Bass River

Remote, Creek
Class: IV-V Length:
Location: Five Islands Character: Creek, Remote
Gauge: Water Guage Contributor: Kelsey Thompson

The Bass River of Five Islands is the natural step up from the Folly River. Not to be confused with the Bass River of Bass River this class IV-V creek requires a little bit of work but the pay off is well worth it. The ideal time to do this run is in the fall before the snow hits because the put in road is often too soft and snow covered in the spring to make it close to the put-in. This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth going in the Spring, just expect to hike further than usual and bring a four wheel drive vehicle if possible.

When you make it to the put-in you’re greeted with a bridge and little sign confirming that you are indeed in the right place. Once on the river a short class one stint brings you to the first drop…which most people will portage although it has been run successfully. Scout and portage on river right when you come to a left hand turn with an obvious horizon line. This unnamed drop is about an 8 foot ledge with a really messy lip that is difficult to get a stroke in on and a nasty hydraulic at the bottom during high water. Next you’ll come to a few read and run drops before arriving at Crap Chute. Scout on river left when the entire river falls into a four foot wide slot, you can portage high up the bank on river left or seal launch from the ledge beside the drop.

Now you’re done with the manky drops and can really start enjoying the rest of the run as you float into Split rock; a drop that is split in two by a rock island and followed closely by a ten footer. Run both on river right but it’s worth having a peak first, scout on river left. After the ten footer is a small ledge, stay right on this one as well. The left slot looks great but lands on a rock that could make for a really bad pin and has made for some nasty pitons, right is a simple boof. Next up is the most continuous bolder garden section. Most of this is boat scout able with good water reading skills and lots of eddy hopping. Keep an eye out for wood as this is where most logs get caught up on the run.

Now you’re at the glory drops, As Good as it Gets and Three Blind Mice. These are the cleanest drops on the river. As Good as it Gets can be scouted on river left and Three Blind Mice is just that, blind! It is possible to scout on river right from about 100 feet up but it’s really hard to gauge what the drop is actually like from here. At low water you can scout from river left with difficulty but most people run it blind which I’d recommend. Stay tight to the right wall with some speed and boof, it’s all good!

After one more three to four foot ledge you’re done and can relax as you float a couple of km’s downstream to the take out. Be sure to take out at the first bridge that goes over the river. It is on someone else’s property so be courteous and park out on the main road. Paddling down to the second bridge seems like a more responsible plan since it’s on public land but there are several beaver dams on this section of the river and it’s a huge pain to get around them all!

If you’re styling the drops on the Folly (you don’t have to be running Toblerone and Face Plant) you’re ready for the Bass but be sure to bring a little extra safety gear because of it’s remoteness.

Hazards

The run starts off with a good sized rapid and a couple of nice holes to punch. Shortly afterward the river splits into two separate channels, the left more of a creek style slide and the right more of a river running scoot. Afterward the two channels reconnect before splitting again at the next drop. This time river right brings you to a tighter more technical section of small drops and boogie water while the left channel holds the runs crown jewel. On the left channel you’ll find one of the cleanest slides in the province that is good to go at almost all levels when run center left. The last rapid is a short ways downstream and has a hole in the middle that can dish out a mean beat down at high flows. Either than that is relatively straight forward. Take out after this rapid.

Low water– class III (Below 2.5) High water class III+-IV

Although more of a river than a creek the North requires solid river skills and the ability to read more difficult whitewater. All lines should be scouted, and care should be taken especially during high water.

Access

From Halifax – Take Highway 102 North to Truro. From there take Highway 104 West towards New Brunswick. Take the Masstown exit (exit 12), turn right towards Great Village on 4 west. Turn Left on highway 2 North/West towards Great Village/Bass River and stay on this road until you’re in Five Islands. Park on the shoulder of the road beside Taylor Lane, this is the take out. You may want to go up the road/driveway to get an idea of what the bridge looks like you’ll be taking out at. Once a shuttle is sorted head back east on highway 2 then turn left (north) onto New Brittan Road. This will continue to get smaller and smaller until it’s too soft/snowed in/crappy to go any further. (stay left at all forks) Park wherever you can find a spot and start hiking. You’ll come to an ATV trail on your left shortly after you pass a couple of outhouses on the right. This will take you to the put-in. Note: a good four wheel dive vehicle can make it to the ATV trail so be sure you don’t pass it!

From New Brunswick – Take Highway 104 East to Nova Scotia. Take exit 11.Turn right onto highway 4. Turn right on highway 2 North/West towards Great Village/Bass River and stay on this road until you’re in Five Islands. Park on the shoulder of the road beside Taylor Lane, this is the take out. You may want to go up the road/driveway to get an idea of what the bridge looks like you’ll be getting out at. Once a shuttle is sorted head back east on highway 2 then turn left (north) onto New Brittan Road. This will continue to get smaller and smaller until it’s too soft/snowed in/crappy to go any further. (stay left at all forks) Park wherever you can find a spot and start hiking. You’ll come to an ATV trail on your left shortly after you pass a couple of outhouses on the right. This will take you to the put-in. Note: a good four wheel dive vehicle can make it to the ATV trail so be sure you don’t pass it!

Gauge

Great Village River Scribble Hill. This isn’t directly linked to the Bass but is in the area and usually a good indicator. Anywhere above 1.4 is run able but not ideal, 1.5 and higher is perfect.

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Last modified May 26, 2019