Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

BumpAss Hell

Not cussing, but actually the proper name for part of a US National Park, a place truly worthy of Dante. And not named after the colourful metaphor, but rather the unfortunate family name of it's first discoverer. To his credit, I believe the name was carried in the mid-1800's, before the appelation achieved it's current meaning. Bumpass discovered the place when his leg went through the mud and got badly burned. That wasn't when he got hurt however. He got hurt when he took a reporter back to the same spot and fell in again. It was then that he had to have his leg amputated. It was probably at this point that the family realized the grave error in their ways and changed their name.
I have been blessed recently to see my first glacial cut valley. Here at Lassen, on the way to Bumpass Hell I got to see also some very fine glacial striations- as you can see on the left. These are the marks left by glaciers in the rock as they scrape through the ages.

In Bumpass Hell everywhere there are signs warning to not repeat Bumpass's error, and to not stray through the path, potentially falling into a boiling mud pot or worse. The rivers are grey from the chemicals in the area, and feel slippery to the touch. I know this because I touched one, and felt the base slowly degrading my skin. (To be clear, my name is not Bumpass, but rather only sounds like the insurrectionist freedom-fighters of Morocco.)



Press Play Twice.



Press Play Twice. At the very beginning you can see a normal stream, as contrasted with the grey water of most of Bumpass Hell.
Steam rises up everywhere and the earth takes on an unearthly hue. Just beyond the area are green trees; within all pervading is the wonderous smell of Sulfur. (I actually do like the smell, but I am seeking counseling for this.) It reminds me of scenes from Star Trek with the Gorn. However, I'm sure they did not actually film in Bumpass Hell, as this would have risked us losing a valuable contribution to the performing arts in the form of William Shatner.
No area is safe from the transmorgifications, so that the water has turned a sickly yellow, and a smoke rises everywhere, occasionally obscuring the greys and browns for a moment with it's misty white.






And it's slowly growing. When the park was first formed it was only a fraction of the current size. Slowly, the Sulfur eats away at the foundations. In the nearby Sulfur Springs, once mined for their medicinal properties, the trees' roots are clearly exposed. As the rate clearly appears to be exponential, scientists are now predicting that entire Earth will be covered by Sulfurous mud pits within only another decade. There was hope for stopping this through natural gradualism, but the new discoveries made in Oklahoma and Dover of catastrophism as the normal order of things remove all hope for our planet.

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