Josh and I decided to spend a few nights camping on Mt. Graham again this summer. We haven't had much time for vacation since we've been house hunting. So it seemed like a nice way to get away, enjoy some fresh and cool air but not have to go too far.
Honey did much better in the tent this year, in fact I think she liked the tent. She seemed much more comfy. The first night, Josh was sure that he heard snorting in the middle of the night. We are fairly sure that there was a bear in the campground. Honey shook like a little leaf. Thankfully, the bear never came too close. We made quite a bit of noise so that he or she would know where we were and walk away. That seemed to work. We are pretty conscientious about keeping all of our food locked up in the car and never bringing it into the tent.
The creek by our campground was flowing in full force. It was quite pretty. Josh enjoyed wading through it.
Honey, not one for water, enjoyed laying next to the creek. She went in only to cross and follow me up a trail but resisted going in any more than that. I really love this picture of her.
On Friday August 6th, Josh, Honey and I decided to hike a trail that we had found last year. It leads up to an old abandoned fire tower that has a spectacular view in every direction. On the way up, we saw a bear cub take off running down the mountain side. I think that we must have scared it. We were on high alert for Mama bear the rest of the way to the top. She never appeared, thankfully.
At the base of the fire tower, we found an amazing sight, millions of lady bugs. They were in piles on rocks, tree branches, just everywhere. I've never seen anything like it.
I looked up ladybugs online and found out that they often gather in high country to enter diapause in winter. It is sort of like hibernating. "Diapause is the delay in development response to regular and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions," according to wikipedia. It was beautiful. I love ladybugs. I was in awe.
Little did I know that I was in for an even bigger shock, Josh planned to propose to me on top of the fire tower. After he patiently waited for me to take photos of the ladybugs and comment a few hundred times how amazing it was to see a sea of ladybugs, he started to climb the tower. I told him that I didn't feel up to climbing it with him. He gently urged me to follow. As I watched him climb, I decided that I'd follow. The thing is that the this fire tower is OLD and TALL. It is sturdy, but it just makes me so nervous.
Here I am at the first level.
Here is a picture of the Mt. Graham observatory from the 3rd level. I called up to Josh from there and said that I'd gone far enough and was heading back down. He said that he questioned whether or not he should make me come up to him but decided that it was better to not try to get me to do something that I didn't feel like doing.
I lay down on a big rock under the fire tower next to Honey and closed my eyes for a little siesta. After he climbed back down, I decided to take a few more pictures of ladybugs before we headed back down the trail. He sat and patiently waited for me again (he is so very patient). After I was all done, we stood under the fire tower instead of on top and he proposed. It was perfect.
I think that I was in shock for about the first 10 minutes. Although I did have the wherewithal to say "yes" immediately. I really did not expect him to propose and it was really thoughtful that he chose a place that is so absolutely beautiful.
The engagement ring needs to be a post all to itself. It is very special. We don't have it yet, but it is in the works and all I have to say is that it is different than I imagined but absolutely perfect for me and for us.
And after a long day of excitement, mother nature offered us a lightning and thunder show to put any 4th of July fireworks extravaganza to shame. Honey was hopelessly frightened of the thunder but eventually we all slept, curled up together in our tent as one happy, little family.