Hope, Merritt and Lytton

What does Therese Mah do in her spare time? Watch the heartwrenching season 2 finale of Veronica Mars, among other things. Oh wow, so emotional. They have such cliffhanger endings each episode that it is impossibe not to get sucked in. Antonia and anyone else looking for a new favorite TV show should check it out.

I feel like I rushed through my retelling of my time in Hope, but I also wrote a blog post here on the BCUOMA Blog about the walking challenge and plethora of wooden statues we saw in Hope. Susan likes to think about how and why people migrated to certain cities and areas, and this idea lead to a Wikipedia revelation of a piece of Canada’s dark past in the business of racial discrimination and Japanese internment. It turns out that just a short distance from Hope a Japanese internment camp, Tashme, was in operation during WWII. Today a large and beautifully landscaped park in the middle of hope, the Tashme Friendship Garden has been built in recognition. There was also a sign there marking Hope as the Sister City to Izu, Shizuoka in Japan; an interesting concept. 

From Hope we continued on to Merritt on the Coquihalla Hwy, one of my less-favorite highways in BC so far because people just drive too darn fast on that thing! Even worse, on our way back to Hope via Lytton it was pouring rain and there was some scary hydroplaning. Luckily Susan was driving, or else I would have been tempted to drive cautiously 20km under the speed limit.

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The one thing that struck us about Merritt was the naked hills! At first we thought they were cool, like something out of the sound of music even, but the longer we stayed in Merritt the more creeped out we were. They looked barren and craigy. Why were they so bare?! We began asking some of the locals we encountered, and in the end I spoke to 3 different groups and got 3 different answers. There is lots of logged timber around Merritt, and I mean lots, so we sort of assumed de-forestation, but none of the locals gave us this answer. We did recieve the answers: A Pine Beetle Infestation, A Fire, A Farm. In the end I think it may be a combination of all four. I think there might be a cattle ranch in one direction and tourist hikers told us they definitely saw signs of fire in another. The other striking thing about Merritt is its strong effort to brand itself with a country theme, most likely for tourism the annual Country music festival draws. Even their bus stops have little wagon wheel decorations.

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Other things about Merritt: Its windy there, and we felt much better on the drive back to Hope, after the hills started getting trees back on them. The naked-ness was making us uncomfortable. Here are some pictures from our short stop in Lytton, a beautiful little town. We were fortunate enough to talk to a man the day before, who approached us interested in finding a recycler of parafin wax, and who taught us to pronounce Lytton “Lit-On” rather than “Light-in”.

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The drive from Lytton to Hope is filled with these beautiful tunnels!


craving completeOn our way back to the lower mainland for gas we stopped in Chilliwack (it appears that the super cheap gas before was just chance, because it was as expensive as anywhere else our second time through), and yes, we did go back to Decades! This time I got my soup and salad and Susan got chili and a bun.

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Check out the event we participated in this saturday, the Coastal Swap Meet. I wrote another BCUOMA post about it HERE

Chilliwack pride and Hope, the town.

SO MUCH STUFF! Wow, you don’t blog for one day and it just piles up. First thing’s first, start with the pie.

The morning before our drive to Hope we spent in a Chilliwack Cafe named “Decades”, a beautiful little place perfect for us pie-hungry business ladies. Yes, I reviewed it on urban spoon HERE.


Susan got a tip from a friend here to try the cream pies and chillio (frappucinno) and fuzzy peach tea (sweet candy drink) here, so we tried them all! The atmosphere and food at Decades is all delicious. I was full from my pie brunch, but if we had stayed a little longer I’d have loved to try their soup and salad. Maybe we’ll have a chance to stop here again on our way back to Vancouver tomorrow. We’re going to make a point of stopping for gas anyways, its so much cheaper in Chilliwack than anywhere East or West of it.

On our way out of town I noticed this piece of my childhood! Mom always used to take Antonia and I here during the day for lunch and we’d have poutine. There was this clock inside and on the hour a little train would choo around the clock rim.



We drove East to hope through Agassiz and visited just one facility in this little town. I had been pronouncing Agassiz “A-Gizz”; thank goodness Susan corrected me before I spoke to the public. Its actually pronounced “Agg-a-see”. Very cute, and Susan and I both agree its got the small town western vibe down better than Merritt (Sorry Merritt).



Our Hope facilities weren’t scheduled for the next day, so we got in around 3 and decided to look for nearby running trails. We decided on what looked like the longest, up Mt Hope. When we got there it turns out that this hike is “comparable to the Grouse Grind”. Oops! I wasn’t about to hold Susan back like I had with the Chief so we each took our own time on the way up.


It was a really nice hike. I took plenty of breaks and it felt like we got pretty high up. The thing is, there was not really any way to tell. They have a map of the trail which offers hikers 3 peaks to visit. The problem is that once you are on the trail there are no signs marking the peaks!

We are pretty sure we DEFINITELY reached the first peak and passed it. I think I might have gotten to the second or close to it. Susan is not sure whether she made it to the second or third, but she said that she went as far as she could see a marked trail.

At the top, Susan saw this box. Inside were large file cases with papers inside. She didn’t read them and the curiosity is killing me.

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I guess we’ll never know…

We had issues in Hope. For some reason both of our internal compasses were off and we had trouble with maps the whole time we were there. We kept assuming that North was East! We ended up getting lost a lot more than we though possible in such a straightforward small town.

A Christmas-Themed disaster movie was being shot while we were there, a block from our motel. One of the crew we spoke to said it will be available on the space channel around December.

We ate dinner at a pancake house and it was ok. Sorry for the abrupt ending but its late and we have a big day of merritt > Lytton > Vancouver tomorrow! I hope to update you about Merritt soon.

Back to My Roots

Today we are in Chilliwack! And I don’t recognize anything.

My family lived here before Rebecca was born. Granted, we aren’t in my old neighbourhood and when I was there I could barely remember the route to and from my elementary school. Toddler Therese really didn’t pick up much of the lay of the land, so today I learned the difference between Chilliwack and Sardis (Thanks Dad).



We had a great day in Chilliwack. Lots of driving around and accidentally not turning right before the highway and then having to loop back over. Thankfully, gas is very cheap here (133.9/L) so we made sure to fill up on our way back to the hotel tonight. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After work we went out to dinner at Chilies, a Thai restaurant Susan’s friend recommended. It was fantastic! I always feel overwhelmed in Thai restaurants because of the large offering of dishes to which I am totally alien. So I usually just order Pad Thai. Today Susan and I faced this fear and asked our server to help us out. She walked us through the highlights of each section, and in the end we settled on the Ba-Mee Lard Na (Crispy egg noodles in a soya gravy with mixed vegetables and choice of meat). This was DELICIOUS. “Crispy egg noodle” meant a large rectangle of mr.noodles-type noodle, but freshly deep fried. It was crisp until the sauce sunk in. Absolutely wonderful. We also ordered a red curry dish with bamboo shoots which was very nice also. IMG_20140520_224250

After dinner we grabbed some croissants and mandarin oranges from Save-On for breakfast. Neither of us travel with our Save-On cards, unfortunate because in Squamish we could have saved $6. We still could, if we take back the receipt when we do have our card, but we’ll probably forget. THIS TIME, however, our cashier asked us if we wanted him to scan the store card so that we could still get the savings. We practically shouted “YES!!!” Afterward we both agreed that he was cute. I’m telling you, the way to frugal Therese and Susan’s hearts is to help us get good deals. ❤

We drove to spend the last hours of daylight at Cultis Lake, after quickly stopping back at the Travelodge (Nice place, beige colour scheme but they keep it updated. Nice and hotel-y). We spit up to explore on our own, but both Susan and I got some exercise jogging up and down the beach. Susan saw these cute little goose babies (If you know the term for baby goose, let us know in the comments!) Loud music was flowing out of one of the first lakefront houses, and on my way back down the beach I discovered that it was a live cover band! They were pretty good to have got both Susan and I thinking that it was just a loud stereo. I sat on a nearby bench to listen to a few before I realized Susan had texted me a while ago, stranded because I had the car keys.


Next time I am in Chilliwack I have to visit the nearby water park and neighbouring adventure mini golf course. After getting a little lost on the way home I was able to take in the last 45 min of pool time. I think I will make it a goal to swim at every hotel we stay at that offers a pool.

I lied before, I did recognize the Vedder/Chilliwack River and going there with Ginger as a kid. The moment of realization was totally like in Spirited Away “It finally came back to me, the river’s name was the Kohaku River. Your real name is the Kohaku River!”

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This isnt the first time i’ve looked for spirited away gifs. There are just so many great ones!!