Thursday, July 26, 2012

Geocaching in Merritt & Douglas Lake Area of BC

Cookie Cacher and I managed to find a nice Sunday late in July when it wasn't raining and made a spur of the moment decision to do a long distance trip to Merritt and surrounding area for a mix of geocaching and backroading. I hadn't talked to Jeannine AKA Cookie Cacher in weeks, maybe months, but I sent her a quick text on Friday and said "you up for a long distance drive"? She answered back "giddyup"! Glad that gal can make up her mind quick...   :)

We met up 8.00 AM Sunday morning in Maple Ridge, both of us not quite shiny bright - I had 3 hours of sleep and Jeanine was operating on one hour of sleep.....sounds like we were gonna be great company for each other!

We made a bee line for Merritt passing up caches all along the way in favour of saving time at our destination area. We hadn't even gotten to Merritt yet and Jeannine started talking about this puzzle cache she solved two years ago and keeps driving by when ever she travels through Merritt. "We just have to stop and grab it" she says.....for the third time in 20 minutes. "OK" I say, I'm easy, and I surely know the feeling of driving past a cache you know you should stop and grab, but just never do.

So, we get to the cache area, south side of Merritt, and you guessed it, the cache is missing! Jeaninie can't believe it..and is slightly disappointed as she reads the past logs online and realizes it's been missing for a few weeks. So, I suggest we replace the cache for the cache owner, and claim a smiley as a reward for our good deed of the day. DONE! And the cache can finally be struck off Jeannine's "to-do" list.

Off we go, to do a few city caches and some in the ranch land on the out skirts of town. Then, it's a fuel up for bodies and Jeep, then off towards Quilchena and Douglas Lake Ranch we go. This is one of my all time favourite back roads drive... turn east off Hwy 5A just north of Quilchena along the Douglas Lake Rd and head over to Douglas Lake and the famous Douglas Lake Ranch, the largest operating ranch in Canada.

The ranch has a lot of history, it has always been a working ranch, but it has catered to celebrities like Tom Jones and Prince Phillip looking for that "dude ranch" experience.

South from Douglas Lake to Minnie Lake Rd, for a few miles, then pick up the Pennask Lake Rd and follow it north-west back to Hwy 5A close to Quilchena.
I have done this trip a few times over the years, and have written trip reports in my blog about it already, so I won't go into all the details again. If you would like to read them, peruse my blog for previous entries.

I will say that we ran into thunderstorms complete with heavy rain and a musical background of thunder, which can be heard in the video....that rain in places turned the Minnie Lake Rd to the texture of slush, and it felt just like driving through it, complete with the rear tires throwing out rooster tails of goo.

The Jeep started the dirt roads pretty clean, 10 miles later most of the Jeep was brown, not red. That's OK, "a dirty Jeep is a happy Jeep". And a few dollars spent at the car wash will let me power wash the mud off the fun-mobile.

Total mileage on the day was 700K, caches found was 25, time on the road was 14 hours, and the fun factor was up around "awesome"!

We were using Jeanine's GPS for caching, but I was running mine to record the trip and make a route out of it which I then posted to Every Their web site is pretty cool, it takes your GPS waypoints and track route, then overlays it over top of Google Maps and even lets you "play" the trip back, complete with elevation gains shown along the way.

I have embedded the route here for you to view, you can also go to my Every Trails account and view the this and other trips I have done.

  PS - X the elevation box closed so you can see the trip play out on screen. Mouse over the bottom of the screen to pop up the PLAY button to re-start the trip playback.

Merritt - Douglas Lake Area

The real story is told in the video, where the ranch country is on full display. If the video is too narrow to display on your screen, click on the link to go to my YouTube page to watch it full screen's the only way to do the scenery justice.


Dawnelle said...

Thanks for sharing another great road trip. Loved the video... makes me want to go back to Merritt soon. Such a wonderful area to explore.

Fred said...

Good write up. Loved the video but no luck with the GPS track. Kept loading but did not work. so--8 out of 10 ;-)

Cheryl said...

wow that was cool. I love the bear ahhahahaah hes quite a character... I miss those dirty jeep days hahahahhah it looks like you pulled a me running through the mud puddle, I remember Merritt except we didn't have the thunderstorm. you killed two birds with one stone. Geocaching and back roading awesome

Ron said...

Wow , that was some trip to The Merrit area. I remember doing the trip with you years ago---So how come you didn't get out and feed all the cattle and horsies. Sure miss our trips together and look forward to your blogs. Keep it going as it sure brings back fond memories--Take care for now and i sure hope you dusted of your jeep

G Pang said...

That's a pretty neat blog you have going there! I'm full of admiration for the detail you have put into it, being fully aware of how much time it takes to do this, especially if one wants to be consistent with the writing, photos, videos, and all. Thanks for the write-up on the puzzle cache, and thanks to you and Jeannine for taking the time to do my cache. I think I emailed you both to thank you for replacing the missing container with a temporary cache. I retrieved the small container you left, and when I create cache and use it, it will carry some reference to you in the name.

Happy caching,