Who says adults can’t play in the mud?
Thanks to the waxing and waning of the moon each day, the power and intensity of the tide swirling into the Shubenacadie River, Nova Scotia’s largest river, creates the perfect equation for upriver whitewater rafting—and for the kid in all of us, mudsliding—the perfect excuse to play in the mud!
Twice a day, tidal bores, a phenomenon in which the incoming tide forms waves travel up a river against the normal direction of the river, occur. Luckily for us, local tourism operators seize this opportunity to ride the tides, found at the lower part of the river, with large boats called Zodiac Hurricanes. There are several operators; we chose Shubenacadie River Adventure Tours and highly recommend it.
What to expect when you arrive
Once you arrive at the lodge you are required to sign a waiver, get suited up with life jackets, and if, weather requires, rain gear and boots. The operators ask that you arrive at least an hour before your tour time. You may, like us, need to wait until everyone is ready and suited with a life jacket, which can take a while, but just be patient, the wait is well worth it.
Starting out slow, then riding the tide
Soon enough the guides took us down to the riverside to enjoy a nice, relaxed ride up the river past sandbars, mudflaps, Acadian dykelands, and forests. Shortly after our launch, the water quickly receded and we were able to stand on the bottom of the river. Almost as soon as it receded, you will be amazed at how the ground that you were standing on just seconds earlier, becomes filled with the tides. With the waves crashing over the sides of the boat, you’ll need to hold on tight for this adventure, as the waves crash over the edge of the boat!
Slip sliding, Mudsliding
At about the midpoint, the guides offer a chance for rest, relaxation and refreshments. On the banks of the river is soft, slippery mud, angled at about a 45-degree angle—as if the mudsliding gods conspired—this is mudsliding Nova Scotia style.
Riders are given the option to stay conservatively in the boat or to literally, jump feet first into this Nova Scotia river and mudslide! We were surprised at how many people opted to stay in the boat—this is a chance of a lifetime, put your modesty aside and slide!
Although, like me, your first thought may be “eww!” when you step into the slimy mud, embrace it; feel the mud squish between your toes, let your ambitions go, and, with a little push, or a running dive, just slide down the riverside and bury yourself in the mud. Afterwards, just float and splash in the river to rinse off the mud, then get back into the boat, minus any hesitations, for more rafting.
After the tour: Warm showers and food!
After the tour, especially if you chose to mudslide or jump into the river to cool off, you will enjoy a hot shower in their change rooms back at the lodge followed by a hot, complimentary barbecue of hamburgers and hotdogs.
If you’re up for more after the rafting, swim in their pool or try your hand at horseshoes, volleyball, or badminton or go for a quiet hike on their nature trails.
What to Wear/Bring
- Wear old clothes as the mud from the riverbed can stain
- Be sure to bring a change of clothes, including a sweatshirt or long pants for afterwards.
- Sense of Adventure
Shubenacadie River Adventure Tours
# 10061 Hwy. 215
South Maitland, Nova Scotia
Toll Free North American Wide: 1-888-878-8687
*We recommend calling ahead and asking the operators for the best option for everyone in your party, based on age and/or physical ability, as we found some of the waves can be very strong.
Read more reviews of the experience on TripAdvisor.