Mystery surrounds huge face etched into cliff on remote B.C. island
Published Monday, June 22, 2015 7:58AM EDT
Was it created by man, or by Mother Nature? That's what many are wondering about a giant face that appears to be carved into a cliff on a remote island near Vancouver Island.
Hank Gus of the Tseshaht First Nation had heard about the "face in the rocks" years ago. A Washington State kayaker stumbled upon the face back in 2008 while paddling past Reeks Island in the Broken Group Islands.
Gus had been searching for the carving for two years. Then, just a few weeks ago, he finally found the hidden treasure and took a cellphone video of the seven-foot-tall face carved into a cliff.
"It's quite noticeable from the water; It's pretty large," he says.
"It's about 40 feet up and from the top of the cliff, and it's about another 20 or 25 feet down, at least. It's high up and there's bunch of rock cliffs on the side and it's so hard to access."
When the kayaker stumbled upon the carving, she took pictures and sent them to Parks Canada but wasn't able to pinpoint the precise location. Parks Canada knew the island was in traditional First Nation territory, so contacted the Tseshaht administration office.
Gus finally found the carving a few weeks ago. He says, to him, the face appears to be blowing, and is perhaps a symbol of wind. The face reminds him of a wood carving on the door of the Tseshaht administration offices.
"It's something really similar to this face in the rock. Its name is Ugi and it describes when it's blowing the wind, it's sharing the history of our ancestors and keeping it alive," he explained.
Now Tseshaht First Nation and Parks Canada are trying to solve the mystery of how it got there. Did someone carve it, and if so, when? Or is it a natural rock formation that only looks like a face?
To answer those questions would require a closer look, but its location is surrounded by a rugged shoreline and rough waters that, so far, have prevented close examination.
So for now, the mystery remains, which is okay with Parks Canada CEO Alan Latourelle. The mystery is what makes the face so fascinating, he says, and it's what will probably attract visitors.
"It's really a great discovery, but it's also an inspiration for all the visitors that come to Broken Group Islands," he says.
For Gus, it's a discovery that may help him learn more about his ancestors.
"It doesn't matter if it's natural or manmade," he says. "It just looks really nice to share with others who come and visit us."