Getting Lost in a Corn Maze is Awesome

Ever since I discovered the Vermont Corn Maze one autumn day many years ago, I’ve been looking around for a solid corn maze to venture into in the Toronto area.  Having experienced the poor excuse for a corn maze (i.e. too tiny) and the 5 to 10 acre ones, I sought out something really substantial and then I came across Hanes Corn Maze, which was 20 acres!

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Ever since I discovered the Vermont Corn Maze one autumn day many years ago, I’ve been looking around for a solid corn maze to venture into in the Toronto area.  Having experienced the poor excuse for a corn maze (i.e. too tiny) and the 5 to 10 acre ones, I sought out something really substantial and then I came across Hanes Corn Maze, which was 20 acres!

Eventually, I rounded up enough friends who dared to step into the maze with me just before the last week of October.  They weren’t really willing to tackle it at night so it was just a day trip that started off with picking up everyone along the way.

We had arrived around 11 or so in the morning and it was exciting just to drive up to the lot.  My friends were already gushing from seeing the giant wall of corn in front of us.  To walk the corn maze and visit the farm animals cost us about $11.50 (CDN) per person which wasn’t bad at all.

Getting ready to enter the unknown...in the corn...
Getting ready to enter the unknown…in the corn…

As we paid to get into the maze, we were given a clipboard with a map.  I had not realized it but there was a scavenger hunt with a puzzle to solve.  It would make sense considering I could simply walk out of the maze pretty easily.

The gist of the scavenger hunt is this:

On the map of the corn maze, there are fields under the checkpoints where a participant has to jot down a code.  Each code is revealed if you can locate the checkpoint.  Once you collect all the codes — you exit the maze and try and solve the puzzle.

The tricky part is that not all the checkpoints are revealed on the map.  Some are hidden away!

Every so often, there'd be a lookout point amidst the maze.
Every so often, there’d be a lookout point amidst the maze.
Just when you think it might be possible to cheat, here's the view from the lookout point. [photo credit: Lisa Sit]
Just when you think it might be possible to cheat, here’s the view from the lookout point. [photo credit: Lisa Sit]

I have to say that the scavenger hunt was a lot tougher than I anticipated. A couple of my friends were beginning to give up because we were circling around trying to find the right checkpoints butkept encountering the ones we had already found.  Using the map was actually making it confusing at times because of where we thought we were in the corn maze.

Eventually we began using the very edge of the corn maze as reference points and made it out — to some degree.  There were a lot of families, teenagers, and kids who approached us about trading checkpoint codes, some were in the maze for 2 or 3 hours!  I’ll leave that to your discretion. We only spent 1 and 1/2 hours thanks to our willingness to exchange a couple of codes.

Successfully exiting the maze! [photo credit: Lisa Sit]
Successfully exiting the maze! [photo credit: Lisa Sit]

After the maze, we were able to solve the puzzle and claim a small prize.  Nothing major but it was nevertheless fun to achieve.  Our eyes were however, trained on the bakery.  It was a very small space and there were so many people lining up to pick up a pie or some other sweet goodies.  I picked up a nice apple pie myself and a chocolate overload square (which was amazing).

Dropping by the Tiny Shop Bakery. Full of pies, cookies, and squares of all sorts. Way too many choices!
Dropping by the Tiny Shop Bakery. Full of pies, cookies, and squares of all sorts. Way too many choices!

This was only part of the day’s adventure!  Hanes Corn Maze is quite close to the Spencer Gorge Wilderness area where there are a couple of nice waterfalls and we eventually satisfied our hunger at the Thirsty Cactus, a local pub and grill in the town of Dundas.

 

Bruce Trail 9 – Scenic Drive to Sydenham Road

This part of the trail that passes through Hamilton is quite interesting because it weaves its way through a number of conservation areas in the city.  This meant that the trails were often quite wide and very well developed — some of which were even accommodating to horses and mountain bikes.

The previous section of the trail was a tad dry (lots of straight paved paths) so I was hoping that this section would be a little more exciting. Thankfully, it was an excellent section to hike through.  The timing was impeccable as there were many surprises along the way that made the whole journey so memorable. Right off the bat as we drove into the city of Hamilton to continue from Scenic Road, we encountered road blocks.  We weren’t sure what was going on but we simply assumed that it was construction.  It definitely delayed our start a little.  This time our group grew back to four people!

Apparently someone lost a book.  Good reading on the trail?

When isn’t it a good time to read?  I’ve never actually read while on the trail before but I suppose anything can happen.  I hope the book gets returned to its owner … unless it isn’t worth reading of course.

This part of the trail that passes through Hamilton is quite interesting because it weaves its way through a number of conservation areas in the city.  This meant that the trails were often quite wide and very well developed — some of which were even accommodating to horses and mountain bikes.

Along the trailSome beautiful and lush areas along the trail.

There are always little parts of the trail that you have to stop and take in.  For whatever reason, they always remind me of magical forests in fantasy novels and movies.  At a certain point, the group gets a little silly so we decide that we should greet fellow hikers along the way in different languages — each of us speaking a language that would not match up with our appearance.  As much as we laughed at our ridiculous idea, the action failed to take hold.  Perhaps later into the hike!

Deer!  This was the second one we encountered as we were hiking.

Along the way, we were surprised to encounter a number of deer.  It astounded me that they were literally metres away from the road behind the trees.  Makes me really appreciate how much takes place in the forest without drivers noticing anything whatsoever — not that they should anyways — for safety’s sake.

The deer spotting had us in a great mood but what made the day even better was stumbling upon Sherman Falls.  We didn’t notice it on the map so it was completely unexpected and it was a very pretty waterfall — one that you could walk right up to.  No one was around at this time which was quite surprising but later in the afternoon when I was driving home, I saw so many cars parked nearby.  What made this waterfall even more interesting is that it is technically private land.  The family who owns this piece of land with such a beautiful waterfall are very lucky but I’m also appreciative of the fact that they are sharing it with us all on the Bruce Trail.

What an unexpected treat to pass by Sherman's Falls.Someone had too much fun and forgot their sock.Enjoying a view of the forest along the escarpment.

Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more interesting, we came across the remains of an old summer cottage in the Dundas Valley Conservation area.  I have to admit, people and their ideas of cottages haven’t really changed much — they are still large houses in what is supposed to be an “isolated” area.

The remains of a summer cottage.Dundas Valley Conservation area is a fascinating place.  We saw a runner who literally blazed by us.

Because we were passing through a relatively urban park, it is always interesting to see who you encounter along the way.  We saw people on horseback, mountain bikers, people simply out for a stroll, other hikers, and most surprisingly — one of the fastest runners I have ever seen.  He literally bolted up and over hills without slowing down even a bit.

What do we have here?  Pollen Central?

Once we passed through the major conservation areas, we came across a still water pond covered entirely with what I believe to be pollen.  Of course hikers just have to have a little bit of fun with this and so some of us began to try and skip stones across the water or in one case, just make a big splash to disperse the pollen on the water.  I suggested a skilled attempt at creating a happy face…

Quirky bakery

Along the way we decided to take a small detour because we noticed all these signs about the Dundas Cactus Festival.  We had no idea what this was about but it seemed like fun to check out. We also barely saw anyone with cacti (although it could be because of the rain).  I think I saw more chiropractors offering free spinal examinations than food joints.  Some food was pretty tempting … poutine along the hike?  Why not?

Strolling through the Dundas Cactus FestivalSome funky graffiti on the way to our destination point

After passing through a chunk of the festival, we joined back up with the trail and hiked towards our destination point on Sydenham.  It’s a pretty long uphill climb, but the views are nice and the weather wasn’t too bad that day, although it did get a lot warmer and more humid into the afternoon that day.

Unfortunately, my GPS for whatever reason decided not to record the track so I have no map data to provide this time around!

For now, check out the full gallery here and keep an eye out for the next Bruce Trail update!