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  • Writer's pictureElena Gera

Surprise Proposal on Top of the Mountain

Updated: Mar 23

In honor of National Proposal Day today, March 20th, 2023, let's dive into the story of James and Anna's surprise proposal on top of the mountain in the midst of COVID restrictions. Anna had no idea this was supposed to happen! She thought it was just one of their usual hikes!

James was a man on a mission: he was dead set on proposing to his girlfriend, Anna, on top of Elk Knob, their favorite hiking trail in North Carolina. And he found a photographer (me) to capture his surprise proposal. And he wanted all of this in the middle of COVID! Exactly when the most severe Covid restrictions hit in the spring of 2020, so even the hiking trails were shut down. But that didn't stop James. He and I exchanged countless emails and texts, monitoring CDC guidelines to find the perfect date. The original plan was for April 18th, 2020, but we had to push it back to May 14th when the restrictions eased up slightly.

The planning was no walk in the park, and we were nervous about travel times and the possibility of rain. But it all came together perfectly! I hiked up the 1.9-mile trail to the breathtaking view and was ready, hiding in plain sight as a bird watcher with a camera and a very long lens :-), just as James and Anna reached the summit in their hiking gear. Anna thought it was just another one of their typical hikes, but little did she know what James had in store! James saw me and gave me a slight nod, and I discreetly signaled that I was ready to snap some pics.


"Elena was exceptional with my engagement photo shoot. I planned to surprise my then-girlfriend at the summit of a trail in the NC mountains. Elena was responsive, helpful, and flexible throughout all of the planning processes. She set up a FaceTime with me when I was initially planning the idea to set up the photo shoot, which was very beneficial. Throughout the entire process, she was always willing to help and very flexible. Not only did she hike up a tough trail to the site of the photo shoot, but she was also in the right place(undercover) to successfully capture the moment. There was a chance of rain the night before, and I was able to contact Elena late in the evening and change the time by an hour. She provided me with updates throughout the day of the engagement and which gave me great comfort. If you are planning any surprises, you can especially count on Elena to be in the right place at the right time. She is extremely professional and charges a great price as well. The quality of the photos was excellent, and we received them fully edited a couple of days after. I 110% recommend Elena for your photography needs!"

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