“Do you think we’re going the right way”? I ask, brushing a leaning corn stalk from my face. The Fall sun filters through the maze around us as we turn down a trail cut through the never-ending cornfield. I hear chatter and voices of other visitors coming from somewhere just out of sight.
“I have no idea. I’m not the one leading the way,” David chuckles as we shuffle along behind our kids.
“It’s a dead-end,” announces our son. We all turn to retrace our steps. We’re about a third of the way in the maze, and our goal at this point is to get to the snack shack provided Wildhurst Vineyard. Walking through the fourteen-foot tall corn, it seems that the maze is bigger this year. More invisible shouts and giggles draw closer, then fade away again as others continue to get lost.
“We’ve already been this way!” our youngest shouts to her siblings.
“No, we haven’t!”
While the sun rises a little higher in the sky, we trudge on. The tall stalks of corn filter the bright sunlight, shading us.
“I told you, we’ve already gone this way!” our youngest says triumphantly. Our trudging comes to a halt. Instinctively we all look around but to no avail, because every direction looks the same, a never-ending wall of corn.
“Uh, Dad, I think we’re lost,” our oldest says. This will be the first of many more times we say those words this afternoon.
“Of course we are. That’s the whole point!” David smiles, looking down the line of questioning eyes.
“No, we’re not,” I interject and assume the lead. “We’ve already gone this way; we need to backtrack to where we were.” I confidently take the lead. “See, this way has more footprints; it’s a main path.” Before I know it, the kids pass me up and confidently take the lead again. Our trudging picks up speed as we venture into uncharted territory.
“Look!!! I see it!” someone shouts. “That’s the way out! I see a sign!” We pick up our pace. Sure enough, a sign points to the promising snack shack. Within seconds, we pop out of the winding entanglement of corn and into an oasis.
Stacked bales of straw covered in blankets create rustic couches for tired maze goers and parents watching their children play in the buried boat turned into a sandbox. A small snack shack sits under a giant oak. I look around and see other relieved faces enjoying a respite from the labyrinth. We get some snacks, then settle down on a bale. Never before has a soda and a small bag of chips felt more rewarding.
We sit and talk about our adventure as we munch on chips. Fellow travelers, ready to meander their way back into the maze, take a second to climb a tall ladder to get a bird’s eye view of what’s to come. Eventually, they all disappear into the wall of corn. We sip on our sodas, enjoying every moment of this rest before we commit to finishing the maze ourselves. A tractor putts past us, hauling families around the maze and towards the pumpkin patch. Happy people sit on the hay bales, watching us as they pass by.
Eventually, there is no more soda to sip and only empty bags of chips to be thrown away. It’s time to head back into the corn. Even though the tractor ride looks tempting, we didn’t come to only do half a corn maze. Soon, after a look at the immensity of the maze from the ladder, we too disappear behind the wall of corn stalks and join in with other invisible chattering voices. We’ve got another half hour of wandering ahead of us, but it’s worth it. Where else in Lake County can we get lost so easily?
The Wildhust Corn Maze is located at 4405 Thomas Drive, Lakeport, CA (Across from Rainbow Ag). For more information and COVID requirements, check out their Facebook Page
This article first appeared in The Bloom on October 25, 2019