On May 16 of this year I was asked to photograph a new adventure race. The creators of the DirtyFeat race were at it again. This time they established Lansing’s first kayak race. On a cool, foggy morning I joined a group of about 60 people; racers, volunteers, coordinators and fans, along a four mile stretch of inner city rivers. With my camera tucked inside a backpack I raced along the Lansing River Trail on my bike, visually documenting the progress of 40 kayakers. The process was relatively simple; check in at the Lansing City Market, leave by van to the race start near Frandor, enter the water in your kayak, and paddle back to the market. Jeff Smith, who is one of the creators of this event, said it was such a simple process that it could be recreated on almost any water way, at any time of year. There’s a hope to host it twice a year. Not only was it a great way to get out onto our amazing rivers but proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of the River Trail. If you’d like more information you can find it at the RedPaddle website. A full set of photographs can be found here.
- Cooley Garden & Scott Sunken Garden– I’ve written about Cooley Garden here during my City Saunter project. This gorgeous park sits right in downtown Lansing yet you would never think it was. With the majestic tree line that blocks out the skyline, traffic and city bustle it’s easy to believe this park is located in a less urban area.
Scott’s Sunken Garden
- Shigematsu Memorial Garden-This gorgeously landscaped koi pond with other Japanese themed objects surrounding it, is located on the North West section of LCC Campus. Inside the blocked off garden you find a private walking path, koi pond and waterfall. Its isolation from Capital Ave. and the rest of LCC makes this the perfect place to reflect, meditate and relax.
- The Grand River-This beautiful asset to the Lansing area provides the perfect sights, travel, pathway and nature setting. Its greatness throughout Lansing, from west to east and then to the north provides stunning visual sights and boating adventures all year round.
- Turner-Dodge Mansion-Lansing has a rich history and beautiful buildings truly show the majesty of our past. The preservation of our oldest buildings shows Lansing’s dedication to history and beauty.
- Hawk Island-Twenty years ago this was a gravel pit that kids snuck into. Now it’s a flourishing, expanding family adventure! It now hosts not only picnicking, parks, boating, fishing, cycling, and walking trails but also a winter snowboarding & tubing hill and members only dog park. It also has a fantastic water play area for the kids in the Lansing hot summers.
- Francis Park-This is another of those tucked away beautiful gardens. The grounds are well kept and produce some of the area’s most gorgeous roses. Its location above the river provides excellent views with a very relaxed environment. It’s a must see in the spring through summer months.
- Theo Fulton Park-I found this park on my City Saunter walks and had never heard of it at all. It’s one of the most isolated parks in a neighborhood few Lansing people travel. Yet, if you travel the Grand River from Dimondale you’ve probably passed it.
- Crego Park-This recently reopened swampy area was once contaminated and blocked off to the public and might be why it reveals a rugged, undamaged wild feel about it. It is located directly north of Fenner Nature Center and south of the River Trail.
- Michigan Hall of Justice Building –This building is immaculate. If there was ever a building that represented the wealth of the city at the time it was built, it’s this building.
- Sycamore Golf Course– This is an amazing patch of river trail that runs south of Mt. Hope, through what use to be a full golf course, then meets up inside Scott’s Woods and eventually takes you to Hawk Island. It is probably one of the best new add ons to the river trail Lansing’s put in. It is used by walkers, bikers, nature lovers, runners, and dog walkers. It takes on the feel of a wilderness preservation and is delightful.
- Roger-Carrier House– This is another beautiful house in the Lansing area. The architecture and attention to detail makes it really stand out on Capital Ave.
- View from Boji Tower – If there is ever the chance to climb above Lansing, do it! Seeing the Lansing area from the Boji Tower, Capitol or even the roof top of one of the buildings in downtown Lansing expands the beauty of this little city. The sites from the top of the Lansing Capitol will be a moment I cherish for the rest of my life.