Chicago Man Hikes Appalachian Trail, Proposes

Engagement ring includes stone fiancée picked up along route.

Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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One Chicago man has achieved two big dreams.

Matt Dieschbourg left his girlfriend behind months ago when he went off on a 2,175-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. But it took him only a few weeks to realize he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

"When I left to go on the trail, it was one of those things. She was hurt that I didn’t think to ask her to come with me. But it was my time to go out and find myself before I start my life," the 28-year-old Dieschbourg told the Bangor Daily News.  "It was a lot of time for me to spend time with me, but it only took me not having her in my life for two weeks and I was like, ‘Wow. I don’t want to do this.’

His girlfriend, Sofie Grzenia, later joined him on the trail in northern Tennessee.  There, she picked up and commented about a beautiful quartz rock.

Dieschbourg carried that rock for 1,200 miles before having it set in an 18-carat gold engagement ring.

Over the weekend, Dieschbourg completed the hike and proposed to Grzenia atop Maine's mile-high Mount Katahdin. A Korean film crew that happened to be at the summit on Baxter Peak recorded the event.

Grzenia said it was a scary hike because it was blowing and snowing on Saturday.

Dieschbourg said he didn't expect to be surrounded by a film crew and other hikers when he dropped to a knee on the summit and proposed. The small audience cheered when she accepted.

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