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

First Nations also worried about northern B.C. natural gas pipeline challenge

They already have contracts lined up should project proceed

Burns Lake area wildfires contained, but still burning

Smouldering ground fires and smoke still expected in the coming weeks

Indigenous youth ski program in Northwest gets funding

Olympian Beckie Scott was in Witset and Hazelton for first time last year.

Gak 4 Cops for Cancer

The Gitwangak team raised over $10,700 for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes.

North BC Ale Trail features Smithers

After filming in Smithers in July, North BC Ale Trail is ready to sell a trip to the Bulkley Valley.

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Misspelling B.C. toddler’s plane ticket leaves travel agent on the hook for $1100

Mom and toddler couldn’t get on flight from Iran to Vancouver

Tempering the B.C. cannabis legalization ‘gold rush’

Retail selling of marijuana offers potential business opportunities and pitfalls

B.C. cancer patient’s case exposes gaps in care for homeless people: advocates

Terry Willis says he’s praying for a clean, safe place to live to undergo the cancer treatments he needs after he was denied chemotherapy because he lives in a Victoria homeless shelter.

Trump boasts of America’s might, gets laugh at UN

President Donald Trump received an unexpected laugh at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Salvage of grounded Haida Gwaii barge to begin as emergency command post closes

The barge and lodge broke away from their moorings in high winds on Sept. 8 and ran aground.

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Most Read