This summer my family and I planned a trip to go to South Dakota to see some family that lives out there and to hit the Black Hills and do some sight seeing and adventuring. I also had another plan that involved a cave and an engagement ring! Unbenounced to my girlfriend Bryn she was about to go on the best cave tour of her life. She is a science teacher and we both absolutely LOVE caves. First of all the Black Hills are an awesome place to go with so much to do. One of the "jewels" of the Black Hills is the aptly named Jewel Cave National Monument. Now eventhough I had been to the Black Hills many many times I had never been to Jewel Cave since I was old enough to remember. My girlfriend had never been to SD so it was like a first time for both of us. I had a grand idea that when they turn the lights out in the cave to show you how true darkness looks (they do this on most cave tours) when the ranger flicked the lights back on I would be on one knee and ask Bryn to marry me. So when we got there I convinced her to use the bathroom as it is an hour tour or so and quickly ran inside to talk to the tour ranger for our tour to make sure they knew what I wanted to do and to make sure it was OK. I met Jason, a guy I will truly never forget. He was the Ranger that would be doing our tour and he took me back to the offices so that Bryn wouldn't see us talking just in case she came in the visitor center. Not only was he super excited to help but actually came up with a great idea for how we would do things. So needless to say we start the tour and he does a tremendous job "playing it cool" and truly was a great tour guide. So we get to the "darkroom" as I call it since I can't remember the actual name and he turns off the lights and goes through his spiel. He then turns the lights back on and convincingly says that he wanted everyone to be quite and he was going to turn the lights back off for a second so we can hear the "sounds of the cave". (Its funny because that day I wasn't nervous but my heart is racing retyping this story, hahaha) So he turns off the lights and gives me about 3 secs to get down on one knee and get the ring out and then turns his flashlight just on me! It was an AWESOME idea and worked out perfectly as we got GREAT pics that my dad took (he knew it was coming) and it really took Bryn by surprise! Then I waited for what felt like an eternity for Bryn to stop being surprised and covering her mouth and to say yes. She did say yes luckily! It was an amazing experience that although would have been great without him, with Jason's help was PERFECT! The story doesn't end there! He was accomodating enough to take a few pictures with us. We are sending some out there guys I promise we are just getting everything together! Then when we got home we realised that we had not picked up any mementos in all of the excitement. So Bryn called out there and we were AMAZED at what they sent back to us! There are truly great people working there and I will go back to Jewel Cave everytime I am in the Black Hills solely because of the people working there! The Cave is AMAZING as well :) We received a hand signed letter from them and a generous package of mementos. I highly recommend Jewel Cave to anyone! It is simply an amazing place staffed by truly AMAZING people! If you are reading this and work or have worjked at Jewel Cave thanks again so much, you will always be in our hearts for making this such a memorable experience! Nick and Bryn Rohlck (or soon to be anyway)
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