Despite growing up just south of corn country, I never went to a corn maze. Since returning to Michigan, I have been all about doing things that are unique to the region, and in the fall, Michigan is covered in corn mazes, "haunted" or just damn confusing. My boyfriend Greg found a maze just south of me in Saline (pronounced suh-LEEN, not say-leen) at Coleman's Farm and Corn Maze. So one Saturday night, with flashlights in hand, we decided to go with my friend Rachel.
Driving out to Saline was dark. A kind of dark that I am no longer used to. We were in corn country for sure. But we were greeted with floodlights and a petting zoo with goats, bunnies, and a llama. With our admission tickets, we purchased a map of the three mazes with all the checkpoints we were supposed to visit before leaving the mazes. THE MAP WAS ESSENTIAL.
It didn't take more than a few seconds after entering the maze to fully comprehend just how tall corn is and how little light penetrates between its weaving ears. My compatriots did not have to wander far before I lost sight of their flashlights. I am very thankful that this was a family maze and not filled with living scarecrows threatening me with chainsaws. That would have been too much for my first trip to a corn maze.
We finished the first maze (which was really #3 because we were warned away from #1 for being too muddy) relatively quickly. I was in charge of the map and only got us off course once, which was soon figured out and we were fine. The second maze was bigger, a little over a mile, and we did pretty well with that one, too! Better, in fact, because I'm pretty sure the map was lying to me about the first one.
Then we decided to take on the third maze, #1. It was 3 miles long, and far more complicated than the other two. I barely got us to the first few checkpoints. One we had to find a way around because Greg determined the direct path to be a giant boot-sucking mud pit. Near the top of the maze, we ran into some trouble. The terrain was hilly, and we'd lost sight of the lights from the farm. I was also getting tired and the map was starting to just look like squiggly lines (which they essentially were anyway). So while Rachel and I were chatting, we idly followed Greg.
I'd learned learned on a previous excursion with Greg to never, ever let him lead. Or if I let him lead, keep track of which turns he takes so that I can retrace our steps and get us un-lost. I did not do that this time. I don't now how long we spent in the maze from that point on, but the map had ceased to be any help, it was getting late, and I slipped in the mud, pulling a leg muscle. We wandered through the twists and turns in hopes of find the lights from the farm again to use as out beacon.
Finally, at nearly 11, Greg spotted lights through the corn, and we found our way out. The little house where we'd purchased our tickets was still open, so we got cider and donuts and had our snack around a then-dead firepit before heading home. All-in-all, time well-spent on a perfect early autumn evening.