Nutrition

The valley has ranches where you can bring your own horse or you can use one of theirs to explore the backcountry. Give these cowboys and cowgirls a phone call.

A-P Ranch Western Guest Ranch
P.O. Box 1148,
Merritt, BC, Canada
Website: www.apguestranch.com
Phone 250-378-6520

This list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Merritt BC during the summer months. I have not even begun to talk about the things to do in Merritt BC in the winter months. That will be another post down the line by our new team of bloggers.

If I may be so humble to make a request while I have you all hyped up about Nicola Valley adventures? Please follow the new  Experience Nicola Valley social media pages so you do not to miss our next blog post. While you wait with great anticipation you can also enjoy the posts from the other talented Nicola Valley writers who contribute to this blog. I am sure you will like them as much as me, but not more right?

For all of you out there who have been to Merritt, BC before I have a question to ask you,

What would your “3 Things To Do” be if you were writing this blog?” 

Go ahead, you will not hurt my feelings. Let me know in the comment section below. 

 Things To Do in Merritt BC Canada