Halloween Season at Hell's Crossing / by Leslie Seaton

Four women mushroom hunting in the woods, then camping at a deserted campground called Hell’s Crossing the weekend before Halloween: an excellent premise for a horror movie and also something I participated in last year.

I won’t create any unjustified suspense: nothing bad happened other than waiting too long for our French fries and being witness to some unfortunately boorish behavior by a few deer hunters at a local bar. No blood was shed, except maybe by the deer, but we didn’t see it. (Even if something bad had happened, I felt confident I was going to be the Final Girl for many reasons, including my unisex name and, I mean, what am I if not an “"investigating consciousness?”)

Nothing cinematic happened in the mushroom department for me, either. We were looking for chanterelles along Route 410, but I only found one, which I actually forgot about and retrieved days or weeks later, desiccated, from my trunk.

I didn’t really mind; this was my first fall camping trip so I was in the midst of First Time Fog. I am coming to accept this is just a state I go into every time I do something for the first time. Whatever the goal of the activity is, if it’s my first time, the only thing I can be guaranteed to accomplish is absorbing some sensory input from the new experience. No matter how trivial the newness is (in this case, just a change in temperature from summer camping), it nevertheless takes up some large chunk of my brain’s processing. So I wasn’t in peak mushroom hound form, nose quivering, senses focused. More in peak space cadet form, looking at clouds and forest shapes.

It was still an excellent camping trip, though. I actually got a little spooked walking around the empty quiet campground, and I don’t tend to get spooked under those circumstances. Being spooked when there ultimately isn’t anything to be afraid of can be fun, of course (ergo horror movies).

I emerged from my First Time Fog with an idea as to what I might want/need on future fall camping trips. Primarily: a balaclava. (I feel like that will also be useful if I ever am, in fact, the Final Girl. Putting on a balaclava seems like a good part of a montage where I finally decide I will NOT be a victim and goddamit I am going to survive this thing.)

Also the general feeling of the woods in the fall at night is a specific thing and now it’s a thing I’ve experienced, so I liked that. I just finished Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and I would say that once you get past the concern you are in the premise of a horror movie, the feeling of the woods in the fall at night is a very 1Q84/Colorless Murakami feeling. Quiet, still, mysterious, and with only a slight undercurrent of danger. 

For more images from the trip, click here for the full gallery here. Preview below.