The Date was November 6th and it was a great day to mow something. On This day, the gang assembled to create something new and unique. We were going to mow a maze and labyrinth in an abandoned field at Rouge Park in Detroit. Not only were we going to create this attraction, but we had received donations to do it. Fans from the website KickStarter.com had chipped in the funds for us to buy the supplies and grub we needed.
I had scouted the field a few times before our arrival it was a good one, with knee-to-waist high grass and brush. It looked like it had been a baseball field a few years back, and it hadn’t been mowed in at least 6 months, possibly a year or two. But the Detroit Parks folks don’t seem to be a fan of my shenanigans, so they decided that the week before our scheduled event was a good time to mow the field. Volunteers arrived to find a freshly mowed location.
Fortunately, the parks department can’t possibly mow every field they own, so we relocated 1/4 mile up the road and got to work. We had 9 volunteers and within 3-4 hours we had cut a maze, a labyrinth and removed 7 giant bags of trash. We also created some signage to show people where the maze is located and how to not get stuck in it. Here are some group photos from the event.
Thanks to Kickstarter we could rent a UHaul for two riding mowers and my van handled the tools.
Chris rode his motorcycle down, but grabbed a mower and started cutting the maze. This was Chris’s second time at a Mower Gang rally, so he earned his “colors” (a mower gang t-shirt). Also, having seniority in the gang gets you the cool mower.
Phoenix is another Mower Gang veteran, she led the sign painting squad.
Jason had a good time cutting swaths of grass and leaves. If you visit the maze and get lost inside it, you can partially blame him.
Don is also to blame.
So is this guy, who used his Toro push mower to make sure the dead ends and intersections were as confusing as possible.
Here’s my beauty shot. That’s right, I’m rocking a John Deere. It’s how I roll.
Lunch couldn’t arrive soon enough. It was cold outside, but Hannah catered our lunch with a giant pot of spicy vegetarian chili along with honey butter and some locally baked breads. It was really, really good. You have no idea how good a park cleanup can be until you attend a Mower Gang rally. There is always something special going on.
There is Stuntman Mike in the center. He’s a regular gang member.
If you visit Rouge Park, look for these signs along E. Outer Dr. They mark the entrance to the maze.
This is what it looks like in the highest grass. Some places are lower, but either way, it is easy to determine where the maze is located and it is fun to try. Even the Gang Members were getting lost in it. It’s about a 10-15 minute activity to complete the maze. The Labyrinth is another 15 minutes of meditation, 30 minutes if you really think and walk slowly.
On the following day, I took my kids. It is a great activity for little ones because the grass isn’t long enough for them to get totally lost in it, so they can play at their own pace. They loved it.
Here is the entry to the Labyrinth. It is a big spiral, making 7 loops around the center. It’s a great place to walk and think. I’m not sure how long it is, but I’d bet it is about 1/4 - 1/2 mile? The funny thing was, it was probably easier to mow than it is to walk. If you ever want to create your own labyrinth you can do it quite easily. Start with a lawn tractor and an overgrown field. Begin at the center and just start mowing outward. You’ll have a labyrinth in no time.
My sons (3 and 5) didn’t quite get the labyrinth. They ran to the center and then wondered what was next. I wasn’t sure either. In fact, we created a sign to go in the center, but couldn’t decide what to write on it, so we left it blank. If you visit, feel free to write something on it.
Thanks again for everyone’s help with the Maze and Labyrinth. I’ll leave the signage up until the first snowfall when I will go retrieve them for a future project.