Rose Torphy first visited the Grand Canyon 34 years ago. She walked around, took in the sights, and fell in love with the place. In January, she made her second trip to Grand Canyon National Park. This time, she was so caught up in the beauty of the canyon and so impressed by the junior ranger education program, she decided to sign up to become a junior ranger herself. At 103 years old.
That’s three years older than the Grand Canyon National Park itself, which was designated as such 100 years ago on February 26.
“I’m happy to protect [Grand Canyon National Park] for my great-grandchildren to visit one day,” Torphy said. She has plenty of them, too. 18 great-grandchildren in all. “My parents taught me to care for the land, but not all the kids have that,” Torphy later told Good Morning America.
“She’s a spokesperson for the park now,” said her daughter, Cheryl Stoneburner. “Everywhere we go, people ask her about her junior ranger pin and she says, ‘You’re never too old to see the Grand Canyon!'”
According to Stoneburner, Torphy hasn’t taken off her junior ranger pin since they returned from the canyon.
“She’s a spitfire for sure,” Stoneburner told AJ about her mother. “She and my dad visited many of the national parks in the ’80s and ’90s. In 2003 she went to Denali with my sister. She even did some rafting then on the Talkeetna (in her late 80s).
Torphy is also six years older than Betty Reid Soskin, a 97-year-old national park ranger from the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.
“She is probably the oldest Scorpion [badge winner] in the 11-and-above category,” Stoneburner said.
Photos courtesy of Cheryl Stoneburner.
Have you seen the winter issue of Adventure Journal? Subscribe to get it now—we guarantee you’ll love it.