When Brad Ryan realized that his 92-year-old grandmother Joy had never seen mountains, he devised a plan.
Brad wanted his grandmother to witness her first mountain. She inquired, ‘What time are you picking me up?’ when he asked whether she wanted to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In October 2015, ‘she saw mountains and ascended with me,’ stated Brad. She smiled even when it rained.
In 2022, the grandmom-grandson combination will have visited 63 national parks. Brad shared his Appalachian Trail adventures ‘She lived vicariously through my words, per GMA.
So he felt obligated to show her ‘these amazing wild areas’ ‘Make sure she has memories to share.’
D.C. doctor ‘Grandma Joy is a superhero.’ Joy, a mother of three and grandma of four, is “not your ordinary 92-year-old.’ Joy was a 20-year-old widow when they started traveling together.
Brad thought camping with his grandmother would be difficult. He confesses it was his ‘misperception of what age signifies and what her soul would allow her to do.’
Joy says these travels are ‘beyond anything I’ve ever imagined’ She remarked ‘it didn’t harm to try something once’ She ‘didn’t want to regret it tomorrow’
Brad grew up with his grandmother. ‘My grandma was insistent about me being in nature, and I suppose my love of animals originated from her,’ says Brad.
Throughout his boyhood, they were ‘extremely close,’ he says. After spending hours on the road together and swapping experiences, their relationship has become ‘the closest friendship I could ever imagine having with someone.’
His grandma said, ‘I wouldn’t exchange him.’ I love him. Indeed.’ Brad says Joy ‘saved me in the process’ by helping him become mentally robust.