Story and Photography by Heidi Csernak
If you haven't heard, Fort Henry has launched a brand new enchanting, family-friendly attraction called "The Otherworld."
Once we discovered this amazing attraction, Mike and I decided to do a double-feature. Magic would be needed to ward off the chills and terror after experiencing #FortFright - but that's another story.
Having survived the scare-fest, we crossed the fort's ditch and headed towards the gate. After presenting our tickets, we were ready to be transported away from the horrors we'd just witnessed.
The entrance to The Otherworld was illuminated in a cool and calming blue - the most inviting sight of the night. We stepped through the cave mouth, and into the passage. We could hear dripping water making the atmosphere seem like a cold and damp grotto.
Coming out of the tunnel brought us to an amazing wonderland. We must have passed through a hidden portal because we felt immediately transported to the fairy realm.
Hay bales and dried corn stalks lined the path, giving the feeling of fading summer.
There were beautiful glowing orbs along the way, blinking and changing colours, from warm shades to cool tones. They twinkled, like stars plucked from the sky, guiding us deeper through this strange land.
Music carried across the night. The uplifting tune of a flute and tinkling bells reached our ears, enticing us further into the unknown.
"...a warm glow lingers from the summer season..."
We could see an elaborate corn maze ahead. Lights danced over our heads as we traversed the harvest-themed pathway. As we wound our way through we encountered a fairy.
She was curious about where we came from. To her, we were strangers from The Otherworld.
... or was it The Other-Otherworld?
She knew we weren’t locals and was eager to help us visitors back to our own land.
In order to pass, we had to solve the riddle before being able to continue our journey. Luckily, Mike had me, a master riddle-solver to find the right password. Passage granted!
She warned us not to get separated - we wouldn't want to get lost in unfamiliar territory!
"...enter the mythical land of a Giant Forest where you'll feel as though you have shrunken..."
The path ahead was lined with pine trees along wooden fences. Tiny lights danced in the purple haze.
We entered an area where mushrooms towered over us. We could see the massive gills glowing with inner luminescence. There were huge butterflies and toadstools a person could sit on.
At the far end of the forest, we could see a fairy beckoning us closer. He was waving a magical staff, trying to catch our attention but we resisted the spell. We held back to admire the huge glowing fungi just a little longer.
When we got close, the fairy confided that his fairy sisters say he spends too much time with his mushrooms, but he disagrees. Indeed, who would want to leave this mystical place? It was a wonderful wild world that any magical being would want to call home.
He danced around the stalks, here and there, telling us more about The Otherworld before running off to meet a group of newcomers.
With one last longing look at the giant mushroom forest, we trekked forth.
"...a magical, mystical world is unveiled as summer fades to fall."
As we continued, I thought about the creativity and planning that it took to put this event together. There was a thoughtful story unfolding before us.
Following the sounds of frogs, we passed carved pumpkins and into the Witches Lair. They’d come specially from #Pumpkinferno, by invitation of the fairies to whip-up some Halloween magic.
We walked through a wetland, where the only safe crossing was hopping lily pads to reach the bridge! We then went underwater to face the sharks - don’t worry, they don’t bite! We didn’t have to hold our breath long before we resurfaced to fly along with the hot air balloons.
These magical areas were full of colour and artistic flair. We met more fairies on the path, who told the last chapters of this summer to fall adventure. We had to pause a few more few times to admire what had been assembled for our enjoyment before heading back to reality.
The Otherworld seemed to take us on a journey far away from the nightmares we'd escaped at Fort Fright. It was a joy to experience.
I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful annual autumn event at Fort Henry. We look forward to travelling through The Otherworld next year!
See The Otherworld video we created!
Watch our Fort Fright 2018 video!