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From Estranged to Adventurous: A Sunday Paper Update as a 93-Year-Old Grandma and 42-Year-Old Grandson Break a World Record

From Estranged to Adventurous: A Sunday Paper Update as a 93-Year-Old Grandma and 42-Year-Old Grandson Break a World Record

By The Sunday Paper Team
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Last September we brought you a story about Ryan and his grandmother, Joy, who were on a mission to visit all 63 National Parks. At the time, the duo had checked 62 of 63 off their list, and now they’ve done it! They accomplished a lot more than just setting a world record.

In a way this story began 21 years ago when Brad became estranged from Joy after his parents' divorce. Reconnecting at his sister's wedding in 2008, Brad noticed that Joy's health was deteriorating. Over time, Joy recovered, and Brad, reminded of what matters in life during a hike on the Appalachian Trail, reached out to her. Although their initial reunion was awkward, they remained in contact.

In 2015, Brad, struggling with the pressures of vet school, called Joy to invite her on a camping trip in the Smoky Mountains. This experience became a turning point in their relationship. Despite Joy's lack of experience in outdoor activities, they embarked on their first hiking adventure, ascending a peak in the park. Joy's wobbly, but successful, journey to the top was met with cheers from a group of college students, and they were hooked on exploring national parks together.

Throughout their travels, Joy's physical strength and endurance grew. She accomplished various challenging activities, such as zip-lining in West Virginia's New River Gorge National Park and completing a class 3 white-water rafting trip in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. Joy's zest for life was evident when she fearlessly rolled down sand dunes in Colorado's Great Sand Dunes National Park, despite Brad's concerns for her safety.

On their final day, they revisited their favorite trail, hand in hand, savoring the lush rainforest and breathtaking views. Throughout their journey, the parks served as a catalyst for healing their estranged relationship. Joy and Brad's remarkable accomplishment serves as an inspiring reminder that it's never too late to embark on adventures, repair broken relationships, and find joy in the beauty of nature.

For more of their incredible adventures, you can read the full story here.

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