I’m a sucker for a romantic story, which is why this little nugget caught my eye. Two Carolina Mountain Club members got engaged on top of Mount LeConte this October after completing the daunting South Beyond 6,000 challenge. After summitting LeConte, their 40’th 6,000 foot peak together, Lee dropped to one knee and asked Kelly to be his hiking partner for life.

Sweet right? I think so. But a part of me also wonders if Lee made Kelly climb 40 massive peaks before he would propose, or vice versa. It’s not outrageous. We drag our significant others through all sorts of “tests” before we decide they’re the one. I’m reminded of the movie Diner, where one character administered a “football trivia” test to his girlfriend. If she passed, they could get married. If she failed, well, adios.

It sounds harsh, but this man loved football. With a capital “L.” It was his passion. Just like hiking is Lee and Kelly’s passion. What happens in a relationship when one person doesn’t share the other’s passion? Or worse, when one person misleads the other into thinking they share the same passion. I have a friend who’s girlfriend swore she loved to hike and camp. They had a short engagement and he never put that love to the test. Turns out, she was just telling him what she thought he wanted to hear. They’re still happily married, but the dude doesn’t go camping or hiking anymore.
I’m not saying couples have to share the same hobbies and passions, but I think I love my wife a little more because she likes to ski and surf just as much as I do. And believe me, I spent many years testing her commitment to skiing and surfing before I made the ultimate commitment myself.

So I applaud Lee and Kelly for finding true love the old fashion way: Find someone attractive, drag them up 40 different mountains to make sure he/she really does love the outdoors, then get engaged.