Hayduke Trail  |  September 10, 2018
Courthouse Wash to Kane Springs Road  |  ~22 miles
Today's adventure included bushwacking, and lots of it. I climbed down from my perch on the rim and stepped immediately into the knee-deep waters of Courthouse Wash. For the next few miles, I'd push and pull my way through thick tamarisk, cottonwoods growing sideways from the floodwaters, and other vegetation so thick I actually got stuck a few times. I'd wade straight up the creek (here, it is the path of least resistance) until the water would quickly deepen and I'd realize I was about to step into a beaver dam. Back onto the sandy shores, hugging the narrow canyon walls, until I reached another vegetated impasse. Back and forth like this, for most of the morning.
But no matter. It's just par for the course on the Hayduke, one of many obstacles I'd face over the next six weeks. I trudged on through 101 degree heat, finding plenty of puddles of water from which to sip. Somewhere along the way I must have passed that campsite I was supposed to sleep at, but the vegetation was dense even after the canyon opened and the stream dried up, so I never found it.
Near the end of Courthouse Wash, just a mile or two from the highway, I found a swimming hole with plenty of cool, refreshing water coursing through it. I spent my lunch hour dipping in and cooling off and taking silly photos of myself. Even though it's not far from the highway, people never come to this part of Arches. I took all my clothes off and enjoyed the solitude.
From here, the rest of the day was a road walk: seven miles through Moab and along the Colorado River, then another four up Kane Springs Road until I made camp. It was hot and there was little shade, but Kane Canyon is really lovely: full of petroglyphs and home to one of my favorite water sources on the Hayduke. The spring gushes clear water straight from the canyon wall, and is surrounded by a hanging garden of ferns. No need to filter.
I made camp in a not-so-flat spot and fell asleep looking at the stars.

Courthouse Wash. There's a foot of water in there somewhere.

The views in Courthouse Wash are really quite lovely when the vegetation isn't in the way.

Silly pictures in my afternoon swimming hole.

"The birthing scene," a collection of petroglyphs just off Kane Springs Road.