Trip Reports

Morton Bay 2023

DSC09138 Edit EditMorton Bay Trip

July 5 2023

Due to a storm forecast, our trip was delayed a day. Many of our group could not come for a variety of reasons. We met at the Parks Canada Morton Bay launch at the end of Stewart Street in Morton at 9:15 am. We were a small group – three canoeists from the RACCC. The water was very calm. The temperature was expected to be very hot all day.

Morton Bay has two large rock formations called Rock Dunder and Dunder’s Mate. Rock Dunder was a Scout camp but is now owned and operated by the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. The public may access the site by purchasing a day pass ($6) or a season pass. Most people arrive by car or on foot. We wanted to arrive by water, using a landing on Morton Bay that is part of the hiking trail. A 5 km loop trail leads to the Rock Dunder summit and back. Though we had purchased our passes, we decided to skip the hike in favour of canoeing on such a hot day. Some of us had done the hike previously and very much enjoyed the view from the top! On a cooler day, the hike is recommended.


In Morton Bay we found a good swimming rock on the east side but we didn’t swim. We checked out the cave where people sometimes have a campfire, at the south end of Morton Bay. We watched a beaver, a loon with a baby and two herons. We saw clear reflections everywhere because there was no wind and the motorboats were not on the water yet. There were a few cottages on Morton Bay but much of it looked wild.

We paddled through the opening of Morton Bay and into Whitefish Lake. We turned south and followed the shoreline on the east side. We found Kate’s Island Nature Reserve with an osprey nest. The family of ospreys was watching us as we watched them! Many birds can be seen here (song sparrow, osprey, American robin, bluejay, American goldfinch, red-eyed vireo, pine warbler, alder fly-catcher, eastern whip-poor-will, common grackle, American crow, black-capped chickadee, mourning dove, chipping sparrow, eastern wood-pewee, red-tailed hawk). We found two swans to watch on Whitefish Lake. There were some waterlilies. As we paddled, we stopped regularly for water breaks. It was getting hot. Whitefish Lake had quite a few cottages in certain places and none in other places. It also had some large rock walls.

At the south end of Whitefish Lake, we entered Murphys Narrows. As we took a water break at the edge of the channel, several large yachts approached and the first tooted at us to move. They could not fit through the channel with us at the side, so we paddled to a wider spot. The large boats usually appeared in groups because they got stopped together at the locks.
About noon we arrived at Haskin’s Point which sticks out into Little Cranberry Lake. There had been a ferry crossing here to Hewitt Island for many years. Other people were having picnics and swimming. There was a canoe garden to welcome us. We added our canoes to the canoe garden and had our picnic. There was a black snake swimming nearby. We went for a swim on the other side of the point. We tried blowing bubbles. The wind blew the bubbles for us now. A stowaway bear, “Coca Cola”, appeared from a barrel to ride up front on our return voyage.

We headed back onto the water about 1 pm, this time with a strong tailwind. We headed back towards Morton Bay. There were now many motorboats and yachts. We stopped at Munday cottage, near the mouth of Morton Bay, where we had placed ice cream sandwiches and other treats to cool us. We chatted in the shade for a few minutes and then headed back to the Morton Bay launch. We reached the launch by 4 pm, having paddled about 19 km. We enjoyed our visit to the Morton area. There is a lot of history here and it is a beautiful place to paddle.

Thanks to Max F. and James R. for sharing their local knowledge!

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