Daniella Lu­cas is... The Trav­eller

Dani goes glamp­ing in Fri­day The 13th

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Ican’t say I’m one for jump scares and hor­ror, but if you ig­nore all the mur­der and death-rat­tles of your fel­low campers you can have a de­light­ful time by the shores of Hig­gins Haven in Fri­day The 13th. Set deep in a re­mote for­est full of pine trees and bor­dered by a serene lake, the camp is an ideal place to get in touch with na­ture. A visit is also sure to get your adren­a­line pump­ing thanks to the pur­suit of a lum­ber­ing and ec­cen­tric lo­cal called Ja­son. There re­ally is no bet­ter way to ap­pre­ci­ate the at­mo­sphere of a for­est at night than by be­ing chased through it by a har­poon-wield­ing ma­niac. Now there’s some­thing that should be in­cluded on the brochure.

While the game it­self is small, it’s still found great suc­cess (with a fair few tech­ni­cal hic­cups along the way) thanks to the de­sign of its lo­ca­tions. Each map is tiny, but is packed with places to hide and items to un­cover. Ev­ery time you en­ter the map, the lo­ca­tion of var­i­ous things such as the ra­dio, phone and car parts, shifts so it al­ways feels fresh when you feel the urge to hunt down coun­sel­lors as Ja­son Voorhees, or be hunted by him. It’s the com­pact­ness of the camp that makes it spe­cial; it’s the per­fect size to get lost in while still be­ing tight enough to keep you on your toes. It’s a per­fect ex­am­ple of a small space done well, util­is­ing ev­ery inch of space to its fullest.

The facilities

There are also plenty of ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer to keep you en­ter­tained while you’re out there, in­clud­ing moon­lit walks, classes in car me­chan­ics and fre­quent hide-and­seek tour­na­ments which award great prizes such as bear traps and even, if you’re very lucky, the gift of life.

Should you de­cide to visit you can get closer to na­ture and rough it in a tent by a log fire, but the only way to ex­pe­ri­ence camp life at its fullest is to rent a rus­tic chalet with your friends. Each one has sev­eral rooms for you to spread out in and in­cludes draw­ers to hide your knick­knacks, as well as plenty of un­der­bed stor­age space should you feel the need to hide. Scat­tered around the for­est, they are lit­tle oases of hope in a wilder­ness full of dread – sneak­ing in­side one gives you a brief mo­ment of calm and a source of in­spi­ra­tion as you un­cover items to plan your next moves. Heal­ing items, car parts and makeshift weapons can all be found in your lodg­ings when tak­ing part in one of Ja­son’s games.

Moon­lit walks

There are two places in Hig­gins Haven that stand out above ev­ery­thing else – the main lodge, and Ja­son’s cabin. Spread over two floors with mul­ti­ple rooms and a cosy fire­place, the lodge feels like a smaller map within a map. With plenty of room for the coun­sel­lors to run around in and nar­row stairs to con­tend with, play­ers are forced into at­tack­ing Ja­son to es­cape if he steps in­side. It feels very much like a con­densed ver­sion of the whole map – you’re forced into close con­tact so all of your in­ter­ac­tions are far more in­tense, but be­ing such a large cabin you’ve got loads of op­tions in how you han­dle things. Do you dive out of a win­dow? Or stand your ground and stun Ja­son with a flare gun? Or do you hide in a closet and hope he walks right past so you can es­cape later?

By com­par­i­son the for­est out­side feels pos­i­tively wild; the tall pine trees feel over­bear­ing, adding to the ten­sion. You find your­self jump­ing at ev­ery shadow in the pale moon­light, ner­vously look­ing over your shoul­der ev­ery time you duck into the bushes to hide. Stay out­doors long enough and even­tu­ally you’ll stum­ble across a tiny, iso­lated cabin with a mor­bid se­cret in­side – the dried-out re­mains or Mrs Voorhees and a crusty jumper that can stop Ja­son in his tracks. Find­ing it feels like win­ning a hor­ri­ble jack­pot – the prize be­ing the most pow­er­ful item in the game, though you’ll have to slip into a dead woman’s jumper to be able to use it.

No mat­ter how hor­ri­ble it is, Hig­gins Haven is a joy to ex­plore inch by ter­ri­fy­ing inch. The nights you spend there are dark and full of ter­ror, but it’s worth the visit to see just how well a small space can build such a tense at­mo­sphere.

You can see more of Dani’s gam­ing trav­els on In­sta­gram: @daniel­lam­lu­cas.

“You find your­self jump­ing at ev­ery shadow in the pale moon­light”

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