In Calipatria, CA, there is a "seep fields" heaving small volcanoes – seemingly 24-7. Calipatria is on the southern end of the Salton Sea and just across the highway from another regional landmark, Slab City. The access road we took, W. Schrimpf Road, is unpaved and rutted. From Highway 111, it's ony 3.5 miles to the junction of Davis Road – where the field of mud pots rise. Although rutted, the drive is accessible by car.
Lesha, Raffi and I were at the temporary (mobile homes turned museum at the time) Salton Sea Historical Museum the day before, and were asking about other local destinations. The nice docent showed us this area on a map, but couldn't give accurate directions. The following day, we picnicked at the old Salton Sea Marina and made our best guess for the route – using a vague tourist map. We were looking to locals for directions, but the perimeter of the Salton Sea is sparse of population. Needless to say , we made a successful trek o fit on our own.
It was an inclement weekend and we'd hoped for some clearing on this final day adventuring in the area. The afternoon yielded, lending us beautiful skies with heavy, soaked footing. We were expecting little ponds and diorama sized "volcanoes" of bubbling sulfur. But the formations we encountered were impressive! Some mud pots/volcanoes were over six feet tall – and sturdy enough to climb.
Fortunately, on this day, a family of five arrived after we'd exhausted our memory cards. This family had three teenaged boys who were allowed free-range to heap hot seep and shovels of mud at each other. We watched as they sloughed, gouged, careened and at times stomping down the tops of these gorgeous formations. We spoke to the father about our concern for the preservation of the mud pots. He said he was a geologist and they make several trips to the site. He said not to worry, and that the cones always regenerate. At first, I was bummed to see (what I interpreted as) juvenile destruction. But then, I was really bummed the opportunity to photograph these kids playing in this other worldly playground was lost.