Froze-to-Death Mud Pot

Included among Yellowstone National Park’s beloved geothermal features are the mud pots — though not as picturesque as the geysers, they are similarly hot and similarly curious.  From the depths of the uneasy volcanic rumblings below Yellowstone’s surface they just continuously bubble up hot mud, like cauldrons sunk in the ground.

Though the bleak, desert-like hardpan country that we call Froze-to-Death — nearly 300 miles northeast of the park, beyond the northern bluffs of the Yellowstone River which winds its way to us from the park, and where a good many of the PV mama cows spend the summer — doesn’t speak to tourists the way Yellowstone Park does, it does boast its fair share of naturally weird and unexpected anomalies.

Take, for instance, the mud pot that 8-year-old Asher and our 15-year-old nephew Nate just couldn’t stay out of last week.  The two boys were out and about with Beau, looking over country and helping him lay out plans for a new lead-up alley at the Red Corrals, and as they were driving by on the road the boys spotted the mud pot that’s burrowed into a springy spot at the bottom of Antelope Coulee.

Those of us who’ve been around longer than the boys have always known the pot was there, but well… none of the rest of us had really ever felt the need to get in it.

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The boys just had to know, though, so they tested the temperature of the mud and stripped down to their undies and hopped in.  Beau had a rope handy just in case… just in case… ?

Asher and Nate reported the mud pot to be cool in temperature, sans bubbles, and, so far as they could tell, bottomless.

This is what they looked like when they got home:

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(Beau made them ride on the back of the flatbed pickup.)

Boys are messy.  But they sure keep life interesting.

© Tami Blake

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