Image: Ely Roberts

Walk 500 miles? For Calle Ann Wontor and Jonathan Bates Flint—two nature-loving nurses who first met in the high-stakes world of the Seattle Children’s Hospital’s pediatric ICU—a passion for outdoor adventure has always fueled their relationship. And it was often while out on the trails, adventuring all over their beloved Pacific Northwest, that the idea of marriage would come up. When it became clear the conversation was more than just speculative, the couple agreed that an outdoor elopement in Central Oregon’s high desert was exactly how they wanted to say “I do.”

“For the last few years we’d gone to Bend, Oregon, with our friend Anne and my sister Kate,” explains Calle, “and about a month out from our annual trip we decided to turn it into a mountaintop elopement.” Calle found a dress, they booked a photographer, and that was all the pre-planning they needed. Elopement announcements went out with pseudo-RSVP cards inviting replies with advice, encouragement, and well-wishes for the soon-to-be newlyweds.

As the day of their October wedding approached, the couple and five friends watched the weather closely. “October is such a difficult time to plan outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest because the weather can change so quickly,” Calle says, “so we prepped everyone for a cold night of camping.” Much to their gleeful surprise, the sun blazed on their big day. Clear blue skies ushered them three miles up the Broken Top trail to the turquoise waters of No Name Lake, their backpacks heavy with celebratory bits and pieces—Thai takeout from a favorite restaurant, a last-minute bridal bouquet from Wild Flowers of Oregon kept fresh in Calle’s Nalgene, hot toddy supplies, and s’mores fixings.

When they finished the 1,400-foot climb to the lake, Calle and Jonathan changed into their wedding attire—the Perdita dress from BHLDN for her and a J.Crew suit for him—and as the sun began to set, they exchanged vows. Soon, the hot toddies were flowing, and the bride traded her bridal gown for a wearable, full-body sleeping bag. “We partied together under an amazing sky filled with stars and woke up to one of the best sunrises we have ever seen,” Calle says. “As soon as we made it back to the car to drive down the trailhead, it started to snow. It was perfect.”

As for the 500 miles? The couple says it’s been that, and possibly 500 more. Of course, there’s even more to come. “We’re running the 110-mile Mont Blanc trail over seven days for our honeymoon,” Calle says, “and afterwards we’ll head to Spain and Portugal for sun, surfing, and adventure.”

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