Last Sunday (Cinco de Mayo) the handsome J and I went on a fantastic hike! I’ve been meaning to tell you guys about it. We had a heat wave of sorts in my northwest corner of Washington and the temps spiked up to a fabulous 80 degrees! The rational reaction to this was of course to pack up the puppy and make our way to beautiful Lake Padden to hike the 6 miles of rarely-peopled back trails.
J drove us out there and I knew as soon as we pulled into the park grounds that we would be hard-pressed to find a parking spot. The shore of the lake was jammed with swimmers, fishers, and picnickers. I sensed J getting nervous as we reached the end of the huge parking lot without an empty space in sight. I did not sense his sheer joy ahead of time as he found a spot and swerved madly into it moments later. Neither did poor Cobalt who got thrown around in the back seat like a sack of potatoes. Objective one was complete: we were parked.
But in a moment we were on to our next obstacle. I had neglected to bring Cobalt’s leash with us… J sat in silence behind the steering wheel while I searched wildly for something that resembled a rope and could be tied to Cobalt’s collar. The answer manifested itself as a worn out towel. I started cutting the terry cloth into long strips and J sprang to action with renewed vigor and a plan to braid a rope from the strips. We tied this pseudo-leash to Cobalt and were off to hit the trails in a matter of minutes, leaving the crowds behind us.
The shade of the trees brought welcome relief from the heat as we gained elevation over the hills. Boughs stretched over our heads and roots reached out to trip up our feet. We chatted excitedly about plans to purchase our future home and dreamed of a particular home that we had seen the day before. I could already imagine myself cooking in that kitchen and entertaining friends in the living room. J could see himself out in the nearby bay in a dinghy bringing up pots of delicious crab and fishing on a quiet Saturday morning.
We were about two miles into the hike,huffing and puffing from the exertion, and sweat trickling down our backs, when J stopped suddenly. He grabbed my arm and at first I thought something was wrong, until he kissed me. Bewildered, I watched him sink to one knee and pull a little gray box out of his pocket. He told me he loved me and asked me if I would marry him. In an instant my voice choked off in my throat and my eyes filled with salty tears. All I could do was nod and watch him slip the engagement ring on my third finger. He came up to kiss me again and hugged me hard. I was going to be his wife.
The rest of the hike passed in a euphoric blur for me as we walked hand-in-hand. We talked about our future, reminisced over our past. We talked about those first dates with all their timidity, about the moment we knew we loved each other, and the moment we knew we wanted to marry each other. J told me about the 6 weeks that he had snuck away on his days off to work with the jeweler on designing my ring. He told me about the reactions of the few friends he had told beforehand. He told me of the thought and planning he had put into the ring he gave me: the center stone of Alexandrite (my birthstone), the thicker white gold band that would be strong for all the years I wear it, the setting that would forever hold the conflict-free diamonds in place, and the art deco design that gave a nod to my love for all things vintage. The miles flew beneath our feet and before we knew it we were back at the lake.
We celebrated our engagement that evening with tasty burgers and a glass of champagne before signing the offer on that house that had caught our eye the day before. If all goes well on the inspection and assessment, it’s ours in June.
We’ve set a wedding date for November 15th, the day before J’s 30th birthday. We already had planned a trip to Las Vegas for his birthday bash. Now we’ll have even more reason to celebrate as we pledge our hearts, dreams, and futures in an intimate, simple, and sweet morning ceremony surrounded by family and close friends. We will honeymoon there for a week so we can catch our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon, hike the trails at Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, and see the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
Cheers to the best hike ever!