To say I was over the top stoked when Lisa reached out to me about photographing her surprise proposal at Mount Rainier this summer would be an understatement. She described her vision to me, and I knew this was going to be amazing, and something I wanted to be a part of! So we started planning the logistics of how to pull off a 2 hour hike up the mountain while still keeping it a total surprise to her unsuspecting future fiancé Heather.
We ended up deciding on Mount Fremont Lookout near the Sunrise area of Mt Rainier. This was a spot that they had both done before previously and something that Lisa knew would be special to them both. They are both traveling nurses and this was one of the first hikes that they did together when they arrived in Washington. Obviously they fell in love with Mt Rainier on that hike, so going back over a year later made total sense for this!
To keep the element of surprise we agreed to plan on arriving at the parking lot around the same time, to start the hike up so that we’d get to the fire lookout at the top together. Due to the delays at the gate for entry I actually arrived a few minutes after they did and Lisa spend about 10 minutes stalling in the parking lot before I gave her the head nod that I had made it, and the adventure could begin!
I did my best to keep up as they are pretty avid hikers, but thankfully Lisa had brought her camera along to take several stops and make it a little more of a sight seeing/documentary adventure for them and I was able to keep up lol. I stayed about 200 yards behind them on the way up the mountain so that it wasn’t totally obvious what was about to happen.
After arriving at the top Lisa played it off perfect. They took turns taking photos at the lookout while I got in position and ready to catch it from a distance. After a few minutes she gave me a quick glance and knew it was game time =)
It worked and Heather was totally surprised, and obviously said yes! After they shared a few minutes of excitement Lisa pointed me out and let her know about the master plan that we had coordinated. Lisa had packed some clothes for them to change into, and some beers to celebrate as we took some photos at the top to celebrate their brand new engagement.
It was truly a magical day up there, as we had caught the perfect little window of visibility and weather, many days before and after were totally gross due to the massive amount of wildfire smoke in the area, which killed visibility and basically created a very toxic layer of fog throughout most of the west coast.
This was actually my very first hike in the Mt Rainier national park, and definitely the closest I had ever been to the mountain, and highest elevation I’d ever been in. It was kind of a surprise how windy it got at sunset, and how quickly the temperature dropped off once the sun went down. But that experience walking down the mountain in the dark under the moonlight with a few dozen others was pretty magical. It was cool to see the line of head lamps zig zag down the trail as we made our way to the parking lot.
It was totally an amazing experience, and it definitely sparked my interest in becoming more focused on adventure oriented sessions and elopements. Very stoked to continue to guide my clients through experiences like this, and to help bring their vision and dreams to live in nature.