Jenny and Doug’s snowy Snoqualmie adventure engagement session truly lived up to the name “adventure session”. Before I get too far into this lengthy story – I’d love to introduce Jenny and Doug. They met in high school via a mutual friend. After going on a first date at the movies, graduating high school, attending college, and seven years of dating – Doug proposed in front of Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach, which also was the first place they exchanged “I love you’s”. After the proposal, Jenny and Doug spent the weekend celebrating their engagement with both sides of their families, who had made the drive down to Oregon as well. I don’t think it can get much more romantic than that. :)
Our day began at a park in ride just off 405. Jenny wanted to go up to the snow after seeing some pretty snowy engagement session photos on Pinterest and I was totally game for this plan! As some of you might remember from last year’s Franklin Falls adventure session, I am not the most confident snow driver. Doug, however, is confident in the snow… so I hopped in his big truck at the park and ride and we were on our way to the mountains!
I love it when couples drive to sessions when there’s a little commute time to our final destination. It’s such an incredible opportunity to chat, get to know each other better, and BOND! Little did we know we were embarking on an adventure that would bond us much more than we had anticipated.
We made it up to Snoqualmie and were driving up a forest service road that Doug had been on two weeks prior while Christmas tree hunting with his family. The road was pretty much just exposed gravel and very little snow. After a few switchbacks snow started to make an appearance and we were two more switchbacks from our destination. Doug took a turn around a corner and way up the hill we noticed a Prius sideways on the icy slope. The Prius was being helped by drivers and passengers of two other vehicles. We came to a stop and waited at the bottom of the hill for the Prius to get turned around and for all people to safely return to their cars. Once the coast was clear, Doug safely started the climb up the icy hill.
I was (admittedly) sitting in the backseat with my hooded sweatshirt pulled over my eyes so I couldn’t see what was going on…..but I could feel everything. Doug pointed out that a couple other vehicles had pulled out behind us. Shortly after noticing that we had company, I could feel the tires on Doug’s truck begin to spin. I still had my sweatshirt up over my eyes, but I could feel everything. Doug was being so safe and didn’t make any brash decisions. Slowly I could feel the truck begin to slide backwards, even though the tires were spinning forward. I think this is about the time I ripped my sweatshirt off my head to look out the passenger window to see what was going on.
We were definitely sliding backwards. We were sliding backwards down an icy hill with what appeared to now be four additional cars behind us… with a hairpin turn at the bottom of the hill, an embankment on one side, and a steep hill on the other. We were basically stuck where we were. And it was terrifying.
I never looked out the rear window. I kept my eyes on Jenny and Doug and also on the embankment visible out my passenger window. Doug was driving backwards down the mountain while Jenny was coaching me through the experience. I could see the embankment move faster and faster out the window, the truck was gaining momentum. I may or may not have been screaming in the backseat… and I might have unbuckled and threatened to jump out of the trunk… but that’s neither here nor there.
As the truck gained speed sliding backwards, Doug warned us that we were going to hit the vehicle behind us. We did, and from there it was like Domino’s. In the end, there were five vehicles that had been following us up the hill (and probably far too close for conditions)… and since we were the heaviest vehicle it’s easy to understand that when we lost traction and slid backwards, that we would eventually hit one… who would hit the next, and so on.
The slide lasted for what felt like forever, we guessed it was probably 20-seconds or so. We knew that there was a hairpin turn at the bottom and had to stop before we got there. Doug used the embankment on the driver’s side and the rut in the center of the icy road to slow his truck. Miraculously, after sliding down three hundred yards or so, we came to a stop. Everyone jumped out of their vehicles. No injuries, just bruised cars.
And just to make things a little more interesting… as we were standing around exchanging insurance information and taking photos, we noticed another car driving nose first down the hill with a Christmas tree tied to the roof. The car had also lost traction on the sunny, icy slope and was coming straight for us! We all ran up the embankment thinking that the car would hit Doug’s truck but thankfully they stopped in a similar fashion that Doug had stopped earlier.
There’s nothing like an experience like this to show you how a couple can work together as a team. Doug was so calm and collected throughout the whole experience. Jenny was equally calm and such an incredible therapist for their terrified wedding photographer in the backseat. (insert hand raising emoji here) There’s also nothing like an experience like this to bond people together. It was quite possibly the most terrifying experience of my life outside of medical emergencies, and I am so incredibly thankful for Doug and Jenny’s ability to remain calm and collected throughout it all.
After this whole adventure, we agreed to drive to a different snowy location with less hills. We landed at Keechelus Lake just after the Summit at Snoqualmie. I’ve driven by this lake hundreds of times and have always been mesmerized by the hundreds of tree stumps sticking out of the water. It ended up being the perfect location for photos – even though it was 29 degrees and extremely windy! The spot we selected had a nice hill that provided protection from the strong winds… and then at the end Doug and Jenny climbed up the hill for a few big landscape shots. I’d say it was worth the cold!
SO excited for Jenny and Doug’s wedding next summer at Marionfield Farm!