Mountains & Marriage Proposals

Last week my counterpart, Halya, and her family (they also happen to be my neighbors and adopted Ukrainian family here in Sniatyn) invited me to climb Mt. Hoverla with them. Of course I accepted the invitation. Hoverla is the highest peak in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains — 2,061m (6,762ft). I last climbed it in March 2011 in cold, snowy conditions. We never actually made it to the summit that time because it was too icy and windy.

This time, we couldn’t have asked for better conditions. It was 68-72F in the forest near the bottom. Cooler and a little bit windy at the top, but I was prepared with layers and the sun was shining all day as puffy clouds floated across the blue sky. We started around 9:30am and were at the top before noon. We took the shortest and steepest way up, on a path that clearly became a small river during storms and snow-melt. It took me 1 hour and 35 minuts (active walking time) to reach the summit:

But that wasn’t all. The whole point of this hike was for Misha, my landlady Yuliana’s older son, to propose to his girlfriend, Anya. They had come down from Kyiv with four other friends for a week or so of relaxation and excursions. Yuliana and Misha had everything planned out: confetti flower petals, a bouquet, the ring…We stood in a circle while Halya brought Anya over, and then Misha proposed:

Misha proposing to Anya

In case you missed that, Anya said yes. It was pretty exciting to witness such an event.

After the proposal, we had champagne and chocolates in celebration. The hike down took me 1:12 (active walking time) — I enjoy hiking down better than hiking up because it’s more technical and you have to think ahead about where to step and hop. Also you don’t get as sweaty.

Part of my adopted Sniatyn family atop Mt. Hoverla. From L: Misha; Yuliana (M’s mom/my landlady/Halya’s aunt); Andriy (Halya’s dad); Halya (counterpart); me; Sasha (H’s husband); Nazar (H’s brother) in front

For photos from the hike — as well as other photos I’ve taken in the Carpathians in different seasons — click HERE.

 

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