Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

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Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
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"By mutual confidence and mutual aid,
great deeds are done and great discoveries made”

- Homer

Day 105 - Thursday, October 5, 1995 – After the great crashing storms of the last two nights, the walkers moved their camp from Pinnacle Mountain, on the west side of Little Rock, to a site about 30 miles north of the city: Toad Suck Ferry.

Toad Suck Ferry is located along the Arkansas River, the third longest river on Turtle Island, and the longest tributary of the Mississippi-Missouri drainage system.

Arkansas River headwaters near Leadville, Colorado. The great river flows 1,450 miles to merge with the Mississippi Photo by Matthew Trump, 2004.

The Arkansas has its headwaters in Leadville, Colorado. It begins with clear bubbling waters rushing down the slopes of the Rocky Mountains, but when the flow hits the flatlands it fills with silt and begins a long, listless meander through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Eventually it drains into the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee.

The ferry, which served for so many decades, is long gone from Toad Suck, replaced by a bridge, a dam, and a system of locks to let boats pass along the river.

As it happens, this is the only place called Toad Suck in America. The origin of the place name remains an unsettled matter. The most colorful explanation is that in the 1840s boatmen would stop here to rest, stretch out in the sun, and suck up liquor until they swelled up like bloated toads. Scholars, while unsure of name’s ultimate origin, cast doubt on the bloated boatmen story.


One bit of Toad Suck Ferry history is sure. It is marked as a Trail Of Tears National Historic Overlook. It was here at Toad Suck Ferry in 1837-38, under heavily armed guard, that the uprooted Creek, Choctaw, and Cherokee people who were being herded west on the Trail of Tears, were packed onto flatboats and floated across the Arkansas River.

In cold misery, the native people were freighted west for the strange and unknown lands of Oklahoma Indian Territory.

Our Sunbow journey will run parallel to the Trail of Tears as we proceed west. We also are traveling against the flow of the great river for the next weeks until we get to Tulsa, Oklahoma.


The Children's Torch of Hope youth group stopped by the Sunbow camp today, the same group of young people that Grandfather Commanda met last weekend at at the "One Mind, One Voice, One Heart" prayer vigil in Washington, DC.

The youths are on their way from Washington to Oklahoma City, and they re-plotted their route to intersect with the walkers.

Children's Torch of Hope group - Photo by Tamara Roske, 1995.

The youths pulled up in their bus, then filed off hugging everyone every which way. The group was started as a creative effort of children to reach other children on issues of environmental awareness. They sing, rap, and dance their own compositions and choreography. They developed a performance, and took their program on the road.

The youths, mostly teenagers, were carrying an actual torch that had already been around the world. The Torch of Hope is just one program that the Global Alliance of Youth and Adults in Action has organized.

Youths hold the Torch of Hope. Photo by Tamara Roske, 1995.

The youths lit their Torch of Hope, and the two groups, walkers and youths, gathered and interlaced hands in a grand circle. The young people sang, and then Joe Soto lifted his resonant voice and sang one of his Taino medicine songs -- one that he said is over 10,000 years old.

The youths and the walkers sat in circle and passed the lit Torch of Hope, using it as a talking stick. The walkers talked about the walk, and the young people talked about personal and environmental healing, and about what they are doing to help with it. Many of the walkers were moved to tears by the beauty of the messages and the songs that the young people gifted to them.


The walkers have shifted their route a bit. Instead of traveling along Route 10, they will follow Route 64, which runs just south of the major East-West interstate, I-40.


Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 106 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden