My wife and I took our vacation this past summer with a trip “out west”. Having been raised on the Camas Prairie in Northern Idaho, every two or three years we make the pilgrimage to this area. We enjoy visiting the beautiful rolling hills and traveling down narrow gravel lanes. As has happened throughout most of America the farming areas have been depleted of a lot of their human population. In an area that was already sparsely settled today there are very few homes.
Photo taken 5th June 2008 looking NE from intersection of Meier & Keller Roads.
One of my favorite stops is the abandoned Meier School house four miles east of Melrose, Idaho. Our family lived for a year a mile east of this location. My father farmed property adjoining this acreage for almost twenty years. As children, my brothers and I spent many a happy afternoon playing around and in this old schoolhouse. I have always thought this is one of the loneliest places, with the wind blowing through the long grasses and the almost total silence.
Meier Schoolhouse, photo taken in July 0f 2000.
Looking due East down Keller Road. 5 June 2008
My wife and I had been in the Jeep for about an hour so we stopped to allow the dogs out to exercise. After getting out I headed across the road with one of the dogs. Immediately my wife said “Hey, did you see these footprints?” My response in disbelief was “Sure, who are you kidding?”
There in the middle of the road where another road met in a “T” were three footprints. My first reaction was no this can’t be, we were on a three week squatchin’ vacation and one of the few days in which we were just sightseeing we find something. I am not a tracker, I do not look or even think about finding footprints. I am basically interested in sounds, always listening for birds.
The mud puddles where the footprints were found at the “T” of Meier & Keller Roads.
Three footprints were in a straight line each placed about two feet apart. We were totally unprepared. No camera, no casting material and it was looking like more rain. The footprints were about nine inches long and looked human to me. We stood around about a half hour, letting the dogs exercise and then we drove away contemplating what we had just seen.
9 and 1/ 2 inch left footprint impression in the mud.
As we drove back to our motor home we discussed this unexplained find. The weather was chilly, about forty degrees and it had been raining for two days. Who would be walking around in this remote area in the rain barefooted. I remember as a child my brothers going barefoot, but that was always later in the summer, in warmer weather and not in the rain. These tracks were laid down in a very gravelly area, not the best conditions for a youngster to walk in. I walked several hundred yards in three directions from the “T” in the road, there was wet areas with plenty of soft mud to walk through. I found nothing. Whoever had walked there only left three footprints.
9 and 1/ 2 inch right footprint impression in the mud.
Could it have been the obvious, just a young human? It is possible for cars to stop at this location, just like we had. It just seems odd that someone would be walking barefoot in the cold and the rain. The next weekend we went to a family reunion where I asked my brothers and relatives about the possibility of a child walking on that road this time a year. They all gave the same answer, “We know the location and find it highly unlikely a child would go barefoot this early in the season and especially in the gravel in the middle of the road.”
Casting of the left footprint.
The next day we returned with a camera and casting material. The continuing rains had partially destroyed the prints. I made a little drainage ditch with my fingers to drain some of the water away. We went ahead and cast two of the footprints, kicking myself for not being better prepared.
Casting of the right footprint.
As we were traveling home the next week we stopped by Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho and asked Dr. Jeff Meldrum to look at my casts and give me his opinion. His answer was that he did not see anything to suggest that it was not a human footprint. I was disappointed but was still left with the nagging question of “Who would have been walking in the cold and rain barefooted?”
I have spoken with three other researchers from the Pacific Northwest who have found small human-like footprints in similar remote areas.