MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – The Michigan Ice Fest welcomes ice climbers and spectators from all over the U.S. and from a handful of other places around the world.
The ability to climb frozen waterfalls offers a destination getaway in the heart of winter.
Living in Milwaukee, climbers Kenneth Conway and Kendall Heun made their first ascents at Ice Fest in 2022.
On this trip, Kenneth had something beyond climbing on his mind.
“Munising is definitely a special place for us. We came up here in October and had a really good vacation up here. So, I knew that I wanted to do it up here. We both really love ice climbing,” said Conway. “My Dad actually proposed to my Mom with a canoe, so we’re kind of an adventure family. So I thought it would be cool to carry on that tradition.”
Conway had been planning the moment for months but said most of it came together in the last few weeks.
“I had the ring made by one of the people at the climbing gym we go to in Milwaukee.”
Their friend and photographer Jayce Kolinski was along to record the proposal, but a brief moment caught Conway by surprise.
“As we’re walking down to the falls where the first group was waiting, they had the picks set in the falls, they stop and have us take a picture. Kendall said, ‘What, are these the engagement photos?’ It was just as a joke, but it was so hard to keep it cool,” said Conway.
Ring in hand, and all jokes aside, when Kenneth proposed to Kendall, everything else faded into the background.
“It didn’t even feel real,” said Heun. “It didn’t really set in until this morning. Just because it was such a surprise to me. I mean a very welcome surprise, and I’m very happy about it. It’s just really exciting.”
As this couple prepares to spend the rest of their lives together, we asked for their best advice for a loving relationship.
“Find someone that you enjoy to suffer with. Ice climbing can be a pretty hardy experience. To find someone to go through that experience with is really important,” said Conway.
“Find someone that brings you joy and that makes you feel like everything is fun. I know that sounds really simple, but it’s such an important part. There’s work, there’s good work, then there’s work you can do while you’re having fun,” said Heun.
The couple is moving to Montana later this year.
They are still figuring out a location and date for the wedding.