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Mother with vision loss travels with daughter to all Minnesota state parks

Daughter helps mother with vision loss visit all 75 Minnesota state parks
Daughter helps mother with vision loss visit all 75 Minnesota state parks 02:27

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — A mother-daughter duo just conquered all 75 state parks in Minnesota — a feat that was six years in the making.

Candy Woods is on the tail end of vision loss.

"I look at everything, it's gray. Look straight on, it's gray, everything's gray, and white, bright," Candy Woods said.

But her nature-loving daughter, Katie Woods, decided there was still much to gain.

MORE: DNR bringing all-terrain wheelchairs to 8 more state parks

"Because she's losing her vision, I want her to see as much as she can see," Katie Woods said.

The pair started to travel the world, from Canada to Croatia. Candy may not have seen the sights, but she experienced them.

"Being in the outdoors, being in different places, hearing about what everybody else is seeing, you stand there and you can't see it but you're listening to everybody else talk about the beautiful stuff," Candy Woods said.  


So they decided to start conquering the beautiful stuff in their own state. In 2017, they started hiking every state park in Minnesota, along with their two dogs. Trails ranged from a mile to six. Things, at times, got dicey.

"She doesn't know that cliff is there, at least she doesn't know that it is far down as it is," Katie Woods said.

"I would catch it out of the corner of my eye and go, 'Is that a cliff right there?' She'd go, 'Yep, you've been on it for a while.' Oh no," Candy Woods said.

But together, they did it. Six years and 200 miles later, they just finished their very last park, in Caledonia, Minnesota.

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"It pushes you just to keep going. It's just like, 'I got this, I got this, everybody sees I got this and I can do it,'" Candy Woods said. 

"What she has is not a disability," Katie Woods said. "She can do just about anything. This is proof of that."

And they've proved life isn't just about what you see — it's about what you feel.

If Candy and Katie's adventure inspired you, you're in luck. This Friday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is waiving entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas.

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