Spending time outdoors brings people together, and in the case of two T-birds, for time and all eternity.
Cloe Stocking, a junior studying nursing from Bountiful, and Alex Murillo, a sophomore studying psychology from Providence, met exactly a year ago today. Stocking’s roommate introduced them when Murillo was looking for a date to the rodeo.
After spending only a few hours with her, Murillo was head over heels. “I proposed to her on that date actually,” Murillo said. “We were joking but we hit this point where we had so much in common,” Stocking added. “He was floored and finally just stood up.”
Most of the shared interests between the two are, in fact, their love for the outdoors. Both Murillo and Stocking had their favorite activities, which they were excited to share with one another. She taught him how to rock climb and in turn, he took her backpacking.
Like many first timers, Stocking was nervous for her first backpacking trip. Luckily, that exact adventure to Coyote Gulch in late September, ended up becoming a pivotal moment in their relationship. The scenery was peaceful and long days of hiking provided a perfect opportunity for meaningful conversations.
According to Stocking, there is something special about spending time outside. “In nature is where you’re almost your rawest. Nothing else really matters,” she said. “It was a really good way to get to know each other at that raw level.”
After becoming exclusive in November, the couple continued spending all their time in nature. Together, they have visited over ten national and state parks including the Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Arches and Zion National park.
Despite all their grand adventures, many times, the smallest moments in nature became the most significant. On the long ride home from a weekend in Arizona, Murillo and Stocking got lost on the road and accidentally ended up driving through the west end of Zion National Park. With the sun setting on the surrounding red rocks, the misfortunate detour quickly became a beautiful memory. “I just thought, I’m with Cloe so it will be okay.” Murillo said.
Many nature lovers would agree that being disconnected from the world provides a clarity of mind that is both exhilarating and comforting. This past June, the two spent several days exploring the Redwoods of California, where Murillo discovered something that would change his life. “At that point my thought process was, ‘What else would I be looking for if I wasn’t to marry Cloe?’” Murillo said.
A week later, the couple found themselves ascending Half Dome, one of the most iconic mountain tops in Yosemite National Park. The final picturesque view from the peak wasn’t the only reward for hiking hours in the hot sun. When walking to the edge to take in the view, Murillo asked Stocking to be his wife. “The whole thing was very us,” Stocking said. “On our first date, he told me that one day he would take me to Yosemite… [It was] fun that it ended up being where he [would] propose.”
Now married, they are still excited about new adventures. “We love to plan trips,” Murillo said. The couple looks forward to visiting Joshua Tree at the end of this month and Peru and Chile later in October.
Story By: Ansleigh Mikesell
Photos Provided By: Cloe Stocking