Koonagi

Koonagi's World

Personal Blog of Eric J. Kuhns

How I Proposed to My Girlfriend in Sequoia National Park
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
— J.M.

Today's post is probably the most important one I've written so far, and certainly the most meaningful. That's because this particular article is about how I proposed to my (now) fiancee. I've gotten the question numerous times in the past week, "How did you propose?" Since I generally write articles on our trips anyway, now I can cover two things in one fell swoop.

My girlfriend and I decided a few months ago to save up and go on a trip to San Fran after I offered her three different destinations to travel to for her birthday. That was in March, but this would be for June as a celebration of the school year being over, (she's a teacher and this would act as a future gift). 

 March 8th, 2018 on Tiff's birthday

March 8th, 2018 on Tiff's birthday

A little backstory on how we met, before I get to the proposal.

Tiff and I originally met through the app Bumble in 2016, but we lost touch. Although we hit it off immediately via in-app messaging, we both had a lot to deal with in our personal lives at the time. We didn't talk again until late April of 2017.

On April 27th, Tiff and I met at a local, Dallas dive bar called Milo Butterfingers for our first date. Milo's was a popular hang out for me and my co-workers and has excellent bartenders. It sat in between my work and her apartment, (GPS-wise). Little did we know, that night would change our lives forever. We talked for hours.

We've been inseparable ever since.

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All of our interests from the past, present, and future, seem to align. Our relationship seems too good to be true and yet, here we are. Our embarrassing love for Nu Metal; our late night talks involving science and psychology; politics; our love for toys, Poke'mon, and cartoons;  our similar collecting preferences; our common love languages...I could go on forever. She's perfect.

Over the next year, we traveled to Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Robber's Cave in Oklahoma, Austin and Laredo in Texas, Denver and the Rockies, and more recently: Sequoia National Park and San Francisco in California. That brings me to the point of this article:

How I Proposed in Sequoia National Park

Tiff and I woke up around 5am and met my parents outside of our apartment. We were then dropped off at the airport and flew 3+ hours to San Fran on Alaskan Air. (I LOVE Alaskan Air.)

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We road the tram to the rent-a-car area, threw our stuff in, and drove 4 hours to Three Rivers, California. We were moving along non-stop. I was determined to propose that day in Sequoia.

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We arrived at our motel around 3pm-ish, California time. The motel was super cool and made me feel like I was at someone's grandma's house. There was some random nature-y art, a tiny library setup, and an amazing view as you can see in the photo above. Our room however was very strange, but you can't tell from the photo below. It was a mix between being rustic and a jail cell. We dug it.

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We got ready for our hike and then proceeded up the road to see the Giant Forest on top of the mountain. The drive was about an hour with winding roads and breathtaking views.

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 I'm up there somewhere...

I'm up there somewhere...

After a few sight-seeing stops, we made it through the entrance to the Giant Forest. It was absolutely stunning. It's difficult to explain how large Sequoias are without experiencing them in person. The one below was one of the smaller ones we saw when we first drove in.

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Once we found parking, I could feel my hands getting sweaty. It's a weird thing: I knew I loved this person (Tiff) with all of my heart and I was pretty sure she would say yes, but I was still incredibly nervous.

We began walking down the trail. 

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My original goal was to propose in front of the General Sherman tree; the largest tree in the world. When we got to it though, there was a hoard of tourists. We continued down the trail to a more secluded area with other giant Sequoias.

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Suddenly, there it was - the perfect spot.

It had a fallen tree trunk for me to set my camera and small tripod on. It was also secluded from the crowds, featuring our very own Sequoia monster as the background. I hid behind the tree for a moment, grabbing the ring box to hide in my jacket. Tiff gave me a strange look, but didn't say anything about my odd behaviour.

My first attempt failed as a family walked around the corner of the trail. I wanted the moment to be just her and me, (then later we could share with everyone else, once we were ready. In my opinion, proposing in public in front of crowds seem manipulative and wrong. Back to the story: I told her the angle was off and we needed to try again.

I reset the camera onto video mode once again and we moved back into position. This time, no one was around except her and me. My heart was beating so fast. As she placed her hand onto my chest, she knew something was up. It was now or never.

I blurted out that I was "scared", when really I meant to say I'm "nervous". This seemed more appropriate a word since I've never been more sure of something in my life. The words I spoke after are between her and I of course.

I bent down on one knee and through teary eyes, I asked her. 

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She said, "yes", which is great because if she hadn't this article would be pretty awkward right about now.

 My beautiful fiancee shortly after

My beautiful fiancee shortly after

The rest of the trip was so much fun. It felt amazing to know that the girl by my side was going to be there forever. The moment turned out perfect. Luckily, we were able to hug and talk for awhile without anyone ever coming down the trail and into the PROPOSAL ZONE. (I said that in my mind like a wrestler.)

After the proposal, we continued walking down the trail. Below, you'll find some of my favorite photos from the rest of the day and the following day, where we visited Moro Rock within Sequoia National Park. Thanks for reading and I hope I didn't get too sappy, but I had to share the best moment of my life with everyone!