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Fall and Winter Outdoor Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada 

The whole family can enjoy outdoor activities in Merritt BC

Merritt outdoor adventures and attractions

Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC does not have to stop with the end of summer. Because of our favorable climate, along with long hours of sunshine and little precipitation throughout the year, we are truly blessed with many Merritt, BC Canada outdoor activities. This alone makes the Nicola Valley a destination place during the fall months as well as the winter months. In addition, Merritt is the gateway to the Interior of B.C, due to the Coquilhalla Highway and only a three hour drive to five international airports, giving Canadians and world wide visitors quick access.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Fall color’s. Tania Stewart.

Lundbom Lake in the Fall. Photo courtesy of Greg Girard.

Fall is a fresh start. “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall”—F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The Sights, Smells and Sounds of a Merritt Autumn

Every thing is so crisp. Watching Autumn colors fall to the ground,  jumping in leaves as a child and those blustery fall winds bringing in Ole Man Winter brings even more promise of fun to be had. All is good in the Nicola Valley. Playing outdoors throughout the Nicola Valley has always been seasonal. Time to bring this back. Experience the Nicola Valley!

Hiking surrounding Nicola Valley Mountains.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Fall mountain biking. Photo Merritt Mountain Biking Association.

To Say Nothing of Hiking on a Crisp Winter Day 

Having a dry climate, the Nicola Valley’s is frequently under the lights of the sun.  Get yourself outdoors now as breathing in that fresh air helps you combat those upcoming winter blues.  Family fun time, alone time, or taking a hike with your dog… why not make outdoor activities during the fall and winter months a season of exploration.

winter hiking in merritt

Winter hiking in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Experience Nicola Valley.

Sunny winter day of hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature. Edna O’Brien.

Despite the Temperature Change Life Goes On

Following the summer heat, Merritt’s cooler fall weather is truly a welcome reprieve. Clearly with having some of the best and  sometimes under-appreciated hiking trails, it is impossible not to be challenged even if you are a seasonal hiker. Without a doubt hiking trails for beginners will treat you to Fall colors, as well as, trails for the extreme will treat you to views over looking forests of Fall colors.  

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park will amaze with it’s beauty!

Colours of Kentucky Lake

Colours of Kentucky Lake. Photo courtesy of Tom Reynolds.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park Hiking Trail. Photo by Tom Reynolds.

Iron Mountain

The main trail carries over 4 kilometers to the top of Iron Mountain, with 2 lookouts that gives you a scenic view. There are also many shorter hikes and mountain biking trails  available within Merritt that make for a great way to exercise the legs. There are a wide variety of recreation trails available in and around Merritt for each season and all abilities. Five prominent mountains surround the city of Merritt, each with its own extensive network of trails. 

Hiking Trails Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Tom Lacey Memorial Trail

Swakum Mountain is located close to downtown Merritt. This trail is truly a family hiking and mountain biking destination. Starting at the top of the Flagpole Access Road. Were you will be greeted with amazing priceless views of the Nicola Valley farms and the City of Merritt before you even begin hiking. Allow yourself about 1 – 3 Hours of family fun within nature. Connecting with many other trails, Swakum Mountain gives you the choice of how long or short your hike will be.

 

Whether snow shoeing, fat biking, xc skiing, snowmobiling or hiking, the Nicola Valley during the winter is an ideal destination place. Lots to do. No crowds, Amazing scenery. Top notch trail networks. Due to these crazy times, outdoor adventures have become even more popular.

Merritt XC Skiing and Snowshoeing

The Nicola Nordic Ski Club is based in Merritt, BC. and maintains the Kane Valley Ski Trails. The Kane Valley lies twenty minutes south of Merritt. It’s an hour west of Peachland and an hour north of Princeton. A Nordic experience at Kane Valley is an ideal day trip. You can enjoy the area for days, because 50km of fantastic classic skiing on wilderness groomed trails provide ample diversity. Bring on Old Man Winter!

 

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

merritt snowshoeing

What a great day to go winter hiking in Merritt. Experience Nicola Valley Photo.

Winter Hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In Conclusion

Outdoor activities in Merritt BC. does not stop with the end of the summer. As a result of having a favorable climate along with long hours of sunshine and little precipitation throughout the year… the Nicola Valley is open for adventure all year! See you on the trails and/or in the back country sun, snow or ice. 

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Fall and Winter Adventure sin the Nicola Valley

 

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Adventures and activities in British Columbia Canada

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group

merritt centennials

MERRITT CENTENNIALS

LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY RUN FRANCHISE IN THE BCHL

THE CENTENNIALS ARE IMPORTANT TO MERRITT

 

Merritt Centennials: Like many small towns in Canada, hockey is a big deal in Merritt, BC, Canada during the winter.  We have a strong minor hockey system but the crowning glory of our town is the Merritt Centennials Hockey Cub.  In 1973 Pooley Brothers Construction formed a group that purchased the White Rock  Centennials and moved them to Merritt.

“It is simply amazing that this level of  hockey exists in Merritt”  Steve from Vancouver!

A long Tradition Begins

The team has gone through several different types of ownership groups, from private to not-for-profit societies.  Every time it seemed like the club would fold a white knight would appear and save the day.  The Pooley Group ran the club until the 1980-81 season when ownership transferred to a non profit community group.  During the Pooley years the club had some great success.

merritt centennials

Ownership Changes

With the financial struggles the club changed ownership and a group that included Merritt’s own Mr Hockey, Brian Barrett, took over the reins and the club was again in private ownership for the 86-87  season,  Ownership was consolidated for the 89-90 with Brian being a big part of the group.  In 94-95 the Sanders family and others took over the club.  By the 98-99 season the club changed hands again with Frank Biller (Erin Mortgage Corporation) being in charge. This was short lived but then our most famous owner, Tiger Williams, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks stepped in.  And finally, ownership returned to a public entity for the 00-01 season and has remained under this current format for the past 20 Seasons.

The Struggles

The population base for the club is approximately 15,000 people, of which 10,000 are adults.  In order for the club to succeed they need to sell 500 season tickets and have 275 walk ups each game. We need 7.5% of our eligible population to participate.  In contrast the Vancouver Canucks only need .5%.  We therefore need 15 times more of our population to participate.  

Our small population also means our business base is not as big as larger centres so this source of funds is limited.  Having said that, the businesses that we do have go above and beyond with their support !

How have the Merritt Centennials survived

In the early years it wasn’t too difficult.  The losses were not too severe, therefore, the owners would kick in the shortfall and things would continue on.  But overtime the operational budgets grew and the losses grew to such an extent that owners could not justify this type of subsidy.

Inside the Arena-Julie Pollard Photo

In the 2000-2001 season a Board of Directors was put in place to guide the team financially.  This was an amazing group who put their heart and soul into this effort.  In 2003, given the expertise of the board, they decided to build a home on Nicola Lake and sell it for a profit. At the time the real estate market was hot and it looked like a large profit could be made.  Unfortunately, the boom did not last and in the end the project lost money.

 

The financial difficulties continued until a new board was elected   This group was made up of people associated with the forest industry.  They borrowed money from some of their members and were able to secure a community forest license which has helped keep the team afloat.

The new reality for the Merritt Centennials

For the Club the forest license has been great but it is not a forever thing, as such, the club needs to find other sources of revenue.  This is where you, the reader, comes in.  The Cents have an internet 50/50 draw that you can participate in.

You can get in on the action because each ticket only costs $2.00 to play.  With your purchase, that becomes your number and it stays in the contest even if you don’t renew it.  If you don’t renew it your number could still be drawn but you won’t get your share of the pot.  The pot as of January 6, 2020 is approximately $3400 of which your share would be $1700.  The draw is every Tuesday.

Currently the split between active tickets and those that have not been renewed is about 50%.  That means the pot has a very good chance to grow.  So if you want to take a whirl at this fun game you need to go to merrittcentennials.com and follow the links.

merritt centennials

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Contact Information

Merritt Centennials Junior A Hockey Club
PO Box 1730
Merritt BC V1K 1B8
Phone: (250) 378-3604

Centennials Game Schedule

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Merritt Centennials 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

Top Winter Things To Do and Activities in Merritt BC

“… we have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada!”

Merritt Winter Attractions! Yes, Merritt has many. As a result we have highlighted 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures worthy of your time this season. In fact, Merritt winter adventures, is a hidden gem in British Columbia. However, people are beginning to take notice more and more with the increased search engine presence educating travelers on the first-class winter adventures available here in the Nicola Valley. Haven’t you heard?

“Merritt BC Canada is “Adventure Ready”!

Powder Winter Attractions

The Nicola Valley – with its vast wilderness backcountry forests, network of gravel roads and hundreds of lakes – is an ideal playground for enjoying snow and ice winter adventures. Most noteworthy our snow is generally light powder snow. What does that mean? It means it is easy to maneuver around in the snow making for good winter adventure conditions. As a result many regions in British Columbia experience fog, rain and clouds during the winter months… Merritt tends to see sunshine more than most.

“Merritt is a hidden gem for winter attractions and adventures. When the world learns what Merritt has to offer, winter enthusiasts will converge on this small winter wonderland in a heart beat.” Greg Girard

Experience Community Program

For just under 2 years I have had the opportunity to work with the many good people at Tourism Nicola Valley and in the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. Together we are building a stronger and more versatile 4-season tourism industry under the “Experience” brand. The “Experience Community” program is a very successful small and rural content marketing program we here, at eh Canada Travel, have introduced to the community on Merritt. Hence, now we have a group of positive and passionate locals participating in the marketing of their community through story telling and experiences via a living website and community blogsite.

“This has been the best thing that has happened in Merritt in the last 10 years!” Shelley Sanders – Canadian Country Music Heritage Society.

experiencemerritt

Creating Jobs In Merritt

We have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada! Bold right! Well I believe it and many around me believe it too. A stronger Merritt winter attraction and adventure season has many benefits including establishing a consistent flow of new money into the community therefore supporting the current stores, accommodations, and restaurants… as well as, attracting new stores and services to the community. Consequently, there is that “creating jobs” thing too. That is pretty important. Where is the bad in that? There is none.

Learn Through Positive Partnerships 

In working with the front line businesses in the community we have met so many good people and key stakeholders who have taught us so much about the Nicola Valley. Some of the associations we have been fortunate enough to work with include Tourism Nicola Valley, Vision Merritt,  Community Futures, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and Chamber of Commerce. Therefore, these are the groups we would recommend working with on any Merritt BC decision making process. It has been a positive experience working with them. They are really, the true ambassadors of Merritt BC Canada!

What To Know About Merritt Winter Attractions

The top winter things to do in Merritt BC, based on my humble opinion, are listed below. I have selected 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures which will “Wow” your socks off. Included below are links which connect you to maps, tips, photos, videos, contact information and plenty of descriptive text. The links to the preferred Merritt resources below provide you everything you need to know to plan and book one of Merritt’s first-class winter attractions and adventures.

5 Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

merritt snowmobiling adventures

Another great snow day snowmobiling in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT SNOWMOBILING / SLEDDING

Throughout the Nicola Valley snowmobiling is getting a lot of positive press lately. Therefore more and more people are finding out about their little snowmobile retreat. In fact, Merritt sledding has made a few top magazines in British Columbia for snowmobiling.

“Sledding around Merritt is an adventure worth seeking out.” Snoriderswest.com 2016

The Merritt snowmobiling adventure destination most noteworthy in this region is the Coquilhalla back country. You have heard of the Coquihalla Highway but did you know the backcountry is a hot spot for snowmobiling? Likewise there are other sledding destinations in the region as well. Stoyoma, Honeymoon Lakes, Hooshum Ridge and, near by, Thynne Mountain (Brookmere) are considered worthy sledding destinations as well. If you want to ride steep and deep or enjoy a day of boondocking, you’ll find plenty of sledding action in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SLEDDING IN MERRITT.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

MERRITT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley. Why is this important? Because cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. The valley has over 50 kilometres of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING IN MERRITT.

merritt snowshowing

What a great day to go winter hiking (a.k.a snowshoeing) in Merritt

MERRITT SNOWSHOEING

In our minds snowshoeing has always been a winter version of summer hiking. It is in many ways winter hiking. Likewise snowshoeing involves exploring the same summer trails but provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Personally, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your adventures through a seasonal lens. Finally snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan properly, and one can also snowshoe the vast network of hiking trails and gravel roads available in the backcountry.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SNOWSHOEING IN MERRITT.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT ICE FISHING

If you are new here, there is one thing you should know. Throughout the Nicola Valley there are over 200+ lakes! Yes, you heard me right, 200. As a result the word is getting out that you can ice fish, “A lake a day for as long as you stay” when visiting Merritt BC. Merritt ice fishing season starts in mid-December as the colder weather sets in and 6 inches of hard ice covers the lakes. And… do not forget to get your fishing licence.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ICE FISHING IN MERRITT.

courthouse gallery merritt

Paintings on display at the Courthouse Gallery in Merritt

MERRITT WINTER ENTERTAINMENT

After the days filled with enjoying our first class Merritt winter attractions and adventures you deserve some quality down time. What better way to enjoy the nights than by attending some of our great entertainment venues and dining establishments. Certainly one of the many pubs, restaurants, open mics, spas, junior hockey game, live music, art galleries, and/or community events will entertain you and your group. Hence why Merritt is a good host day and night. Therefore the community will keep you active and entertained during your winter vacation here in the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO MEET OUR ENTERTAINMENT ATTRACTIONS IN MERRITT.

Top Winter Things To Do In Merritt BC Canada

Best Merritt Winter Adventures

Winter Hiking in Merritt, Experience  Nicola Valley

Hiking in the winter around Merritt BC.

 

Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s also very healthy.

 

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you.  People of all ages and abilities can enjoy higher levels of health and wellness when they have access to nature in Canada. As a result there are health benefits including lowering risk of heart disease, obesity, stress, depression and strokes. Hiking in the winter with or without snow is my true pleasure while living in Merritt BC Canada.

Hiking in Merritt BC

Hiking in Merritt is a “Winter Wonderland”.

Due to  “Mother Nature” many outdoor activities in the Winter can be enjoyed in Merritt BC.

Accordingly “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being while respecting and learning to live in harmony with as little impact or damage to your surroundings. Being encouraged to practice habits that will promote a healthy environment in the “now” as well as in the future. Respecting all living things, animals, trees, vegetation, local biodiversity, water, while we enjoy and Experience  Nicola Valley. 

experiencemerritt

Getting the “blues” during the darker months in Merritt BC?

In addition to lowering levels of  winter depression while staying healthy and practising social distancing due to Covid19. Getting out and enjoying nature can reduce stress providing better coping skills for every-day life events. Physical activities while practising physical distancing involving nature can help promote personal healthy connections. Moreover while benefiting your health while helping the winter months go quick. Remember to respect your ecological environment and the impact we may have on it.

 

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Hiking and walking trails. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Never Fear Trails are Near.

Behind the Bench in Merritt BC you will find a network of trails. Just starting? No worries, there are many low impact trails that allow you to choose how far and how long you go. As you progress you can climb higher with trails based on your ability. Hiking these trails in the winter are extraordinary. It feels like  your out in the middle of no-where, but literally still within distance of the City. For more information go to  Trailforks.

 

Nicola Valley winter hiking.

Hiking trails near you.

As demonstrated I love to “Hike” the trails behind my house on the Bench in the Winter. Winter Hiking in Merritt BC. Tania Stewart.

 

I live to hike in the “WinterTania Stewart.

One with nature.

 

Amid the Beauty of the Forest.

Truly what is great about spending a winter day outdoors, you can warm up to a fire and not worry about fire restrictions. This being said, make sure to put out your fire when done. 

 

Winter camp fire. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Hotdogs n smore’s!

Groomed trails. Photo courtesy of Experience Nicola Valley.

 

Alongside is my family.

Ricky Mervyn.

Taniaphotos

Jordan.

At the same time your family pet will love it.

Merritt has many outdoor parks, a dog park, numerous walking trails, and skate board/ bike park. Participating in outdoor activities provides a personal health wellness that has numerous health benefits. It provides energy, vitality and a greater respect for our natural resources’ and how we can ensure its protection for our children and generations to access and enjoy its splendor. Additionally taking your dog out can be a safety measure.

 

The one and only “Tank”. Photo done by Tania Stewart.

Windy Canyon Merritt BC.

Across from old Tolko site there is a narrow canyon ascending to the south from the old Middlesbourgh town site at Merritt.  Merrittonian Kevin Griffiths states that this is a historical site that once was home to an industrial coal operation before the 1st World War. Within 15min of hiking you will be transformed into a secret place. True to its name, you will feel and hear the wind as you explore this unique hidden Canyon. Ideally a great place to hike in to during winter months.

 

Windy Canyon. Merritt BC.

Photo by Kevin Griffiths.

Turn technology off for a day. Have one on hand for emergencies. Get out doors with your family. Exercise take a 20min walk around the block or a 2hr hike in the hills. 

 

Walk the trails.

winterhikingnicolavalley.

Have a seat. Chillax. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In the woods.

 

 

Furthermore Hiking In the Nicola Valley.

Experiencing The Nicola Valley and all it has to offer including breathtaking beauty, and numerous outdoor activities is why we are lucky to live here. As well as all of the public parks which are easily accessible. Not to mention the mountain trails which are literally in our back yard. But being aware of the limits to our natural resources still has a place. Think of yourself as an Ambassador of Merritt, you are representing your community

 

Winterhikingmerrittbc..

Tracking bird tracks. Photo by Tania Stewart.

In proximity to Merritt BC is Monck Park.

Hiking in the Nicola Valley

Winter hiking in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Monck Park is a provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located at Nicola Lake. There is a 5 km self-guided interpretive hiking trail that loops around the park. There is a  1.3 km trail to the east of the existing upper trails best accessed from the upper end. Sections of this trail are steep and require caution. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails. No short-cutting! Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

 

In the distance there is Kentucky Lake.

A 4 km hiking trail navigates the outer perimeter of Kentucky Lake, and it takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The trail has minimal elevation and provides different vantage points of the beautiful lake as you walk around it. The hike is kid-friendly and is a great hike for families. Park users can still walk into the park if conditions such as weather permit.

Merritthikinginwinter.

Kentucky lake40 min from Merritt BC. Canada. Picture by Tania Stewart.

As indicated “Nature” inspires a lifestyle of personal well-being.

Altogether winter hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Get out and take on Merritt’s River Walk’s as stated by Tom Reynolds. Accessed from  Voght Street across from Claybanks RV Park. Or use the entrance on Main Street at Canford Ave. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you. Physical activities which involve nature will promote personal healthy connections that benefits both your health while you and your kids will have a good sleep! Experience Nicola Valley.

 

Walking in the snow.

Take a night walk.

Experience Nicola Valley hiking our winter trails in Merritt BC Canada

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC, is truly a beautiful experience. Not only is the scenery beautiful, it’s healthy for you. People of all ages and abilities can enjoy higher levels of health and wellness when they have access to nature in Canada. Along with self distancing due to Covid19 there are health benefits including lowering risk of heart disease, obesity, stress, depression and strokes. Hiking in the winter with or without snow is my true pleasure while living in Merritt BC Canada.

 

Winter Hiking in Merritt BC.

Experience Nicola Valley hiking our winter trails in Merritt BC Canada

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC

Merritt, not just for summer

There is no better way to spend a winter day than to get out and enjoy what there is to offer with your family.

There are so many winter activities around Merritt BC. You don’t have to wait until summer to come on vacation and enjoy what there is to offer here.

I’d like to take you through some of my favorite winter activities around Merritt, BC. As I go through them you will notice that some will over lap with others because it’s so easy to incorporate more than one at a time. Can’t get any better than that.

Snowmobiling

There are a number of excellent places around Merritt to go snowmobiling. I personally love to take off to some of the different lakes like Helmer, Nicola or Mamit. We love to take the kids out and do some snowmobiling on the frozen lakes. Gives them a place to have fun in wide open spaces.

You can also get a hold of the Merritt Snowmobile Club. There are a number of trails that they look after that would be great to check out.

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Ice Fishing

Another one of my favorite winter activities around Merritt BC is ice fishing. There are some really great lakes to go to including Mamit, Nicola, Marquart, Hamilton and Helmer. I am looking forward to checking out a lot more of the lakes in the coming years.

ice fishing hole, drilling, winter fun

Drilling down

ice fishing on Merritt, BC lakes

Line in – soon – fish on

Combine Activities

The best part about getting into some of these lakes is that you get to combine winter activities around Merritt by snowmobiling into the lake to ice fish. There have been many times we have packed up gear and the kids and taken off the for the day. We love going out and having a campfire to roast hotdogs while we ice fish and snowmobile around the lake. Its a great way to spend the day with your family.

snowmobiling Merritt BC lakes

Big boys turn at the snowmobiling.

A few more winter activities around Merritt, BC

X-Country Skiing

X-country skiing is a great winter activity and is also great exercise as well. Kane Valley has some great groomed trails for all levels of skiers.

learning to x-country skiing family fun at Kane Valley

Alisha learning to x-country ski. She did great her first time out.

If your more into adventures and breaking your own trail, you could check out Lundbom or Marquart lakes. Blazing a trail from one to the other or over the beautiful open country side would be a great trip. You could also take your skis with you when you snowmobile out to the lakes and go on a ski from the lake. So many different combinations of winter activities around Merritt BC.

x-country skiing Kane Valley Merritt BC

Michelle Bacon enjoying winter activities around Merritt, BC

Tobogganing

Now here is a fun winter activity the whole neighborhood can enjoy and believe me we do. A great place to get together and do this is towards Lundbom lake. There is some amazing hills to toboggan down and family’s usually start a fire and roast hotdogs and make hot chocolate. It’s such great day.

Do you love skating?

Another awesome winter activity around Merritt, BC is pond skating. There are a number of lakes and ponds that are set up to do this. Although I haven’t actually had the opportunity to try it, I have seen people having  what looks like a lot of fun out skating and playing hockey on the lakes. Logan Lake has a couple rinks set up and I have also seen people on anther lake towards Kamloops where a girl was figure skating and doing some pretty amazing twirls and jumps. My camera would have been great to have.

I really love all the winter activities around Merritt, BC.  I hope that you will also make the trip here and enjoy the Nicola Valley in the winter. We have so much to offer no matter what  time of year it is.

Bird or Wildlife Watching

Bird watching is a fun activity around Merritt in the winter. You can take the trails along the river around Merritt. Or check out some of the bird sanctuaries in the area. Along some of your drives you might want to keep your eyes open for other wildlife as well. Heading towards Mamit Lake you may get a glimpse of the wild horses. And at the lakes where you are ice fishing you may be treated to the bald eagles.

wild horses, merritt bc

Wild horses along highway 97C towards Mamit Lake from Merritt.

bald eagle ice fishing Nicola Valley

Bald eagle waiting to see if it will get a gift of some fish from people ice fishing.

Check out Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers for more great blogs, activities and places to eat and stay in and around the Nicola Valley.

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC

Ranching in the Nicola Valley.

A day in the life at a local ranch; 8 Mile Ranch/Calton Cattle Co.

“If I get into a wreck can I call you? I already have a one in the house.” Corena

Anything can happen when your ranching in the Nicola Valley. I spent my day helping out at my friends at 8 Mile Ranch/Calton Cattle Co. while some calves were being born. Then I get to share that experience with all of you through blogging with Experience Nicola Valley.

I got the text about 9 am.

” Good morning Gerry has to go to Kamloops later this morning. If I get into a wreck can I call you? I already have a one in the house.” Corena @Calton Cattle Co.

frozen Calf warm kitchen

Photo credit Corena @Calton Cattle Co.

Getting Ready.

Oh my gosh, how exciting. I texted back right away ” Yes, I can absolutely come by if you need me.” I didn’t hear back right away. Then I got to thinking, what if something is going on right now and they can’t answer the phone. Well, I better get over there and see if there was anything they needed help with. Ranching in the Nicola Valley or anywhere can be full of surprises.
So I bundled up because the weather was a balmy -27 degrees.

freezing temp bundle up ranching life

Getting ready to go out in -27 to help friends with calving.

At the Ranch.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley of course always includes feeding. When I got to there everything looked good. Gerry and Corena a were out feeding and checking heifers to make sure there were no more calving at the moment. I walked out to meet up with Corena and chat with her to find out how things were going.

Back at the House.

She explained that Gerry had found the calf this morning looking like a little frost ball. With temperatures being so low they brought the calf in to warm up a bit. So, we headed over to the house to see how the little guy was doing.

Calf in the kitchen.

We walked in and in this big black tub was the cutest little baby calf. I have to admit I will never tire of seeing these little miracles. He was all dried off and getting ready to head back out to see mom and get some more food. Corena had already given him a bottle of colostrum to make sure he has the best start possible. I love ranching in the Nicola Valley.

calf, house, warm, cattle dog

Blue the ranch dog watching over “his” baby.

After taking a torch to melt all the snow and ice off of the trailer hitch, we got the it hooked up to the side by side then got ready to take this little one back to his momma. The tub wasn’t as heavy as I thought it was going to be. But with this little one standing up we had to be careful to have the weight distributed evenly while we carried him out to the trailer. Meanwhile, Buddy is keeping a close eye on what we are doing.

ranch dog border collie

Buddy watching us get the trailer ready.

Momma.

Once in the trailer we slowly hauled the little calf over to the pen his momma was in. She was still calling for him. It amazes me how when ranching in the Nicola Valley or on any ranch the cows and calves each have a distinct call so they know the sound of each other. Yet, to me they almost all sound the same.

Reuniting Calf with Momma.

We carried the tub into the edge of the paddock and set it down. Momma was getting a little agitated so we worked quickly to get the calf standing up and walked the calf into the paddock where mom could sniff, lick and talk to the calf to make sure it was hers. We watched to make sure Momma wouldn’t push baby away and that she would accept him back.

heifer calf reunited on the ranch

Heifer reunited with her calf

Quick check around paddock.

While we were waiting Corena suggested we take a look around the back paddocks to see how the other heifers were doing back there. While we were checking she mentioned to be careful of one of them as it wasn’t very friendly. We took a look around and all looked good so we went back and checked on baby and momma again. While I was watching and of course taking photos, Corena was blow torching the water trough to melt the pipes so it could be filled up again. In these temperatures everything freezes.

freezing water torch thaw fill trough

Thawing water lines to fill troughs.

Once we had the water filled we rechecked on Momma and the calf. They seemed to be doing okay at this point so we left them alone to bond.

Heading back to the house.

Just before we were going to head back to the house we thought it would be a good idea to have one more check. Things can change in a second when your ranching in the Nicola Valley. As we go around the corner of the lean-to Corena notices the heifer she warned me about earlier just had a calf. We went into the lean-to to watch through some peak holes. We had to make sure the mother was cleaning the little one off. She seemed like she wanted nothing to do with the calf. She would lick it once or twice then walk away.

new mother heifer calf freezing ranch life

Heifer with new calf and not interested in it yet.

Spring into action.

Corena went into the next pen and tried to rouse the mother into action by giving the new calf a little push. We thought it was going to work. Nope she again licked it once or twice again and walked away.

It was time to step in before the calf froze. We worked together to get the mom out of the pen (which didn’t take much). Then grabbing the big black tub we had just used we got the new calf up to load into it.

Calves don’t look that heavy. But it sure felt heavy when it’s not in the tub. Corena took one side and I the other. Together we lifted the new calf into the black tub. We carried the calf and tub out to the trailer and loaded it up to take back to the house. I was walking behind the trailer hanging on to the tub to make sure it didn’t slide out.
The calf was shivering so I took my jacket off and layed it over the calf. Once at the house we got the tub inside and Corena got warm towels from the dryer to lay over the calf. We spent the next half hour switching warm towels and drying off the calf.

warming calf cold farm life

Warming calf with heated towels from the dryer.

As I finished drying calf off Corena was getting a bottle of colostrum ready for baby.

Colostrum.

Colostrum is a very rich milk, the first milk that comes from the mothers. It is full of antioxidants that help protect the new calf against diseases.
Now that baby seamed to be a little perkier it was time to try feeding.

Feeding Time.

When you are ranching in the Nicola Valley one of the things you have to learn is how to feed new calves.
You would think that calves would automatically start sucking and it will be just that easy to stick a bottle in it’s mouth.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes it takes a while for them to “get it”, I was really hoping that in this case the calf would automatically pick it up.
First you have to stick your finger in it’s mouth to try and get the sucking reflex going. If the calf starts sucking insert the nipple and your good to go.

My Chance to shine.

So, here I go. I have the bottle and I am in position to start feeding. I think the calf is going to start sucking so I put the nipple in and nothing. It starts playing with the nipple a bit but no sucking. I take the nipple out and give the calf a min to taste the colostrum. Hopefully this will trigger it to start drinking. I try again, nothing. A third time nothing. Okay, time to switch positions and try at a different angle. Just not my day today.

Let the professional take over.

“Sometimes if you stand over the calf and try from a different angle the calf will start drinking.” Corena said
she then gets in position over the calf and gives it a go. Of course almost right away the calf starts to suck back the milk. Woohoo, this is a great thing. Calf is drinking and drinking strong. They can sure down a bottle quickly.

calf feeding colostrum house warmth

Calf drinking colostrum to give it the best start possible.

As Corena was feeding she asked “did we even look to see what the sex is” I laughed and said “no we haven’t had a chance yet” So while the little calf was feeding we took a peak.

Do you want to take a guess at what the sex was? A bull calf (male) or a heifer (female)? Comment below and let me know what your guess is.

boy or girl heifer or bull guess

Take your best guess in the comments below. Bull calf or heifer? What do you think.

Getting set up to take calf back out to it’s mother.

Now that the calf is warm and fed we need to go out and set up the paddocks, move mothers and babies around so we have the new mother in a paddock where they can work with her if she doesn’t accept her baby right away.

We start by opening up the gates and moving momma and her calf over one paddock. As we are doing this the new mother decides she wants to go in with them. Oh, here we go. Now we have to move them over and separate the new mother. She isn’t that friendly so we had to be very careful to watch she didn’t try to charge us. Was a bit iffy a couple times but we did get it done and they were all separated and in the correct paddocks.

Reuniting calf #2 with it’s mother.

After a few hours in the house, warming up, feeding and resting it was time to reunite this calf with it’s mother.
We again got the side by side in position to haul the tub out and into the trailer. Once we come back into the house to get the calf it’s standing. Another great sign. Carefully we carry the calf in the tub out to the trailer and load it up. I am not to keen on the calf standing, hopefully we make it over to the mother okay.

The wreck.

Corena starts to slowly drive over towards the paddock as I am holding the calf and the tub from the side to make sure they stay put. Well, what do you know. The calf decides it’s going to try playing. As it does a little jump in the air, the trailer still moving forward and calf moves back. Calf hits back of tub and as I jump in behind to catch it the calf is in my arms the tub has flipped up and dumped its contents on top of me and the calf. While all this is going on I am calling for Corena to stop. It all happened so fast. Everyone is okay and I am holding calf and laughing at the same time. I think I am going to name this calf “Touch Down” because that just felt like a long pass, catch and touch down lol.

We get the tub up righted and put the straw back inside and again lift the calf back into the tub. Okay, not much farther to go now. We can do this.
Whew, we made it back to the paddocks with out any further wrecks.

Putting calf in with its mother.

Now, for the fun part. This new mother is very jumpy and we have to get the baby in the paddock without the mother charging us or jumping the fences. We get everything ready and the calf out of the tub and standing. As I stand guard, Corena moves the baby through the gate and into the paddock. Mother is pacing around and not looking very happy. She actually looked like she wanted to jump the fence.

We get the calf in close the gate and leave her to check out her new calf again. Hopefully she will accept her new baby now and the circle of life will continue as these calves grow up to be strong young cows.

In the end.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley can be very trying at times. There is never a dull moment and sometimes you wonder why they continue. But it’s times like these that make it all worth it. I could work on a ranch every spring during the calving season. Although things sometimes go wrong and you loose a calf. It’s an amazing time of year and I wouldn’t trade the opportunities I have of helping out for anything.

Not only Ranching in the Nicola Valley.

Corena and Gerry not only do ranching in the Nicola Valley with cows but both have other businesses they do.

Corena with Calton Cattle Co. creates the most beautiful western decor items that are featured at Creative Company in downtown Merritt. Creative Company is a group of local people who had make products and sell them in this store. There are a lot of very creative people in Merritt. BC. Go in and check them out. There is something there for everyone. 

Gerry from Delistle Trucking also runs a trucking company where he hauls livestock or hay for people throughout the region. You can contact him through the BC Livestock Trucker/Hauling page.

Both Gerry and Corena are amazing people, I feel very blessed having met them and have become great friends. Plus, they let me come and help them out on the ranch which I love so much.

Cattle Co Ranching in the Nicola Valley

Photo credit Corena @ Calton Cattle Co.

Don’t forget if you want to check out more of my blogs about adventures and ranching in the Nicola Valley follow me or our other bloggers at Experience Nicola Valley

Ranching in the Nicola Valley