Down on one knee at Pyramid Point

Photos by Laurel Kruse.

From staff reports

You don’t have to overturn many stones in Leelanau County—or initiate many conversations at Dick’s Pour House or Art’s Tavern—to find tales of couples who got engaged at Pyramid Point in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

But the story of Josiah DeValois proposing marriage to Anna Kenney on the Spring Equinox, March 20, stands out.

Waiting on top of the dune, which looks northwest over Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands, was a gateway of Christmas tree lights strung from tree branches and a white picnic blanket boasting a bouquet of flowers, pillows, a bottle of sparkling juice, a leather-bound journal, and a spread of crackers, cheese, fruit, and cookies. The setting sun basked the scene in orange, even as pockets of crusty snow lingered. Best of all, it appeared that no one else was there.

Josiah took a knee, popped the question, and Anna said ‘yes.’ Unbeknownst to her, hidden in the forest nearby were Shepherd—Josiah’s roommate at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs—and Shepherd’s sister Laurel Kruse, who had schlepped the decorations up the trail and took photos as Josiah proposed.

The plan fully revealed, the friends dutifully removed the lights, cleaned up the picnic and carried it back to their car at the Pyramid Point trailhead.

“I knew I wanted to surprise her with a picnic for the engagement, and we were coming up on our two-year (dating) anniversary,” said Josiah, a 21-year-old Iowa native who is studying operations research at the USAFA. But he worried the weather would be too cold for a picnic, and setting up the food spread ahead of time without her knowledge posed an extra challenge.

Up stepped Shepherd and Laurel, who drove north from Chicago with picnic supplies during their spring break. Josiah and Shepherd had used Google Maps from their dorm room in Colorado to plan the event months before. On the day of the engagement, they texted back and forth and communicated in coded language. Decorations were carried up the trail early in the afternoon.

“They were incredibly kind to take time out of their school break to do this for us,” beemed Anna, also 21, and an occupational therapy student in Traverse City.

The bride-to-be had no idea that a decorated scene, and an engagement ring, awaited her.

“I chose Pyramid Point because it is a really easy, short hike with a beautiful overlook of Lake Michigan,” said Josiah. “Anna is a bit of a lake snob, so I thought this would be the perfect spot.”

Josiah and Anna haven’t delved too deep into wedding planning yet, but are hoping for a ceremony sometime after his graduation from the Air Force Academy in June 2023.