Saturday, December 7, 2013

Kane Springs, a Historic Rest Stop.

About 15.5 miles, south of Moab and along Route 191, is the Kane Springs Rest Area; just next door to it is Hole N' the Rock, the home built within a sandstone hill.  While frequented by motorists, and especially truckers, you might think it is not of much importance except for the restrooms.  Time for the big picture about this simple rest area, it's not simply a place to rest or use the toilets; it has historic and adventuring values.

Kane Springs was a major water stop on the Old Spanish Trail; pioneers would fill up on water, while cowboys moving cattle could provide water to the animals and themselves.  While hiking around the area, I found a set of brackets set into the sandstone; could this have been part of a water system from long ago?

The rest area has a building for the restrooms, large paved parking lot, and covered picnic tables scattered about the well manicured lawn.  It is what surrounds the entire area that is breath taking; sandstone walls and formations, trails throughout a desert environment and an old dried out river bed.  Camping is allowed, but make sure to pick up all debris and refrain from marking up the sandstone walls.  Seriously, no one truly cares that you were there, but now are gone; take a photo, it lasts longer.

This formation will change appearance as you walk around it, and has a surprise.

Be careful walking the sandy trails, besides the abundant cacti, there are many bushes that have needles waiting to grab onto unsuspecting hikers.  Brushing against the sagebrush though releases an intoxicating and soothing aroma. I don't know who was more startled, me or the jackrabbit hiding under one of those bushes; but I did keep a lookout for rattlesnakes just in case.

Walking the trails can be a bit intoxicating also; the anticipation of what could be around the next corner is quite a thrill.  For instance, an old dried up river bed; did pioneers, cowboys, their horses and cattle quench their thirsts here back in the 1800s?  When it does rain or snow in this desert area, do the waters flow once again?

River Bed.

Keep on walking and eventually you'll find yourself at the back end of Hole N' the Rock; yes, that is how close you are to it, practically around the corner.  I know Kane Springs is mostly used for a rest area, but taking the time to walk the desert trails, even all the way to the tourist attraction next door is so worth it.  This area is beautiful, you just have to open up your eyes and let your feet do the walking.

Hole N' the Rock is past that bush in the background, and between the rock walls.

Now remember that formation I posted a photo of earlier and said it changed appearance as you went around it; at one point an arch will become visible.  See what I mean about opening up your eyes!

Walk that sandstone wonderland, enjoy the adventure first; then take advantage of the restrooms and picnic grounds at Kane Springs.  Or go potty before you start hiking, you'll probably feel more comfortable.

Mary Cokenour

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