Whether it's hiking for a few hours or days on end, the Pioneer Valley Hiking Club (PVHC) has leaders at all experience levels ready to hit the trail.
Founded in 1991, the club currently boasts more than 200 members, and new hikers are always welcome to join.
"We like to consider our club as a teaching club for safely progressing hiking skills, equipment knowledge and land stewardship," said Rob Schechtman of Agawam, during an interview with Reminder Publications. Schechtman is co-chair for trail maintenance and has been an active member for nine years. He has also served as a PVHC past president.
Schechtman explained that some members who dayhike progress to backpacking, and some members have walked the entire Appalachian Trail. He added that the club offers a social atmosphere that creates many friendships and provides opportunities for get-togethers beyond the hiking.
"We enjoy local areas like Mt. Tom, the M&M Trail, Mt. Greylock and the Appalachian Trail," he said, adding members hike across New England, as well as across the country and take international trips too.
Schechtman noted that members join the club for a myriad of reasons, and, personally, his love for the outdoors and hiking were a perfect fit for joining.
"I moved to the area for my career and was hiking alone, always to the same places and trails," he said, adding "the club got me out with people who like the same thing and led me to many places in New England."
Schechtman said that for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, as well as seeing new places and making new friends might also consider the PVHC a good fit.
"We keep the hike ratings general, and encourage participants to discuss the hike with the leader to see if it meets their need," he said. "This contributes to good member interaction and allows one to prepare for the specific hike and conditions."
Schechtman said the hikes can range from an easy start off with road walks to medium up and down hikes, to climbing 4,000 footers in the White Mountains in winter.
Hiking locations planned in May include Mt. Tom, Mt. Holyoke, Pisgah State Park in New Hampshire and the Monroe Skyline in Vermont. Additionally, several kayak/canoe trips are also planned, as well as a dinner and walk in Northampton.
Special events planned by PVHC members in the coming months include a White Mountain Sampler June 15-17; an Adirondack camping trip July 20-23; a Windjammer excursion in Maine on Aug. 3 and a Grand Canyon rafting trip from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4.
Club meetings are conducted on the first Tuesday of every month at the First Baptist Church in West Springfield, beginning at 7 p.m. PVHC membership fees range from $25 for an individual to $40 for a family and $15 for students. Members range in age from 10 to 70 and relish the diverse range of activities offered, according to Schechtman.
For more information on the PVHC, visit www.geocities.com/
pvhcweb or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the PVHC e-mail list, send a message to pvhc.hikingclub