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Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Calves

Branding calves on the ranch

“I feel very blessed to be working with such a great bunch of people”

There are so many things to consider if you are ranching in the Nicola Valley – branding day and calves is one of them.

Spring is here in Merritt BC Canada, the calves are born and now it’s time to get things ready to start branding caves on the ranch. You want to do this before you send them to range or before anyone can take them.

There is so much you need to get organized and ready for branding day. Not only do you have to have your ropers and ground people lined up but you also have to make sure all your equipment is in working order. You also need to make sure you have all the necessary supplies for the day.

On top of all that your crew will need to be fed and kept hydrated throughout the day.

Today I am going to take you through a day of ranching in the Nicola Valley – branding calves. This is not like a typical written blog but a story through photographs. I really hope you enjoy.

Start of the day

Once the crew all know there jobs, fed breakfast which on this day consisted of coffee, tea, water, juice, muffins, bacon and egg or ham and egg on English muffins.

 

 

showing breakfast cattle ranching

Breakfast at the Ranch House

Horseback riding in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys mounting up and discussing life before the real work begins.

Breakfast done, now everyone is just getting ready to head out to gather the cows and calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys heading up to gather the cows and calves and bring them in for branding.

branding calves in the nicola valley

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day, bringing the first herd in from the back fields.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Heading into the arena.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Look at all the fresh grass. Won’t be like that for long.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Cowboys getting ready to start roping the calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Here we go, first calf roped and getting hauled up to the branding station.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Once they have had their medications its time to brand. Gerry is checking to make sure the brand is on well enough. The smoke is from the hair burning.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Two sides going at once to make it a smoother operation and a little faster.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Corena branding one of her calves.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Sometimes things don’t go quite as planned so the ground crew tries to help out in catching the calf to re position the rope into the correct place. It’s all about team work.

Branding calves in the Nicola Valley

Waiting for all parts of the branding to be completed before letting the calf go.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

You can see here the calf was roped in the wrong spot.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

So they wrestle the calf and re position the rope.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Which makes it easier and faster to give the medications and position for getting the ranches brand.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Gerry from 8 Mile Ranch putting his brand on.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

First herd finished and heading back out to pasture. Lunch Break

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Horses all lined up along the fence as the cowboys and crew stop for lunch.

Lunch Time

Another great meal consisting of fruit trays, vegetable trays, home made sausage rolls, sandwiches, muffins, all kids of little deserts and drinks. 

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Lunch all done, time to head out and gather the second herd.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day. This is the second herd coming in for branding.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

As the second herd makes it’s way into the arena you can see it isn’t as grassy this time.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

I have to say this is one of my favorite calves. I call it Panda. Just missing the white around the eyes.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Relaxing for a moment while waiting it’s turn.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranch dogs patiently waiting for their turn to do some work.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The hair is clipped away so you can see better where you are putting the brand.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The Bosses 🙂 Gerry 8 Mile Ranch and Corena Calton Cattle Co.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Kids also love having some fun on branding day.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Colin bringing up another calf. Way to go Colin.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Nothing quite like seeing a father and son bonding.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Calves are just so darn cute.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The Boss Gerry doing his part in roping a calf. These horses are just as hard working as the cowboys and people on the ground. It is really quite something to watch how it all comes together.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Corena’s pretty brand on one of her calves. Nice job

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Sometimes a little wrestling is in order hahaha, hold her down.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

UT watching on, waiting to go out and work.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Gerry jumping off his horse to fix the rope on a calf.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Catch it…

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And re position the rope. Great team work by all.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Team wrestling is a fact of life when branding. Flipping a calf that just didn’t want to go down.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Hold on… We are almost done!

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Oh another one where the rope needs to be re positioned.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Way to go, get them all finished up.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Group two heading back out to pasture

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There’s that little panda again. So darn cute.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Second group back into the pasture, now to go and get the third and final group.

Final Group to be Branded

 

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding day. Here comes the last small group of calves that need to be branded. Yes, that is a dairy cow that you see. She is a surrogate mother. Any orphan calves that the ranch gets will be introduced to the Dairy cow. She takes them on as her own. It’s quite amazing to watch.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There always seems to be one that ends up almost like a pet

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

This little one is no exception. Corena has to go and give it a little pet.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Then she talks to it before branding. So cute. So much care and consideration goes into everything that this ranch does. I feel blessed to be a part of what they do.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And sometimes you think you have it.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

You try really hard

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

And still….

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The calf wins and gets away….lol

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

There is even a dummy steer and rope for those who would like to try their luck.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Kids seem to love it

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Although it’s more fun to rope your brother and drag him around.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Okay, I will let you go hahaha.

Supper Time

Now that all the calves have been branded. It’s time to relax, tell stories and prepare for the amazing supper.

All in all a day ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day is a day of not only full of hard work. It is also fun in seeing old friends, new ones and enjoying all the day had to offer.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

The start of the amazing Mexican dinner being prepared for supper by Patrick.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley - Branding Day

Adding peppers, oh my it’s looking so good.

For more great blogs about Merritt and the Nicola Valley head over to Experience Nicola Valley web page.  Corena owner of  Calton Cattle Co is also at Creative Company in downtown Merritt with lots of wonderful western decor.

western decor Calton Cattle Co Merritt BC Nicolla Valley

Photo Credit Calton Cattle Co. at Creative Company

Ranching in the Nicola Valley – Branding Day

Lifestyle Expo – Merritt BC Canada

A Merritt Country Run Event

“I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time.”

I recently attended the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt BC Canada in the Nicola Valley. The expo is a lead up event to the annual Merritt Country Run being held today Sunday June 9th, 2019. As I start writing this blog the Merritt Country Run is about to finish and the winners probably have already been decided.

Lifestyle Expo Booths – Merritt Country Run

Congrats Merritt

A congratulation is in order to the winners of the running event. Woot! Woot! And I would also like to say thank you to all the participating runners and to the volunteers who worked endless hours in preparation for the event. The Merritt Country Run features a 5 km, 10 km and Half Marathon route. Consequently, the participants arrive for the running event from all over British Columbia, Canada and beyond. 

Lifestyle Expo

However, lets get back on point and discuss the recent Lifestyle Expo I attended at the Civic Centre in Merritt BC Canada. To sum it up the premise of the Lifestyle Expo is to encourage, and educate a healthy mental and physical lifestyle when living in the Nicola Valley. Secondly, the event showed the many benefits of a healthy outlook on life. Lastly, lets not forget, we all can use a healthy reminder and encouragement now and then.  

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Merritt Tourism is a Lifestyle

Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV) and our friends at Experience Nicola Valley (ENV) were in attendance supporting the Lifestyle Expo event. The Experience Nicola Valley exhibit on site was there to promote the many tourism and adventure opportunities available in the valley as healthy activities, as well as, introduce the new TNV programs promoting participating businesses, non profits, clubs and societies.

Meet Experience Nicola Valley

At the Lifestyle Expo the community bloggers who maintained the booth and who took the time to talk with visitors were Melvina White (Country Music Blogger), Rob Lee (Outdoor Blogger), Jordyn Lee (Youth Blogger), Monique Robinson (Community Blogger), Jano Howarth (Arts Blogger) and Tania Stewart (Eco Blogger).

Live Health Seminar at Lifestyle Expo

Good People. Good Event.

However, you know what is really encouraging at any of the events I have attended here in the Nicola Valley are the good people we meet from the community. It was also positive to see that City Councillors Tony Luck, Adam Etchart, Melvina White and Mike Bhangu made an appearance at different times during the show. Each taking some time out of their busy schedules to interact with various exhibits and attendees. Good on them!

Everybody enjoys being around positive and happy people and at this event I was not disappointed as I was fortunate enough to connect with some very good quality people. Some for the very first time. Lastly I have learned from experience that it is important for local tourism leaders and city representatives to show support by making an effort to attend community initiatives like the Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo. 

Massage with Country Music Blogger

Lifestyle Exhibitors

At the Lifestyle Expo in Merritt there were businesses, services and associations from the Nicola Valley and Kamloops. Some of which the crew at Experience Nicola Valley have blogged about and many are participating members on the Tourism Nicola Valley website. I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet with some very nice and professional people manning the booths for:

Crossfit Merritt
Sara Ross Massage
PFN Coaching
Q101
Canadian Tire
Runners Sole
Brambles Bakery 
Planet Women
and more…

Merritt Country Run and the Lifestyle Expo

Nicola Valley Mountainboarding

Merritt, BC, Canada Extreme Sports

“There’s nothing like mountain boarding! I have been to amusement parks and gone on the rides and roller coasters and none have even come close.”

Although mountainboarding is an up and coming new sport in Canada, it is quickly gaining popularity.  A mountainboard contains components including a deck, bindings to secure the rider to the deck, four pneumatic tires and two trucks for steering. 

Mountainboarders ride specifically designed boarder-cross tracks, slope-style parks, grass hills, woodlands, gravel tracks, streets, skate parks, ski resorts, BMX courses and mountain bike trails. The ability to ride such a variety of terrain is what makes mountainboarding different from other board sports. 

Merritt is mountainboarding country

Mountainboarding in Merritt, BC, Canada is an ideal destination with all the different terrains that the area has to offer. There’s hills, gravel tracks, mountain bike trails, woodlands and so much more to experience. 

“You can’t really describe how it feels. It’s like a roller coaster but you have control of the track, if that makes any sense.” 

Youth mountainboarding

Let me introduce you now to a young man, Brayden.  He discovered the sport and became interested in mountainboarding as an alternative to his longboarding. When I spoke to this young man, I  asked him how he got interested in mountainboarding. His response was that he had watched a movie called “Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board.”  Once he watched the movie, he was essentially “hooked” and wanted to try this up and coming sport in Canada.

Brayden mountainboarding near LundbomLake

Setting up your gear

First came the purchase of the deck, trucks, wheels and safety gear. Finally, the day came that he could venture out to try. Starting out small, this young man ventured out into the Merritt area looking for suitable terrain to test out. First place this young man tried was the bike park. He soon found out that mountainboarding was much more different that skateboarding and longboarding. 

Mountainboarding 101 

Coming home after a few tumbles, he started watching videos from other more seasoned mountainboarders from around the world. After spending several days watching videos, he was ready to venture out again to try. Fast forward about a year and this young man has reached a top speed of 30 km/h down Midday Valley Road during the Winter and 40 km/h down the same road with the arrival of Spring.

“One of the best first attempts was when coming down Midday Valley Road and how you learn to control the board. There’s only so much you can learn from videos and you have to just jump on the board.”

Mountainboarding in the Nicola Valley.

Looking for mountain boarding runs

Brayden is excited and looking at different locations within the Merritt area to test his mountainboard out. He will soon have a better idea of the perfect areas for mountainboarding in Merritt, BC.  Brayden’s ambition and goal is to bring mountainboarding to Merritt, BC. He hopes to offer rental boards, lessons and ventures for groups to enjoy the many different areas Merritt,BC has to offer in the near future.

Mountainboarding in Merritt British Columbia Canada

 

Bike Rentals in Merritt BC

Bikes, kayaks and paddleboard rentals – Breathe Bikes

Bike rentals in Merritt BC includes kayaking and paddleboards when talking with my fellow blogger and Breath Bikes business owner, Travis Fehr. Travis is the proud owner of Breathe Bikes in Merritt BC Canada.  The bike shop is a good starting point in Merritt for mountain biking, kayaking and SUP rentals during your summer visits to the Nicola Valley. 

Mountain Biking-Rentals-Canada-Merritt

Travis Fehr outside his bike shop in Merritt BC

10 Questions For A Merritt BC Bike Shop 

I asked Travel Fehr (bike shop owner) 10 questions about his Nicola Valley business. So pull up a stump and have a read about the only bike store in Merritt BC Canada.

Mountian bikes-Rentals-Canada-Merritt

Q1: Why did you want to start Breathe Bikes?

A: I have been working in bike shops for over 3 years and I got to the point where I wanted to be the boss. I was working in Camrose Alberta in a bike shop.

” I wanted to move away from the harsh winters of the prairies because I grew up in Saskatchewan. My family and I wanted to move to some place where the Winters weren’t so harsh and some place where they had excellent biking trails but no bike shops and Merritt fit all the those things.”

Q2: What did you do before you started Breath Bikes?

A: Before working in bike shops I was in the transportation industry in the Lower Mainland for many years. After realizing that I lost my passion for my career, I asked myself why should I keep doing what I don’t have a passion for?

Q3: What has been your biggest hurdle as a business owner?

A: Continuous learning. Being in business as a sole proprietor, you have to wear so many hats. Because there are so many things you have to know. You have to be open to learning and polishing your skills. It’s definitely a hurdle, but it’s also rewarding. I feel good when I am always learning. It keeps you motivated that’s for sure.

Q4: How long have you been in operation?

A:  We opened here in May of 2013, I can’t believe it’s already been 6 years.

Breathe Bikes

Q5: What sets you apart from the competition?

A: There is some competition with the big box stores. but the obvious difference is that I specialize in higher end bikes and bikes that are a little bit different in their specifications. As well, I offer full service and maintenance on all of those bikes. I also like to think that I am connected to my community.  

Q6: What is your best selling model?  

A: The hardtail mountain bike is my best selling model.

Q7: Besides bikes what else do you sell?

A: Cross country skis, snowshoes, kayaks, paddle boards and our newest product is stunt scooters. We not only sell them but people can rent them too. We also sell bikes, of course. Oh and we also do bike repairs!

Q8: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

A: I don’t want to sound like I’m patting myself on my back but I like to help those in need, when I can and in any way I can. Kids Christmas bikes. I donate kids bikes that have been used, I rebuild them. I’m really proud of that.

Q9: What is your company’s goals?

A: TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!! No but seriously, I want to grow my business, to see more growth of Merritt by encouraging active transportation and recreation culture of Merritt and the surrounding area. I would like to see that grow as well as see my business grow with it. I also want to stay grounded. Because sometimes you see businesses start small and get big and then they tend to lose their heart in that process. I don’t want that to happen, so I want to stay grounded and community focused and keep it real.

Q10: If you had ONE piece of advice for someone just starting out a business, what would it be?

A: Stay Positive! There’s going to be obstacles, setbacks and the only defeat is to give up.

Well my friends, that is Travis Fehr and Breathe Bikes . 

Another feather in his cap was that Travis also helped fix up and rebuild the bike park in Central Park. This is complimented by his dedication to develop, maintain and design mountain bike paths in and around the Merritt area. To top it all off he is also a member of Council for the City of Merritt.

Some of the mountain biking events, of which, Travis is an active supporter of some of Merritt’s biggest mountain biking races include the Merritt Crown and the Epic 1000

So if you are driving through the Nicola Valley from out of town or even out of the country and are itching to go for  quick bike ride. Be sure to stop by and see Travis at Breathe Bikes just down from the Coldwater Hotel.

Thank you so much for you time, I now return you to your regularly scheduled scrolling

Bike Rentals in Merritt BC Canada

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

Never a lack of things to do while out camping in the Nicola Valley.

Camping in the Nicola Valley is by far one of the best pass times in the spring, summer and fall.

You can start by checking all the provincial and forestry camp sites. There is a great map to look at and see what they have available at each. You can take a look at the interactive map from Ministry of Forests. From there it would be easy to decide on which site has what you are looking for in terms of hookups, power, showers, lake , fishing hiking etc.

I have done this a couple times and it can be very convenient. I may decide to do this again one day. But right now I prefer a little more rustic way of camping in the Nicola Valley. It opens up so many more options and places that you can go.

Provincial Camp sites.

Some great provincial campsites around the Merritt area include Kentucky Alleyne. Located off of highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. There are some great hiking trails, fishing and geocaching. There is also a great kids pond between the two lakes where children can fish in the stocked trout pond.

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Another great site is Monk park on the north west side of Nicola Lake. There is also great fishing here and if you have a boat you can get out into the deeper channels to fish. Rainbow, and kokanee are among the fish you can catch in Nicola Lake. You can get there by following highway 5 from Merritt towards Quilchena. Then take the Monk Park turn off just before the Nicola Lake dam.

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

There are plenty of great forestry campsites through out the Nicola Valley as well. Some of them include Tyner, Boss, Shea, Davis, Kane, Lundbom, Marquart and so many more. Each of these lakes has it’s own pro’s. There are usually quite nice set ups for camping at all of these forestry sites and each lake has good fishing, trails and an abundance of wildlife.

Lundbom is a great place to camp for those who love to take their horses along. There are corrals and some great trails and open range land. Makes for an amazing camping trip.

Rustic Camping

We usually just drive to a nice spot in the bush by a lake and camp. No power, no hookups, no water. Sometimes we are not sure if our trailer will make it in but we do. If for some reason the road it not safe to take the trailer we will take the tent.

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

We always bring our own water, propane, battery or solar lights. We even make a portable out house. And last camping trip we lined the path to the outhouse with solar lights. It was great.

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

All of these lakes would be great to take your canoe, kayak, boat, belly boat or even pontoon boat. They are all easy to access. There are so many lakes close to these lakes as well so you can travel a short distance to a new lake and a new experience.

Loons

We love going fishing to catch our dinner or just catch and release. It’s all about getting out and enjoying the day. One lake we go to has a resident loon that will come and try to steal the fish right from the side of your boat or belly boat. You have to be very careful and keep a watch or your fish will either get taken or have some pretty good marks in it from the loon’s beak. It is quite exciting and kind of scary at the same time. You can get some great photos of the loon though. 

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

I remember another lake where you had to be careful as the resident bald eagle likes to come and steal the fish right off your line. Have to keep your eyes open and reel like crazy to get the fish in before the eagle steals it. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

We are seriously so lucky to have what we have in our back yard. I remember setting up camp one summer and just going back and forth to work right from camp.

Bruce the Spruce

I have to tell you a fantastic little story about Bruce the spruce grouse. While out driving around, there is one road we always take to see what wildlife we can capture. Once particular day when we stopped at our normal corner I heard a grouse. I started to call it to see if it would come closer and what do you know. This grouse came right out strutting his stuff. He would follow me and even the truck for a little ways up the road. 

NO WAY!!!

On our way back down I didn’t see the grouse again but told my boyfriend to stop and I would try calling him again. My boyfriend said no way is it going to come back again. I got out of the truck and started to call “Bruce…come on Bruce where are you” Well, wholly crap. Here comes Bruce strutting his stuff again. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I got a few more photo’s before heading home for the day.

Week Later

Thinking there is no possible way Bruce would still be there I decided to take my daughter for a ride up the road a week later. I needed some better photo’s. The ones I took the first time were not as good as I wanted. We got to the corner and I got out. My daughter must have though me to me crazy to be calling a grouse. “Bruce, come on Bruce, where are you” My daughter was just floored as out of the bush comes Bruce the Spruce. I got some better pictures this time. Had a little visit and left for home.

When my boyfriend got home and I started to tell him that Bruce was still there. My boyfriends daughters were listening couldn’t believe that I was calling this grouse in. I let them know that we would go out again as soon as we could so they could also see.

Couple weeks after that

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got to head out again. I thought for sure this time Bruce would be gone. But he was still there and came out when I called him. My step-daughters thought it was the craziest thing. I also thought it was pretty wild how this grouse would come out when I called it. He was there and kept coming out for about a month and a half. We would go up and visit for a while and get some photo’s and a couple video’s. 

I am not sure what ever happened to Bruce but he finally did disappear. It was a sad day when I went to see him and when I called he no longer came. I can only hope that he just moved on.

Gardening

I was pretty much ready to start planting a garden out there. Although we were back and forth I did plant some potato’s and lettuce. Our trailer stayed out there from April until the first snow in October. It was the best summer I have ever had. I think  this year I will bring some planters out and have a bit of a container garden. 

Property

Now we live on property and I thought by having property I wouldn’t want to go camping in the Nicola Valley anymore. So I started to get animals to sustain us on our own land. Well, I was wrong. I miss camping in the Nicola Valley. Quading, fishing  going on hikes from out in the bush some where. There is absolutely nothing like it. I love being able to see all the amazing wildlife when I am camping in the Nicola Valley.

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

Usually we always camped at Helmer Lake. Unfortunately there was a bad flood that took out most of the camp sites as well as the road. Forestry has not fixed it for the past 3 years. So on to new and exciting places.

We decided to sell all the animals so we can do some serious exploring again. Some of the lakes that we are looking forward to checking out this year are forestry camp sites. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to picking fresh berries and catching my supper again.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I have experienced over the spring, summer and fall and which ones we love. There are so many places to check out when you go camping in the Nicola Valley. Some you may have heard about. Some maybe you haven’t. I will tell you about all of the ones I visit and what I see and experience at each.

Take Care

Please take care of our country so that others may also enjoy it for generations to come.

I would like you to make a promise. When you go into the back country please, leave it like you were never there.  Always make sure your camp fire is out before you leave. If you see someone else has left a mess behind, please make an effort to clean it up then make a note and message me at Experience Nicola Valley. I will make a point to go back and see if there is anything else I can do. Thank you all so much. 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

WILD! Flies, Skins, and Skulls…

Creative Exhibition at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Merritt Canada

Fishermen, Hunters, Photographers, Collectors, Artists…

Things to do in Merritt

Taxidermy, fly ties, carvings

Things to do in Merritt…A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style: taxidermy, fly ties, rods, skulls, pelts, eagle photography, moose airbrush painting. Collections of stuffed birds, birds’ nests,  shells…lots to see!

Who’s showing their nature art and collections at the Gallery?

  • Peter McVey, fly tier and fisherman extraordinaire. 
  • Willie Kiegerl, providing us with a variety of animal skulls to identify. And other wildlife. 
  • Dawn Shackelly’s eagle photography, and owls, big horn sheep, baby ducks… 
  • Jessie Rabbit with her bull calf and fireweed, her beautiful airbrush painting. 
  • Cindy Trent with collections: skulls, BC shells, sea stars, and bird’s nests 
  • Rory Hepner has provided beaver and coyote pelts, and animal skulls 
  • Artist Renee Hartwigs’ tri coloured owl and Joel Reid’s “find the bird” painting 
  • Mischelle and Bill Pierce have contributed both creatures and colourful fly ties 
  • Fran McMurchy created three small watercolour creeks for three fly ties in oak frames. Unique! 

And Murphy Shewchuck, who put down his fly rod years ago. And picked up his camera… 

A nature exhibition Nicola Valley style…

Things to do in Merritt

Nature collections and Renee Hartwig’s Owl Art

Our Nicola Valley, surrounding the town of Merritt Canada, is filled with hunters and fishermen and women. Lots of families in the area raise their children with skills to provide for their families from the land around. From berries to deer to lake trout. Children and adults alike celebrate bringing down their first deer, or catching their first salmon.

We are set in a grassland valley, filled with creeks and lakes, surrounded by rolling hills and mountain ranges. There are a lot of choices, many paths to take, and backroads to follow- to hunt, fish, gather. Lots of nature.

Our exhibition reflects this focus on nature in the area!

I have long been fascinated with the art of fly fishing and fly tying. As a child, my family just fished with rods that fit in our Rambler. We fished enough, and I enjoyed it enough, to make sure my own kids had rods and gear enough to catch Lake Trout at Monck Park, which we ate for supper on the camp fire.

But we had friends who were hooked on fly fishing, and I watched movies with fly fishing action (looks close to meditation). And I could see the charm of those long, supple rods flashing the line out over water. And the flies…

We have one of the most well-known fly tiers in our area displaying his flies, ties, and accoutrement. Peter McVey not only told stories at our WILD! Reception, but left his book so we could read more about his adventures…

We have vintage suitcases displaying flies that others have created. Works of art!

What if you wanted to get started on fly tying?

From Gear Junkie

Catching your first fish on the fly will embed new levels of appreciation for all things fly fishing.

Things to do in Merritt

Fly Tie Watercolour art by Fran McMurchy

Most fly anglers hit a point in their fishing career when they think about tying their own flies…. There’s an entirely new level of satisfaction from catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself.

The path to tying amazing flies isn’t the easiest. And the reward is 10-fold compared to that of storebought flies.

Fly tying is an angling tool that can empower you to catch more fish. Tying flies enables an angler to not only replicate their favorite bug at the fly shop but also create their own custom patterns no one else has. The only limits you face at a tying vise are imagination and creativity.

Anglers construct flies to replicate the exact bugs found in streams.

Tying also offers the avenue to get in touch with the most artistic side of fly fishing. Fully dressed Atlantic salmon flies and modern articulated streamers can be just as artistic as painting, with the hook acting as your canvas. 

Yes! That’s what I thought when, as art gallery director in our small community, we were brainstorming Art Exhibitions.

This area is filled with fishable lakes and streams. One of our oldest slogans is “A lake a day, as long as you stay!”

The Nicola Valley is a perfect place for a Fly Tie show!

Things to do in Merritt

Ruffed Grouse, birds’ nests

And, my buddy said…taxidermy too! Well, sure!

Most of us have seen taxidermied creatures, in museums, at our uncle’s house… Taxidermy is an art in itself.

What does taxidermy mean? From answers.com

Taxi is Latin for move. Dermis is Latin for Skin. Taxidermist is a mover of skin. Taxidermy is what he does. A taxis is a division of classification especially when concerning animals. Dermous means skin, Dermy is an activity concerned with skin. So — Many types of animal skin activity.

In the Nicola Valley, we have several taxidermists. They do work for locals and also do spectacular mounts for clients outside our area. I’ve seen photos…

At the Gallery we have stuffed birds: ptarmigan, ruffed grouse, blue grouse (the smart ones), a beautiful owl… And a mounted fish.

We also have amazing carvings of birds and fish that look like the real thing…

And if you want a taste of the big critters, we have photographs of mountain sheep, bald eagles, an air brush painting of a moose calf. And real antlers of moose and deer, a buffalo hoof, a coyote and beaver pelt, two bear skulls…

Lots of skulls! Of all kinds! Coyote, beaver, raccoon, fish… Hummingbird skeleton! You can barely see it!

So here we are, in the middle of an exhibition showcasing the work of many people local to our area. Collectors, painters, fly tiers, taxidermists.

Things to Do in Merritt… Come and Visit & Get Involved!

From Oct 11-Nov 3, 2018, at the Courthouse Arts Gallery.

Things to do in Merritt

WILD! Poster by Kim Leclair

Got skulls? We are looking for donated animal skulls, bones, antlers, for a painting workshop!

This should be fun…. Want to join us?

Register for Saturday, Oct 27/18. 1-3pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery in Merritt. $20. $10 if you bring your own skull…

Go to Nicola Valley Arts Council Facebook Page for more info!

And if you miss it, we’d love to collect skulls and antlers for more artwork, for another time. Call 250-378-6515 to donate.

Also fly tie expert and fisherman extraordinaire, Peter McVey, is telling stories, Friday Nov 3/18, 4-6pm at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, 1840 Nicola Avenue, Merritt, BC

Visit Nicola Valley Arts Council‘s site for more about the arts in the Nicola Valley.

Read my blog about Open Mic Nights in Merritt, held every Friday night at Kekuli cafe 7-9pm. Come on out!

Jano Howarth, promoting creativity in our community

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Michelle Bacon

Owner/Operator at Twisted Turkey Home Decor
I grew up on the Lower Mainland in Maple Ridge. We always had property and animals. I was always involved somehow with horses most of my life. I moved to Merritt approx 14 years ago. I absolutely love the fact that I can live, work and play in such an amazing area. Everything is literally out my back door. I have time and time again been amazed at how this community comes together in good times and bad. I now live on my own little farm halfway between Merritt and Logan Lake. I love everything outdoors. I enjoy camping, fishing, hunting, quading, canoeing, photography and am thinking of kayaking this year. I am very excited and honored that I am able to share all my passions and adventures with you all. Please follow, share and comment on my blogs. I love to hear what you think. Thank you
Michelle Bacon
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Parks in Merritt

Think picnicking is only for summer?

Parks

Ready for a picnic!

This senior does parks and picnics all year round- even during thunderstorms and in the snow! And Merritt is a great place to do it.

Autumn is a perfect time for parks and picnics! Think picnicking is only for summer? This senior does parks and picnics all year round- even during thunderstorms and in the snow! And Merritt is a great place to do it.

Park and picnic prep

Start by getting a few friends as well as some play gear together- baseball, bat and gloves, soccer ball etc.  Or maybe a deck of cards or a few board games is more your style.

If you want a super easy picnic lunch before you head for your park of choice, most of the restaurants in Merritt will be happy to do a boxed lunch for your group, just give them a bit of a heads up.

Now take your gear, lunch and friends to one of the following places. ..

Rotary Park, Merritt 

Parks

Rotary Park

A fun park for everyone, kids and adults alike. The Nicola River runs along its south side. There are picnic tables scattered along the river and throughout the park or if you prefer, spread a blanket under a friendly tree. During hot weather, the spray park is operating and kids of all ages will love it! Settle that lunch with a gentle walk along paths lined with flower gardens while the young ones play. Or join them if you want some real exercise                   

Rotary Park Thunderstorm                                                                                                                                                          

Would you like the adventure of picnicking during a thunderstorm?  In addition to all the regular good park stuff, Rotary Park has a band shell that offers shelter and a great view of the flash bangs too. I had a blast doing this with some young kids. There was lots of laughing and shrieking- from all of us. They pronounced it “The best picnic EVER!”

         Rotary Park is washroom equipped.

Lion’s Memorial Park, Merritt

Parks

Lions Memorial Park

Here is a pocket park that not only has gorgeous flowerbeds but also riverside picnic tables as well as a picturesque bridge.  In addition to these, it has a surprise. As you stare up at the green and yellow structure, you may well ask, “What is that?”

Lions Memorial Park Wind Onion                                                                                                                                    

Known as the Wild Wind Onion, this helical windmill is the invention of Merritt’s Heinz Lange, a teacher who became fascinated with wind power in the 1960s. He developed a wind-powered ice fishing machine and later moved to building wind-powered “lake Aerators”, which were installed on several lakes in the area.

 

Parks

Lion’s Memorial Park Wind Onion

Merritt’s “Wind Onion”, built in the 1990s shows these features clearly in its outer blades. Take a little time to look at this unusual structure. After all, we Merrittonians are pretty proud of it!

The Lange family donated the wind onion and archival materials to the Nicola Valley Museum and the City of Merritt in 2014.                                                 

Central Park, Merritt

Here is a perfect park for letting off steam! There is plenty of room for soccer or any other game that needs space. Let the kids or grandkids  run around freely. Watch a game, or play one. Choose a big, shady “picnic tree” to kick back and relax under. Spread out the goodies and enjoy a family feast! Or walk the path at the park’s edge and just soak up the sun.

Fairley Park, Merritt

This may not be the kind of  park you expect as a picnic spot, but it is perfect for little kids! Small and fenced, it is a safe place for them to play. And the bright toy-like jungle gym is sure to be a big hit. Also, they can play in plain sight while you sit at the picnic table, chat with friends and set up the food. Or go join the kids and eat later!

Lions Bike Park, Merritt

While not a picnicking kind of park, this sure is a fun place for bike-riding kids. There are lots of dips and jumps to challenge even the skilled. If you have the grandkid’s bikes and helmets along, they can  also burn off some excess energy here.

It will benefit the adults too. You will hear fewer “Are we there yet?” questions after a stop at Lions Bike Park!

Parks

Picnics and Parks in Merritt

Centennial Park, Merritt

The Coldwater River runs along the north side of this park. There are great picnic spots here with tables overlooking the river. Trees offer both shade and also gorgeous colours at this time of year. Not only is the park edged with flowerbeds, but also the park itself is a large green space just ripe for laughter and play. So picnic, laugh, play and enjoy, then come back another day and do it all over again!

Read more about Merritt’s parks….

Spirit Square, Merritt

Definitely non-conventional, this little city park is designed as a gathering place. It makes a good picnic spot too. Bring cushions and  lawn chairs to sit on because the built-in benches are concrete. Not only does the park’s water feature add a gurgle of interest but also the pretty gardens are filled with flowers and ornamental grasses.

Notice the stage? Not only is it a good place to belt out a tune with your friends, but also its shelter makes this park another thunderstorm picnic spot!

Can anyone in your group play the piano? There is a painted piano at Spirit Square that everyone is welcome to use. So go for it! Get the people around you up and dancing! I dare you! Start some big fun in the heart of our little city.

Merritt’s Parks – what do you think?

In my last blog, I talked about Merritt’s great walks for seniors.  

Now, it’s autumn. Leaves are turning and the colours are stunning! How long has it been since you treated yourself to the beauty that is all around us? Don’t waste a minute more! Call a friend, toss your favorite goodies into a basket and go picnic in one of Merritt’s parks. See you there!

Your senior blogger,

Diane 

Parks

     

        

Historic Murray Church

The oldest building in the Nicola Valley

“The quaint little white church, the first in the area.”

One of the most iconic attractions in the Nicola Valley is the historic Murray Church. Located in the Nicola Valley on highway 5A just northeast of Merritt, the quaint little white church, the first in the area. Built in 1876 the Murray Church is the oldest building in the Nicola Valley and also the only building still standing made with local Nicola Valley lumber. If you peek in the windows you can get an idea of what a 19th century church looked like back in the day. It has a pulpit at the front, pews waiting to be filled, and stained glass windows at the back.

Historic Murray Church - Experience Nicola Valley

Historic Murray Church

Murray Church originally starts out as a Presbyterian Church and in 1927 became Murray United Church. The church named after its founder Rev. George Murray is the most photographed church in all of the southern interior of BC.

Murray Church cemetery

A small cemetery surrounds it with several dozen headstones, some crumbled and worn, but mostly still legible. These told the story of a harder period in history, when many didn’t make it past the age of 50. One headstone marked the grave of a young mother who died just 19 days before her infant daughter. There was also a number of unmarked graves, distinguished only by small piles of rocks or wooden fences. Walking amongst these graves, some marked with ornate marble headstones and some just with a pile of stones, was a somber but fascinating experience.

About the founder – Rev. George Murray

Murray United Church - Experience Nicola Valley

Reverend George Murray

Reverend George Murray first arrived in the Nicola Valley in 1875. rev. George Murray, who became the only Presbyterian minister in B.C. for five years after his arrival. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, rev. Murray had previously ministered to the district extending from Yale to Clinton, including Ashcroft and Lillooet. Perched on a saddle and armed with a Bible, the reverend travelled through the wilderness on horseback covering a circuit of 600 miles. Now the Nicola Valley was added to his parish. As he travelled the circuit, the reverend would camp outdoors, or sleep at whatever house he happened to be near when night fell. As more settlers arrived, the village of Nicola began to take shape and the more optimistic looked forward to the day when it might become a great city. 

Rev. Murray was accepted into the valley and soon found his way into the people’s hearts. In 1876, with their help, he began construction of Murray Church. It was originally St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church as the local Presbyterian pioneer families. The Clappertons and the Moores were no doubt among the founders of the church. While living in the Valley, the reverend’s travels took him to surrounding settlements, holding services on alternate Sundays as far away as Stump Lake, Douglas Lake and down the valley to the old 22-Mile House. On special occasions he held services at Aspen Grove and Mamette Lake. Every other Sunday, he preached morning and evening in the little church at Nicola and in the afternoon at either Lower Nicola, or Forksdale (which later became Merritt).

Nicola Ranch home of the Murray Church

The Nicola Ranch is situated around Murray United Church. Major Goldman in 1919 purchased the Nicola Ranch and Town site in Nicola, which grew to some 300,000 acres. He owned all the way up to Monck Provincial Park. Which is now that name. He named this park after his son Commander Victor Robert Penryn Monck Goldman of the Royal Navy. Charles Sydney Major Goldman was a British businessman, author, and journalist who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1910 until 1918. There is a memorial stone in the Murray Church yard. He had purchased all the land including the land that the Murray United Church on today. 

Much to the regret of the early pioneers, the great city that had been hoped for at Nicola did not materialize. Coal was discovered at Forksdale and with the completion of the railroad into the valley in 1908, Merritt began to grow at the expense of Nicola.

Historic Murray Church - Experience Nicola Valley

“Strings Plus” concert.

Today the Murray Church stands among the pioneer buildings of the original village of Nicola and the newly renovated buildings that serve the Nicola Lake Ranch.

Historic Murray Church today!!

 

This year the Murray Church has undergone renovations to restore the building to it’s former glory. 

Regular services there were terminated in 1957 and today the church is only open for special occasions, such as Easter Sunday service, wedding ceremonies and most recently “Strings Plus” concert.  Anyone is welcome to any of the services. Please contact the Trinity United Church 1899 Quilchena Ave. Merritt BC 250-378-5735 for more information.

If you are a history buff this attraction will definately be of interest to you!!!

Take a selfie and post your visit on www.experiencenicolavalley.com.

Merritt Summer Nights Market

“People like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate.”

Starting Friday July 6th, 2018

Small town summer nights markets…… if you haven’t experienced at least one, you should! StartingMerritt Summer Nights Market Friday July 6th, 2018 there will be more than ever to experience in the Nicola Valley. We want something new and exciting. Something to do on Friday nights. Merritt Summer Nights Market! A place to congregate and encourage business, and what better place than right down town Merritt?

An opportunity for local downtown and home businesses

There are a lot of small home businesses in Merritt, but not many platforms to sell their products. In the day and age of social media, it is easier than ever to get your business out there for free. But really, where else can you go to sell your products? Sure there is the odd craft fair. Maybe an event every so often like Canada Day in the Park, the Garlic Festival or the Fall Fair. But other than that, where do you go?

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Looking east down the stroll

The reality is, people like to have a place to be able to shop unique items and congregate. To take a little cash and maybe buy themselves something you can’t buy in a general store. Maybe it is just a garage sale antique, or something nostalgic from their childhood.

For me I like to find unique gifts for Birthday’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. I like to find unique jewelry for myself. I love my “real” jewelry, but I am a lover of “junk jewelry” and hand made items. I like things that are different, often statement pieces. I often find it is the cheap earrings that I just happened to stumble upon on some crazy clearance that often are the ones people admire most!  

And there’s the food…

Then there is the smell of a Summer Night Market. You know the one- the fried onions, pulled pork,

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Will there be fresh berry pie?

donairs, hotdogs, and mini donuts. The smell of fried food we all know we shouldn’t eat, but secretly relish in enjoying.

We are inviting vendors for different food. And for now we know we have…home baked goods. Love home baked goods. The banana bread, zucchini loaf, cookies, pies and squares we all take home in two’s so we can eat one to ourselves, and serve the other to guests so they think we baked (or at least I do LOL).

Stroll down the middle of the road.

Merritt Summer Nights Market

Cars now…but wait!

There is something to be said about being able to stroll down the middle of a road. One that is otherwise occupied by cars. That feeling of seeing the road as something different than a path for cars. It is now a place to greet people, stop and have a chat. Seeing the businesses that line the sidewalks with their doors open letting the cool Merritt Summer Nights Market air in after the sweltering summer heat has eased off. I don’t know about you, but I always feel more prone to walking in to a business with the door wide open. Almost like they are inviting you to come in and browse without pressure. Somehow it seems friendlier, and I find it’s amazing how such a small gesture subconsciously makes you want to go inside.

 

Let’s get this going! Participate in the Merritt Summer Nights Market!

We are just starting out. We’ll see if we can attract all the amazing small businesses, nonprofit orgs, the delicious food vendors and music to make this a small town success in our town of Merritt. Join us in making this Friday night event a success!

I invite you, I encourage you, to come down to Quilchena Avenue and enjoy a Merritt Summer Night Market. Shop all the local businesses, come for the food, the fresh produce, and some great finds, but stay for the experience. The experience of the Nicola Valley!

See you there!

 

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