Penticton’s Robin Edgar Haworth is now on the notorious Highway of Tears, and over the roar of the passing semis he talks about his journey so far.
He talks about his awareness of the spirits of the mostly Indigenous women who vanished or were found murdered along Yellowhead Highway 16, some of whom he knew personally.
“I can definitely feel the energy of those women as I walk along or when I’m speaking with the creator and making a prayer for them each morning,” said Haworth from his cell phone, who is now five days out of Prince George on his 720-kilometre westward trek to Prince Rupert. “I think about those people a lot, and it’s almost like there is an aura on this highway, and it’s not good, it’s an aura of negativity.”
He also spoke about a raven that landed on a picnic table three days ago at his campsite when he was saying his prayer, taking that as a “sign from the creator” of the relevance of his journey.
This is the 67-year-old’s second attempt to walk the Highway of Tears in memory of what he and others believe are the more than 40 women who have gone missing or were murdered, although the official count is 16.
Smoke from the forest fires last year cut short the first walk.
Haworth and faithful companion Koda, his Australian shepherd, also did a 4,500-kilometre walk in 2015 he called Right the Wrong, from Penticton to Ottawa to bring greater attention to the disappearances.
“It’s important to keep spreading the word and keep this awareness in the public spotlight about these missing and murdered women,” he said. “I believe there has to be some sort of closure for the families. I don’t think they are getting anywhere with the investigations of the RCMP; I think they’re just a lot of files collecting dust.”
In the short time on the highway, Haworth has already come across signs about two other missing people.
“There’s a big hunt on now for Maddy (Madison Scott). The whole highway is just plastered with posters and big signposts everywhere,” he said.
Scott went missing in 2011 from Hogsback Lake near Vanderhoof where she was camping. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and convictions of the person(s) responsible.
Pushing his three-wheeled cart with his tent and other belongings for the trip inside, Haworth is often asked by those travelling the road about his journey.
“I’ve met many people along the way and stopped and chatted and had many good offerings, all kinds of little goodies along the way, just some incredible people,” said Haworth. “A lady came by yesterday and she was just inquiring about what I was doing and I told her and she came back a couple hours later with a fresh loaf of banana bread, it was so fresh, right out of the oven it was still hot and steaming when she brought it to me.”
For the next few months, Haworth looks forward to breaking camp each morning and having the opportunity to share his journey with others to keep the memories of the missing and murdered alive in as many hearts as possible.
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