At least once or twice a year two of my brothers and I wander up to the Merritt area for a three day weekend of geocaching from dawn to dusk, or so it seems.
In reality, we typically find our first cache around 9.00 AM and continue straight through the day having a late lunch and an even later dinner well after the sun goes down.
It's not unusual for us to break out the BFRs (big frigging flashlights) and continue for a couple of hours after dark. A 10.00 PM dinner at the local Boston Pizza seems to be the routine for us boys.
It's a fun weekend for us to be just ourselves and be as carefree as we want with dirty pants, dirty hands, and dirty mouths - well, boys will be boys.
I always find it interesting when siblings get together, they immediately fall into the family dynamics of "first born, second born, last born", etc harking back to their younger years in the family home.
Even though two of us are retired, and the youngest of the bunch just a couple years away himself, it seems like we are all suddenly teenagers for the weekend. There is a certain comfort of the soul that is felt with being back in the family environment of our youth.
So, Day 1 - here we are heading up from Vancouver to Merritt, a route we have taken many times and pretty well cached out the area on our various times through.
On this trip there were a few new caches along the Coquihalla Highway, mostly at the Coldwater Rd junction.
As we had previously found all the caches in Merritt that would interest us, it was time to start getting off the beaten path and take some of the forest service roads that would lead us in an indirect way to Merritt and our hotel room.
We took the Coldwater Road exit and headed back east along Brookmere Road. Our aim was to follow Brookmere Rd through the small village of Brookmere, an old Kettle Valley Railway stop, and then follow the Voight Valley Rd to meet up with Kane Valley Rd, then follow a trail of geocaches that would lead us out to Hwy 5A and then cruise into Merritt for the night.
These are all easy ranch type roads which wind through high country suitable for cattle and horse grazing. While there were no fantastic views to be had like rushing rivers and snow capped mountains, there was a certain serenity to the open grasslands where you had the feeling time had not changed the landscape much and the local people still worked and lived the same as the generation before them, and probably the one before that as well.
Considering we left Vancouver around lunchtime, we had enjoyed a full day of caching, picking up the last of the caches just to the west of Merritt in Lower Nicola which was one of the major First Nations population centres in the Nicola Valley in the early days.
Keeping to our established habits, it was now 9.00 PM, sun was going done, caches were done for the day, and Boston Pizza was calling us with promises of a large pizza and a large pitcher of cool beer to share.
Enjoy the video below; it shows Day One as we roamed the ranch land roads south east of Merritt.