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Letter from the Editor: A Valley of Change

by on November 01, 2019 11:17 AM

Let’s call it a tale of two weekends, and one very changeable – and adaptable – valley.

On the clear, cool Sunday morning of October 13, I did something I must sheepishly admit to never having done before: I climbed Mount Nittany.

Now, the legions of central Pennsylvanians and others who’ve already conquered this summit – some with regularity – know it’s a beautiful hike, but no big achievement to reach the top.

It is, however, a pretty good workout for someone like me, in just OK condition and on the northern boundary of middle age. I was huffing and puffing about 100 yards into the 0.7-mile trek up the mountain. But my friend Gary and I made it to the top in less than 30 minutes (not before a young woman who makes the climb regularly blew past us like we were standing still).

Once at the top, I confirmed with my own eyes what countless thousands before me already had: The view from the overlook is pretty spectacular, especially as the fall foliage is peaking.

Looking at the valley it struck me how quiet and peaceful everything seemed on this Sunday morning. Traffic on the roads was light. Even the largest and most visible structure, Beaver Stadium, sat silent and empty.

What a difference a weekend makes.

Just six days later, I sat inside Beaver Stadium with my wife, Paula, and 110,667 other roaring fans for Penn State’s White Out game against Michigan. Fireworks shot into the sky during and after the Nittany Lions’ win as a national television audience looked on.

It was about as far from that tranquil moment atop Mount Nittany as one can get in the same community.

But it’s also one of the truly special things about Happy Valley.

There are few places in the country where someone can experience moments like that, within a few miles of each other, on consecutive weekends. Of the communities hosting the nation’s 10 largest stadiums, we’re the least populous and easily the most rural.

But yet, we pull off those big events pretty seamlessly and get back to relative peace and quiet in no time.

Yes, game-day traffic can be rough – and the great minds in this community have to keep working on a better egress plan after games (please!) – but the tradeoff sure is worth it.



Mark Brackenbury

Editorial Director

[email protected]


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