silence and burros
Burro Flats, tucked away neatly in the Hells Canyon Wilderness area northwest of Lake Pleasant, has the feel of being much farther from civilization than it really is. Rugged peaks and few visitors make for a great Sonoran Desert experience in this part of the Hieroglyphic Mountains.
I decided to park at the Burro Spring Trailhead and walk north along the road up to the Horse Creek Trailhead, making a clockwise loop of both trails. No one had signed the trail register for all 5 months of last summer. Only a dozen or so had been here since. Other than quite a bit of cowpatties on the trail, the area is pristine. 30 minutes and 1.5 mi. later, I was at Horse Spring. With plenty of shade and beautiful white stone, the pools contain about 500-1000 gallons of crystal clear water. I kick back in some comfortable seating and have a snack. After some pictures I decided to explore a cave opening visible directly south of the spring up the slope. 15 minutes of scrambling and I am standing at it's opening. Although it's mouth is quite large, perhaps 30 feet wide and 15 feet tall, the depth is only 15 feet or so. It would made a decent shelter from both rain and sun. I head back down to the trail at the springs edge and continue southeast towards Burro Spring into the Burro Flats proper. Along the way I see a Burro watching me from the other side of the wash, I stop and return the stare, adding a few of my best Burro impersonations. These he eventually returns as well, and I am quite pleased. I continue on, only to hear is even more hysterical bray echo from the canyon walls. This is a great place. I pass two campsite fire rings, one still smoldering from the night before. Both are free of litter and command nice views of the area. I appreciate their taste in campsites but not their carelessness. I urinate on the coals to the best of my ability and continue on to Burro Spring. This takes about 45 minutes, covering approximately 1.9 miles on easy terrain.
Though I was pleased to find a great grotto formed by an elephant size boulder lodged overhead, I did not see evidence of a spring. This would be a good destination to escape summer sun, as the seating is quite comfortable. From there, I headed west along the trail another 1.95 miles to the Burro Springs trailhead. This took about 50 minutes and was not as pretty as the Horse Creek Trail.
This 6.4 mile loop can be done in as little as 2 hours, but this secluded valley could keep you busy for a week, the 4 main peaks that dominate the skyline all appear to be non-technical, the one directly south of Burro is exceptionally dramatic (3465').
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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