The World-Record corn maze and why we will never go again

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Every year, we go to the same pumpkin patch–Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm. We’ve been going there since the kids were about three and it’s become sort of a tradition for us.

And even though I’m big on tradition, I thought it might be fun to do something different this year. You know, mix things up and be a little spontaneous.

So, on our way home from visiting one of my best friends near San Francisco, we stopped at a pumpkin patch we’d never been to. We never even knew about it until we saw the signs off the freeway.

As we drove, I could tell the kids weren’t sure about the whole thing. We followed the signs, listening to them groan in the backseat about how, “this pumpkin patch doesn’t look the same as Bishop’s,” and, “what if it’s not as much fun?”

“It’ll be fun,” I promised. “It’s good to try new things.”

And when they saw this sign, they perked up a bit…

world record corn maze
because it’s not every day you get to visit a pumpkin patch that’s been in the Guinness Book of World Records, right?

It turns out the maze was huge…

corn maze
You can’t see it very well in the picture, but at the top of the corn field is a green bridge. Just to give you an idea of how big this maze was, there were four bridges like that, all spaced about the same distance apart.

You enter the maze through one bridge, navigate your way (using a map that you get at the beginning) to the next bridge, then the next, and the next, until you find your way out.

Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work, anyway.

I should’ve known when we going into the maze and saw a boy talking on a cell phone trying to explain to someone on the other line how to get out, that this was going to be a challenge.

But about twenty minutes into it, when my daughter the map-keeper, “sort of lost track,” of where we were, I started to realize what we were up against. And I started to think that we might be in that maze for hours.

Maybe even days.

As we wandered around, it felt like we were going in circles.

In fact, I’m pretty sure we were.

But apparently, I was the only one who was concerned.

The kids were having a ball, running back and forth, guessing which way to go. And Mike’s so easygoing that he just took up the rear and went with the flow.

I was (beyond) relieved when a family (who looked like they knew where they were going) came up the path.

“Follow them,” I said, walking faster.

“You can’t follow them,” my daughter said. “That’s like cheating!”

Fast forward a half-hour…

in which I tried to follow the people in front us without looking like I was trying to follow the people in front of us, and in which the kids got mad at me because, “you’re going too fast, Mom,” and in which I became more and more convinced that we were going to spend forever in that maze…

and we finally found the first bridge.

There were a bunch of people on it sharing maps, discussing strategy, and copying notes on which way to go…

and it became very clear that the maze quite possibly was an all-day event.

While I was proud of my kids for wanting to go all the way to the end no matter how long it took, the fact was we still had the drive home, and we hadn’t planned for a corn maze of this…ahem... magnitude.

Mike and I explained to the kids that if we wanted to be able to explore the rest of the pumpkin patch, we had to turn back.

Needless to say, they were disappointed that they didn’t get to finish the maze (you should’ve seen some of the pictures I took after that, both of them grumpy and frowning). But even though our effort at spontaneity was sort of a flop, the day was gorgeous, the kids got to see some pretty big pumpkins,

huge pumpkin
and we promised them that, next year, we’ll go to Bishop’s. :)