That time I dragged my lady up a mountain and asked her to marry me



When Lori and I first got together, I warned her that I’d drag her out to Cathedral Range and make her climb Sugarloaf Peak with me one day.

“You have to come with me,” I reasoned. “It’s pretty much my favourite place on earth.”

She agreed without too much contemplation, I guess choosing not to dwell on a challenge that lay so far ahead.

It was nearly two years before the right opportunity arose to make good on my pledge. By this time Lori had moved herself and the kidlets to Melbourne and we were all living together, but the kids were headed to Sydney for school holidays with their grandparents.

Lori had dived head first into a new hobby by this time too, obsessively logging geocaches at every opportunity. I’d been secretly shopping for an engagement ring for a while, and racking my brain for the right way to propose. When the idea came to me to combine my favourite place in the world with Lori’s new favourite pastime, I knew I was onto something.

She wasn’t too resistant when I started to plant ideas in her head about the hike, so the planning kicked into action and I ordered a ring. Eventually, I sealed the deal by telling her that there was a geocache not too far from Sugarloaf Peak. She was in. I just needed to do one more thing – hide something in the geocache. Obviously hiding the ring was out of the question, so I made a proposal message (laminated, because geocaches aren’t always waterproof) and planned a secret trip to Cathedral Range State Park.




(I know, I know… There’s a spelling mistake. How embarrassing.)

Two days before the big day, I dropped Lori off at work and told her I was on my way to the Dandenongs for a hike (hey, I didn’t want to lie any more than I had to). Two hours later I was racing up Sugarloaf Peak, watching a huge storm roll slowly towards me from the south. By the time I reached the summit, the wind was so fierce that it made continuing tricky. I had just located the geocache and hidden my message when it started to rain. Having never descended Sugarloaf Peak before (I’d normally continue the circuit), I was nervous enough already about the prospect of hurting myself, so I made my way back to the descent as quickly as I could, and was lucky to make it down the steepest section before it got too slippery.

I was a bit over half way back to the car when my phone rang. It was Lori checking to make sure I was okay after the storm (which had obviously hit Melbourne much earlier). I managed to fumble my way through that conversation, obviously hiding the truth just well enough for her not to notice, and made it back to my car (and then home) in one piece. My plan had worked. Now I just needed to make sure we made it back there together.

When the day came, we had a very long and quiet drive. There was so much that could go wrong. I wasn’t sure how much Lori would struggle with the climb, and another storm was looming. I reassured her along the way that we could turn back at any time and it wasn’t a big deal if we didn’t do it today, knowing full well how shattered I’d be if all my planning went to waste. She remained upbeat, as she always does, despite probably being pretty unsure about the whole thing herself.

My intention the whole time had been to film the proposal, and I’d filmed my ascent two days earlier. I told Lori that we were making a geocaching video for the blog, and she was hosting. Unfortunately, the video turned into a complete disaster, but I won’t go into that here. Let’s just say there’s a reason you don’t see too many videos on Bushwalking Blog. Fail.

Anyways, the rest of our story will be told mostly in GIF form. At least I managed to do something with that footage.

As I mentioned, it wasn’t the nicest day.




But Lori warmed up quickly once the climbing started.




She was struggling along, but by the half way mark I could see she was already proud of herself. Generally once you give Lori a challenge, she doesn’t give up easily.




By the time we reached the summit she was beaming, so proud of herself that she forgot how to form sentences.




We enjoyed the summit for a while before continuing down Razorback Track for about 500 metres to Ground Zero (geocaching speak for the place where the cache is hidden). I pretended to look for the cache where I knew it wasn’t, allowing Lori to find it pretty quickly. She brought it over to me to open and when she cracked the lid, I watched her face change with complete and utter confusion as she saw this…




She pointed at it, stammering “but that’s my…” and continued looking desperately confused.

I waited a few seconds before blurting out “open it!” She did, and I watched her read the message, some small signs of comprehension starting to appear on her face.

I got down on one knee and presented the ring. I said a few words but I didn’t plan them and, as such, I don’t remember what they were now. I do know they ended with “Will you marry me?”

Putting the ring on her finger, I watched her try to process what as going on for what seemed like an eternity.

“So that’s a yes?” I interrupted, laughing nervously.

For the first time ever my Lori was lost for words, but she did manage a very big nod.




We embraced like only two newly engaged people can and then, eventually, she managed to speak actual full words and sentences again. Mostly to interrogate me on how I’d managed to pull this whole thing off without her having any idea whatsoever. I couldn’t believe I’d done it. I was stoked.

We stayed up there for another half hour, chattering excitedly about the whole amazing day, and then floated back down the mountain with ease. It was time to head back to town and celebrate.


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41 Responses to “That time I dragged my lady up a mountain and asked her to marry me”

  1. Noelene
    July 21, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Hi Neil, wow, what a great story! You romantic thing:-) My husband proposed on a mountain, I was totally blown away and speechless , I know how Lori must have felt. That just engaged feeling is like no other and you have captured the mood and moment perfectly.

  2. Pixie
    July 21, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Congratulations Neil and Lori 🙂
    What a beautiful, thoughtful way to propose…

  3. Helen
    June 21, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    Long time no read the bushwalking blog… What a beautiful story! D’awwwwwww…

    • Neil Fahey
      June 21, 2016 at 7:04 pm #

      Hi Helen,

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed reading my good news! The wedding was in February and it was amazing! Hope you’re well.


  4. cathstrop
    March 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    I’ve come rather late to this story, but I’m so glad to read it – what a wonderful experience for you both.
    Wishing you all the very best for the future.

  5. Rosie
    June 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

    What happiness! This very old lady sends every good wish to you both. You, Neil, must be a special person to have made Lori smile so much!

    • Neil Fahey
      June 30, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi Rosie,

      Thanks for the kind words. Lori is pretty special herself. 🙂

      Cheers for stopping by!


  6. LouiseAnn
    May 29, 2015 at 3:32 pm #

    It’s one to tell the grand kids, congratulations to you both 🙂

  7. Jenni Miller
    May 29, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    So thrilled for you both. May your happiness and love reach to eternity xxx

  8. Megan Blandford
    May 29, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    That’s beautiful! Congrats to you both xx

  9. Caro @ Lotsafreshair
    May 29, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    OMG. You guys rock. So wonderful and so lovely. Such a lovely idea Neil and totally connected to who you both are and what is important to you. Love it…
    … Now, I just can’t wait until she does the same to you at an unexpected moment and you open up a geocache to read, “We’re pregnant!”… 😉

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks Caro! 🙂 Haha stop it… That idea scares the crap out of both of us! 😛

  10. Vanessa
    May 29, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    Congratulations to you both!! Well planned 🙂 I love the self propelled thought too 🙂

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:09 am #

      Thanks Vanessa! I was quite partial to that bit, too. 🙂

  11. Kirsty
    May 29, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    A massive congratulations to you both.

  12. Dayna
    May 29, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    That’s definitely the most romantic thing I’ve ever read! Well done Neil!!
    We’re not planning to get married, but maybe I should make sure Stephen reads this… just in case. Although I don’t know that he’ll need much prompting. The only time we have spoken about what our dream honeymoons would be (if we were independently wealthy), it turns out that we’ve got exactly the same thing in mind! Needless to say, Tasmania and particularly the Overland Track feature heavily.
    In the mean time, we’re having the holidays without bothering about the wedding part.
    I’m so pleased your proposal was a hit, and a honeymoon in the Blue Mountains is another wonderful location. Thanks for sharing this special moment with us.

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:11 am #

      Cheers Dayna! Haha get him to have a read. You never know. I hope you get back to Tassie and do the Overland, even if it’s not as a honeymoon. I think we’ll head overseas for ours. Maybe Thailand.

      • Dayna
        May 29, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

        I’m sure you’ll have a great time, where ever you go. (Sorry – I thought the Blue Mountains was it.)

  13. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    May 28, 2015 at 10:44 pm #

    I’m so glad everything is going so well for you two and yes like the others have said, that was an awesome way to propose!

  14. Caroline
    May 28, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    Aww that is awesome. You guys are amazing and Neil you have been soooo freaking amazing for Lori.
    All the best for the future for you both!

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks heaps Caroline! All the best to you too! 🙂

  15. Dorothy
    May 28, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    Congrats, you two! Big smiley face from me.

  16. Kelly
    May 28, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    Awww, congratulations! What a special place to propose!

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Cheers Kelly! It was already (obvs) a special place to me, but it’s a whole lot more special now! 🙂

  17. Bec @ The Plumbette
    May 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    This is FANTASTIC news. And the proposal – what a wonderful surprise for Lori. Well done Neil. Love when a plan takes off. 🙂

    • Neil Fahey
      May 29, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Me too Bec! I couldn’t believe I didn’t slip up somewhere along the way. Well, at least if I did she didn’t notice! Thanks!

  18. Annie
    May 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    That is so romantic. I love it! Congrats to you both. Now I will go and ask my husband why he didn’t plan anything like that for me.

    • Neil Fahey
      May 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Haha I’ve already been getting in trouble from men all over the place (online and offline). Sorry guys. What can I say? 😛 Thanks for reading, Annie. Glad you enjoyed. 🙂


  19. Jane
    May 28, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Neil,
    What a beautiful memory for you both to carry into your future! Loved the bit at the end where she is speechless. What a sweetheart! Thanks for sharing this very special moment with us. I think this deserves the award for most romantic hiking moment. I wish you two a wonderful future. 🙂

    • Neil Fahey
      May 28, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

      Thanks, Jane! 🙂 If there’s an award for that I’ll take it 😛


  20. Katerina
    May 28, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Wow! This is the most romantic proposal I’ve ever read! Congratulations!

    • Neil Fahey
      May 28, 2015 at 11:13 am #

      Thanks, Katerina! Most romantic proposal ever was definitely what I was going for! 🙂


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