Austen and Chase

How We Met

In college, I had the opportunity to work on a cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon. The HOK had a great group of people that I worked with, one of which told me about a friend of his who I had to meet. I met Chase at a ranch rodeo, in Cedarville, CA in June of 2014. Unfortunately, nothing came of that night but an acquaintanceship. It just wasn’t quite the right time for either of us.

Fast forward 9 months to the following March. I drove to Adel, Oregon for one of my closest friend’s baby shower. During that weekend I saw Chase and we spent some time together…and I think he decided I might be worth keeping in touch with. Three months later I graduated from college and moved to Lakeview, Oregon for a job with the BLM. Chase and I spent that summer getting to know each other in person rather than over the phone. We hadn’t made anything official until October though when he finally called me his girlfriend.

That January I got offered a new job in Decatur, Texas with the Forest Service. It was a big move for me. My first permanent position and nowhere near family or friends. A little daunting of a decision but I knew I had to get my foot in the door somehow. Chase kept me calm, helped me pack up my grandpa’s truck and a U-Haul trailer and drove me the almost 2000 miles to Texas in the middle of winter. Long-distance is hard but with lots of plane tickets and phone calls we survived a year of doing it.

The stars finally aligned and in February of 2017, I started a new job with the BLM in Salmon, Idaho. Somewhere Chase was a little more willing of living compared to Texas (thank goodness!). By the end of March, we were finally living together and done with the whole long-distance thing.

Over the last three years, we’ve started creating the life we want together.

How They Asked

January 12, 2020 – Chase is an avid hound hunter and lately, I just haven’t been as keen to wake up before the sun to go trudge around in the cold after our pups while they chase a mountain lion. That morning Chase’s alarm went off and he kind of stirred me asking if I’d want to go. I’m pretty sure I just rolled over and made some incoherent sound.

I finally kicked myself in gear since it had been a while since we’d taken the dogs out together and I knew it would be nice to spend the morning in the mountains with him. I got out of bed and went upstairs and got ready. We loaded the pups in the side-by-side and headed for Black Rock.

The snow was fresh, and Chase was certain we were going to cut a track and have a lion treed. Unfortunately, we got as far up as we could with no such luck. We let the pups out so they could at least run a bit, driving back down the road and back up again before heading down again.

Chase stopped so we could play with the pups for a bit in the snow before loading them up to go home. The sun was just starting to come up and the mountains were a beautiful purple from the sky. The dogs were frisky and happy, burying their faces in the snow and our puppy Moose almost completely disappearing when he tried to follow the bigger dogs. Our one dog Bullet was being funny and needy, whining and crawling in our laps. At one point he was perched on Chase’s leg and I grabbed my phone to take a picture, hoping he’d stay there long enough for me to get one. Chase asked me to let him know when I was going to take the picture, and I not thinking anything other than he wanted to smile, counted to three.

Austen and Chase's Engagement in Salmon, ID

“1…2…3” and I snapped the picture. Then seeing he had pulled out a ring.

I started crying and I’m pretty sure I asked if he was serious. He then asked me to marry him and I said the easiest yes of my life.

After the fact, Chase told me watching the realization come across my face was the best part. It wasn’t his original plan on how he was going to do it, but I think it’s perfect and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Proposal Ideas Salmon, ID