My husband, Darin, has commented that there are a lot of Scribbles on my blog but not that many Stories. So I am going to make amends and tell you the real life story of where he proposed. Now I wonder what his comments about this post are going to be!
I first visited the United States in July of 2002. It was the first time that I travelled out of Europe and the first time that I had gone anywhere to meet a boyfriend. It was a memorable trip in more ways than one. On July 5th we flew out from St Louis (Missouri) to Salt Lake City (Utah) planning to spend some time out west with my husband's friend and his family and to explore the states of Utah and Nevada. On July 8th we woke up really early in the morning, literally at the crack of dawn, to drive to the small town of Moab. From there we took a day pass to Arches National Park which is situated in a desert. We got there in the early morning but it was already very hot. Our plan was to do some hiking. We started off with the easier trails. Most of there were accessible from the car. All it took was short walk to view the Three Gossips and the Tower of Babel. Some other trails took a bit longer but, all in all, nothing too strenuous. It was hot, but being early morning, we were still more or less energised and were thoroughly enjoying the marvellous arches and columns that studded the desert landscape. At lunch time we drove to nearby Moab and ate at Wendy's and then went back to Arches.
In the afternoon we started on the longer trails. By this time the heat felt oppressive and it was over 100F as walked around snapping pictures. We spent 2 to 3 hours doing this, visiting Landscape Arch and Fiery Furnace. Then, in the late afternoon, Darin told me that we had one arch left to see and that it was the most beautiful one in the park. I was already tired at this point, but, of course, I wanted to see this arch too. So we drove to the start of the trail that led to Delicate Arch. At the start of the trail there was a notice that said that the trail was about 2 miles. That was not a problem, I thought. I was sure we had walked a lot of miles that day and another 2 (well, 4 really, since we had to walk back) did not seem like much. So off we went. The first part of the trail was easy enough but after a while, the ground started to get steeper. I had not realised that the road to Delicate Arch was going to be uphill almost all the way. But I wanted to see that arch, so I braced myself for the climb. By this time our water supply had almost been consumed but we had a bottle left to share between us. So armed with that and with our cameras we continued on our walk. But about half way there, I started to feel short of breath. It was something that I had never experienced in my life. I was taking in big gasps and yet I felt as if it was not reaching my lungs. Deep down I started to panic but I walked on some more. Then we came to this bush or shrub and I just collapsed underneath the minuscule amount of shade that it provided and drank a good part of the water that we had left (which by this time had warmed up and did not feel refreshing at all). At this point I decided to give up and I told Darin that I would wait for him under the 'shade' of the bush while he could continue the trail to the top. But he kept telling me not to give up and that it would be so worth it. I did not have the heart to disappoint him although I was scared that I would die there in the desert gasping for air!. So we went off again at a slow pace. Every few minutes I would have to stop to catch up with my breathing. I felt awful - there were people much older than I was walking up the hill like they did it every day and there I was, about to pass out from thirst, exhaustion and breathlessness.
Finally we made it to the top and we walked up a narrow ledge to a look-out point and from there we could see Delicate Arch. It was truly a breath-taking sight, the salmon coloured arch at the edge of a canyon, silhouetted against a bright blue sky.
It was a sight that will remain with me forever. Having made it that far, we walked the last few metres to a better view point. It was there that Darin started fumbling in his pocket. I wondered what he was looking for. Then before I knew it he had taken out a black box in which was the most wonderful ring I had ever seen. I think that my jaw dropped and then he asked me to marry him. I did not know what to say but somehow managed a 'Yes' and I had tears in my eyes. I was truly not expecting it. I know he kept telling me that it would be worth it to make it up to Delicate Arch but I kept thinking he meant the view and the sunset. Afterwards I kept teasing him that I had to say yes since my brain was not functioning properly because I was so out of breath and badly dehydrated. But I have to say that he really chose one of the most beautiful places in the world to propose and I am lucky that he planned it all and that it was a total surprise. Sometimes I look back on one of the most important days of my life and realise that I probably was really sweaty at that point in time, my legs were all dusty and I was in shorts and a tank top - hardly the most polished appearance. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, I also had salt all over my body from the lack of water. But none of that mattered. All I cared about was that I was going to marry my one true love. I could have danced all the way to the bottom of the trail, I felt so happy.