Kristen Finds a Ring in a Clifftop Geocache

June 11, 2014

Let me introduce you to TJ Habel.

His family and my family have been friends for around 20+ years.  He’s an all-in kinda guy. Here’s one illustration: picture him bungee jumping in New Zealand and — instead of slowly falling off the bridge platform — jumping as high as he can, so that his body literally goes head first (up to his waist) into the river rapids below. If there is an extreme sport out there he has dabbled in it. So when TJ told me his proposal plan and asked if I would document it, I knew it would be a good one.

We met up before and hiked out to the Conservancy River Bluffs in La Crosse and he showed me the cliff where he had created a geocache a week prior. This was also a memorable spot for him and Kristen from years ago. He then hiked back down while I waited, and hoped the rain that was forecasted would stay away. While I was waiting, the rain came up over the other side of the river valley and drenched half of La Crosse but miraculously veered south and missed the spot — where TJ would propose — completely.

To add a TJ element to the story… during that scouting trip, after he reached the cache, the top of the box caught wind and dropped part way down the 200ft cliff so he had to climb down to get it (rope not included).  I really wish I would have moved to the best angle to illustrate the height, but I was way too concerned that he would need a hand (and I really didn’t want him to die, an hour before he was planning to propose).

So long story short:

He didn’t die!
He asked her to marry him.
She said yes!
They planted two oak trees (beside each other, so they can train them to intertwine as they grow).
And then, the next day, they went to Mali, Africa.

Congrats, guys!


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I looked at this last year when it was first posted and never realized that it was possible to comment. It was great to read this today and remember back to that event in 2014. Wow! Since then we have had a wedding and now you are going to be parents. I know you are going to be really great at being parents. Your children will be strong in the Lord and influence others as they go through life. So excited to see how God is going to use you both in ministry. You are each unique and I feel so blessed to be getting a sneak preview of your lives all these years. Love you both, Mom (future Grandma)

I just looked this up after attending your beautiful wedding on Sunday. God has wonderful things in store for you as you go on another adventure together…a lifetime adventure.

I loved this. Just looked it up after your beautiful wedding on Sunday. God bless You both. He has wonderful things in store for you!

Wow! This looks like you are going to have lots of fun and excitement! I am so happy for both of you. I remember you and talking about Olive…its great you didn’t need to wait that long!!!!!lol

God bless you, Kristen. You were such an inspiration to us and our church this past January. May the Lord bless you and T.J. with a great ministry, serving the the Lord and the people of Mali.

Thanks for blessing us and giving us this update.

Henry Hazard, pastor Heritage Bible Church, Panama City, Florida.

T. J. you must be one heck of a guy because Kristen is the greatest! Enjoyed getting to know her in Wisconsin and seeing her in Mali. The Grant family is very, very happy for the two of you.

Darrell, for Sandy, Isaac and Josiah

Thanks for letting us see the event, Raymond! They didn’t invite us along so it is great to be able to share the moments with them. We are so very happy for them both, a great pair interested in God’s things!

Way to go, Tiger!

LOVED THIS! Gave me goose bumps going thru the chronological photos.Incredible way to propose and capture the moments. Loved the hiding spot, the view, the planting of the trees, the kiss, the entire surprise of it all and the lasting memories it will yield! Beautiful just beautiful…

This is so adorable! Love it! So Happy for you T.J. and Kristen! Praying God continues to bless you both as you travel and begin your new journey together with Christ at your center! So jealous of your bike!! 🙂

This is just too awesome. I met Kristen at work at GHS. She is just one of those people that everyone should get to know. So kind, compassionte, considerate and just plain nice. I am so excited for her. It’s incredible the way you were able to document this memorable day.

How precious!!! So happy for them! Praying God’s special blessings on Kristen and TJ!!! I know God has a fabulous future for them.