Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hike to Native Face in Oliver

I had talked to my buddy about hiking to Brent Mountain and we planned that for Tue. morning but after the fitness test I realized I had so much time until sleep as it was only 16:00 and decided to do the hike of Native Face near Oliver. Native Face or Indian Face, as the Native people of North America are still called Indian because Christopher Columbus thought that he had landed in India(!) is a cliff some 7 Km of Town of Oliver in British Columbia which if you look it from a certain angle it looks exactly similar to a Native persons face. 
I had already gotten the information from Tourism BC office in Oliver so I headed north on the main road and the first time I missed my left turn and had to go and make a u-turn and take the road going to Covert Farms. There you park your vehicle and then go to their property and from there they guide you to the trail-head which is a kilometer inside their property. When I reached there and went inside after being guided by a woman who was working on a pathway, the gentleman behind the counter told me they'd close in three min. when I asked him about their business hours! I know it's not nice but I told him that I wanted a bottle wine for my friend as a gift and I truly wanted one because I didn't fell it's right just to simply ask him about the trail-head. He said their cheapest one was some $23. I told him that I would pick it up later and headed out towards the trail-head. I guess they have a cafe there as well but wine is a big thing in Canadian cuisine and I don't think many families have their dinner or maybe lunch without wine. Besides A. F., my buddy said that the businesses were all doing great. I hope.
A beautiful Bitterroot. I had never seen one until this hike!
So I grabbed my stuff from the trunk and headed north on the trail. The trail goes from a big vineyard. There was nobody around because it was late. I started the hike at 17:05. After a short walk beside the vineyard I reached a tall fence and gate with chain. I went trough the gate and continued on the well-marked trail. What surprised me at this stage was something that I had not seen before: An electric fence sign. Now I don't know whether it was true or just to trow people out but I tried to stay away from the fence. The trail gets a little elevation after a while where you begin to see the vineyards and town. It's a very beautiful hike and for me who has been to hikes in many places it had its own uniqueness and beauty. At this stage I happen to hear a loud noise which was very similar to cow's Moo! I thought that could not be true because deep in me I wanted to see wildlife but soon I realize that was an empty hope! There was a herd of cow which apparently didn't like my presence and made more noises when they saw me. I found not not wise to continue on the trail because it was very likely that they attack. I went around and carried on. This was at a small pond which according to the information is called Rattlesnake Lake! I have seen water puddles larger than this which have not been called lake! I checked with two horseback riders and they simply told me to follow the trail to get to the top of the rock. Here just after a few minutes something happened which usually happens during my hikes and scrambles: I lost the trail! I went north at this point, instead of going east because the head is located at the east side of the so-called lake. I started going up and there I get a better view of the town. I took a few photos and headed back down. I told myself that was OK. I exercised a little bit. I took good photos and that's enough. I suddenly found the trail again when I was going down, though! I first thought it was late but I kept going until I reached the top of the cliff. There were better views over there. I took a few more photos and headed back down quickly. It was getting dark and I reached the lake again. I took a few shots of the small waterfowl birds but they noticed me and flew away. I wanted to spend more time in there but I didn't want to get caught by the dark. The cows now where at the foothills of the mountain watching over Rattlesnake Lake.
Vaseux Lake from the top of the mountain next to Native Face. Here I'm looking east. Look at that little island and the house in it. The owner of it must have so much fun!
I continued further down and for a minute I thought I had lost the trail again but I was fine. But I head a sudden noise which sounded like a few young guys screaming and howling at the same time! I first thought there was a bunch of teenagers partying in the area, smoking shit and drinking alcohol but it sounded a little bit different. It reminded me of a family trip that I had many years ago in the old country in one of the cities close to Caspian Sea. The almost same sound would be heard at time on those years which we knew at the time it was Jackals! I knew there was no Jackal in Okanagan but at the same time I knew Wolves and Coyotes are frequent in the area so I got scared a little bit. I thought if Wolves and Coyotes come in packs I don't have much chances! There was nobody within probably 2 to 3 Km and if I could get a signal on my mobile phone and called for help, by the time they would got there, I would have been dead! So I double-timed it and headed down. On my way and close to the fence I scared a couple of birds which could have been Pheasants or Grouse. I heard that scary noise once again and finally reached the car at around 21:00, I guess it was. It's a double fun in my opinion. You get good exercise and nice photos and then if you start your hike early you can relax in Covert Farms cafe and enjoy a meal. Wonderful hike.
(Photo, top: If you stand at the right angle and look at the northeastern part, just like I did, when taking this photo, you'll see the Native person's face. That's where the name of this cliff or bluff has come from)

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