'Mud, mud, glorious mud'

Kids, adults alike keep cool in annual Mud Wallow, named for late creator

  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News McKenna Connelly, left, plunges into an especially deep pocket of muddy water while holding tight to Alivia Craddock’s hand Saturday, July 22, 2017 during the annual Mud Wallow held at Cottonwood Horse Park in Homer, Alaska. Hosted by the organization Nature Rocks, the messy event is in its eighth year.
  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Polly Fraley, 1, tests out the conditions of the 2017 Mud Wallow on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Cottonwood Horse Park on East End Road in Homer, Alaska. The Mud Wallow has grown steadily in popularity since its inception in 2010.
  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Lisa Asselin, background, laughs as she braces herself for a handful of mud about to be flung by Isla Brown, 4, during this year’s Mud Wallow on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Cottonwood Horse Park in Homer, Alaska. Asselin was one of the event’s coordinators.
  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Kids and parents wade through copious amounts of mud in a pit specially prepared for this year’s Mud Wallow on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Cottonwood Horse Park in Homer, Alaska.
  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News Isla Brown, 4, splashes in a pool of muddy water during this year’s Mud Wallow on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Cottonwood Horse Park in Homer, Alaska.
  • Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News A sign depicting Mud Wallow co-founders Lisa Matlock and the late Carmen Field during welcomes the young and old to this year’s Mud Wallow on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Cottonwood Horse Park in Homer, Alaska.

“Whoever came up with this idea is a genius!” a young girl proclaimed as she slipped and splashed her way through a pit full of mud Saturday off East End Road in Homer.

The coordinators of the annual Mud Wallow at Cottonwood Horse Park couldn’t agree more.

The event was named last year for its cofounder, Carmen Field, who also founded the organization that hosts the wallow, Nature Rocks.

A great lover of the outdoors, Field died of breast cancer on May 31, 2016, at the age of 53.

Nature Rocks has a goal to put up a permanent sign at the mud pit in the park officially proclaiming the annual event “Carmen’s Wallow,” said Sue Post, one of the event’s coordinators.

Field came up with the idea for the wallow along with Homer resident Lisa Matlock.

“Carmen was kind of the spearhead for the group Nature Rocks,” Post said.

After a dreary and rain-filled week, parents and children flocked to the pit to escape Saturday’s peak temperatures.

The event’s coordinators said attendance — both youngsters and their parents — has been high ever since the very first Mud Wallow, when 80 kids and 20 adults were counted.

In their children’s song “The Hippopotamus,” British comedy duo Flanders and Swann croon, “Mud, mud, glorious mud / Nothing quite like it for cooling your blood.”

The Homer community has embraced this concept with ever-increasing fervor since the first wallow was held in 2010. Back then, members of Nature Rocks faced a lot of curiosity from the public over the event.

Now, coordinators Post, Cathy Wilmeth and Lisa Asselin, or The Three Mud-keteers (as they’ve dubbed themselves) get more requests about the wallow and said people have come to expect it each year.

“The event itself hasn’t changed all that much, because it’s a mud pit and we come and we play and that’s that,” Wilmeth said. “But it is more known now and people ask about it.”

“I have people now that approach me and say, ‘Do you have a date yet?’” Post said.

Under the watchful eyes of their parents Saturday, children slung handfuls of mud, jumped headlong into deep puddles of muddy water, and slid gleefully down a makeshift mud slide.

Several adults got a little dirty, too.

One youngster had a particularly apt insight as she clambered up the side of the pit.

“I see why pigs like this,” she said.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@homernews.com.

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