Over Labor Day weekend in 2011, John and I ventured out on one of our first hikes together. We had spent the summer seeing one another as often as possible even though we were living two hours apart. Our first date had only been in early May, but we already knew by early September that we were headed for the altar. I say that we knew, but that knowledge only came to light later. At that time, we had not discussed getting married — until Labor Day weekend, that is.
John was in Fort Worth for the long weekend, so we took advantage of our extra day together to try out a trail that was detailed in my 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Dallas-Fort Worth book: the Walnut Grove Trail at Grapevine Lake. It was on this hike that John first hinted at a proposal. I was leading our return trip to the trailhead when John steered the conversation in the direction of my taste in engagement rings. A feeling of utter joy broke upon me, and I am sure that I had the silliest grin on my face imaginable. Once the butterflies and happy shivers died down, I told John that I, against tradition, did not want a diamond ring but instead something rather simple, such as an engraved band. We little knew at that moment that my desire for something “simple” would lead to fruitless online searches, awkward jewelry store visits, a PowerPoint presentation (which I will never live down), and an eventual desperate trip to James Avery on John’s part when, three months later, he still didn’t have a ring and a proposal felt long overdue.
But all of that was in the future, so for the moment, we were just happy to be trekking along the trail together at Grapevine Lake, sweaty (it was still mid-summer by Texas standards, after all) and in love. Fast-forward 2+ years to MLK weekend 2014: now married, living in the same city, and more in love than ever, we made our first return visit to Walnut Grove Trail. Despite being mid-January, it was a balmy 60 degrees and sunny when we set out on our hike down memory lane.
North Texas is not exactly known for its scenic vistas and lush landscapes at any time of the year, so a hike here in mid-January was not much different from a hike in the spring, summer, or fall: a lot of brown, a lot of dry brush.
Still, if you set out with a positive outlook (and squint a little), even a barren, brush-filled field can be somewhat picturesque.
After 45 minutes or so, we reached “our log” – the spot where we paused for a water break over 2 years ago before turning around and heading back to the trailhead. John had used his phone to take a photo of us on the log, and that photo remains the background on his phone to this day.
Here’s John by the log:
We, of course, had to take a commemorative photo (or two):
The lake, unfortunately, was down from two years ago, clear evidence of the Texas drought.
The trail continues on from the log, but just like last time, we turned around and headed back from there. The hike is an easy one, being relatively flat with soft, sometimes sandy, soil underneath your feet. It is a hiking/horse trail, so we passed quite a few horseback riders (and dodged other horse-related evidence) while we were out. For the most part, though, it was just the two of us, the breeze off the lake, and quiet reminiscing. Hopefully it won’t take us another 2 years to repeat the experience.