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Brandon & I met a few years ago through a mutual friend. Brandon lived in Denver at the time and had decided to take a weekend trip to Omaha, NE to visit his high school friend, Ellie, who also happened to be my good friend from work. We all went out as a big group that first night and Brandon and I were instantly drawn to each other. We ended up talking for most of the night and spent the rest of the weekend trying to hang out with each other as much as possible. Brandon eventually went home to Denver and we continued to text and talk on the phone for the next few months before I worked up enough courage to go out and make a visit of my own. After that weekend, we both knew there was something very special and decided to give the relationship a real shot and make it work long-distance. Over the next two years we took turns visiting each other, taking long road trips, flights, and even overnight trains to see each other as much as possible. Eventually, we both made the move to Nashville together where we lived for about a year before moving to Indianapolis, where we currently reside with our golden retriever, Buzz.

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Brandon & I were living in Nashville at the time when Brandon had suggested we plan a weekend trip to Colorado to hike a 14er, one of Colorado’s 53 peaks that rise above 14,000 feet. Unbeknownst to me, Brandon had plans to make the trek to the top much more rewarding than the view. Fast forward a few months and as we were preparing the gear for the next day’s hike, I was constantly checking the weather, worried that we would have to abandon our plan since thunderstorms and lightning were predicted for the entire weekend. With Brandon having much more at stake, he eventually convinced me that we should at least make the drive, since there’s always a chance that the weather forecast could be wrong; so we got up the next morning at 3:00 AM and set out for the trail head with a few friends and my sister, Emily. Once we arrived, we assessed the weather and while cloudy, we appeared to have a few hours before the thunderstorms would set in and decided to set out for the peak. It was a long ways to the top, fighting through the sharp change in altitude and drizzly weather. At one point, I had even considered staying behind with our dog, Buzz, since he was starting to lose energy and giving me those precious puppy dog eyes. However, the rest of the group knew the ultimate plan and did everything they could to subtly convince me to continue the journey, since we weren’t all that far from the top anyways. As we neared the peak, Brandon had started to lag behind. While I figured that he was just struggling with the altitude like the rest of us, he was really trying to run though exactly what he was going to say. When Brandon finally reached the top of the mountain, he & I started to huddle together for a picture when he suddenly got down on one knee and asked me to marry him at 14,148 feet.

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Claire: My favorite memory from the proposal was all of the thought and planning that Brandon put into it and the underlying significance it held. We started our relationship in Colorado and spent so many of our visits hiking. We even hiked a 14er together once before, which ended up being a big test for our relationship as we had to keep each other motivated and encouraged throughout the difficult 9.25 mile, 11 hour hike. There were so many times that we both wanted to quit but we kept each other going. I think it was after that day that I knew I wanted to marry Brandon, so getting engaged on another 14er was the perfect place to start the next phase of our relationship. Brandon: Hugging and kissing on top of the mountain after she said yes. That, and having our dog along with us. He’s been there for all of our big moments.

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Claire: Brandon has such a big heart and is so thoughtful. He’ll pick up on little things that I say and surprise me with a gesture or gift months down the road, when I’ve forgotten all about it. I also love his confidence and the fact that he’s always true to himself.
Brandon: Claire is so genuine, patient, loving, & kind. She’s very compassionate and has such a positive attitude. She makes me a better person.

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