Mara and Keith

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How We Met: Keith and I met at a popular bar in downtown Omaha in March of 2013. The bar was packed that night and it was standing room only, I was up at the bar with some friends from nursing school and when I turned around and saw a very handsome, very tall man in line behind me. At this point the bar was so packed that there was really nothing to do but strike up a conversation. We began talking about Keith’s job and where he worked, he told me he worked at Union Pacific, where my older sister works as well. He proceeded to tell me that he knew my sister, and had even known her since college! I didn’t believe him at first, but eventually he convinced me. We made our way over to a table and talked the rest of the night until the bar lights came on. He asked for my number that night and the rest is history!

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(The photo is the night we met, I took it to confirm my sister knew him)

How He Asked: In an effort to save money AND to be adventurous Keith and I had begun taking an annual camping trip each summer. This summer was no different. We chose to go to Arkansas because of the beautiful scenery and great hiking. At the end of the week we planned to have my 6 month pregnant sister, Kiley, and her husband, Mike meet us to go floating on the Buffalo River. Our drive down to Arkansas was easy, but the campground we intended on going to was closed. NOTHING in Arkansas is close so we kept driving through the state park hoping that we would come across another campsite, the next campsite we got to was also closed; we found this out after driving 6 miles through the forest on a dirt road in my Civic hybrid. It was getting dark so we decided to turn back and go to the very first site that we passed. By the time reached the that campground the sun was almost down. The only campsite we could find was occupied, in desperation we set up our tent in a community amphitheater and ate our dinner in the tent to avoid bugs.

The next day began well, we went on a great morning hike to Blanchard Springs and Caverns. Later that afternoon we drove to Ponca, AR; my sister and her husband were meant to meet us that evening at our next campground. Our campsite was right off of the river so we needed to drive down an extremely steep one lane dirt road. At the bottom of the road my check engine light went on, it was then that we realized that we were out of cell reception and that the light could mean practically anything (thanks Honda manual). I was freaking out, the options were to drive half a mile up that horrible hill or to God forbid get a tow which would involve walking back up the hill and into the neighboring town to get cell service. Keith calmed me down and assured me that it would all work out. In the end we decided to wait for Kiley and Mike and set up camp.

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That night, Kiley and Mike arrived and we all discussed our plans to hike to Whitaker Point in the morning. The very early morning… we planned to wake up at 4am and drive one hour to the trailhead, at that point we would hike up the mountain in time to view the crag at sunrise. The morning went off without a hitch!

Weeks before Keith and I had picked out an engagement ring so I was hoping that Keith would propose on this trip. But I didn’t hold my breath that it would happen on this hike, Keith was acting very calm and I didn’t think that he would propose with Kiley and Mike there. Once we got to the crag Kiley and Mike told us to go on ahead and they’d get a picture of us then we would switch. Even out on the crag Keith was behaving completely normal, when he got closer though he reached in his pocket, pulled out my ring and asked me to marry him. It was the most magical moment and I was so thankful it was captured on film.

hha sunset

hha face

hha kiss

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