Not the planned stopping place but ‘in the end’ a good place to spend the night.
The first choice for the night was Springer Lake, NM, about 15 miles south of Maxwell NWR. When I arrived at Springer there was a person camped and looked as he/she had been there for some time. Not my wish to be there with a camper that looked ‘sketchy’. I backtracked (nice thing about being unemployed there is no real rush to get anyplace) to Maxwell.
The visitor center was closed so I check the welcome kiosk. I found that the campground is technically open 1 March through 31 October – and it is now mid-February. Well … might as well check it out just to ‘know in the future’. I drove to the campground and found it to be a nice location next to a nice little lake – called #13. Taking a chance, and reviewing the Internet ‘boondock camping sites’, I found that a few folks had camped when the site was ‘closed’ with no problem.
The evening was quiet and another camper, in a Sprinter van, arrived. We both spent the night unmolested.
Maxwell isn’t a huge refuge, not far west from Interstate 25, but none the less a nice place. Dark with almost zero light pollution the stars were out with the Milky Way in full view. I got lucky as there was no wind (zero wind breaks here) and it wasn’t as cold as it can be in mid-February – got to about freezing so, for the season, ‘warm’.
I saw a three bald eagles and a lot of, I believe, western meadowlarks. When the meadowlarks were in the few trees or the reeds they were loud in their calls. At times they would go suddenly quite and the WHOOSH all would take flight – it was that quiet you heard nature! Overnight the only sound of note were a group of geese talking to each other.
Good place Maxwell – though I bet in the warmer season and when fishing season opens the location gets busy on holidays and weekends.