It has been 365 days since we got engaged.
August 23rd, 2017.
It was the most special day.
I knew Jillian was the one early on in our relationship. Even when we were faced with the many struggles and imperfections that come with being in a long distance relationship, I was sure all along.
An actual decision was made a year ago and I immediately told my closest friend and my parents. When I finally got the ring, I showed it to her best friend and asked her if Jill would like my choice. After an enthusiastic response, I then secretly flew to California to talk to Jillian's parents about this decision. I knew how much more meaningful it would be if I met them in person; Jillian values her family more than anything. So over dinner and a bottle of wine, her parents also enthusiastically said yes to me and my decision. Elated, I went back to Washington just when Jillian was flying in to go on a trip with me to see the total solar eclipse.
The following day with us both up in Washington, we packed our things and drove down to eastern Oregon with my friend, Andy. We were there to witness the total solar eclipse and Oregon was on the path of totality. On the day of the total solar eclipse, I debated whether or not to propose to Jillian then. I didn't. I wanted her to fully see the eclipse and appreciate it for what it is - the most amazing natural phenomena we have ever seen.
The next day, we went to Portland to explore the city a bit. We went to her dream bookstore, Powell's, and had beer at Deschutes Brewery. The next day, the day she was set to fly back home, we decided to stop by one of our favorite places, Mount Rainier National Park, a place that is so special to us. Mount Rainier is easily our favorite mountain and we fell in love with the park when we visited together a few years ago. We have always wanted to come back and explore, so she was up to do that hours before her flight.
I drove to Tipsoo Lake, parked the car, and got all my camera equipment. This was normal of course. As a landscape photographer, I always have my gear with me so Jillian never thought this was strange. In fact she might have thought it strange if I didn't bring all my stuff.
We then walked on this little trail towards a point where you can see Tipsoo Lake. We stopped there at this very spot. I put down all the gear and set one camera for a time lapse and one for photos. Again, I do this anytime we go somewhere beautiful so this wasn't a weird thing to do at all. Finally, I asked her to pose in front of the cameras for a bit with Rainier in the background. She walked in front of the camera and I walked there too, telling her we should take a picture. Again, we did this all the time so she didn't even raise an eyebrow.
Finally I turned around and held her hands and went on one knee. I guess you can say that the rest was history.