There is a corn maze in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania called (I'm being quite serious here) the Amazing Maize Maze. It's located in Cherry Crest Farm in the city of Paradise, PA, and it's a sight to behold, if you're ever in the area. There are also maize-mazes run by the same folks in upstate New York and Iowa, although really, when I think of corn mazes, I think Pennsylvania Dutch country. But maybe that's just because of the blow to the head I took there.

Their motto is, "Getting people lost since 1993," and they certainly do that. I was last there in the summer of 1999, and while we weren't lost (like the previous day when we were lost, in the dark, in downtown Allentown where our cell phone wouldn't work because we were in a valley), we certainly didn't get through as quickly as we could have. The design of the maze changes on a yearly basis, and the shortest route through that year's maze -- a map of Pennsylvania with the Liberty Bell in one corner and a five-pointed star in the opposite -- was a half mile. We made it through in something like 45 minutes, and (lame as this sounds) it was no easy feat.

You would think that the 75,000 enormous stalks of corn would provide some shade from the blazing summer sun. You'd be very, very wrong, though. The temperature outside of the maze was something on the order of 95 degrees F, but inside was much, much hotter. Trapped in narrow passages, corn as high as an elephant's eye on both sides, one can become somewhat claustrophobic. Sure, the maize maze operators put water stops every hundred yards or so, but it's not enough. I have never been to the desert, but it can't be much worse than this. The danger of dehydration is so real and imminent that each group must carry a flag on a long pole -- ours was a Pittsburgh Pirates pennant -- that they should wave in the event of an emergency. We didn't have to use ours, but boy were we tempted.

As you wind your way through the sweet, delicious labyrinth (butter not included), you pass checkpoints and collect portions of the maze to paste to your map. Along the way, there are also plastic pipes you can use to ask tips of the guy in the booth -- when I was there, it was actually a girl, playing Ben Franklin. We wasted each and every one of our Ben Franklins asking where the next water station was. No lie. We were wicked thirsty.

We did finally make it through, dehydrated and dreaming of oases full of baklava and fresh, cool water. The sense of accomplishment was incredible; we were adventurers, heroes, gods. We had conquered the Amazing Maize Maze, and no one could take that away from us; we were the kings of the world.