This walk is different from those that have as a goal to raise money or accomplish a fitness goal. It is an Indigenous-led, "extended ceremony" for us to be instructed in and to experience a way of relating to the river and the elemental world that draws upon deep ways of knowing. How this is experienced will be unique to each of us.
Important Route/Directions Information for Cuyahoga River Water Walk Community Walker - Distances are best estimates
Guided by Ojibwe elder Sharon Day of Minnesota (www.nibiwalk.org), a core group of walkers will walk 85 miles over four days (approximately 20 miles a day) tracking the course of the river as closely as possible while carrying water from near the river's headwaters in a sacred vessel. These waters will be mingled with Lake Erie in a closing sacred ceremony at Wendy Park at Cleveland four days later. This core walking group stays together all four days and nights, sharing the responsibility for carrying the water, walking in shifts, and artfully reflecting together in the evenings on what has happened that day.
The route shows that there are long stretches where we are not actually walking next to the river. This is for two reasons -- the first is that we cannot get to the river in many places because of private or corporate ownership of the banks, and the presence of railroad tracks, highways, etc. This is one of the things for us to notice and reflect upon. Secondly, the core walking group is tracked by two "follow cars" that carry our supplies and bring up the back of the group as a protection from traffic. They also serve as places for walkers to rest so that no one walks the whole distance for the day and we conserve group energy to be sure we can indeed cover that distance. The core walking group must remain in proximity to the follow cars.
A KEY SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE of the walk is that, having gathered waters from near the headwaters and carrying them in a sacred vessel as we walk, THE RIVER IS ALWAYS WITH US. This is not merely symbolic but a tangible caring for and relating to the river as we carry her to Lake Erie. So the distance from the river itself does not inhibit the service we are offering to it.
Those of you walking as part of the wider community that will join the core walking group for limited periods of time are responsible for getting yourselves to and from the points you wish to begin and end, and to bring whatever food and water you will need. All of us walk at our own risk.
Day 1 - Monday, June 22
8:00 a.m. - Opening Ceremony at East Branch Reservoir, Headwaters Park, Geauga County. Address: 13365 Old State Road (Route 608), Huntsburg, Ohio 44021; map coordinates N 41° 30.314 & W 81° 6.10. Park in SECOND lot, the one closest to reservoir, and walk back to the inlet where we will gather.
13365 Old State Rd
Huntsburg, OH 44046
Google map and directions