“This is going to be a blog post, isn’t it?”
You know that when one of my friends says this it’s about to get real.
Last month, my best friend and aforementioned yoga buddy Stephanie suggested that we go and complete this giant corn maze in Pennsylvania some time this season. My first thought was how much fun this would be. My second thought was allergy medication. I made a mental note (and asked Stephanie to give me a verbal note) to take my Zyrtec the night before. Because nothing says fall fun like scratching your itchy, red, burning eyes while blindly wandering through a seemingly endless field of corn. Yay fall!
Stephanie said she needed to look up this year’s theme online, because apparently this corn maze was going to be like a college party complete with too many people, a random theme, and corn.
Only this time, it was happening before 10pm, so I was actually going to go.
The theme was Board Game Madness, which made me hopeful. If they wanted me to compete in board-game style challenges against small children and shamelessly gloat, they were playing right into my wheelhouse. We even recruited my partner Dan and Stephanie’s (ridiculously tall) friend Donny to come with us and try to help us through the maze. The extra height that we roped in to help us did not prove as advantageous as we hoped…
As soon as I woke up on the morning that we decided to go, I was all business. I went into the group chat and asked everyone if we were stopping for coffee on the way.
I then asked if they wanted me to bring snacks for us while we’re in the maze so that if we got lost we would have something to eat before the cannibalism set in. Considering what was at stake, everyone agreed that we should bring snacks, hoping that the taste of an XL Chewy bar could stave off the hunger pangs and eminent craving for human flesh. Like I said, all business.
So we picked up our snacks and coffee and made our way to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. A place that I thought was named like a fun farm in a fairytale, and couldn’t possibly be a death trap of corn that would eventually be my final resting place.
While they do have a maze, the farm actually had a lot to do, much to Donny’s elation. He was dying to see the goats. As we walked onto the farm and saw where the goats were kept, Donny made an excited noise that I can only describe as someone who was trying to convince a goat that he was one of them.
Promising Donny that we would visit his brethren later, we approached the biggest adversary any of us had ever faced: the maze.
The 5 acre corn field was plowed into a game board pattern (to go with the theme). Everyone received a map at the beginning of the maze. Sounds nice of them, right? Well, the map was blank. Your task was to walk through the maze and find different pieces to the map, so that the map would be revealed only a bit at a time.
How many pieces was this map cut into, you may ask? 7 pieces? 10? Nope. FIFTEEN. This was already looking like a long day.
So we would wander around the field for a while, until we found a barn-shaped mailbox with a number 1 through 15 containing map pieces. We then taped these map pieces to our map in the corresponding numbered section and moved on.
The cool part was that the map piece could help lead you out of the section you were currently in. The not-so-cool part was that after you had exited that section of the map, you were once again blind and stumbling.
At one point, I even looked around and wondered if corn mazes were possibly created by someone who was thinking: “you know what’s 7 foot tall and so identical that no one would ever be able to tell the difference between them?! CORN.” Because that’s exactly what cornstalks are. Identical and 7 feet tall.
Either that or it’s a play on the fact that the Native American word for corn was maize. So that would make it a maize maze.
Either way, we found the first 7 pieces of the map with relative ease. But I don’t mean pieces 1-7. We found something like: pieces 6, 3, 13, seastar, cabbage, southpaw, grenade. They were scattered throughout the board, making it that much harder not only to find the map pieces, but also to get to the other ends of the corn field. We wandered back and forth across those 5 acres so many times that I was starting to get Donny confused with cornstalks.
The corn madness was setting in.
I was beginning to realize that this maze was just like living in the Oregon Trail. And dying of dysentery was the least of our worries. Suddenly, the board game theme seemed like a sadistic game itself, we were merely pieces in this big, corn maze of a board game. Pawns wandering aimlessly while the workers of the farm had a good laugh at our expense.
We put more pieces on our map using only our will to go on, our aching muscles, and…Stephanie’s navigating skills.
Finally, we only had two map pieces left to find. After wandering around the 6th section of the board for what must have been the 10th time (just going to remind you here that there were FIFTEEN sections of the map), we found that map piece hiding in one of the circles on the top of a Sorry! Piece — who would’ve guessed?
We could taste freedom, we only needed our last piece. We hadn’t quite started fighting with each other, but you could feel the animosity building. Should we go left or right? Should we go back the way we came and see if there’s another way around? Should we just sacrifice and eat someone now? I was already gnawing at Dan’s arm when no one was looking. But that wasn’t really because I was hungry, I just like to mess with him.
After wandering around for 15 more minutes and sending Stephanie and Donny to stand up on a bale of hay to see what they could see, we decided on the direction we needed to go. We wandered in what we thought must’ve been the only part of the maze we hadn’t seen yet. We approached every corner wondering if the barn was around each one…
Once we went around the third corner, we finally found the last mailbox and all of us let out a collective sigh of relief. You know how you sometimes don’t even realize that you’re holding your breath when you’re anticipating something? I think that at that moment. we realized that we hadn’t breathed in 2 hours.
We now faced our final challenge: how to get out of the maze. We knew which direction to walk, but we had known which direction to walk most of the day, that didn’t necessarily mean that we were going to find our destination.
We went down the path to the left, turned the corner, and…there was the exit.
“Well that was anticlimactic,” Stephanie said. She was right, but I think we had had enough adventure for one day.
We took a leisurely stroll over to the animals so that Donny could get his fill, bought some apple cider and apple cider donuts so that Dan and I could get ours, and then headed home to watch Hocus Pocus. No one was injured, eaten, or died of dysentery. It was a perfect fall day as far as I was concerned.