Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Engagement Adventure: The Proposal

As promised, the story and pictures for all of you who have been dying to have the details. 

According to a friend of mine, studies have shown a correlation between a child's ability to lie at a young age and the future development of their social skills. Perfectionist that I am, I have surrounded myself with friends with only the most excellent social skills, as evidenced by their exceptional ability to lie to me and sneak around behind my back without arousing a hint of suspicion. Of course, it was one of these friends who told me about this study, so perhaps she shared that tidbit to make me feel a bit better (or maybe this proves those researchers correct?). But long story short, there was evidently quite a bit of planning behind Sunday's adventure, and I was none the wiser.

On Friday, while I was still in Phoenix with my family, I received a text from my friend Daniel about going hiking up on Mount Lemmon one last time on Sunday before he leaves for medical school. This wasn't unusual- Daniel, my friend Hannah, my boyfriend Nate, and I have made Sunday breakfasts weekly ritual, and we've gone hiking and spelunking on many an occasion. It seemed like a suitable sendoff, so I quickly agreed and went on with the rest of my weekend. Upon getting back to Tucson on Saturday weekend, I was a little confused by the eagerness of Nate and Hannah to get me out of the house and over to a friend's for the evening, but since I had already been planning to go out that evening, I didn't think too much of it. We watched a movie later that night at Hannah's and planned to meet for hiking at nine the next day.

I rolled out of bed on Sunday at ten minutes to nine, hair still in braids from the day before, threw on some athletic clothes, filled a water bottle and grabbed a few essentials before we all piled in Hannah's car and headed up the mountain. We hiked out to the fire lookout station on Lemmon Rock at the summit, skipping along the way to keep warm in the surprisingly chilly mountain air. At Lemmon Rock, we stopped to say hello to the forest service living in the station for the summer with his dog.
The friendly fire-spotter
The View
Our Group Photo
Enjoying the view

He was kind enough to take a group photo for us before we headed further down the trail. To my surprise, no one wanted to take the 8-mile loop trail (we're all pretty avid hikers), instead insisting on the shorter Meadow Loop trail. We "had to go to Bobo's" afterward So we took the shorter fork and headed up the backside of the summit through the forest, stopping to take pictures of some unusual trees and let Hannah play around with her fancy new camera. She kept complaining that she didn't see any meadow along the trail, sparking a debate as to what qualified as a "meadow."As the only one uninformed of the plan, I insisted on stopping at the south side of the summit and doing some cliff-top yoga (the only kind of yoga that seems to happen in those Gaiam videos) and eat a snack. We took some silly pictures, and Hannah insisted on taking some couple pictures. I chalked it up to the new camera.

The mossy log
Finally we found the real meadow, and after a few 'frolicking' pictures, Hannah and Daniel took off to look at a tree that'd been struck by lightning while Nate insisted on showing me a "sitting tree" that'd  unfortunately already been occupied by some senior citizens on a picnic. We found a big mossy log to sit on instead and ran into Hannah, who said that Daniel had taken off chasing some sort of wild animal (not unusual for him). I was just worried that this big mossy log might be hiding some sort of creepy-crawlies (bugs and I do not get along so well). Nate has made a regular habit of proposing since about the first week we started dating. It began as a joke (I'm notoriously commitment-phobic) but grew somewhat more serious as time passed. So when he asked as I settled down on the log, "Marry me?" I shot back with, "When are you going to ask me for real?"

He had a shiny ring in a box that seemingly came out of nowhere.
"Marry me?"
"Umm....what do I do now?"
"Put it on?"

No one ever told me what you're supposed to do after you say yes to a marriage proposal. So I put on the ring and said a fumbling "Thank you," smiling ear to ear. And we sat like that together on the sunny mossy log for quite a while until we both realized that it was quite warm and I was probably getting sunburned (which I was). We moved to a more shady log, and I slowly realized that I hadn't seen Hannah or Daniel in quite while, and then realized that they were most likely in on this whole thing and were making themselves scarce, which Nate confirmed. Daniel emerged from the woods a few minutes later with the excuse that he was getting Hannah's Camelbak. Nate greeted him with a thumbs up, and I don't think I said anything at all.

But we weren't done yet. Daniel said that he and Hannah had been waiting up the trail and beckoned us to follow him a little ways to where a lovely picnic was laid out, complete with place settings, fancy cheese, and nice drinks. Hannah claimed they'd "found it." My response was, "I don't understand."

Over our picnic lunch of bread and cheese, lettuce wraps, veggies, fruit, and Hannah's tasty strawberry cake, everything was explained to me. The "hiking kick" that Daniel had been on lately, wanting to "hike all the trails he hadn't yet" in Tucson before he left, was all a ruse. He was scouting proposal spots for Nate. That was what inspired the after-work hikes with Nate and the eight-hour adventure up Mount Wrightson he took with Hannah few weeks ago. That day back at the beginning of the month when Nate was supposedly "playing poker with the guys" (who were all in on it to provide a believable cover) he was actually meeting with my parents in Casa Grande. (Hence why my mother already had a wedding planning book up in Phoenix- I just chalked it up to her being overly ansty.) Our whole community group had been in on it for a few weeks. Two weeks ago, I had woken up distinctly upset with Nate because I had dreamed that he and Daniel and Hannah had gone hiking without me. I texted both him and Hannah about it. Actually, they were hiking without me, on the Meadow Loop up on Mt. Lemmon to do more scouting, but Hannah told me she was having breakfast with a friend and tipped me off to an estate sale in my neighborhood that Nate had actually spotted, which was enough to keep me occupied for a few hours. They also picked up the ring on that day. And speaking of the ring, the diamond is from my great-grandmother's ring, which my grandmother had given to Nate a little while ago. EVERYONE was in on it but me.

So, my friends are amazing liars, and they're also incredibly awesome people that I am so lucky to call my friends. I suppose this is one of the few times in life when this sort of deception is acceptable. And I'm probably one of the luckiest girls in the world to have such outstanding friends and a wonderful fiance as well. So...thanks and I love you all!


Oh, and whoever goes for Hannah has had the bar set pretty dang high. Because she's awesome.

The big beautiful photos were taken by the talented Hannah Morris on her Canon 7D, May 2012, all rights reserved
The little photos were taken by Kara Haberstock, May 2012, all rights reserved


  1. Kara, you are such a great writer. I'm not really surprised by that though. Love this story. You are so beautiful. And you are SO right about Hannah's man.

  2. Kara I just LOVE this story, not only i'm happy about your engagement, I moved so much about how much you love your friends and your fiance, and how much they love you. You are an amazing person that I admire a lot. And lastly, great job for Hannah and Daniel!!!haha Maki


Thoughts are welcome!