Nightfall was fast approaching, and we had miles to go.
“Are we in his little foot yet?” Abby asked.
“No, we’re in the eye,” Michaela corrected.
There was really no way of knowing for sure, only that we were somewhere in Sam Mazza’s Corn Maze – this year, paths form shapes of owls – and the hour of daylight we’d allotted for the challenge was quickly vanishing.
Four Colchester Sun reporters – Courtney Lamdin, Abby Ledoux, Michaela Halnon and Kaylee Sullivan – entered the maze at 5:58 p.m., minutes before the Lavigne Road store stops selling tickets as evening sets.
The clerk told us we could complete the task in an hour, which came as a surprise since earlier on the phone, another store employee estimated it would take twice as long.
We each ponied up $8.50, granting us our map and a hand stamp. Michaela and Kaylee bought snacks, too, since we weren’t confident we’d make it out alive, or at least before our stomachs started growling.
A bird’s eye view of the nearly three-mile maze would appropriately reveal two owls and Mazza’s logo cut from the cornstalks. The majority of the maze, however, was long, winding paths that led either to dead-ends or to 12 coveted checkpoints.
The maze was cut in July by consultant Shawn Stolworthy of MazePlay, an Idaho-based company that uses GPS technology and a tractor to make the paths. He cuts more than 80 corn mazes in the U.S. and Canada each season and has done Mazza’s for the last five years, the store’s website says.
Within Stolworthy’s design, each station has a different hole punch to mark the journey along the maze. We were determined to hit all 12 to enter the end-of-season raffle. A prize worth $400 was promised.
Somewhere in the middle of the maze, we found our first punch station, No. 6, which led us to wonder when exactly we passed 1-5 and prompted us to look at the handy maps for the first time.
We decided upon a route requiring us to exit the maze and re-enter it to reach our next checkpoint. That is, until Michaela turned the map upside down and realized what direction we were actually headed.
At one point, Michaela pondered the ethics of cutting through the rows of corn instead of sticking to the established path. She defended her proposal, noting the well-worn path that proved other travelers had done it before.
Eventually, though, we pressed on, ambling along the prescribed path, making multiple pit stops to take Instagram and Snapchat-worthy shots.
On several instances, we heard voices through the taller-than-seven-foot stalks but never contacted another human. Only an abandoned pacifier and single, half-buried sock evidenced others had been here. The only other sign of life was a rabbit that scurried across the pathway before us.
Once the first bit of daylight started slipping away, it went quickly. It seemed like seconds between photographing the pink sunset to barely seeing the path in front of us.
But we forged on, intently studying the map and realizing a separate, smaller maze was still to be conquered.
By this time, though, our desire to hit the local mead hall’s harvest festival outweighed that for winning the raffle. We headed back, ready to plead our case, when the clerk joyfully told us our entrance fee automatically entered us in the contest.
With that, Kaylee bought a miniature pumpkin – “I’ll use it as a centerpiece,” she explained – and we hit the road, remnants of corn husk beneath our boots a reminder of our evening’s journey.
Located on 277 Lavigne Rd. in Colchester, Sam Mazza’s Corn Maze is open daily through October from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.
Visit sammazzafarms.com or call 655-3440 for more information.