Lake 13: the largest lake, and only lake open to public access, at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge.
This was actually the second attempt to put in at Lake 13. The first attempt was late summer in 2017. The water was so scummy, smelly and covered with floating film, that we just couldn’t do it. Perhaps it was on account of recent rains washing farm runoff into the lake. Perhaps it was the warm water. And perhaps it was from the eastern winds concentrating the effect on the western edge of the lake where the boat ramp is.
This May though, there was no such issue. The wind was strong, the water cool and clear, and it’s been weeks since rain could affect the water with runoff or turbulance.
Lake 13 has easy access from the refuge road, and a boat ramp for easy launching. Fishermen are often occupying the levy and paddlers can expect to share the lake with trolling-motor fishing boats.
The lake has a rather plain shoreline, shallow and mud-edged with no outcrops and no inlets to explore. Still, the area has fantastic views of the Cimarron Range of the Rocky Mountains to the west, volcanic peaks to the east, and an open view of the sky for stormwatching and stargazing.