Sometimes, it only takes one moment on a trail to change our lives forever. Just ask Ali and Tyler Sloan, who experienced an unforgettable, life-altering moment on Aug. 20, 2013, when, after several years of dating, Tyler proposed to Ali on the High Trestle Trail in Iowa (and she said yes!).
“It was a moment I will never forget, with a beautiful backdrop,” says Ali.
According to Ali, she and Tyler, who live and work in Des Moines and who are 27 and 29 respectively, had planned to ride the High Trestle Trail since diving into biking several years ago. So when Tyler called her at work and asked if she’d like to go with his brother and a few mutual friends later that evening, she agreed. And that was that.
Until they made the trip, that is, and Tyler surprised her with a question of a lifetime.
The 25-mile High Trestle Trail is named for a revamped, 2,530-foot bridge rising 13 stories above the Des Moines River Valley between Madrid and Woodward. Arching over the bridge decking are 43 steel “cribbings” lined with LED lights that come on at night, creating a sensation of moving through a mine shaft—and honoring the region’s coal-mining heritage. And of course, both the lights and the view of the valley are sights to behold.
“The first time seeing the bridge and view was breathtaking,” says Ali. “He timed our arrival perfectly, and when the bridge lit up, he asked his brother to take a picture of us underneath the lights. The next thing I know, Tyler got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I was completely shocked, as you can tell in the reaction of our photo. That is a genuine photo, not a re-enactment!”
“I chose [the trail] because it is a one-of-a-kind location,” says Tyler. “Also, I wanted to get a photo of the special moment, and it was a perfect place to capture that. I knew that Ali wouldn’t expect me to propose that night, and it would take her by surprise.”
He continues, “I was so nervous the whole bike ride, I kept looking down and feeling inside my pocket to make sure the ring was still there!”
The Sloans, who were married on Sept. 27, 2014, still visit their favorite trail whenever they can. And they look forward to a time when they can share the trail—and the memories of that day—with their own family.
“We will always look back and cherish the rail-trail because that’s where the journey of our marriage started,” says Ali. “The trail and the view are absolutely beautiful; it’s a really unique place here in Iowa.”
Congratulations, Ali and Tyler!
To read more about the High Trestle Trail, go to TrailLink.com or check out Rails to Trails magazine’s Spring/Summer 2012 Destination feature.