October 26 2008 by Claudia Kunkel
It's fall - that can only mean one thing to a midwestern girl like me....
I was born and raised in Iowa before I left for the ski slopes of Colorado, but having spent all of my youth and college years in Iowa, I feel I'm a pretty good expert at judging corn mazes either because I've eaten my fair share of corn on the cob or because I spent a lot of time playing hide and seek in the cornfields.
Before you head out with the family to your nearest farmer's maze, you can either brush up on your map reading skills, study a few of the ancient labyrinth's, or do as I do - just go and enjoy getting lost and finding your way out again. For those of you not familiar with corn mazes, they are carefully planned out in a pattern and the idea is to navigate your way through a series of paths which go around the entire pattern to either end in the middle or find your way back out again. I found that finding my way in and out of a maze much easier and less hyperventilating during daylight hours but if you're an adrenaline junkie, you might try a maze during Halloween - at night. I did, twice; first time I jumped so high I lost my cell phone and they had to temporarily shut it down, turn on the lights and search for my phone. The second time, I was running away from the zombie carrying the chainsaw so fast, I fell and seriously hurt my ego.
So, in the "spirit" of Halloween and fall, here are some great corn mazes to check out with the family or friends in the next month or so:
- I have to start the list with a maze from Iowa. You can try your hand at navigating the corn maze at the Bloomsbury Farm in Atkins, Iowa. The 4 miles of pathways include an interactive experience on renewable energy and is sponsored by Alliant Energy. Since going green is this year's hot topic, this is a good way to introduce the family to another shade of green!
- The Treinen Farm in Lodi, Wisconsin. This year's maze is a 15 acre dragonfly, talk about challenging! This maze is great for company team-building or a family outing. This course challenges participants to solve the maze by finding all the clues in this living puzzle. A special prize waits for those who find all the secret locations in this maze. I love a good competition - this one could be fun.
- Heading down to Corryton, Tennessee, the Oakes Family has been farming in East Tennessee for years and the Corn Maze is the latest venture for this third generation farming family. The Corn Maze was designed using the latest GPS technology to sculpt the maze into an aerial work of art. This corn maze consists of 11 acres, 900,000 stalks of corn equaling 5.3 miles of trails. This maze is a little more unique in that it has two separate mazes inside and the goal here is to find 12 different posts hidden in the maze and find your way back out again. They say it takes about 1 ½ hours to make your way in and out. If you're feeling adventuresome, they have a separate haunted corn maze call the "Trail of Doom" - only the bravest souls should attempt this one.
That's my pick of the crop, so to speak. So pack up the family, gather your friends and go challenge yourself or the kids to a race through a farmer's beautifully crafted maze. If you know of a maze in your community that's worth mentioning, let me know.