Heather and Garrett

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How we met: Garrett and I were introduced by an extended family member of his who had known my family for over 20 years. She set us up in August of 2012 over email due to the fact we were on opposite sides of the country (I was in Portland, OR and he was about halfway through his journey hiking the Appalachian Trail). It was an unlikely setup- neither of us were looking for anyone at the time, we certainly did not like the idea of a set up, and we definitely did not want to get involved in any long-distance situation. But we both felt like we were supposed to be open to the idea of getting to know one another. Within the first few email exchanges we both were hooked in- we knew we had connected on many levels as we shared little bits of who we were with each other. So we wrote to each other for several months as he trekked on towards the Georgia finish line.

In November when he finished the trail, Garrett had plans to be out in Oregon again to visit some friends. He asked if we could meet. We decided to go on a hike to one of my favorite places in the world that I had told him about in an email- Punch Bowl Falls. That first “date” (if you can call it that) was so awkward. It was NOT a “love at first sight” situation! We had a nice time hiking as it is an amazing spot, we both love hiking, and conversation was easy, but my mind could not quite wrap itself around the collision between the gaps my brain had filled in about how I thought he might be and the man who was actually standing before me. But as the day continued I started to gain insight into some more layers of him, he quickly became the most interesting person I had ever met. He was already my friend. I already had respect for him and who he was. And I was intrigued. And I knew I HAD to get to know him more.

We started our dating relationship not long after that. While neither charming nor flirty, his relentless pursuit to get to know the real me was unlike anything I had known before. We took turns flying back and forth to visit each other, spent time with each others’ most treasured friends, met family and extended family, and went on lots and lots of hikes!

How He Asked: In early February of 2014, Garrett planned a trip to come visit me. We planned to do a hike. He suggested Punch Bowl Falls. “hmmm” I though a bit suspiciously. We headed out for the hike that day, and as we arrived at the trail head Garrett was lingering a little longer sending some texts “to his friend that needed him real fast” I kind of had an idea it was coming. But when? And how?! And then I kept telling myself I could be wrong, just enjoy the day.

We started on the hike and while it was cold and misty, I have never seen that trail so beautiful. Bits of sun were shining through the low clouds and mixing with the mist and the drops of water falling off the mossy cliffsides- everything just sparkled. When we got to the falls, Garrett cruised right on past it, saying he wanted to explore the trail up ahead. So we continued on. And on. And on. Finally, he decided he had seen enough and we turned back. I thought it all was a bit strange, but we like to explore, so I went with it.

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When we got back to the overlook above the falls, he paused to look at the view for a while. A long while. He kept looking around. Waited for other people to leave. Looked around some more. Finally, wrapped me up in a big hug, said some super sweet things (I wish I could remember what it was!) then slowly turned, got down on one knee in the mud, and pulled out that gorgeous heirloom ring. Though I kind of knew it was coming, I still was so shocked that he was actually asking. The surrealness still caught me very off guard. And apparently I said “yes” before he had even finished asking! No frills, but it was so meaningful that he proposed in a way that was very “him” in a spot that was special for us, with a little extra surprise for me…

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After the initial moments, I looked around and saw my wonderful friend Megan- a wedding and portrait photographer- who had been hiding in the bushes and captured the whole thing! Then all the details of the day started to come together and make sense! Garrett had been texting with Megan at the beginning of the hike, and learned she had been misdirected by google maps and was at least an hour behind us, when she was supposed to be ahead of us! Garrett had pre worked in the back up plan that he used- hiking past the falls to explore the trail up ahead, and then loop back. He had lost all cell reception, and so had Megan, so he was trying to give her enough time to catch up and get into position without knowing if she would be there or not. She ended up hiking (running?!) most of the hike in her hunter rain boots because she was determined to be there! I am so thankful He knew how important those pictures would be to me and that he commissioned Megan for the job who delivered despite odds definitely being against her!

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Photos by: Megan Love Photography