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Local couple gets engaged on Pikes Peak during start of Waldo Canyon Fire

Local couple gets engaged on Pikes Peak during start of Waldo Canyon Fire
Posted at 5:36 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 22:12:06-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — While many are remembering the start of the Waldo Canyon fire 10 years ago today, a local couple is celebrating their 10 year anniversary of getting engaged. They got engaged on top of Pikes Peak, and their engagement photos capture the start of the fire below.

On the morning of June 23, 2012, Chris and Candace Chavez rode the Pikes Peak Cog Railway up America’s Mountain. That day was the beginning of their journey in love, but also a day that marked a moment in history in Colorado Springs.

“It ended up being very tragic and devastating, but it was still a beautiful day for us,” said Chris.

Chris mentioned at first, that he made a joke to Candace, saying they were going to hike the Manitou Incline. She was relieved when she found out they were going for an hour-long ride up Pikes Peak. At the top, Chris proposed to Candace.

“We took the trip up to the top. I wanted to take her to the top of our world to propose to her,” said Chris. “We got to the top, and I gave a complete stranger my camera gear, and asked if he would take photos of us, which he did.”

The stranger captured the newly-engaged couple’s photos, and as the saying goes, every picture has a story to tell.

“I was sitting on the rock, kind of just looking at the little billowing fire. I turn around and he's standing in front of me with a ring. I fell off the rock pretty much onto my knees and said ‘yes,’” said Candace. “That is the engagement picture we use, with the little flame in the background.”

The small plume of smoke they saw that day, and what was captured in their photos, was the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire. It was a day they'll remember forever, and a day that marks history in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

“As I got down on my knee and proposed, and she said yes, we did notice the smoke intensifying quite a bit,” said Chris. “But we didn't know what was happening until we got down from the mountain,” said Candace.

The couple took even more photos on their journey back down the mountain while riding the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. They knew a fire had started, but didn’t know the magnitude of the situation until they returned to the bottom.

“By the time we got to the bottom, there was a massive smoke plume rising in the backdrop,” said Chris.

The two didn’t stay in the area long, because firefighters were being dispatched and working to control the fire.

But now, ten years later, the Colorado Springs couple is happily married, and June 23,2022 was the first time they visited the Cog Railway since their engagement day.

“We're really blessed to live in such a beautiful state,” said Candace. “I kind of want to get on the Cog and go back,” said Chris.

The couple got married a little over a year later in July 2013 in Manitou Springs, where it all started.
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