Caitlin and Matt

Proposal Ideas Seward, Alaska (Exit Glacier)

How We Met

Matt and I met in Alaska in the fall of 2018. I had just finished grad school in Virginia and moved here for a job at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. At the time, I was not interested in a relationship, I was just looking to get to know folks and get connected within the very small Fairbanks community. I decided to download the app, Bumble, and came across Matt. After we chatted for about an hour on the app, we decided to meet for coffee the next day. In the three hours we spent at the cafe, I very quickly and unexpectedly began to fall for Matt. We learned that we share a passion for the outdoors and competitive running, and started to plan out some hypothetical adventures around Alaska. In the next few weeks, those plans became reality as we started doing weekly trail runs together and hiking through the White Mountains (once encountering a blizzard…). Our relationship blossomed quickly, and I knew early on that Matt would someday be the man I would marry. We took trips around Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and New England, hiking, running, racing—exploring beautiful places and building a life together. Matt and I fell in love with these mountains, and we fell in love in them as well.

How They Asked

This brings us to July 4th weekend in 2019. We planned a trip to Seward, Alaska, as Matt was selected to compete in the annual Mount Marathon race. Unfortunately, he had to drop out of the race last minute due to poor weather conditions caused by wildfire smoke. To make the most of our trip, we decided to wake up at 5 am on July 4th and drive north of the smoke to hike to Exit Glacier.

At this point, Matt and I had looked and engagement rings and talked about marriage, but I was not expecting anything during this trip, as it was originally planned for Matt’s race.

Our feet hit the 9-mile trail at 7 am, and we were only one of two groups to sign the logbook at the trailhead that morning. This meant that we would likely have a hike to ourselves! We have explored countless beautiful areas together, but this hike was by far one of the most incredible. Epic mountain views lined the entire hike, and the day was bright and warm. About halfway through our hike, we crossed a bridge through a clearing. On one side were mountains and ice, and the other, a cascading waterfall. Matt was a few feet in front of me as we reached the center of the bridge, where he turned around, pulled a ring out of his pocket, and asked me to marry him!

I was so shocked, and later learned that he had been planning to propose on this trip all along—he just wasn’t sure of when or where. Matt told me that he put the ring in his pocket just in case he found the perfect spot on our hike—and he did.

I collapsed into his arms (happy crying, of course!) and almost forgot to put on my ring. My engagement ring that Matt chose was designed to look like a snowflake, which he felt was representative of our Alaskan love story. We spent the rest of the morning hiking to the glacier and back, living in the moment, just the two of us. At the end of our hike, we revisited the logbook, and next to our names that I wrote a few hours earlier, I wrote, “Beat hike of our lives. Engaged 7/4/19.”