(also the one where Sly hiked 10 miles in jeans)
This is where it happened three years ago today.
I never really wrote about or posted photos from when we were engaged because after it happened, our life became a whirlwind of change. We planned a wedding and were married, went on our honeymoon, came back, then moved cross country to our new home in DC all in less than a year.
Three years ago we planned a routine camping trip to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. We camped almost every weekend in those days–a combination of needing to escape our hectic city lives and the punch-gut feeling that we may not have the opportunity to do so forever. After a muddy all- day hike to Berry Creek Falls we took hot showers and built a large fire in our tent cabin’s pot-bellied stove. Sly made tuna melts and I slowly drifted off to sleep — warm and toasty and with a full belly.
Just as I closed my eyes, Sly jumped up from tending the fire and said, “WAIT, I have something for you.” He dug around in his duffel bag and pulled out a bottle of Talisker. “I want you to remember everything about today — the warm fire, the taste of this scotch…” I thought it was my early Valentine’s gift so I happily took the bottle and looked for a glass… The next thing I knew Sly was on one knee holding my mom’s wedding ring–the one my dad designed and had made for her–saying sweet and wonderful things that I don’t really recall because I was in a state of absolute shock. Not being much of a crier, the only thing that managed to come out of my mouth was “What? Are you SERIOUS? What are you doing?”
Somewhere in there I eventually said ‘yes.’
The following morning, the sun shone through the trees as if we were being given the Universe’s blessing. We spent the remainder of the weekend googly eyed with our head in the clouds. When we finally had cell reception, we called all our friends and family while parked on the street outside of Bella Saratoga where afterward we enjoyed a long brunch. We took the long way back into the city, enjoying the long drive in beautiful weather, talking about wedding plans (already), getting my mom’s itty bitty ring resized for my chub fingers in the only jewelry shop open on Sunday in the O’Farrell parking garage near Union Square, and eating an early dinner at one of my favorite old neighborhood restaurants — Pizzetta 211.
In many ways, three years seems like a lifetime ago — so much has happened in such a short time. But in many ways it feels like it was just yesterday, the memories still so vivid. I remember the drippy tent cabin ceiling, the absolute quiet of the trail, the steep and slippery steps around one of the waterfalls, the bright yellow banana slugs, how people walked straight through the knee-deep mud puddles instead of walking around them, the older couple who went on the short version of the trail who stopped at Berry Falls to slurp down multiple packets of liquid energy fuel as if they had just completed a marathon, the long wait in the line to use the ladies’ showers, the fake looking light-dappled trees. And of course our meal of tuna melts and Talisker.
February 13 is our real v-day, and to celebrate Sly always makes tuna melts just like he did three years ago.