MEXICO — Peak-A-Week hikers moved carefully over a 2-inch layer of snow covering the roadway on their way up Mexico Ledge on Wednesday.

They also encountered mud on their first hike of the season, a 20-minute trek from an old road to the ledges.

More than 30 people joined the Peak-A-Week hiking club for its first hike of the season up to Mexico Ledge in Mexico. The club is in its 35th year and all are welcome to join the Wednesday evening hikes that take place throughout Western Maine. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

The PAW club is in its 35th year of hiking Wednesday evenings, beginning in April. They meet at the “Information” parking lot in Rumford, where they often carpool to their hiking destinations throughout western Maine.

According to Kim Redmond of Weld, who hikes with his wife, Lynda, the group plans its hikes so they “start off short” and hikers have time to condition themselves for longer hikes around the longest day of the year in June.

Upon reaching the ledges Wednesday, more than 30 hikers took time to enjoy the view of the towns of Rumford and Mexico on a blue sky evening with temperatures in the mid-50s.

It was the first time Lynda Berryment of Dixfield and her daughter, Diana, hiked with the group, and both women said they hoped to participate in more hikes this summer.

Peter DeFillip of Mexico said he had participated in some of the hikes since 2004. Two of his favorites are Bear Mountain in Turner and Lookout Rock in Andover, which he likes to hike “the back way,” he said.

DeFillip also touted the benefits of hiking to help maintain his 20-pound weight loss.

Peak-A-Week hikers took their first trek of the season Wednesday evening at Mexico Ledge in Mexico. From the ledge hikers could see the towns of Rumford and Mexico. Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

Gary Weston of Mexico has hiked with the group for years, but was able to do “just a few (hikes) last year” because of health problems.

“I do what my body lets me,” he said.

Jim Thomas, 87, has gone on almost all of the Peak-A-Week hikes for the past 25 years. He said his hiking is more limited lately because he does not like to be in the cold anymore. He spent his winter in Arizona, where he hiked 6 to 7 miles a day several times a week with a group in which he was the oldest person.

Grandmothers Beth Bellegarde of Rumford and Debbie Laurinaitis of Mexico brought their families along for the hike to Mexico Ledge.

Bellegarde had her grandchildren Madalyn and Molly and her daughter-in-law, Emily, visiting from Rhode Island.

Peak-A-Week club hikers made their way up an old road to reach the ledges of Mexico Ledge hike in Mexico on Wednesday. The hike was the first of the season for the group. (Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson) Rumford Falls Times photo by Marianne Hutchinson

Laurinaitis brought her granddaughter, Sophia, with her parents Justine and Josh Mason of West Paris.

A core member of the Peak-A-Week hiking club, Toshi Hashimoto of Milton Township, has been hiking with the group since 1987. He said he enjoys hiking with the club because it’s a “good group.”

In addition to the Wednesday evening hikes with the PAW club, Hashimoto is a trained volunteer for the Mahoosuc Mountain Search and Rescue Team and hikes Mount Katahdin year-round.

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