Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The Full Story
This is a long one, so be prepared. This is partially for me too, so that I have this all recorded for years to come :)
Ed promised me a romantic weekend of camping, amidst a very busy May. He refused to tell me where we were going, but promised it would be a new experience. I spent that Thursday making chili and shopping for the trip, and packed a duffel full of sweatpants, hiking clothes, scarves, and gloves. Ed would be picking me up straight from work and I was excited to go. I had a small hope that maybe this weekend would be *the* weekend, but didn't want to get my hopes up.
Ed has taken me to surprise locations before, and always tries to surprise me a little by faking me out at crucial driving junctions. This trip was no different, but once we got near San Francisco, I had hopes that maybe we were going to my favorite place - Mt. Tamalpais. As we crossed through the tunnel before the bridge, I held my breath and made a wish - that Ed would propose this weekend. We crossed over the beautiful Golden Gate and I began to get excited. As we went through a second, smaller tunnel, I held my breath and amended my first wish- that no matter what, I would enjoy the amazing weekend I knew I would have with Ed.
We turned off for Mt. Tam, and I began to get excited - I had a very good feeling about this. I joked with Ed that it would be so funny if he was taking me to the Inn after all, and he laughed. About 5 minutes later, he pulled into the Inn parking lot - Surprise!
As we checked in, I was certain that he was going to propose, but tried to contain my excitement. He suggested a hike before dinner, so after getting changed, we drove off to Pan Toll, parked the car, and took off down the coastal trail. This is one of the most beautiful trails ever, and we deeply enjoyed walking under the shade of the redwoods with the needles cushioning my feet. "Did you happen to bring a light?" I asked Ed, as it was already after 6. "No," said Ed. Hmm.....
Soon enough, we got to the Matt Davis trail junction. Ed looked somewhat concerned and took out the map. He showed me where we were supposed to be and, according to the map, we had definitely passed it. He wanted to believe that we weren't quite that far down the trail, but finally acknowledged that we had missed our turn. We backtracked about half a mile, and found the somewhat overgrown, uphill turn off. Up we went, with grass up to our waists. After 7 or so minutes of uphill climbing we came to a junction. The trail to the left looked more used than the one in front of us, so over we went.
However, 10 minutes on this and it seemed that perhaps this wasn't right either. The trail became relatively flat and was just meandering across the hills (with a fairly spectacular drop off). It was also only about a foot wide. Eventually, Ed decided to run ahead to see if the trail had any potential at all. He came back and said we had to turn around.
At this point I was getting worried- what if he thought that this was a bad omen and decided not to propose! We headed back and decided to head up the very steep overgrown trail and hope for the best. We saw some people above, and hoped we were on the right track. The trail was very difficult to climb at times, and I was just hoping to make it to the top!
We got there and saw a group of teens smoking on a rock! Ack...we couldn't get engaged in front of them! I saw another trail and a cluster of trees up a little higher and suggested that we head there. Off we went, and when we got there, we discovered that this was the place we had meant to get to all along, O'Rourke's Bench. I, of course, needed to catch my breath, so I drank some water and took in the amazing views. Meanwhile, Ed put on the sweater that I had gotten him for Christmas.
He came over to where I was standing and took my hand in his and put them around his neck, telling me how much he loved me. Then, he reached into his pocket, knelt down, and asked me to marry him. The image of him kneeling there with the ring, and the whole bay area behind him is an image that I won't soon forget.
Of course I said yes and even got a little teary. We kissed and enjoyed spending a little while at our bench, soaking in this transformative moment.
The story, however, doesn't quite end there. By this point, the sun was setting, and we were still a good 3 trail miles from the car! The road was down to our left, so we decided to hike back on the road instead. We picked another 'shortcut' trail, but this one was very tricky, especially going downhill! Luckily, neither of us fell, even though I almost did numerous times. Just to make things more difficult, Ed got bitten by a tick on the way down! We had to stop and thankfully were able to get it off before it did any damage.
We finally got down to the road (after, of course, a few wrong turns on the trails) and started heading back, realizing that there was a parking lost a near four tenths of a mile from the bench! Ed was a little frustrated to hear that, but we decided that the hike made the proposal all the better.
However, we soon realized that we were going to be walking for a good half an hour, and would miss dinner at the Inn. So, for the first time in either of our lives, we decided to hitchhike. We got a ride from the first car we tried, full of locals who had just been hiking at the falls. I was glowing with excitement and of course told them that we had just gotten engaged.
Soon, we were back at the car, and then back at the Inn, officially an engaged couple.
My tunnel wish came true :)
(part 2 of the weekend still to come)