93-Year-Old Granny Completes Her Visits To All 63 U.S. National Parks
93-YEAR-OLD GRANNY COMPLETES HER VISITS TO ALL 63 U.S. NATIONAL PARKS
From the deserts of Southern California to the dense forests of Alaska, the United States has an incredible diversity of nature to offer. For most of her life, Joy Ryan never saw the countryside outside of her home state of Ohio. Then, when she was in her eighties, her grandson, Brad Ryan, decided to take her on a journey to all of the national parks in the United States, a mission that ultimately took eight years to complete. At the age of 93, Grandma Joy finally visited all 63 parks, accomplishing a monumental feat in American Samoa National Park. "When I found out she had never seen the great wilderness of America -- deserts, mountains, oceans, whatever -- I thought it would haunt me if I didn't do something about it," says Brad.
This idea was the catalyst for her first trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. However, as they traveled, Brad realised they could visit more parks nearby, and their trips became more frequent. Over the years they managed to see all the famous sites of Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Redwood and so on. But Brad enjoys the time with his grandmother as much as the amazing places they got to visit.
Despite Grandma Joy's advanced age, she still enjoyed every second of climbing mountains and even going rafting. Her grandson credits her zest for life as being the key to her good health and spirit. She is grateful for every new day and always looks forward to the next adventure. Her long journey across the United States finally ended in American Samoa. "It's about 6,700 miles from Ohio, where we live. It is the only national park in the USA that lies south of the equator. way in the South Pacific. It's a long road, but we're happy to walk it," explains Brad. “We can enjoy the beach, we can enjoy the beautiful tropical paradise. But as we learned from the rangers who work there, American Samoa is an island community that is very close to family. And I think there's a certain poetic beauty to ending it there.”
The couple shared a photo of themselves posing in front of the 63rd sign and everyone smiled at the performance. Grandma Joy even received a certificate from a park ranger that she had visited every national park in the United States. "Every morning I thank God for giving me another day," says Grandma Joy. “And you have a choice whether you have an angry day or a sunny day. So smile at everyone and let everyone know you're having fun.” Although her US tour is over, she and her grandson aren't done touring just yet. Then they set their sights on Kenya.