More Than A Good Day, It Can Be A Life Changer


Jay Wailes and Carmen Julian recently became engaged during a day trip to Fossil Creek.

Jay Wailes and Carmen Julian recently became engaged during a day trip to Fossil Creek. Photo by Michele Nelson. |

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Most folks toil up the Fossil Creek Trail, a trudge of drudgery with a 1,500-foot elevation change. But Jay Wailes and Carmen Julian all but skipped up the steep four-mile trail on April 11.

Ain’t love grand?

“Would you like to see my ring?” Carmen asked every time she passed another group of groaning hikers.

Grinning right along behind came Jay, who got himself engaged alongside the romantic, Carribean blue waters of Fossil Creek.

Carmen, administrative assistant for the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department, met Jay on the job, since he used to work for the department.

Mostly, the Pine-Strawberry Fire Department marches down the Fossil Creek Trail on a rescue. But Jay had a different plan.

He enticed her down the steep trail without revealing his intentions.

“I asked her here because this is one of my favorite places in the world,” said Jay.

Carmen said Jay had planned it well.

When they got to the bottom of the trail, they continued past the other day-trippers to a private spot just below the old dam site.

“We had our own private beach,” said Jay.

He put the ring box at the bottom of the backpack, covering it with a well-packed lunch. After lunch, said Carmen, Jay pulled out the little box.

“I could tell what it was by the size,” she said. “Then he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him — of course I said yes.”

As the couple hiked up the interminable trail, they stopped to tell their story to every group of hikers they passed.

All very romantic — especially on that troublesome trek.

And judging by the bounce in their step, they won’t need a rescue.

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