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

Lost sheep returned to the fold — stolen sculpture reappears

The Castlegar Sculpturewalk sculpture was reported missing Tuesday.

Threatened species found nesting at Teck Trail

Canadian data collected from 1968 to 2005 show an 80 per cent decline of the Common Nighthawk

Castlegar Cannabis bylaws one step closer

COUNCIL BRIEFS: New loader for airport, dog park ponds to be filled, support for Day of Peace

Art thieves nab Castlegar statue

Desert Big Horn part of Castlegar Sculpturewalk collection.

Trail bus line readies to takeover Kelowna run

Silver City Stage Lines must have a booking site up by Sept. 30; two vehicles activated by Oct. 26

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read