Hazel Amos and family enjoy a team lunch at Kumsheen Rafting Resort.

B.C. woman, 96, aims for Guinness World Record for whitewater rafting

Hazel Amos known to friends and family as a daredevil whitewater warrior when on the Thompson River

By Fiona Anderson

Triumph Media

When 96-year-old Hazel Amos steps into a Kumsheen Rafting Resort raft on the raging Thompson River this summer, she’ll be hoping to accomplish three important feats: become a Guiness World Record holder, an inspiration for active living, and to simply have a really, really good time.

Amos is no stranger to the blue waters and rampaging rapids of the legendary Thompson, for the nonagenarian has done this at least 25 times over the years — and has become the oldest Class IV whitewater rafter in anyone’s memory.

“Anybody can go to the park,” Amos quips. “But this is way more fun.”

Amos is issuing a challenge to other seniors — join her on the water on July 21 to truly experience one of British Columbia’s most iconic adventures.

“It keeps you young and don’t be afraid,” Amos says. “Just do it.”

Rafting on a fairly flat water section of the Thompson River, nearly Lytton, B.C., with Kumsheen Rafting Resort.

Amos is a proponent of active living, taking up swimming in her retirement, working out into her 90s and even lifting weights. Being active, she says, is one of the reasons that she’s still healthy and has been on this earth 96 years.

So, how did the former farm girl become a whitewater addict?

It’s her son’s fault.

“My brother was working up-country on the railroad in the 70s and he always saw Kumsheen rafts in the water, and thinking it was a great thing to do,” recalls Margaret Connors, Hazel’s daughter and a resident of Surrey. “We did it a few times, and then it became an annual thing — it was just a really nice way to be with family. My mother and I would drive up there and spend the day with him on the river.”

READ MORE: Surrey’s whitewater grandma

Those days added up over the years, with dozens of family members heading to Kumsheen Rafting Resort. The resort’s founder, Bernie Fandrich, was there for many of them.

That’s why, this year, Kumsheen has applied to the Guiness World Book of Records to see if Amos’s rafting trip this year can qualify for an award. He expects an answer by about September.

“We call her Grandma Hazel, the patron saint of rafting,” Fandrich says. “We know she’s the oldest person to have rafted the Thompson River. We think she might be the oldest Class IV white-water rafter in the the world!”

This year, the annual event will once again be a family affair. Amos will head to Kumsheen, near Lytton, from Surrey, and be joined by her daughter and her husband, son and daughter-in-law, a nephew and two grandchildren.

“It’s wonderful there,” Amos says of rafting on the Thompson with Kumsheen. “Everyone’s friendly and very accommodating.”

“I’ve done it at least 25 times and we’d love to be in the Guinness Book World Records,” Amos says, “should it ever come to fruition.”

 

Hazel Amos and family make their way to the Thompson River in 2016 for a record-breaking rafting excursion with Kumsheen Rafting, of Lytton, B.C.

Just Posted

Brentwood boys finish 13th at provincial XC meet

Keaton Heisterman 12th overall to lead Brentwood

UPDATED: Malahat point-to-point cameras receive strong support, public survey shows

The survey was conducted by the CRD safety commission this past February and March

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Light makes light work of Autumn Classic

Duncan runner finishes first in combined 10k+5k

Lake Cowichan institution closing its doors

A Lake Cowichan institution is closing its doors come Nov. 30. The… Continue reading

People flocking to Cowichan Bay to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over the floating breakwater

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Most Read