Thursday, July 19, 2018

Day 2 Geocaching Merritt Area June 4

PS - Don't worry if the pictures appear as video. It's a result of exporting a screen snip from the video software tool.

Day2 of the Geocaching adventure would take us from Merritt north through Logan Lake and then west to Ashcroft. This path would take us along a string of caches that paralleled the large Highland Valley Copper Mine, one of the largest open pit mines in Canada.

This string of caches could be considered a "power trail" where the emphasis is on finding as many caches in a row as possible. On the one hand it was fun to grab so many caches so close together. On the other hand we were jumping out of the truck every 600 feet or so. The poor truck would barely get up to speed before you had to pull over again.
And the caches were boring, just small containers hanging in trees or stuck behind a rock.
Having said that, as a cache owner, I know how much work it is to put out 50 or so caches in a row, create the cache pages on, and have to maintain them when one got damaged or went missing.
That is a huge amount of work and kudos to the cache owner for spending that much time so his fellow geocachers could enjoy the day.

The one cache that we really enjoyed finding on this stretch of the way was an old miner's cabin up in the woods. The logging operations had pushed roads close to the cabin so the access to the cabin was made easier. To top it off this was a Gold Country geocache, one where you could gather a sticker from the geocache and count it towards your "collection" of Gold Country caches you need to find to to work towards gettin a "gold" bar geocoin to show you had visited 24 of these historic locations.

This was the highlight of the day, if not the weekend. We were really glad to have taken the time to get off the beaten path and find this tidbit of history. The mosquitoes and biting things were really happy we stopped by as well as they were getting pretty hungry.!

Another one of my favourite caches was another Gold Country cache at Black Canyon. An old farm was on the end butte of the arid hills overlooking the Thompson River. With the sun shining bright on the land below, the greens of the valley stood out in contrast to the arid landscape in the area.

Not a lot to talk about for the caches themselves, the real treat was in the scenery and a chance to explore a bit more of Super Natural BC

Enjoy the video below, you will see what we seen as we traveled through the beauty of the Thompson Plateau region of BC


Saturday, July 07, 2018

Day 1 Geocaching Merritt Area June 3

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.