Alone At Devil’s Lake

Dan Semrad & Kristin Kallio

All day Thursday, I was checking the radar to see if there would be a rain-free window at Devil’s Lake. It appeared that between 5pm and 7pm would be the best shot at making my girlfriend my Fiancé in the perfect way. I was scheduled to take off of work at noon on Thursday, but I was so nervous that I left at 11:30. I drove from my job site directly to Kessler’s to pick up the ring that I had not seen in person yet. As soon as I held it, I knew this ring was going to mean so much to Kristin and me. After completing my transaction, the Kessler employees gave me an unexpected send off with a ringing of a bell, followed by all the employees’ applause. This threw me off, but it also gave me great encouragement.

I drove to Sun Prairie to pack all of Kristin’s belongings for the weekend. I pretty much packed her entire wardrobe – better safe than sorry. My creative side kicked into action as I picked up all of our high school notes that we wrote one another. I also hid the box with the ring in another box for the ultimate hiding spot. The box sat in my string bag along with snacks and water for the hike.

I showed up to Kristin’s work at 4:00pm to meet Rita outside. She led me the back way to sneak behind Kristin’s cubicle. At the time, Kristin was on the phone, so I had to patiently remain hidden behind her cubicle. Kristin’s co-workers noticed me waiting, peeking their heads out of their offices and cubicles. I thought her phone call would never end. Finally, the time came to surprise Kristin and catch her off guard. She was so thrown off –  I had never seen her so shocked. She did not know what to do, or why I was there. I then let her know that her weekend had just begun and that I had already gotten Rita’s approval for her to take off of work the next day. I dropped off some cookies for the office to thank them. We were off to the Dells; Kristin had no idea this weekend would change her life.

The drive to Devil’s Lake would take approximately 35 minutes. She was thrilled to hear that we were headed there. The last fifteen of these minutes brought lighting and heavy rain. I will say that Kristin was so excited that she was up for anything no matter how the weather was. We pulled into the park, noting that there were no other cars whatsoever. My first thought was, “How do I pay for parking?” I followed the self-pay directions and spent the best seven dollars of my life. We got out of the car and instantly the rain stopped and the fog rolled in. We began our solitary climb. Kristin wanted to stop numerous times along the way, but I knew our time was limited with darkness and worse weather coming soon. On our way up to the top, I explained to Kristin how this journey represened our eight year relationship. When we finally made it to the top of the bluff, we sat down near the edge and reminisced over our high school notes that I had packed. As she was reading the notes out loud, I interrupted her and began my proposal speech. Both of us are still unclear on what was said because of the magnitude and feelings present when I dropped on one knee, my back to the lake. Kristin looked down at me, the beautiful lake in the background.

Due to my joking nature even when I was down on one knee with a red box, she still thought that she would be receiving a nice set of earrings. When I opened the box, she was overcome with shock, joy, excitement and a whole lot of emotions she has never felt before. Once she said yes and we embraced, I quickly got us away from the edge and onto safer ground. I took time to explain the events to her; we were so excited.  Kristin realized that I had pulled off the surprise of her life!

We both lost track of time and took too long at the top. Kristin and I still had to climb down the rocks as darkness was approaching faster and faster. On our descent, Kristin kept asking questions, wanting to know more details. At this point I had one thing on my mind, which was our safety. I would forcefully say, “FOCUS on the rocks, take your time, we will talk about everything when we get to the bottom!” When we got to the bottom, we embraced once again, and like a scene out of a movie the downpour of rain began. We slowly walked through the rain, enjoying our moment. Once we left the park, we still had to drive through a storm cell that dumped four inches of rain in the Dells. Still, nothing could take our excitement away.

We made it to the Delton Grand Resort by 8pm and checked in for the weekend. Kristin was surprised yet again to find roses sitting on the counter with rose petals scattered around the room. Kristin and I finally had time to relax by ordering a pizza and calling our family and friends to share the news.

I could not have asked for a more perfect story, one that we will remember for the rest of our life together. I realized it was meant to be when I found out the government shutdown was affecting many state parks. I was glad to hear that Wisconsin was one of the few states in the country making sure that these beautiful locations remained open to the public. Thanks to everyone who made this story possible; Kristin and I will never forget it!

Their special dates

Dan Semrad & Kristin Kallio were happily engaged on 10/03/2013 .

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