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Haunted river trail has cows to thank for its good old-fashioned scares

October 5th, 2014 Posted in Arts and Life

Story and photos by Katherine Larsen

WELLSVILLE — Cows and haunted river trails may seem unrelated, but the Little Bear Bottoms Haunted River Trail‘s opening night of the season would not have been possible without bovine intervention. The hundreds of acres of corn were not initially planted to become a maze, but were meant to feed the cows of Rosehill Dairy.

“It’s already a scary place. Like you go down next to a river and something jumps out. You just can’t get that a building. It’s sort of red neck, its farmer. The stuff that scares us at night while we are irrigating, we turn around and scare people the same way. Just good old fashion fun, scary.” Photo by Katherine Larsen.

It all began 10 years ago. “We planted a whole bunch of corn as a rotation crop for the sod, and then we sold the corn to the Rosehill Dairy in Hyrum,” corn maze owner Jed Clark said. “One year about July 31st he called and said he had to sell all his cows. So we were stuck with 400 acres of corn and nowhere to go, and that’s when we said, ‘I guess we are going to do a corn maze.’”

Clark said he got the idea for the haunted trail from his own experience irrigating the farm at night.

“It’s already a scary place,” Clark said. “Like you go down next to a river and something jumps out. You just can’t get that a building. It’s sort of red neck, it’s farmer. The stuff that scares us at night while we are irrigating, we turn around and scare people the same way. Just good old fashion fun, scary.”

While the corn maze stays about the same size, Clark said every year the trail gets bigger as the number of participants grows.

“What has gotten bigger every year is the trail,” he said. “We don’t haunt the corn maze. A lot of people that’s what they do, they haunt corn mazes. That just turns out to be stalkers though. The haunted trail, this whole area, we do go into the corn a whole bunch. This is where we have scenes along the trail just bunched up to scare people.
The maze is just to get lost and have fun but this is what gets bigger every year, the haunted trail.”

Photo by Katherine Larsen.

Clark’s neighbor and former mechanical engineer Micheal Brower helped create the automatic scare attractions along the trail this year. “Hopefully we will get more and more going on,” Brower said. “It’s a lot of work. Throughout the month we will find some things, add a few more things. It’s fun to come up with ideas and ways to scare to people.”

What makes the haunted river trail different from other seasonal spook attractions in Cache Valley is the way groups are sent through the trail, Clark said. Instead of all the participants going at one time, smaller groups of three to six are sent in and prevented from catching up to other groups.

Yet those that do the scaring themselves, like Sam Parsons, do the scaring as a source of fun. Parsons, in his second year working on the haunted trail, said his favorite groups to scare are adults. “When you got to see an adult jump and run,” Parsons said. “Then you keep tension up by following them and banging a chain against metal and things.”

However, those that work the haunted trail can do their job too well,  Clark’s wife Sharma said.

“We just give them their specific jobs in the haunted trail, then have them practice,” Clark said. “All during the season there’s about four of us that walk through and check on them (the haunted trail employees). We walk through and give them pointers, but mostly we walk through to check on them. Because people get afraid that go in there, but the ones at most risk are the scarers. People react so we tell them to keep your distance, make sure you’ve got some personal space there.’”

Parsons’ piece of advice to those who are planning to go on the haunted trail is to be always be prepared for a scare.

“Always be prepared because sometimes people will sneak up on you when you least expect it,” Parsons said.

NW

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