Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The GRANDEST proposal story


Phil and I started dating officially in February of 2010. We had met the previous month at the pool. If you didn't read that amusing story you can find it here. After a few ups and downs, such as meeting each other's families and me being gone for a month on Spring Summit, we started talking about marriage a little more seriously. Because the thought of marriage made me nervous I insisted that it was in terms like, "So if we did get married then....". We talked about all sorts of things from who would vacuum to which temple we would get married in (by the way I remember him saying he didn't mind vacuuming and he does it most of the time! His willingness to clean house was one of the things that helped me know he'd be a good husband :)) One day around the beginning of August I asked him "So if we did get married WHEN would we get married?" His answer was next spring or summer. I had always wanted to get married in the summer (what girl wouldn't after growing up watching this), but I thought that sounded like a long time away. I said "I was thinking more like December." Phil told me later that the wheels immediately started turning in his head. 

A few weeks later Phil saw that a grand opportunity was coming up (hehe.) Phil and I had both gotten the highest award for volunteering in the Outdoor Activities program which meant we were given the chance to go on any trip (rafting, climbing etc.) with the OA advisers as our guides. We picked climbing the Grand Teton with Scott Hurst. We drove to the trail head and set out with two other guys at 10 pm for the long hike up to the mountain. I won't go into details (partly because I was deliriously tired and have forgotten,) but lets just say hiking all night long was very difficult for me. There were multiple times that I think I would have just laid down and given up if it hadn't been for Phil encouraging me, giving me snacks for energy, and basically taking my hand and leading me up the mountain. It was dark and I was hot and exhausted. Looking down the mountain in the wee hours of the morning you could see the tiny headlights of other climbers. I remember thinking, We must be crazy.Why are we all doing this? The real challenge came though when we actually harnessed up and started climbing around dawn. The sun allowed me to see the thousands of miles down the mountain I could fall if something went seriously wrong. I broke down and basically started sobbing out of fear and exhaustion at the "belly roll" (see video below.) It was only the first of many terrifying moments to come, and only one of many times I thought I don't think I'm gong to make it. Each time I had to muster up just enough strength and courage to keep climbing. This video shows the section on the Owen Spaulding route that was most terrifying to me. It helps explains what I just can't describe in words.

Throughout the climb Phil did his best to make sure I was going to make it to the summit. When I cried because I was stuck on a pitch he consoled me and told me he knew it was scary but he knew I could make it. The higher we went, the colder and winder it got, and ice made some of the rock difficult to climb. At one point we saw dark clouds coming and had to make the decision whether to turn back or not. We continued, and luckily they blew over quickly.

It seemed surreal to me when we actually reached the top. It was now about 8:45 am on August 18th and I felt like I was on top of the world. We had been climbing on the shady side all morning, but now I was closer to the sun then I had ever been! The view was incredible. The Middle Teton looked awesome from above. I was so overwhelmed. And hungry. But Phil said we needed a picture on top of the highest boulder. So we got up on it. I smiled at the camera. I went to put my arm around him, but he was getting down on one knee. I turned to him, more surprised then I've ever been, and he said without preamble, "Lydia, will you marry me?"

I honestly had no idea he was going to propose. I was thinking he would in about 2 weeks, I'm not sure why. He hadn't given me any hints. In the moment he also hadn't led into it with a speech. Looking back though I guess he didn't need to. To me, the process of what we had just accomplished had showed me he loved me and would do everything he could to make me happy, that we could make it through hard things, and that we would have a life full of adventure. I remember thinking before we left when he packed the climbing gear while I bought food, We make a good team. We really do. Now not only was I thinking Yikes! I'm on top of a mountain, but Wow! I'm getting married! It was a big day to say the least. Repelling off the steepest part of the mountain was much easier then climbing it had been, despite the strong chilly wind. However, what the descent lacked in scariness it made up for in painfulness. Hiking downhill that far quickly turned our legs to jello. Burning Jello. My feet felt like lead. I remember talking to Phil about our wedding. It was so strange saying "When we get married..." instead of "If we get married..." Everyone hiked ahead of us but Phil and I stayed together and I felt a  new sense of togetherness. The last couple of miles I kept thinking I saw cars back at the trail head, only to find more trees around each bend. In the end we all made it safely home.

Something I hadn't anticipated was how happy and proud I would feel afterwards every time I see the Grand. I've been on top of that mountain. It's not just that I've been there though, it's that I pushed through every hard experience on the way up. I also didn't anticipate coming back with a fiance, but I guess that goes to show that some of the best moments in life are unexpected. It's been a year since the day that I said "Yes" and my life changed forever. The best part though is having that day and every day on to share with the person that means everything to me.

1 comment:

  1. wow. You are a great story teller. I still can't believe you guys hiked the grand tetons, bravo! and congrats, what a way to get engaged, I don't think there is a better way. Robert and I got engaged in December, also in the Tetons, but not quite as high:) You guys rock. no pun intended:)