Sledding at Lakeview hill, a time honored tradition in Mexico
As tradition dictates, Mexico citizens have been putting the recent snowfall to good use by sliding down the hill at Lakeview Park, a prime sledding destination for local youth and the young at heart.
The hill is part of the east side of the Lakeview dam, near First Presbyterian Church, but Lakeview Park has been a hot spot for cold weather entertainment since before the lake dam was raised and the hill cleared for public use.
John Gallaher, a longtime local resident, remembers ice skating on the lake and sledding down Lakeview as a youth in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Gallaher recalled "all the stupid things kids do, like trying to outrun cracks in the ice while skating and having bonfires in the middle of the frozen lake." He said, "I lived on South Clark and Lakeview dam was just west of my backdoor. This was before the church was built. Where the church is now, there was a meandering stream and the hill that people currently sled on was covered in trees. We would use the actual street to go sledding."
Thankfully, sledders now have a much safer slope than Lakeview Street. Mexico Parks and Recreation maintain the hill and keep it clear of trash and debris. According to Director Chad Shoemaker, the grass is even mown especially short at the end of the growing season to ensure that the snow will easily cover the hill, pack well and make for ideal sledding conditions.
Jeremy Heaton and his young sons Evan, Eric and Ethan made use of the slope on Tuesday. Dad could be seen dragging four-year-old Ethan up the hill on his little red sled by a short rope. The older, more energetic boys were much quicker in their solo ascents and made it up, down and back up the hill before their father initially reached the summit.
Heaton has been sledding the hill since his family moved to Mexico in 1988. "When I was a kid it was a rush to speed down the hill on my sled, each time trying to go fast and further. Today, I love sharing an experience with my boys that I loved as a child and seeing the thrill they express when going down. My sons just love going to Lakeview sledding. To a small child it seems like a giant hill and they go 'super' fast. They like to see who can sled down the farthest before stopping."
Heaton always enjoys when his children are able to climb the hill on their own, because "it gets pretty exhausting pulling up 20-30 pounds in the slippery snow." He said, "I always remember when each of my boys were still pretty young; getting them to face the fear of sledding down alone and not having to sit on my lap. Though, I don't think my middle son, Eric, ever had any fear. He has always been excited by speed and danger."
Heaton said he prefers Lakeview to other hills. "We keep coming back here because it is a great location that's close to home. I am thankful for a location in Mexico that I can take my sons and share an experience that I enjoyed as a child. I am creating memorable times for them and myself that will last a lifetime. A big hill and a thin piece of plastic is all you need."