This was a bad idea,” I told myself as I drove up Highway 45, south of Nampa. Curious about a place friends had told me of, Cleo’s Trail, I decided to take an afternoon off from work and visit. Two problems: I got a late start, and it was raining buckets.
With wipers on full speed, I was questioning my wisdom, or lack thereof. Then something interesting happened. The closer I got to Cleo’s Trail, near the Snake River, the better the weather got. Driving over the last hill, the clouds parted and the rain stopped. My mood brightened, too, and I sensed I was about to have a singular experience.
Before me was the old Walter’s Ferry site. To the left were two houses, with an open gate beyond them. An overhead sign read, “This place was built as a vibrant faith adventure.” That sounds like something I can use, I thought. I could see several old-style houses, barns, and a little chapel. To the left was a vacant parking lot, and I found out why. The trail closed at five. I looked at my watch: 4:45. Fifteen minutes to explore. I decided I would snap some photos and move quickly through.
The very first sign slowed my pace. “You are my special friend and visitor today,” it said. Who was this Cleo, and did she really mean it? I looked around, noticing I was surrounded by a courtyard full of children at play. Sculptures of children being read to on benches by parents, children doing cartwheels, and masquerading as caped superheroes. I started grinning, something I hadn’t done all day. The sculpture of two children holding hands and galloping off toward adventure triggered a memory of my older sister and me. She was always dragging me around to something or somewhere, but whatever she dragged me to was often fun. I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. Continue reading →