Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Road to Hell

The highlight of our trip to Reno was a hike through hell--Bumpass Hell. The hike down into this remarkable region of mud pots and fumeroles was intense, with large portions of the trail buried beneath packed snow & slush. All three miles stank, because the hidden hot springs lurked just out of sight, sending up blasts of fragrant sulfur. The actual "hell" (which is the crater of a collapsed ancient volcanic giant) was so overpoweringly foul-smelling I finally understood the origins of the Bog of Eternal Stench.

But it was awesome!

The ground was baked dry and crusted with yellow and white mineral salts. Steamed poured from tiny cracks in the ground, spilling around rocks and carving out mouths opening into the super-heated depths.

Larger cracks, like this massive fumerole called Big Boiler (the hottest in the world!), send up huge clouds of steam and can be heard rumbling a good quarter of a mile away.

I'm sure I'll have more photos and Reno stories tomorrow, but this place was so cool I had to share it first. (Jee, it only took me three days. But it took that long to find the camera cord!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's like a mini-Yellowstone!