Sunday, May 26, 2013

Red Lake and Indian River May 2013

Last weekend we were able to get in a paddle at Red Lake.  It is a small lake with an outlet to the Indian River.  Red Lake is north of the little town of Theresa, NY in Jefferson County (west of the Adirondack Park.)

As you can see, it was a pretty day for a paddle.  Brody is keeping an eye on that red kayak ahead of us!  He doesn't want his daddy to get too far away.

The road to Red Lake leads to a parking area and a boat launch.  It is a gradual grade and is used by both car top carrier boats as well as motor boats.  There is a swampy area to the right of the put-in which means lots of mosquitoes this time of year.  There were enough of them that we worked double-time to get the kayaks off the car, gear stowed (oh, and bug spray applied, incuding Skin-So-Soft all over Brody) and the kayaks in the water. 

Once on the water, there was a slight breeze most of the time.  When it died down, the bugs hovered, but luckily the soft breeze picked back up within a few minutes.

Cliffs march along the eastern shore of Red Lake for most of its length.  There are a few houses and camps above the cliffs, but none in the area where I took this photo.

This photo of my husband will give you a better idea of the cliffs.  They rise quite high on the right, and although it looks like there is a break in the cliffs before you see the rocks on the left, the cliff does continue on behind the trees close to the water.  I would say they are about 50-60 feet high in most areas.

Here is a view of the lake looking toward its northern end where there are no cliffs.  We did not explore that area on this trip, but we did on a paddle we took in 2008.

 In 2008, we paddled Red Lake in October.  This is the northwestern part of the lake:

Again, looking north, Brody is checking things out.  There were a number of fisherman on the lake on this day.  All of the boats were smaller fishing ones, so we weren't disturbed much by their noise.

Here is a close up of some of the rocky banks of Red Lake.

We at our lunch drifting in the middle of the lake to avoid the worst of the flying insects.  We shared our wraps with Brody-- he was very appreciative and I got lots of kisses on the nose in thanks!

Along the cliffs in the fall, we saw a brilliantly colored tree (probably a sugar maple-- not positive though.)  It looked as if the tree was painted onto the cliff.

After lunch, we decided to head along the outlet which leads to Indian River so that we could paddle for a while on the river.  Here is the outlet which is on the western side of the lake, just north of the put-in which is a bit to the left of this photo.

Although we didn't see many birds other than red winged black birds, we heard tons of them. I wish I was able to identify them all by their songs.  This must be an area where the birds stop to rest before flying over the St. Lawrence River (less than an hour from this area as the crow flies) because as we were driving down the road to the lake, we met a group of bird watchers, all sporting binoculars, and being led by a (presumably) knowledgeable guide.

Brody has his ears up and turned as he tries to figure out where the bird song is coming from.

Another shot of the outlet as we head to the Indian River:

Once on the river, we saw a few more birds such as a great blue heron, and the bird that Brody has noticed:

A turkey vulture.  He was eating something along the bank of the river.  As we approached, he flew to a nearby tree and waited for us to go before flying back down to finish his meal.  Turkey vultures are pretty big birds with a wingspan around 6 feet, yet they can weigh as little as 4 or 5 pounds. 

Here is a pretty shot of the river-- there was a current, but it was barely noticeable.

Here is what the river looked like in October 2008:

And that year, we spotted a green heron on some dead wood just as we entered the outlet, on our way back to the lake:


 I was able to get quite a few photos of the heron.  He moved with stealth as he hunted either fish or frogs in the water.  We enjoyed watching him make his way across these branches.

Although there are motor boats on Red Lake, we found the fishermen polite and very willing to slow down to lessen their wakes as they passed us.  Many were very impressed with Brody as well!

I would have had more photos to share, but for the first time on a kayaking trip, I left the memory card out of the camera!  Despite changing the photo size to allow more photos, I still wasn't able to get that many.  I blame the problem on the fact that the computer I now have, a reburbished one with lots of memory, has a slot for the SD card rather than using a card reader-- very convenient-- but easy to leave the card in the computer!

I will leave you with this photo of Brody and the outlet.  He has a little bit of a sad expression on his face because I was calling him a "little turd."  He did not want to turn around and show me his face! He finally complied!

I hope you have all been able to get out and paddle over this holiday weekend.  Unfortunately it has been very cold and rainy here in northern New York.  We broke 50 late this afternoon and it's looking up for tomorrow.  So, wish us luck-- we may just get a paddle in before the work week begins.

Happy Kayaking!


  1. I love the dramatic cliffs. An interesting blend of photos between this trip and the previous one. Boy it seems like its been a long time since we've seen was nice to be reminded it was just about a week ago!

    1. We finally got some sun on Monday, did you? If not, maybe you'll get it today. We are in for more rain though-- has it been a rainy and gloomy spring or am I exaggerating? As you said, it's easy to forget just how long ago we had sunshine!

  2. I heard they had snow in some parts of New York. Our spring here in Michigan hasn't been much better. It was low to mid 60's and cloudy today on the river. Hopefully it will warm up soon. Love the pictures.

    1. Yes, Whiteface Mtn. in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid, got 18 inches!! It was cold here but we didn't get any snow, for which I'm very grateful. My daughter got caught in the rain yesterday while kayaking in Michigan. I am hoping things will turn around for all of us and we'll have some warmer, drier weekends ahead for kayaking!