There was so much buildup to this day. Pent-up excitement, anxiety, and nervousness… And it had arrived but I didn’t know it yet. Like any other girl anxiously waiting for their proposal, I had a feeling it might happen. A couple months before, Jason and I decided to go camping for the 4th of July weekend. We usually went with his family to Vashon Island on this holiday but, I was ready to do 4th of July in a different way. Which meant no fireworks. I know, I’m weird! I am scared of fireworks. I don’t mind the sparklers (which ironically, I’ve heard are the most dangerous of all) but, it’s the bigger fireworks that scare me. The ones where the ignitor has to run as fast as they can away from the firework so they don’t get burned. And those are the fireworks my fiance loves. I like fireworks displays from at least 100 yards away and, he loves to light them and stay next to the burning string for a little too long for comfort.
So, after two years of doing 4th of July his way, he suggested we do 4th of July my way: by camping! Did I mention I love camping? I grew up camping with my family and, love my annual summer camping trips. I love everything there is about camping: setting up the campsite, the smell of the campfire, roasting marshmallows, curling up with a book and a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was excited for my first one-on-one camping trip with my future fiance. We would camp just outside of Mt. Rainier National Park and go hiking through the National Park during the day. Before we left, I was praying this was the weekend he would propose. But, never once did he give me the impression it was happening! In truth, even in my hopeful state, I was so sure he would accidentally make it obvious, that I started to doubt that he had any plans to propose that weekend. I went into the weekend with a constant reminder in my mind to just enjoy our time, no matter what happened.
We left Seattle with our car full of camping gear and us full of excitement for camping so close to Mt. Rainier. The drive from Seattle was long but, worth it. About an hour away from our campsite, we lost cell service and ended up not having reception for the remainder of our trip. I love to make fun of Jason for this little fact; I think he must have known that I would have to spend 24 hours engaged without any ability to make a phone call or text. We finally arrived at our quaint camp site, with a creek running close by and a picnic table as our hub. We set up camp and enjoyed a nice evening of playing cards, drinking beer, and reading by the fire. And of course, roasting s’mores. You can’t forget that part.
The next morning, we started packing up for our trip into the Mt. Rainier National Park. I kept hoping he was going to propose that day. But he never let on! I had assumed if he was about to propose, he would show some signs. I thought he’d reach into his pocket checking for the ring or, looking through his backpack over and over to check if it was still there. But he did none of these things. He packed our backpack with sandwiches, lime-infused wheat thins, a couple of waters (and a ring I didn’t know about yet), and we were off.
It takes about an hour to get to the top of Mt. Rainier. It’s a gorgeous, windy path, with beautiful vista points along the way. We kept on getting closer to the top of Mt. Rainier; it was magnificent and it was an absolutely gorgeous day! When we got to the “summit” of where the road ends, the view was just magnificent. Considering Mt. Rainier has its own weather patterns, we feel really lucky we were there on such a beautiful day. We walked around and then, found a hike to take. Needless to say, it was a snowy hike! And we did not come prepared with waterproof hiking shoes. It was a laughable hike; our feet kept falling through the snowpack. Sometimes we would glimpse the trail beneath melted snow but, mostly we were making the trek across a field of white.
Later that day, Jason told me this hike is when he wanted to propose. But, considering we were trekking through snow the entire hike, he never felt like it was the right time to do it. We headed back to our car about an hour later, with snow-soaked shoes and laughter between our slips and falls.
We decided it was time for lunch and, suddenly I just felt it. He was nervous, and he was looking for the right place for lunch. My heart just started pounding. Was Jason just fooling me with his distaste in so many boring lunch spots? Finally, he found a spot that he did like: a picnic bench overlooking Narada Falls, a beautiful waterfall rushing down the mountain. We ate our lunch and, I remember Jason was really quick to clean up and put everything back in the backpack quickly. I couldn’t believe how fast he was moving. And then, it happened.
He reached into the backpack and pulled out a wooden ring box; how he hid it in there without me noticing is beyond me. As he pulled the ring box out of the backpack, he said to me, “I’ve been waiting a long time for this…” And he got down on one knee, opened up the ring and there it was. “Will you marry me?”
I’m going to pause right here to let you in on my little secret. Dreaming of your future proposal and actually experiencing your proposal are completely different. At least for me, it was. I don’t know if I was expecting rainbows and glitter shooting out of the box and romantic music blasting in the background but, instead, it just felt so real and surreal all at the same time. Here was the love of my life, on one knee, asking me to marry him. Finally, here it was! And all I could think was, “Get up right now because all I want to do is hug and kiss you!” In movies, the proposals always seem to go so perfectly and each actor knows their role. In our proposal, all I felt was excitement and shakiness and I’m pretty sure we did none of it correctly. Jason can’t even remember if he spoke my full name before asking! And I can’t either. In fact, he had to ask me twice because as I was thinking in my head I wanted him to stand up, I forgot to say yes. The second time he said it, I of course blurted out the only answer I wanted to say, “YES!” I clobbered him on the way up, grabbing him and kissing him, shaking uncontrollably. I remember blurting out, “Wait, I think you put the ring on me now!” We did nothing right but yet everything right at the same time.
It was the perfect proposal. Because it was our proposal.
And then, we spent 24 hours of engaged bliss with not the possibility of making a phone call or text. In retrospect, it was a perfect 24 hours. We were so giddy and excited. I told anyone and everyone who would listen that we just got engaged. Fellow hikers became our photographers, and once we got back to camp, we made friends with the couple in charge of the campground simply because I couldn’t wait to share the news and show off my gorgeous ring.
We spent the evening playing drinking games while I planned my list of calls and texts for the next day. It was the most perfect evening. And I could not stop staring at my hand! I still can’t stop staring at it. I’m looking at it as I type right now.
The next day, we cleaned up camp and got on the road. We enjoyed our first breakfast as an engaged couple at a diner down the road. An hour later, with cell service fully available, we started making calls. First our parents then our siblings. My brother was actually the first to answer so, he got to hear the news first. It was so real, this was happening, we were engaged.
And then came the question that started it all, “When is the wedding?”
Wait, we have to plan a wedding now?