This area is one of my favorite spots to hike and explore, much less photograph - a suprise sunrise proposal was no exception. Myles (my very talented cousin from Oklahoma - he’s a singer/songwriter and guitar player) contacted me about proposing to his girlfriend during their road trip through Colorado. He had renovated an old Van for traveling the country which allowed room to sleep and camp inconspicuously. Lauren (his girlfriend) and Myles planned to do some hiking and exploring near the Leadville fourteeners on the last leg of their trip before heading back towards Oklahoma. I was invited to join them, and as these two take photos often, we went with the plan that I wanted to take some photos “for fun” - of course the secret reason was kept on the DL. Kyote, Finley, and I met them at the trailhead as dawn creeped over the horizon and allowed enough light to walk the trail without headlamps. We had made a stop to grab coffee and sipped our morning awake while catching up on life and laughing together along the trail.
The hike was beautiful - a path lined with tall pines that sway and creak with the slightest wind. The atmosphere feels reverent, old, and wise. As we hiked higher and higher uphill the trees began to thin. When we reached tree line the view of the peaks suddenly opens up into an awe inspiring scene. The mountains here tower above you and surround you on each side. Each peak sits rugged and intimidating with steep daunting edges. This area, Mayflower Gulch, sits in a beautiful and quiet basin behind Breckenridge, Copper, and Leadville. A small triangle of wilderness where old miners used to set up camp. There are several old and dilapidated cabins here that leave you wondering what it was like to live and work in this space so long ago. It’s the kind of scene that makes you feel small, resilient, and wild all at once. Remnants that sit in memoir of the ruff and scruffy mountain men who somehow waded in and out of the forests as though the hikes were nothing but a casual stroll on a Sunday morning.
Myles, Lauren, and I explored the old mining cabins while the pups took off chasing one another up the mountain pass. We instead walked slowly - taking in the morning and the scenery. As we made our way towards the mountains Myles asked me if a rock pile area below the mountain was ideal for proposing. I nodded and asked them to go stand out amongst the rocks and told them I was going to give them a minute before “posing” them so - just hang out. I kept my camera ready while they picked up rocks and talked. Myles then dropped to one knee and popped the question. Lauren looked around shocked before nodding her head yes and the two embraced in a big bear hug! Finley, a big lover, stayed close. She wanted in on all the action and the commotion!
I gave the two lovebirds a few minutes alone and snapped photos from far away. It was so sweet to watch them wipe tears, laugh, hold each other close, and soak in the moment. Also - do they not look adorable in their flannel, jean jackets, and timberlands? My cousin and his lady have a lot of style! I don’t think there’s a prettier place he could have proposed plus we had the basin all to ourselves! I was ecstatic that everything had worked out so well between the weather and timing and that Myles and I had pulled off the secret plan!
After Myles and Lauren rejoined me we took the the pass trail and hiked up well above the cabins. We had no plans for the day so we got creative and took our time with photos. Finley and Kyote were a hoot running back and forth, tackling each other, and begging us all for more pets. When we returned to the van Finley even hopped into the back to be in the photo and had Myles and Lauren laughing - she is the neediest pup! Kyote couldn’t care less and stalked back and forth like a lone wolf. We hung out for a while here and Myles pulled out his guitar to serenade Lauren and the hikers who were just starting their way up to the Gulch. They smiled at us and a few nodded their approval of our dirtbag van-life joy. Myles switched pace with the music and him and Lauren danced on top of the van before we packed up and went our separate ways. Them to celebrate their engagement, call family, and relax in Glenwood Hot Springs, and me to return home and edit this incredible day!
I’m so excited for these two and their Colorado engagement! If you’re thinking of proposing and/or want to take your engagements in the high country of the Colorado Rockies, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I cannot wait to head home to Oklahoma and capture their wedding in September - it’s gonna be a good one! Hope you enjoy this visual story of Myles and Lauren’s sweet sunrise mountain proposal!