Hell

Specifically, Bumpass Hell!!  With a name like, that the photographer in me puts the destination as my day one priority as Tom and I set out to photograph in Lassen Volcanic National Park.  This park has taken its place in my top 5 parks and the photographs from this one hike will go a long way in explaining why.

The mud pots, boiling cauldrons and hissing steam vents are testimony to our planet's continued cycle of creation and destruction.  This area, Bumpass Hell, was our destination.  There are several locations in Lassen Volcanic National Park that exhibit hydro-thermal activity.  Bumpass Hell is the largest location.

But, you gotta make some effort to get to Hell!  We pulled out at every opportunity.  Every curve in the road (and there are many) brought on new delights, wondrous awe and a deep sense of gratitude for being able to just be present in such a place.

The clouds were moving rapidly.  As the clouds lifted the sky just got more intensely blue.  Lassen Volcanic is known for its clear night skies.  We were fortunate that there was little haze and no wildfires in the area.

The flowers were abundant.  Some mountain sides are a bright yellow with dark pine trees.

Cropped photo from above to show detail in the rock.

 I believe this is Mount Conard.  It, along with Mount Brokeoff, Mount Dillard and Pilot Pinnacle, mark the remnant edge of what, 400,000 years ago, was a huge volcano.  That ancient mountian was about 11 miles across and towered 11.500 feet in height.

I believe this is Mount Conard.  It, along with Mount Brokeoff, Mount Dillard and Pilot Pinnacle, mark the remnant edge of what, 400,000 years ago, was a huge volcano.  That ancient mountian was about 11 miles across and towered 11.500 feet in height.

An off-item to find at a pull-out on our way to Bumpass Hell.  It is part of 'Earth Scope', a network of 875 stations along the western US whose purpose is to trace and study the movement of the earth's crust.  It uses satellites from the Global Positioning System to keep track of this antenna's position.  Movement as small as 1/8 of an inch is detectable.

When we finally arrived at the Bumpass Hell Trailhead we were delighted to see only one other car in the parking lot!  By the time we returned to our car there were many more cars but still lots of parking available.  This photo was taken from the trail.  The trail is listed as 1.8 miles to Hell, a short distance!  The trail has a slow upward incline until the last little bit.  It is rocky but relatively easy to navigate.  The views from any turn of the trail are breathtaking.  I would have been happy with my photographic opportunities for the day even without making it to our desired final destination.

Our last view, across this lovely valley, of our ride home.  And we were just starting!

This rock formation is seen on the south face of Mt. Lassen.  There are still some patches of snow at the top.

Not looking up now!  Straight ahead view of that interesting rock.

As we hiked we saw many interesting trees.  We photographed something about every 15 feet.  No wonder it took us so long to walk 1.8 miles!  Not once did we get out of breath or break into a sweat!

Not all the path was this level or clear of rocks.  Besides, the lupine was with us the whole way.  I have never seen so many lupine.

Looking south across a valley.  That bright green in the foreground is manzanita!  It is dwarf sized ground cover. 

I continually had to remind myself that I was not going to photograph any more trees, no matter how interesting.  My goal was ahead of me and continually stopping was delaying my progress!

I am totally undisciplined!

Hopeless!

Lupine along our path.

That looks so unusual it might appear as a fake green.  But, it is young lupine!  I was told that lupine is not often seen in the park.  This year, with the extra snow and the early bloom and then an early decline of another flower (sorry, I forgot which one), the lupine have had a rare chance to bloom along the path to Bumpass Hell.

Lupine as far as you can see.

Can you spot the lupine?  WOW

 By now we have been passed on the trail by many.  We are beginning to see people returning!  We are asking, "How much further?"  We were told that when the path begins to go down we were getting close.  Good!!

By now we have been passed on the trail by many.  We are beginning to see people returning!  We are asking, "How much further?"  We were told that when the path begins to go down we were getting close.  Good!!

We rounded yet another corner and there it was.  The tip on the trail going down was nice but not necessary.  We could smell this bad egg a long way off.  There are signs everywhere about the need to stay on the trail and not to leave the boardwalk.  Bumpass Hell is the largest concentration of hydro-thermal features in the park.  It and the others are all connected to the same geo-thermal molten system.

Chaos is hell!

The black scum is pyrite, an iron sulfide mineral that is sometimes known as 'Fool's Gold'.  Iron leaches from rocks deep below combine with sulfur as it rises through the hydrothermal system and become pyrite.

When the wind changes direction this lookout clears out quickly!

As we started our hike back to our car I was happy to see these right along the path not far from Hell.

So where did this name come from?  Kendall Bumpass (November 6, 1809–1885) was a miner, mountaineer and guide.  One day while giving a tour of the this area to some dignitaries he accidentally stepped into a scalding mud bank or pot hole.  He burned one leg so badly that it had to be amputated.  His life's ambition of turning this area into a tourist destination was dashed.