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

Multi-vehicle crash along the Malahat leaves traffic crawling

Southbound lane heavily delayed at Malahat Summit

BC GAMES: Victoria athletes hit the podium

Gold, silver and bronze performances in equestrian, kayak, rowing, golf

Victoria man arrested in connection with Hillside murder

Daniel Creagh faces second-degree murder charge in death of Joseph Gauthier

PHOTO GALLERY: Phillips Backyard Weekender hits all the right notes

Local and international acts keep Victoria crowd cutting a rug

Raccoons making themselves at home on Saanich property

Resident blames neighbour for attracting pests to area

BC Wildfire merges two Okanagan wildfires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Ping-pong balls of fire dropped to merge two B.C. wildfires

The merger is considered successful by BC Wildfire Services

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Gold medals for Victoria rowers at BC Games

Both girls row out of the Victora City Rowing Club at Elk Lake

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Most Read