The weather was gorgeous here all weekend, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-40s. Yesterday, Sarah and I headed down to Jackson-Washington State Forest to do some hiking. We have gone camping there before and wanted to go hiking, but didn’t have time. With some help from my friend Dave, we decided to hike up Mount Baldy, which apparently has been renamed to the more-redundant “Pinnacle Peak.”
This was a difficult hike, but very beautiful. It started with a long climb up to where an old observation tower used to be. The trails were quite muddy, so traction was poor and we were slipping and sliding much of the time. I felt like we were doing some damage to the trails but it was too late by the time we figured out how muddy everything was. The climbs were pretty steep and difficult, mostly going straight up the side of the hills rather than winding up gradually like many trails do.
There was a pretty good view from the observation tower, as it was on top of a big hill. The view was obscured by trees somewhat but you could still see quite a distance.
After reaching the old observation tower, the trail goes steeply downhill and follows a valley for a little bit before beginning and even bigger climb up to Mount Baldy. It was quite challenging, and the mud got worse. We ran into two other groups hikers during this portion of the hike, the only other people we would see all afternoon. It was great to have the whole place basically to ourselves.
Eventually, we reached the top of Mount Baldy. True to its name, it had a rocky surface with few plants growing on it — as well as a fantastic view.
Before Sarah could catch her breath, I hugged and kissed her for a few minutes, then on bended knee, pulled a ring from my pocket and asked “Sarah … will you marry me?” She had no idea this was coming whatsoever — I could see from the look on her face it took a moment for her to process what was going on and realize what I was asking. She was smiling but crying and hugging me and muttered some things, prompting me to ask, “Is that a yes?” She responded with an emphatic “YES!” My heart very nearly jumped from my chest. I knew this would be a great moment, but it was even better than I had envisioned.
The ring I chose has three round-cut stones, the middle one bigger than the other two. It looks even better on Sarah’s finger than it did by itself. The light was perfect for the occasion, the winter sun low in the sky and casting long, beautiful shadows despite being mid-afternoon, and wrapping everything in a warm glow.
We spent a long time on Mount Baldy talking about everything and enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. It was amazing to have this beautiful land all to ourselves. The dog got to feeling a big neglected, but he got over it. Eventually we headed back. It was a long trip down the side of this huge hill, but it didn’t take as long as it did on the way up. In part our exuberance made it go by faster.
We thought about hiking some more on a trail that connects to this one at the observation tower, but it was getting a bit late in the day and we were tired enough already. We’ll just have to go back soon to hike more of these trails.
Our trip back was excellent. We sure have a lot of new things to discuss now. By the end of the day, my face hurt from smiling so much, my ankles hurt from the hiking, and more importantly, Sarah and I felt closer than ever. A great way to feel after a perfect day.