Hiking in a forest alone never crossed my mind as something I would be doing before 2023. I had barely set foot in a forest. As a former long-distance runner, I thrived on the adrenaline of a long run. Never would I see myself hiking slowly through a forest, having to be aware of such things as snakes and bears. After the passing of my mother in late 2020, I thought I would use running to heal, but I found that I could no longer find the motivation to do so. After many failed attempts to return to running, I began walking instead.
If you love the thrill and challenge of mountain biking, you know that when bikers discuss the best places to test their skills, the mountain ridges that surround Happy Valley are often mentioned. This area has become a premier East Coast destination for mountain bikers of all skill levels, who are drawn to the hundreds of miles of trails (290 miles in Rothrock State Forest alone) it has to offer.
From expansive farmlands to lush mountain forests, from clear limestone streams to tree-lined neighborhoods, Happy Valley is rich in scenery. Local pastel artist Jennifer Shuey’s work is synonymous with the natural beauty of Happy Valley, capturing its scenic and agricultural lands and waters in a way that is both delicate and vibrant. We tapped into her deep appreciation for the area and her talent to gain insights into what she does best, plein air painting.