The weather was perfect, though a little windy, but the sun was shining and some of the blooms on the cacti were still visible. I think they were really impressed by this unusual landscape and it was a joy to share it with them for their first time. skorzy played tour guide the whole time, explaining the history of places like the mines, park formation and why it has such large piles of boulders, Cap Rock and the fate of Gram Parsons, just to name a few.
We then meandered to my absolute favorite place in the park, Barker Dam. I love Barker Dam not just because it's a relatively easy walk that's partially shaded, but it offers amazing panoramic views that look like a matte panting, it's so unreal! It's the perfect tree to boulder to mountain ratio that if I were to paint an image of the park, I would pick that spot for its composition and color. We showed them the petroglyphs (that have, of course, been enhanced and fabricated by Hollywood like everything else in this state, heh), birded a bit (saw some western tanagers and Gambel's quail!), various plants and bushes (cheese bush! Which smells nice but sadly not as cheesy as I would have liked). Eventually we all made our way to the dam itself, which regrettably had dried up due to our unusually dry winter, but the view was still just as spectacular and the remaining moisture left the air pleasantly cool.
skorzy and I always hit up Barker Dam on our trips just to sit and enjoy the silence and the views, it's been a place that has been "us" since we first started going to the park together. I'm sure this is why he felt it only fitting that this be the place where he got down on one knee and said "Nicole, will you marry me?"
Unable to take in that this moment was actually happening, I somehow was able to come out from my out-of-body experience long enough to happily squeak "of course!" and a lot of other words I cannot mention in polite company, but being in my favorite place with my favorite person in the world with two of my closest friends to witness it, it couldn't have been any more perfect! They all also caught me completely off guard, I didn't suspect a thing! They'd all been planning this unbeknownst to me XD
A couple of funny things leading up to it though, when we were getting ready to go to J-Tree, I was putting makeup on. skorzy saw me getting all dolled up and thought "oh crap, she suspects! She's trying to make herself look good for pictures!" Nope. I just thought it might be nice to have some eyeliner on, completely innocent!
As we were driving to the park we passed a bed and breakfast that I saw online that looked really gorgeous. I mentioned "And they do weddings!" and mbala got super quiet. I had thought that maybe he either didn't care or that he was confused that we had gotten engaged and hadn't yet told him and he was trying to piece that together..but no! He thought that I suspected and that was his "uh oh" silence! XD
But wow, I couldn't have asked for a better moment or a better man. I love you skorzy!