After leaving the southeastern plains of Colorado my intention HAD been to return to the Rockies and camp there but overnight temperatures of 27 (!!) degrees persuaded me to point the Tank south towards the more temperate climate of New Mexico. Just off I-25 and the tiny town of Maxwell, NM is the Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Forest Service.
Established in 1965 as a feeding and resting area for migratory birds, the Refuge has over 350 acres of wheat and corn planted by the Forest Service and deliberately left in the fields for the geese, ducks and other wild fowl to eat on their migratory movements. You can camp for free for 3 consecutive days at a small camp area near Lake 13 which is really more like a big pond.
|Lake 13 from the bike path that circles it.|
There are no hookups or water at Maxwell so bring what you need in. There are two vault toilets at the entrance to Lake 13 about a quarter of a mile from the campground. There are plenty of garbage bins located in the campground and on the bike path around Lake 13 so disposal is no problem, While I visited there were flocks of Canadian geese and ducks on the lake. When I commented to one of the friendly Park Service employees that the lake looked a little low he told me that in May of this year Lake 13 had completely dried up so I was observing a pretty good comeback given that it was late September. Unfortunately, the Verizon "Can you hear me now" guy needs to visit Maxwell because both voice and data were spotty to unavailable there.
|Lake 13 looked like this in May.|
Including myself there were four camping groups total during my three days at Maxwell and we all enjoyed hearing the ducks and geese talking to each other in the moments before the spectacular sunrises over the lake.
|Sunrise over Lake 13, Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge.|
I'll probably stay in New Mexico for a while given the prematurely frigid temperatures in Colorado now. Hope the National parks open back up soon!
Thanks for reading!