Stalks slapped us. But we kept on marching.
This rite of passage appeared endless and darn near impossible. Even insane.
“Do you eat this corn?” I asked Mike Wise.
“No,” the farmer said.
And, after that, we just walked – in the dark, our way illuminated only by Wise’s flashlight.
We were on a quick tour of Wise’s corn maze at his farm in the Brumley Gap section of Washington County, Va.
And, at first, I just looked with envy at all that corn – Wise’s four acres of corn stalks.
“I use it to feed the cattle,” Wise told me.
As for myself, I had grown corn. But, I was never more successful than growing more than a dozen ears a year.
Never mind that. The important thing was, Wise had harvested thousands of ears of corn in his maze.
And, at this point, we were up to our own ears in it all.
Usually, Wise said, “It takes about an hour to go through it.”
But, on this night, it seemed like it was taking us an hour to get out of it.
Turning left, then right, we kept on marching – with only the 63-year-old farmer’s flashlight to guide us.
“You built this maze,” I said. “Do you know your way out?”
Then, again, he just kept going.
“See here?” the farmer said a moment later, pointing with his flashlight. “Here’s one some kids made – a shortcut to get from one way to the other.”
Wise didn’t use it.
He simply turned again.
Then, he explained the rules of his maze.
“It’s a treasure hunt,” he said. “You take your ticket, and you’ve got 10 numbers. The object is to find your punches.”
You go from station to station, punching your ticket, like a game.
“It’s fun and exciting,” said Megan Gobble, a young student at nearby Greendale Elementary School.
Somewhere in the middle of this maze, we met Megan and one of her cousins, Dalton Martin, a student at Rock Spring Elementary School in Kingsport, Tenn.
These kids stood with tickets in hand, like they knew where they were and where they were going.
As for Wise and me, we didn’t have scorecards.
And it looked like we were never going to ...
“Wait a minute,” I said again. “You planted all this.”
“Yep,” Wise said.
“And you laid it out, like a maze,” I went on.
“Yep,” Wise said again.
“But you really don’t know the way–”
Huh? Really? WHOOSH!
We zigzagged our way to an open field.
“Ah, shucks,” I said, feeling disappointed.
Want to try it for yourself? Wise’s Haunted Barn and Corn Maze is located along Brumley Gap Road, near the Brumley Gap Volunteer Fire Department, just off U.S. 19 at Brumley Gap, Va. Admission is $6 on Oct. 30-31, running from dark to 11 p.m. Call (276) 623-1326.