Today we took a hike to Bumpass Hell which was named after Kendall Bumpass who discovered the area. When he was giving a tour of the area, after cautioning the tourists to watch their step, he broke through the thin crust and his leg fell into boiling mud. He described it as hell — thus the name. Bumpass Hell is the largest hydrothermal area in the park, and marks the principal area of upflow of steam and discharge from the Lassen hydrothermal system. The temperature of high-velocity steam jetting from Big Boiler, the largest fumarole in the park, has been measured as high as 322°F (161°C), making it one of the hottest fumaroles in the world. The steam heated waters are typically acidic and are not safe, even for bathing.
Geology lesson – A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth’s crust. A fumarole is an opening in the planet’s crust, often in the neighborhood of volcanoes, which emits steam and gases. A mudpot is a sort of acidic hot spring or fumarole, with limited water. It usually takes the form of a pool of bubbling mud.
As you can see from the pictures, the place is amazing and beautiful. You hear it long before you see it. If we had not been in the wilderness we would have thought there were trucks going by us on the highway. We also could smell the rotten egg smell of the sulfuric acid (although we quickly got used to it). It was really a fantastic place.