Carlyn and Alex

Carlyn's Proposal in The summit of Mount Rainier in Washington State

How We Met

Although Alex and I cannot say our relationship was love at first sight, that is probably because our “first site” was too long ago to remember. We first met on the Blue Bus in 5th grade. Alex was the super cool kid with a bowl haircut and all the rowdy friends that sat in the back of the bus while I was the new student with blonde pigtails and a love for soccer that surpassed all the other girls at recess. We continued to grow up within walking distance from each other and attended elementary, middle and high schools together. Our group of friends was the same, but we never dated in those years. At the time, I was too busy dating jocks to recognize that a skater boy like Alex could be a potential mate. Nonetheless, we spent those years biking to each other’s houses and roaming the trails around our hometown together.

Carlyn and Alex's Engagement in The summit of Mount Rainier in Washington State

Let’s fast forward a half-decade or so. I had finally moved back to the Tacoma, Washington area after residing in Dayton, Ohio for several years and Alex had also returned after living in various cities throughout Washington and Oregon. We had seen each other occasionally since high school, but these meet-ups mere few and far between. I heard that he was back home and invited him to hang out with a few friends to watch the Thursday night Seahawks game. At the game, I mentioned to Alex that I had recently been on a few hikes in the area. Alex, who often hiked alone at the time, was thrilled to hear this and invited me to join him for a trek up Granite Mountain. That following Saturday, the two of us spent a beautiful October day climbing and catching up. Our friendship was instantly rekindled. We began spending almost every weekend together, hiking and hanging out around Tacoma. For several months this friendship continued to grow until a trip to Las Vegas for my 25th “Golden Birthday” caused sparks to fly. So, on New Year’s Eve of 2015 in the deserts of Las Vegas, Alex asked me to be his girlfriend. I gladly accepted and we officially started dating.

The years following this trip to Vegas brought the two of us incredible joy as we continued to learn from each other and grow in love. I taught Alex how to make popcorn on the stove. He taught me how to cook real food (I still prefer popcorn). We traveled from Thailand to Tennessee and attended concerts brought on by big artists like Coldplay to lesser-known bands we follow like Caamp. We summitted mountains and cheered on our favorite sports teams. We tried new foods together that would make most people squirm. There were sad times, hilarious times and frustrating times. However, all these times were wonderful times, because we mere experiencing them together.

How They Asked

Needless to say, that Sunday a few months ago was a big day for me. I had been working for months to prepare myself to summit the most prominent mountain in the United States. A mountain that I’ve grown up admiring and loving, Mt. Rainier. I remember hearing stories as a kid about NFL players who had to train to climb Mt. Rainier and thinking, “Wow, that’s gotta be hard to do!” But here I was, doing it. Climbing towards the apex of my dreams.
Starting from camp at 11 PM Saturday night, my rope team of three battled through winds, fears and altitude sickness to the top. We arrived at the Columbia Crest Sunday just as the sun was rising. All the mountains I have climbed to prepare for that moment showed below us in the distance, as if I was on a stage and they were cheering me on (besides Mt. Shasta which is too far to see, even from 14,409-ft).

Alex asked James to take a picture of the two of us as James has done several times in the past. Only this time, Alex pulled one of the most taboo moves in rock climbing and got down on his knee. So, with snot and drool frozen to my face and mascara running down my cheeks, I said yes. Yes to my best friend. Yes to my boyfriend. Yes to my fiancé. And eventually, yes to the newest member of my family. I love this man, and I love this mountain. I didn’t need such an elaborate proposal to say yes, but Alex, being the wonderful person that he is, gave me one.
Not many people summit Mt. Rainier. Even fewer manage to do so on their first attempt. Similarly, not many people marry the right person. Even fewer on their first attempt. I made it up this mountain, and I was rewarded with the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with my favorite person.

PS – Please ignore my broken and grown out 4th of July nails. My mom tried to convince me to get my nails done before the weekend, but I refused, knowing that I would only break them climbing the mountain. Thanks for looking out mom!