[These photographs were not taken by me, I found them on google images because I do not have any of my own pictures of Burro Creek]
This place holds many cherished memories from my childhood. Burro Creek is a campground in the middle of Arizona, pretty much exactly in the middle of the desert. You would think that the desert is full of nothing (a lot of dry nothing), but if you take the time to experience it then you will discover that it is full of life and beauty. The first time we camped here, the desert came alive in a way that will stay with me forever.
We arrived at the campground, set up camp, started a nice fire, and relaxed as the sun set. My sister and I explored the campground in the fading sunlight, running as fast as we could along the dirt roads and through the shrubs that surrounded each site. That night the family sat around the fire and roasted delicious marshmallows. Our faithful dogs, Toby and Lina, waited by our side for the discarded goodies that sometimes slipped off our sticks during the transfer from the fire to our mouths. The embers slowly died with the quiet passing of time, the glint reflected in the eyes of everyone who sat comfortably in chairs around the ring of rocks that marked the fire pit. I blew on the coals, soon after realizing that they only got brighter with the breath that was meant to put them out. This reminded me of God's light in us all, how our strength should be. As our lights are being "put out" by outside forces, we should only grow brighter and stronger in our faith.
Eventually the moon was high in the sky, telling us it was time for bed. I crawled into my tent that I shared with my sister and fell into a satisfied slumber while the crickets sang us to sleep.
The next morning we woke up to a hot Arizona morning that was especially made for hiking. There are only two temperatures in the desert... hot and cold; this day was definitely going to be hot. We put on our fanny packs (which, at the time, was a new and cool thing for me), got our water and sunscreen ready, and headed off to the find the trail. The trail opened at a twisty gate built to keep the wild burros out of the campground. A huge saguaro cactus greeted us as we began our journey to the bottom of the trail. The path led to a pretty little creek with a swimming pool. We eagerly jumped into the cool water, a nice refreshment from the desert heat.
After a while of playing here we got bored and decided to follow the creek up stream. In the distance there was a huge bridge built over the canyon, we made it our goal to hike to the point underneath the bridge.
As we traveled up stream, the foliage began to get more and more lush. Soon we reached another waterhole that was divided by a huge log and a lot of rocks. The shaded side looked like a scene from a fairytale, water flowed out of rocks and vines snaked up the wet the canyon wall. We crawled across on the rocks to explore this mysterious side. Bees buzzed angrily in the smaller side canyons as I tried to explore them too, I gave up and returned to the water's edge.
Small colorful fish swam near the top of the clear water and dark green moss coated the rocks just below the surface.
Even though this spot seemed perfect, we were still not under the bridge. So off we went, leaving the fairytale setting behind us, back into the sun and hiking over sun dried rocks. After a while we finally made it to the overpass. I remember it looming above us, cars driving across with no clue to the beauty that lay just below them.
As we sat there, we saw another swimming hole close to us, this one being the biggest and deepest of them all. There was a huge rock that provided the perfect place to jump off into the blue water. We swam for what seemed like hours. I went to the other side, being the explorer that I am, and hiked up a little farther. This way was just filled with hot sand and weeds, so I went back.
Oh, but what is a good hike without an injury? I tried to pull my dog, Lina, into the water but only managed to scrape my heel on a sharp rock. This later turned into an infection that began to snake it's way up my leg... but I won't get into that now, this story is already long enough.
The hike back to camp was not as fun as the hike there, the return trips always seem twice as long. We ran out of drinkable water, the dogs chased some cows and calves that were wandering around, and my heel was bleeding and painful from the scrape. Being young and whiny (you know, those early tween years) I'm sure my sister and I were not very pleasant companions for my parents. We did make it back to camp though, fairly safe and sound.
Also, it is rumored that there are wild horses in this area. I'm pretty sure I saw a wild black mustang and most of my time there was spent in search of it.
Burro Creek is a magical place and I hope to go back again someday.