There was this one day I got engaged, Part Four: To the Cave

As a general rule, I’ve been very on my toes these past three months. I knew he was thinking of proposing. I told him flat out there was no way he’d be able to surprise me; I am un-surprisable. (With the exception of a graduation dinner party the Aubreys threw me in 2007- but Heather’s just really good at that kind of thing.) The problem is that I have an overactive imagination and anything- anything- will set me on the course of wondering if something out of the ordinary is about to happen. Chris could put on a nice shirt, and I’d wonder “Is he dressing nice because this is the day?” He could see if I wanted to go hiking the next day and I’d be sure it was going to happen at the top of Cowles Mountain in less than 24 hours. He could look at his watch and I’d wonder, “Is he worried about the time? Are we behind schedule in his crafty little plan?!”

It is impossible to surprise me.

Even on this beautiful Saturday in March, when we stepped out of the car and headed in the direction of our first geocache, I was thinking today would be a nice day for a proposal. But there was no way it was today. We were supposed to have gone whale watching that morning. And I was still sick. And geocaching was my idea. There was no foreseeable plan whatsoever. 

And my Chris? He’s a planner. To the extreme.



I also remember thinking, as we started past the Contemporary Museum of Art, and Chris stopped to take some pictures of balloons, how weird it was to not have my camera. Chris had brought his, since he’d already borrowed Cody’s long distance lens for our cancelled whale watching trip, and he figured he’d get some use out of the lens. My battery was dying, however, and I felt it wouldn’t be worth it to lug around a camera that would only last five minutes.

It felt really weird. I was going to blog about it, actually. Dear blog, I would have said, today was so weird. Chris brought his camera and I didn’t, and so Chris spent the whole time taking pictures of me and our surroundings while I was bored and looking for geocaches by myself. Not having a camera is the worst!

That’s what my blog would have been about.

So Chris took pictures of me geocaching:


And not finding the geocache.

And random pictures he would later doctor up in photoshop with a cool lighting effect he discovered on a design blog.


Around the first geocache, we were down on the hard sandy cliffs, where we found lots of signatures and smiley faces, and this arrow that presented a fun picture opportunity.


Same arrow. I’m not making a face here, I was just looking right into the sun.


First geocache was left unfound, but we found success with the second one. It was hidden in a knot in the fence overlooking the coves.


Most geocaches have little lists in them for you to date and sign your name when you find it. I always, always forget a pen, so I’ve never actually gotten to sign one. But the OSF had brought one along!

(Later, when we looked through the day’s photos, I realized that I had unknowingly written our names and the date of our engagement day. Chris was thrilled while taking this picture… since he knew, of course.)


Okay, here’s where the story starts getting scary. Scary as in I almost ruined it. And if I wasn’t such a go-with-the-flow kind of person, I probably would have. 

We had just finished searching for the third geocache. Didn’t find it. At this point we were just around the corner from the cave store, a place I remember going with Jesse and Justin years ago, and that I’d told Chris about each time we were in La Jolla, but we’d never found the store. Well, coming in to La Jolla, we’d driven right by it and I’d pointed it out. Chris was like, yeah, maybe we can stop there if we have time.

So we’re right there. And my food poisoning dilemma was starting to creep up on me again. Boo for food poisoning! So I asked nicely if maybe we could just hit up the cave store while we were already next to it, and then maybe just go home for the day. 

Chris seemed bummed in the it’s-such-a-beautiful-day-I-really-don’t-want-to-leave-yet-especially-since-we-were-supposed-to-go-whale-watching-today sort of way. And I felt bad. But my stomach also felt bad. Chris suggested we go get some lunch up on the main street, and that I’d probably feel better afterward… which really wasn’t a good argument for someone who has food poisoning, but I went along with it anyway. So we trudged up the street to the Living Room.

By the time we got there it was super hot. The cafe was crowded and noisy, and I miserably sat at the table we managed to snag while Chris stood in line for us. I told him I just wanted water.  But then a girl walked by with an amazing looking turkey sandwich and I called him with my new order. He brought us a sandwich, water, and a bowl of fruit to share. It was a delightful lunch.

And, surprisingly, I felt great by the time we were done. So great, I even agreed to walk all the way back down to the cave store so Chris could see it before we headed home.

So off to the cave we went!


This is how the cave store works: you go into the souvenir shop, pay the guy $4 each, and then you get to walk down the stairs, into the cove, and emerge on a little deck down at water level. You can see in the sign that there’s an opening in the cove (yes, shaped like a person’s head) where you can see out to the water. Inside the cove are hundred of signatures and I Heart’s scrawled all over the rock. It’s a great picture place because of all the natural light.

Here’s the OSF, in one of our first attempts at a good shot.


And me, in another attempt. We were trying to compensate for the brightness coming through the opening, while still trying not to blow the picture out.


Finally, Chris figured out if we stood in one corner, away from the opening, we could take advantage of all the light without the glare. There was an older couple on the deck with us at the time, and Chris asked them to take our picture… which just so happened to be our last pre-engagement photo ever.




And then Zack Quinto came down the stairs.

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One thought on “There was this one day I got engaged, Part Four: To the Cave

  1. Mrs. Denniston March 31, 2010 / 1:38 am

    You are taking so long to finish this story! 🙂 What is geocaching?

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