Trying to keep me out of Burro Creek
It took me three tries to find this site. I know... I'm a moron.
The first time I drove up there, about 80 miles northwest of my house, I followed the map in the rock hounding book. There was a hand drawn map that had a scale like a funhouse mirror. One inch equals 1 mile, except for this part where 1 inch equals 10 miles. I put my trust in the words.
The directions said to turn off at a well-marked dirt road at described location. Found and turned off. Follow the road 7 miles where I would cross a wash. On either side of the wash and for miles around was all the cutting material anyone could ask for in a lifetime. Not so much.
I got to the 7 mile marker on the odometer and located what I guess could be called a 'wash.' Only problem was the geology. Nothing but sandstone, madison gold and quartzite. Not even a hint of the semi-precious pastelite and agate that are supposed to litter the area.
After driving ahead a few miles to account for my ancient odo, I turned back to re-trace my path and re-evaluate directions. Still no luck. Little trails led off in every direction but nothing that looked well-traveled.
I found some other directions before my second assault. Not only did I secure different directions than my funhouse map, I used Google Earth to figure out where I was and where I needed to be. The second trip I didn't have much time, but at least wanted to know how to get into the Burro Creek collecting grounds.
GPS tells no lies within 10 feet or so. I drove my waypoints to the road I'd spotted on Google Earth, all the time wondering about the power of weed the first author was smoking when he drew that map. I followed some tracks through the mesquite to a hard bend in the road which revealed a total washout. I marked my coordinates and headed home.
Google Earth is pretty good about the top side of things, but not too great and rendering terrain. When I checked my coords at home, I could see that I was on the right road, I would just need to lock the hubs and granny up the washout the next trip.
Three's a charm!
I had no doubt where I was going this time, and nothing was going to stop me from filling my buckets with BC wonder.
I got to the washout and was able to negotiate through the canyon ok, then the road leveled out and looked good. That is, until I started into the canyon proper. Another washout, only this time it was oil pan piercing demons spiking up to the height of my door jam. Slow and easy, I got through that washout only to be treated to two more obstacle courses down the canyon.
Entering the bottom of the canyon where the river is was like walking into Brigadoon! At least for a rock hound. The geology immediately changed immediately. To the east was the Bagdad mine tailings, and the slow creek meandered west.
I crossed the river bottom and about a half mile up the other side to an area that was marked for opalite. Sure enough, lots of interesting white-coated lapidary rough was awaiting inspection.
Here's some of the stuff I found.
(image of stuff)
Now that I know the area (I'm a slow learner) I want to go back with plenty of time to explore. And now for some advice from my travails:
1) The famous Burro Creek Campground with all the indoor-type plumbing is not near the collecting grounds, although there are some nice primitive camping possibilities in the canyon.
2) Don't take the dirt road exit where the book says to. Continue on 93 until you come to Nothing, AZ. Yup, that's right, there's a spot on road and you will miss if you aren't paying attention. It is literally a turnout with a boarded up building under a billboard that advertises 'Nothing, AZ.' The BC collecting grounds are about 7 miles from Nothing rather than the other highway.
3) There isn't much to collect near the luxurious campground, even though several books and maps claim it's so. It might even be possible to walk up the river bed from there but you'd have to do some swimming through some deep holes.
4) I don't know where the famed purple/blue BC agate is supposed to be. Burro Creek is a big area and I expect I'll be doing a lot of walking in the future if I can get the time.