Megan and Nick

Megan and Nick's Engagement in Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, Schellsburg, PA

How We Met

I first met Megan without knowing I met her. It was my Sophomore year of highschool, I was at lacrosse practice and my creepy ex girlfriend and a few of her friends were watching our practice from the adjacent track meet. A little while later, a pretty red haired girl from Greensburg sent me a message via facebook. Being 16, this was big league. Good looking girl from out of town wants to talk to me. We talked for a good bit of the summer. Megan was busy at ballet summer intensive and I was away at the beach. Finally we had time to make plans. By some grace of God, Megan was able to talk her mom into dropping her 16 year old daughter off at a stranger’s house 45 minutes away (Thanks Marie). When she hopped out of the car, there wasn’t even an awkward first few minutes. We clicked instantly. The rest is history.

How He Asked

It’s no secret that I’m not the pre-planning type. Perhaps one of my critical flaws is that I rely on my ability to make something work out regardless of the circumstances instead of thinking ahead… I didn’t want my proposal to go down that path. I had been fortunate enough to land a great job out of school which kept me pretty busy. Typically, I would get two or three days off in a month depending on how many Sundays there were to rotate through. So, this required me to step back and plan it out.

I started off knowing a few things: 1: I have to get a great picture. 2: I have to do it some place that means something special. 3: I have to make it a true surprise. I contacted my friend Jonathan from back home. Jonathan is a very skilled professional photographer that Megan has never met. We aligned schedules and picked a date. Great picture: Check. I thought of all of the beautiful places we have been together and decided on the Allegheny Hawk Watch near Shellsburg, Pennsylvania. The backdrop of the mountain face is breathtaking with impeccable lighting. The mountains mean a lot to us as they represent a place where Megan grew up and a place that we both love. Some place that means something special: Check. Making it a true surprise: Pending.

So, I spill the beans that I’m going to have the day off and we should take off to the mountains for old time’s sake. I quadruple checked that I did in fact have the ring and hid it in my back seat. As I punch in the coordinates to the Hawk Watch, something on the website catches my eye. On the very bottom page of the “Directions” menu was a short phrase with text smaller than the rest. “Park Closes at 4pm.” We were to meet Jonathan who was traveling back in to town at 6pm. I whip my phone out as Megan is getting ready to leave. “John, there’s a slight possibility that we may need to hop a fence or two in order to get back there…”

So now, my heart is vibrating the seats because I just asked a guy with ten thousand dollars of camera equipment to drive two hours and scale a fence in order to take my picture. Megan and I drove to some of our favorite places that day. We finished up at Linn Run State Park and I suggested we go check out the Hawk Watch because “the Golden Eagles have a hatch in May.” Now, I’m typically full of useless information. This however, was B.S. information. Megan smiled and agreed we should go. We pull up to the gate, yep, locked and tagged. No trespassing. I grin. “Not the first time we’ve trespassed, won’t be the last.”

I hop out of the truck and stuff the ring box in my pocket. This ring box wasn’t any ring box. This ring box was the epitome of anxiety for the last month. Megan expressed interest in “The Mrs. Box” ring boxes. A month and a half prior to this endeavor, I ordered the little guy. Two days before I got down on one knee, it arrived at my door. This special little box really was high quality, and it really was beautiful. But it had one flaw. It didn’t stay closed for shit.

So, I left the little bugger in an equally small cardboard ring box so when we hiked back to the mountain face, I didn’t lose the ring. I’d go pee or something to shed the anxiety box of its cardboard protection. We hike a half mile back to the Hawk Watch and like a gift from above, a Mr. John Porta John appears. My perfect cover. I tell Megan I’ve got to go and slip inside. I slowly opened the cardboard and positioned the ring box in my pocket so when I slid my hand in, it would be at the right angle to open. Crap. Now what do I do with the cardboard that says, “The Mrs. Box.” What if she has to pee too? Good plan Nick. Good plan. So face down into the smelly blue abyss went the cardboard.

We walked over to the edge and looked out. The wind was gusting around 10mph. The clouds that looked like rain had subsided and cast perfect contrasting shadows on the valley below. Now, where is John. A few minutes later. John and a friend of his came walking in with a duffle bag. “Hey look Megan, someone else had the same idea.” John started taking some pictures of his friend and of the scenery. I asked Megan if we should have them take our picture with the valley as our background. I walked over the the “stranger” and asked if he would take some pictures on my phone. John said, “if you write your e-mail address down, I’ll take some for you guys on my big camera.” I grabbed Megan’s arm and walked her back to the edge of the Hawk Watch. Just as she was smiling for the picture, I tugged her arm to angle her face towards the camera, got down on one knee, and asked Megan to be my wife.

Megan's Proposal in Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, Schellsburg, PA

Where to Propose in Allegheny Front Hawk Watch, Schellsburg, PA

Special Thanks

Jonathan Blanchard
Photographer