Burbling Along With the Mud Pots in Calipatria, California
Just a few miles from downtown Calipatria—which, at 184 feet below sea level, has the distinction of being the lowest city in the western hemisphere—are the volcanoes. No lava. Mud. Burbling, gurgling, occasionally spitting, the mud gryphons rise lazily from the stunningly flat, salty lake bed. Some days, when the smell of sulphur mixes with the decaying organic odors of the nearby Salton Sea and the temperature is in triple digits, as it always is in summer, it’s easy to imagine that these thermal vents are Dante’s lost gateways. Few tourists venture here into the Davis-Schrimpf Seep Field, so you may very well have the place to yourself. A short distance further west is Red Hill, a real, if inactive, volcano.