Wednesday, April 14 to Tuesday, April 20, 2021 (Claybanks RV Park, Merritt, BC)

We are in for a long stretch of unseasonably warm weather! We put on our our shorts and flip-flops yesterday when we got here...and it looks like we will be able to wear them for the next week or so!

We left Wednesday after lunch for a short road trip up to Logan Lake, about 40 minutes north of here. It is a very scenic drive...this is the still frozen Mamit Lake...

Our first stop was at the Esso station on our way into town to fill a propane tank. Then we continued onto the Recreation Centre to receive our first COVID-19 vaccinations.
We were a little early but we were taken right in, and after confirming all of our information, we had a short wait until we were called by the next available nurse(s). I went first...and after some questions and additional information, I received a quick "zap" in arm. I was finished just as Steve got his shot...then we both sat in the waiting area for the required 15 minutes before heading out...
So...we have had our first shots of Pfizer! Very glad to have that done...now we have to wait for approximately 4 months to receive our second dose.

Since we were only about 15-20 minutes away from Tunkwa Provincial Park, we thought we'd take a drive up there to check out the long-stay sites and say Hi to Doug and Sue.
The gate into Tunkwa campground is closed, so we parked and walked in. There is still ice on the lake...

Canada Geese on a still very frozen Tunkwa Lake...
This is the other campground at Leighton Lake that you can ATV and ride horses from...
After our walk, we found Doug in the work area beside the compound and stopped for a chat...Sue joined us. We only stayed for a few minutes, and then let them get back to work.

The fence posts along the road have baseball hats on them...and they go on for almost 2 km! Not sure what the story is behind that! But they have been there for a long time...I think more have been added over the years!
The remnants of a still smoldering grass fire this morning. This had caused a power outage in Logan Lake overnight which had us concerned about getting out vaccine shots there...
Mamit Lake...
Thursday (April 15) morning was laundry time. I loaded 4 bags into the car and headed off to the local laundromat. Merritt Dry Cleaning and Coin Laundry has not changed at all over the years...we used it numerous times when we worked at Monck Provincial Park back in 2015. Well...I should say nothing physical has changed but the prices have definitely gone up! I can't remember what it used to be but now it's $3.50 for a regular washing machine and $1 for about 10 minutes of drying. They do not allow soap pods in any of the machines, and, of course, that is all I had so I ended up having to buy 4 of those little individual boxes...that, itself, was $6.00. So it was a rather expensive laundry day for me!

While I was gone, Steve worked on picture editing in preparation for our blog post of Fort Camping...an update was on our to-do list!

After lunch we thought we'd check out the river trail that starts across the street from the campground...Coldwater River Trail.
 The Coldwater River is a tributary of the Nicola River, extends about 95 km from it's headwaters in the Cascade Mountains to it's confluence with the Nicola River in Merritt.

Steve was getting excited about doing his favourite kind of fishing, fly fishing on a river. The water was clear enough for sight fishing. There are coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, bull and rainbow trout, and Rocky Mountain whitefish.
In the early to mid-20th century, the Kettle Valley Railway followed the rivers edge for much of it's length. Now part of the former railway bed is a popular recreation trail.

The trail ends at the bridge crossing up ahead...
On our way back...
The entrance to Claybanks RV Park (I would normally have taken this picture from the truck when we arrived, but I was driving the car instead!)...
We walked along the new riverfront tent sites. That's the back of our rig in the upper centre...
Not very busy here which is nice, mostly left over winter rigs here and a few overnighters passing thru as they head to their home provinces. Once back Steve checked the fishing regulations online and found that there is no fishing between January and November...very disappointing.
Friday (April 16) we basically worked on a blog update from our time at Fort Camping. I also did some baking...but that was pretty much our day.

We were sitting outside late afternoon enjoying a cocktail in the sunshine when we heard and saw a 'murder' of crows congregating on a tree across from us, and this isn't all of them! Good grief they were noisy!
View from under our awning...
Saturday (April 17) morning we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Monck Provincial Park. As I mentioned earlier, we worked there the summer of 2015 so it has been 6 years since we have been there.

It was an absolutely beautiful day...with spectacular scenery along Nicola Lake. (Hard to get a good photo looking into the sun)



We're here!
We parked in the day-use area and walked to the large picnic area...
Nearing the beach we had a couple of Marmots checking us out... 
Well hello there!
The lake was never this low when we worked here...


What an awesome day to be here!
We took the path into the campground...

Site 99 is the longest site in the park. When we worked here all sites were raked to the edge of the road so Steve remembers this site well...
They've added a new playground...
One loop of the campground is open...no services yet, but it's free until the end of April. With this beautiful weekend weather, lots of folks were taking advantage!
We picked a site in loop 1 (not open) with a great view for lunch...
View from above our picnic site...
Ya gotta like it!
After our picnic lunch, we headed back to the car and decided to take a drive on the road that goes past Monck. We were amazed at all of the new houses on both sides of the road...one side with great views and, of course, the lakefront ones with great views and the lake at your doorstep!

This fence was very interesting...
I took a short video of it as we drove by...
End of the road...
Sunday (April 18) morning we went on a bit of shopping spree to Mark's clothing store. We don't do much in the way of clothes shopping but we both needed some things. Steve picked up some pants and I got some shorts and tops...it's a start but I think we will try Mark's in Kamloops next time for a better selection.

We went on another walk on the Coldwater River trail. The water level is definitely rising with the snowmelt and it's gotten quite muddy looking.

Dave and Leslie arrived around 4:30. They are on their way back to Alberta and stopped for a visit with us. They will stay overnight at a local hotel and then continue on tomorrow.
We enjoyed happy hour outside at our place and then headed to Boston Pizza for dinner on their patio.
So good having one final visit with you guys! Safe travels!

Monday (April 19)....not much happened today. It was another beautiful sunny day but not as warm. I worked on our blog and then we went on another walk on the river trail...it's still rising.
We watched the BC Covid update once back from our walk. Case numbers are getting pretty crazy! The province is putting in new travel restrictions...no unessential travel between the provincial health regions. This restriction goes into effect Friday and lasts until after the May 24 long weekend. They are hoping by then things will have calmed down with the increase in vaccinations. This means any reservations for campgrounds or hotels outside of your health region will be cancelled and the police will be doing road checks. Signs are going up on the BC/Alberta border advising of essential travel only.

Tuesday (April 20) was another beautiful sunny warm day. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head up to Tunkwa Provincial Park. We wanted to look at the long-stay sites again and choose the ones we like in preparation for the campground opening.

We parked outside the locked gate and walked in...first going to the compound to see Doug and Sue and return their door mat that they had accidentally left behind when they left Claybanks last week. Doug was out working in the campground but we had a nice chat with Sue about the new travel restrictions coming into play and how it affects visitors to the park. Clarification of these new restrictions is expected Friday, so hopefully some of the many questions will be answered then.

After that, we left for a walk to check out the long-stay sites. We ended up having 3 that we like...just in case someone else chooses our favourite. 

With that done, we continued on a walk around the rest of the campground. Views of the still frozen Leighton Lake below from the Tunkwa Lake Campground...
Doesn't look like it but this is a cliff...
Heading back down, these are some of the many group sites at Tunkwa...
This is a long spit with sites and a sheltered inlet for boats...
Looking back from the entrance to Tunkwa as we leave for Leighton Lake...
Back at the car, we drove down to Leighton North Campground. There are 3 campgrounds in Tunkwa Provincial Park - Tunkwa (on Tunkwa Lake) and Leighton and Leighton North (both on Leighton Lake). The Leighton North campground is the only one currently open and it allows ATV's and horses. So we have decided to move to Leighton North campground tomorrow, making us that much closer when Tunkwa campground (with the long-stay sites) open.

Lunch at our favourite site at Leighton North...hopefully it will be available when we get here tomorrow!
After lunch, we stopped at Leighton Campground to say hi to Brian, a volunteer helper here. He and his wife have volunteered here for a number of years. As we were getting back into the car, I noticed this beautiful bird...this small fellow we believe is a Mountain Blue Bird of the Thrush family....
Then it was time to head home...looking forward to returning tomorrow!

So that ends our stay here in Merritt. Tomorrow we leave full hook-ups...after over a year of RV parks with full services, this is going to take some getting used to! And worst of all, we will have no cell or internet service for the next 4+ months! That's right, there is no service at Tunkwa Provincial Park...I see regular trips to Logan Lake, about 15 minutes south!