HomeTravelThey met as teens at the Grand Canyon. 7 years later they...

They met as teens at the Grand Canyon. 7 years later they reunited and fell in love

(CNN) — When Carrie visited the Grand Canyon in the summer time of 2001, she fell in love — twice.

First, she was immediately enamored with the huge vistas of copper-colored rocks and vast open blue skies that later bled right into a burned orange sundown.

“I loved how hot it was. I loved just the natural history of the area, like you could walk up and a whole felled petrified tree would be right in front of you. It was just lovely,” Carrie tells CNN Travel at the moment.

Carrie was 19 and passing by way of Arizona together with her mom and stepfather, on their manner again from touring Arizona State University.

The earlier yr Carrie had dropped out after a semester at an area faculty in Michigan. Her mom, involved Carrie would determine to not enroll anyplace else, spent the journey making an attempt to steer her daughter of the perks of the faculty expertise.

“She is selling this entire trip as this huge growth opportunity for me — ‘Look at all these people you can meet.’ She’s pointing out all the cute guys on the college tour,” recollects Carrie.

When the household arrived at the nationwide park, Carrie’s mom continued her efforts. She zoned in on a younger man who was sitting, alone, on the fringe of a rock at Hopi Point, on the South Rim of the canyon.

“She goes, ‘You know what? I want that picture. But I don’t want a stranger in my picture. I want somebody I know out there. So Carrie, go out there and sit with that guy so I can get a picture,'” recollects Carrie at the moment.

Begrudgingly, Carrie agreed, and made her solution to the fringe of the rock to sit down down subsequent to the stranger.

Carrie and Kris met on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, in the US.

Dmitry Petrakov/Adobe Stock

This was Kris Sorensen, a 19-year-old from Denmark who’d not too long ago graduated from a world boarding faculty in New Mexico.

Kris was additionally visiting the Grand Canyon along with his mother and father, as a part of a post-graduation US highway journey earlier than the household returned to Denmark.

Kris had noticed Carrie earlier that day, on one among the buses that ferry guests round the nationwide park.

“I’m trying, you know, to be very cool and try to catch her eye, as you do when you’re 19, 20 years old,” recollects Kris.

It hadn’t labored, however now the lady from the bus was strolling in direction of him, and sitting herself subsequent to him on the fringe of the rock.

“Hi, my mom’s making me do this,” defined Carrie, awkwardly, as she sat down and peered out over Hopi Point.

It was a shocking view, however her consideration quickly switched to the individual sitting subsequent to her.

“We just started talking,” she recollects. “And I don’t think we got up for five hours.”

That’s how Carrie fell in love at the Grand Canyon a second time.

On the fringe of the Grand Canyon

Carrie's mother took this photo of Carrie and Kris on the day they met in May 2001, at Hopi Point on the Grand Canyon.

Carrie’s mom took this picture of Carrie and Kris on the day they met in May 2001, at Hopi Point on the Grand Canyon.

Courtesy Carrie Sorensen

Kris and Carrie say they talked about “everything” that day. They realized they shared a love of fantasy novels. They have been in each other’s completely different cultural backgrounds. They talked about faculty and faculty and their life objectives.

And they admired the view.

“It’s like a perfect curve in the canyon, where when you’re sitting there, you’re looking straight out at the Colorado River coming in,” says Carrie. “It was just a gorgeous spot.”

“We sat there for the sunset, and then it was time to go.”

Night was falling, the park was closing and their mother and father needed to depart.

Carrie and Kris obtained up and paused for a second, questioning what they ought to do subsequent. It was 2001, so neither of them had cell telephones, however they each used e-mail, so they determined to swap addresses earlier than going in their completely different instructions.

Carrie spent the hours-long drive residence in her personal world.

“I was just in the back of the car, like, teenage girl daydreaming, staring at the stars going ‘Oh my gosh, this was just such an amazing day. I am sold on Arizona. I’m definitely going to go to college here.'”

Carrie emailed Kris first.

He jokes this was a great factor, “because her email address was actually completely incomprehensible and impossible to remember.”

Not that his personal was significantly better.

“It was at the time when your first email was really embarrassing,” says Kris. “Like ‘Cooldude80’ or something like that.”

Kris was nonetheless highway tripping along with his mother and father when he picked up Carrie’s message from a San Francisco web cafe.

“I don’t actually remember what it said,” says Kris. “But I do remember that there was this really intense feeling you get with butterflies, and just like that longing.”

Here's a photo of Kris in a Californian internet cafe reading Carrie's first email.

Here’s a photograph of Kris in a Californian web cafe studying Carrie’s first e-mail.

Chresten Kruchov

Kris’ stepdad took a photograph of Kris studying that first e-mail.

Meanwhile, Carrie’s mother developed her {photograph} of Carrie and Kris at Hopi Point. It turned out so effectively that she determined to blow the image up and grasp it on a wall in her home.

This was extra as a result of she appreciated the view, suggests Carrie, than as a result of she figured Kris could be an vital determine in her daughter’s life.

“My mom is pragmatic. She’s just like, ‘Whatever. It’s nice that you met someone you could talk to.’ She didn’t anticipate it going anywhere.”

Pen buddies

Kris and Carrie began sending messages again and forth. Their correspondence continued by way of summer time and into the fall, when Carrie began at Arizona State, and Kris relocated to Scotland to attend the University of St Andrews.

Months handed, and the emails continued. The dispatches have been intermittent, however all the time welcome.

“Because we had this magical beginning, we just felt the ability and the safety to be able to share things with each other that we wouldn’t have done otherwise. And we weren’t sharing with other people,” says Carrie.

“I knew Carrie’s inner secrets, and she knew mine. And yet I had no idea what food she liked to eat,” says Kris.

The months rolled on. Carrie and Kris settled into faculty life, and stayed in contact — though Carrie nonetheless vividly remembers the damage betrayal she felt when she discovered Kris was relationship somebody in Scotland.

“As far as I know, we’ve had this massive connection. And then one day, all of a sudden, I see this other girl’s name plastered all over his social media.”

Carrie’s pal despatched an offended e-mail to Kris on her behalf, however extra time handed, and Carrie began seeing another person too.

She and Kris resumed their — now-firmly-platonic — pen pal correspondence.

“I remember being worried that my significant other at the time would not approve of the conversation, but he actually didn’t have a problem with that at all,” says Carrie. “Because again, it was a pen-pal situation. And he, I guess, had the same kind of mentality as my mom: ‘Well, it’s not like we’ll ever meet this guy. He lives on the other side of the world.'”

A Grand Canyon reunion

Kris and Carrie returned to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when they reunited in 2008.

Kris and Carrie returned to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when they reunited in 2008.

Dmitry Petrakov/Adobe Stock

Carrie and Kris’ e-mail friendship continued over the subsequent a number of years as the two graduated from faculty, began working, and remained in one another’s orbit.

Then in 2008, inside six months, each their long-term relationships fell aside. In the midst of their respective break-ups, Carrie and Kris began emailing extra continuously. Then they began video calling. As their correspondence elevated, it was apparent the deep connection they’d all the time felt was nonetheless there, in some type.

But Carrie and Kris, now deep into their twenties, hadn’t seen each other in individual since that afternoon on the Grand Canyon when they have been in their late teens. It appeared surreal to assume a connection shaped in just a few hours, years in the past, could possibly be one thing value following up on. But as time went on, they each figured they needed to give it a strive.

Kris remembers calling his mom to say he was going to to go to Carrie in the US.

“I’m going to make this happen,” he stated.

“You should. I can hear how important this is to you,” he remembers his mom responding.

Meanwhile, Carrie recollects ready in the airport for Kris, working by way of all the situations in her head the place the reunion did not go to plan.

(*7*) she says. “So it was a little bit nerve-wracking.”

But the in-person reunion was every little thing Carrie and Kris may have dreamed of. They kissed at the airport, and then returned to the Grand Canyon, collectively, on the anniversary of the day they’d first met. They sat collectively at their spot, on Hopi Point, seven years later, reflecting on issues coming full circle.

During Kris’ American go to, the two began discussing how a long-distance relationship would possibly work, and that fall, Carrie came over Kris in the UK. They have been trying into visas and immigration legal guidelines and determining a plan when, to their mutual shock, they discovered Carrie was pregnant.

This was “absolutely not in the plan,” says Carrie, however they have been each delighted. They accelerated their plans, and obtained married in Carrie’s mom’s yard in 2009, proper after their son was born.

“It ended up being a gorgeous July day, and it so happened that the town festival was going on at the same time, so we got fireworks,” says Carrie, who took Kris’ final title following the marriage ceremony.

The couple nonetheless needed to spend the first 10 months of their son’s life residing in completely different nations, as they waited for Kris’ inexperienced card. This wasn’t a simple separation, however by late 2009, Kris moved to the US.

Moments of magic

Today, Carrie and Kris are married and live in California.

Today, Carrie and Kris are married and stay in California.

Carrie Sorensen

Today, Carrie and Kris stay collectively in California, with three sons. Carrie turned her love of fantasy novels right into a profession as a fantasy writer, beneath the title CK Sorens, whereas Kris works at LinkedIn.

“It’s been really a journey of growth and personal development, relationship development for us,” says Kris of the fourteen years since he and Carrie reunited.

It’s not all the time been a simple journey.

“There’s been a lot of challenges, a lot of heartbreak,” says Kris.

Some years in the past, Carrie and Kris had a daughter, who was stillborn. Working by way of their feelings following this tragedy was very powerful.

“We are completely different people when it comes to grief and everything — he wants connection, and I just want to curl up in my blanket and be left alone,” says Carrie.

But the two discovered methods to take care of each other and themselves, and at the moment say they’re assured they can get by way of most challenges collectively.

“We know we can get through it,” says Carrie. “We know it’s going to be hard, it’s not like it’s magic, all the time.”

Carrie and Kris have three sons who they're teaching Danish and American traditions.

Carrie and Kris have three sons who they’re instructing Danish and American traditions.

Carrie Sorensen

There are nonetheless moments of magic although, Carrie says. She and Kris nonetheless get pleasure from deep conversations, paying homage to that first afternoon they spent chatting overlooking the Grand Canyon, and their subsequent years of emailing. The distinction is now, Kris additionally is aware of what meals Carrie likes.

And whereas Carrie and Kris have not returned to the Grand Canyon since their reunion journey in 2008, they sit up for doing so when their children are a bit older. In the meantime, the couple get pleasure from telling their kids the story.

“There’s no doubt that the sort of magic of the Grand Canyon is very real in our household,” says Kris, who says it is his “absolute favorite nature spot in the entire world.”

Carrie’s mom, in the meantime, nonetheless has the {photograph} of Carrie and Kris at Hopi Point on delight of place on her wall. The picture has solely taken on extra that means as the years move, and Carrie and Kris discover themselves reflecting on what their teenage selves would consider their lives now.

“My 19-year-old self would tell him ‘I told you so,'” says Carrie, laughing. “I believe in the magic of meetings and all of that stuff. I do still tell him ‘I told you so.'”



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