This is the story about how it happened. The amazing, not-as-romantic-as-I-pictured-it-in-my-head moment when I finally found the courage to ask her.

Seven years after we met and started dating at Southwestern we decided to plan a nice vacation together. Our first real vacation as adults with jobs out in the world. After some discussion about our destination we both really wanted to visit someplace new and full of natural wonder. Colorado was the easy choice for 3 reasons - cool temperatures, incredible natural landscape, and beer.

Our great friends, Ted and Leigh Wilson, had returned from a trip to Boulder. They gave us plenty of great places to visit as well as some tips and tricks to have a wonderful time. We took their advice and booked a house on AirBnB in Golden, CO for the last week in July.

From the beginning it was my intention to propose to Amanda on this trip. I had the plans in my mind for a while now. We would be out hiking through some forest or mountain area, and after we had reached the summit or some lookout point I would finally ask her something that I had been ready to ask for quite a while now.

During our trip there were only a few chances to accomplish my task and yet none of them seemed right. I waited until the last day.

Everyday I would get up early (our house had no air conditioning) and go outside to the boulders to practice what I would say. I wrote it down on my phone and each morning while Amanda slept I would quietly walk outside to the rocks and recite one of the biggest moments of my life. After I said the words I would pray for it to happen. I wanted to get it right.

On the last day of our vacation we planned to go on one last hike down a trail close to our house. Amanda didn't want to go, but this was my last chance, so I...persuaded her. The entire time she wouldn't stop complaining! Haha...she kept saying that each step downhill was a step she would just have to take back uphill. 

But she (we) kept walking down, and down, and down the trail. At one point she wanted to stop completely, but after some conversation (and more persuading) she decided to continue. We arrived at the bottom of canyon to the welcomed sound of rushing water. It was beautiful down there. This was it.

We jumped out on a rock in the middle of the rapids, with white water all around us. I reached in my backpack ever-so-clandestinely to grab the ring box, and clumsily made the most noise any man can make when he needs to make exactly no noise at all. Needless to say, Amanda noticed and asked me, "Ooh what did you bring?" I responded, "Umm, nothing. Just a treat..." I thought I could play it off, you see. I couldn't. She kept asking me if it was food. "Is it strawberries? Is it blueberries? It is raspberries?" Apparently the hike had made her hungry. "No dear, none of those things." This was definitely not how I wanted to begin my proposal. Luckily (and later I found out due to Amanda's mercy) she decided to move on from that spot to wander down the trail a bit farther, all thought of food slipping from her mind. I stuffed the ring box in my shorts and we moved on. This was not it.

We crossed a bridge and saw that the river bottlenecked a bit. Curious if a kayak or raft would have been able to get past that section of the river (because somehow after one raft experience we were now experts...) we went on to examine it closely. We dropped off the trail to some rocks that lined the surging water. It was a still a long way down, and a bit dangerous to go bouldering near the bank. We did anyway.

We found a fairly flat spot to hang out and just looked down at the swirling, whirling water. It was peaceful and quiet, and even though I had practiced every morning for the past week, I was nervous for what was about to happen. But this was it. I was finally ready.

Amanda, I love you so much. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to ask, but I thought I had to have more of my life - of our life - figured out before I would be worthy to marry you. I thought I had to have a house and all my loans paid off, and have all this money to provide for us. But being out here with you now I see that all that is stupid. Now I see that all I ever needed was you. Life never slows down, and it is not about what you can get and how fast. It’s about finding a loving partner and enjoying the ride.

Amanda, I love you more than anything, and you make me so happy everyday in the life we have made together. You’re the woman of my dreams, and I want to keep walking hand in hand with you for the rest of our lives. Amanda Mercedes Figueroa, will you marry me?

I opened the box to show her the ring, and she said "Yes!" I put the ring on her finger, and we kissed (a lot). Then she said something that completely melted my heart (and made me cry).

Honey, I said Yes a long time ago.