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This is the story of our engagement.

In October of 2016, Josh and I decided to go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was kind of a last minute decision, and we decided to get up early one morning and drive up for the day. Before we left, I threw a couple rings into a small pocket in my backpack. I had purchased the rings on Amazon a couple months prior, knowing that I wanted to propose, but not really having a plan for it. I knew Josh wouldn’t want it turned into a big deal or for it to be anything too crazy, so I decided to just do it when it felt right.

We had known we wanted to get married for a while. We joked about it here and there and even made references like “when we’re married someday.” But every time the talk started getting more detailed, I told Josh that there’s no use making plans for a wedding when we’re not even engaged. So it would just end there. Over time, I got the sense that Josh was in no hurry (which shouldn’t surprise any of you who know him), so I knew that if we were to get engaged, I was the one who had to act.

[Josh note: I, too, wanted to get married and had a rough timeline of proposing to Ryan in another year and a half. I’m a patient man.]

So we get up and drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a little cool in Denver that day (a high of roughly 50°). When we got to Estes Park, it was definitely colder (40°). And as we drive into RMNP, it was COLD and the mountains were starting to look pretty ominous. At the trailhead, it was snowing. Wearing only jeans and hoodies, we felt unprepared and were a little hesitant to start the hike. But there were plenty of people around, and we decided that if we got too cold we would just turn around and go back to the car. I also had my camera and thought it would be fun to get some photos of the mountains while it was snowing.

Before we left the car, I discreetly slipped one of the rings into my pocket. We started the hike and, despite the snow, warmed up quickly. It actually turned out to be a beautiful day. We hiked to several different lakes and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I was also able to get some pretty good photos. After we had reached the last lake and turned back to start the hike back to the car, my heart began racing as I realized I really wanted to propose, but didn’t know how I was going to do it.

I don’t remember exactly what Josh was talking about, but he kept going on about something while I kept trying to turn the topic to getting married. I remember being really frustrated that I wasn’t able to get him to change the subject. After several minutes, I finally succeeded and playfully asked “so when do you want to get engaged?”

Jokingly, Josh suggested that we could drive back to town to Walmart and get two of those cheap rings out of the quarter machine.

“Or,” I said, “we can use this.” I pulled the ring out of my pocket and showed it to him.

“Where’d you get that?”

“From my pocket?”

“Well, yes. But, like, did you pick it up from the ground?” (As if I would ever do such a thing. Silly Josh.)

“I brought it with us.”

He just looked at me, obviously very confused.

[Josh note: I was quite confused. Ryan did not make it very clear that he was proposing. I was thinking, “Why would he just have a ring in his pocket? That makes no sense!”]

We had stopped walking at this point and were just standing in the middle of the trail. I kneeled and held the ring up to him. I honestly don’t remember what I said exactly, but it was very simple and very short. Also, I wasn’t exactly kneeling. To be completely honest, I was in a kneeling stance, but my knee was hovering over the ground. I was fully aware that the path we had been walking down was rather muddy. And there was no way I was getting my pants muddy. Nope. So as Josh was obviously trying to figure out what was going on—made clear by the confusion on his face—my leg was beginning to cramp in a bad way. To my relief, he realized that I wasn’t playing around and said yes immediately.

I stood up, we gave each other a quick hug and kiss, and then I asked, “Do you want to put on the ring?”

“No, my hands are cold and I’d have to take off my gloves. Can you do something with it?” was his reply.

It made perfect sense to me. So I just said “okay” and put it back in my pocket. The hike continued. It was mostly normal with only a few giggles here and there due to the fact that IT WAS REAL. We were getting married.

Back at the car, where we blasted the heater so that we’d begin to thaw out a bit, he put on the ring. And then I pulled out the second ring from my backpack. “I got one for me, too!” I said, quite excitedly.

We weren’t anticipating being engaged for almost two years, but with Josh’s career direction change and me in the process of starting grad school, we decided that we weren’t in any rush. Being engaged has definitely been fun, but I’m to the point where I’m ready to stop calling Josh my fiancé and start calling him my husband. Only about a month and a half left!