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Mud And Life On The Moon

April 13th, 2009

Once we left Slab City, we went to check out the nearby mud pots as Ryan and Nicole suggested. After I wandered around for a while, we finally located them. That is, after a group of people who showed up with their own personal tour guide headed right for them. We were only given the cross streets for directions and being as I had never seen a mud pot before, I had no idea what to look for. I kept expecting them to be near water. However, they were in the middle of what appeared to be a dried up lake bed. My father the earth science teacher would be disappointed in me.

Mud Pot Eruption
Mud Pot Eruption

If you haven’t seen one before, I highly suggest it. Its not something us east coasters see every day. They are called mud pots, but I think that most of them looked more like mud volcanoes. They were four or so foot tall mounds that blew carbon dioxide and mud. The shorter ones blew more mud bubbles. They were the most interesting. The ones that were lower than the land around them acted more like boiling water pots than mud pots.

Mud Pot "Volcanoes" surrounding a green "sea"

They are described as being hot springs that lack water, so `I assumed that the mud and air coming out would be hot, but it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean you should get too close though. You could end up getting sprayed with a free mud mask. Some of the ground around the pots is a thick, stick in the bottom of your shoes mud as well. If you step in it, you will surely be bringing some home with you.

Unfortunately, my camera’s SD card became corrupt the same day we visited the mud pots. With some work I was able to rebuild some of the files and reconstitute some of the images, but most of the pictures that we took after we left Quartzsite are gone or distorted. Thankfully, we haven’t lost any since we arrived at Joshua Tree.   Mud Pots Photo Album

Faces In The Mountain - Box Canyon

After we left the geothermal coolness that is the mud pot field, we landed in another earthly wonder: Box Canyon. This place is like being on the moon. The landscape is mostly gray and white. The mountain sides are strewn with wind created pockets that look like melting faces. Unlike the moon however, there was plenty of life. The cliffs in the area looked like good climbing, but upon closer investigation they turned out to be sandstone and crumble under your weight. There are also a lot of slot canyons to explore and get lost in. There are OHV trails in the area that made us wish we didn’t have a dually. Its an area that we would like to return to when we have more time. The scenery was a welcome change after spending weeks in the flat desert. Box Canyon Photo Album

Campsites mentioned in this post:
Slab City
Box Canyon BLM Land
Joshua Tree NP South BLM Land

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2 Responses to “Mud And Life On The Moon”

  1. Sean says:

    Hey guys…

    Saw your comments on our blog, which makes me wonder where you might be right now. We’d love to try to connect if we are (or will be) close. We’re in Monterey for another day, then on to San Jose for a couple of weeks.

    Drop us a note and let us know — your blog seems to be a few days behind “real time.”


  2. johnny says:


    Yes, we work on hobo time. It’s kind of like internet time, but instead of inventing something overly complicated and claiming that it’s easier than using UTC, we use GMT, minus some random, but unspecified number of days or weeks. Hobo time, rather than being precise and complicated is dead simple, but often entirely wrong. In fact, when multiple users of hobo time agree to meet at any specific time, the odds are equally likely that one or both will die of old age while awaiting the other.

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