Ahard rain fell as Mike Bose surveyed his latest corn maze, an attraction that has been cut into his field on 64th Avenue each of the past 14 years.
"This is good," he said Thursday. "The dust has been pretty horrible. I'll take a few puddles over that."
The corn maze is cut into a 25-acre section of the Bose farm - the largest maze yet for the family-run enterprise, and the last remaining such labyrinth in Surrey.
Dwarfed by corn plants of up to 13 feet in height, people pay up to $7 each for the thrill of walking the maze, which opened for the season Aug. 24 and continues until harvest time in mid-October.
"We've already had some challenges with people getting lost this year - people who
have wanted no help and figure they can find their way through," Bose said with a smile. "They've been in there for quite awhile."
This year, the maze is cut into the shape of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association logo, thanks to the work of renowned Utah-based maze designer Brett Herbst. Past years have featured mazes done in the shape of the Grey Cup game logo, Hockey Canada and other designs.
"My sons cut it out, and they're good at it,"
"We plant the corn and then it's cut into paths using a garden tractor and rototiller, and the trails are marked by hand - freehand art, one man, a can of spray paint."
The maze on 156th Street is among the last three "big ones" in the region, according to Bose, along with one in Chilliwack and another in Pitt Meadows. All three debuted at the turn of the century, when several more were in operation locally.
"For those other ones, the ones no longer open, the corn was grown only to make the
maze," Bose said. "People who come to a farm like this to participate in agri-tourism, they want it to be real - corn for harvest. That's the case for us and the other two."
The corn crop is phenomenal this year, the farmer reported: "We got it in on time, we had the right amount of moisture early, it hot and dry and we had good foggy nights, which feeds the corn, so it's been excellent."
With stands of corn so tall, the maze can be an intimidating experience for some, especially when the sun goes down. Some people don't realize they're claustrophobic until they're well into it, Bose said.
Depending on the paths taken, the maze can become a five-kilometre walk - or run.
"People usually stay here for a couple hours, and we design the maze for an average time of an hour and a quarter in it," said Bose, surrounded by a playground, concession stand, fire pit and dining tent.
"The general rule is, kids beat everybody (through the maze), girls beat boys, men suck at it and teachers usually have some trouble in there," Bose continued.
"A compass will just tell you that north is that way," he added. "A GPS will help you retrace your steps if you get completely lost.... And the iPhone is used by people who download the picture, but if you don't know where you are in that picture, it won't help at all."
© Copyright 2013