An unknown wilderness. Jagged rocks prod up through the soil from the earths core with little regard to the humans who wish to traverse it. At 8,000 ft in elevation the Bumpass Hell trail is not something to be toyed with. Altitude sickness can set in for those not acclimated rendering victims fraught with headaches, nausea, and sleeplessness. This is the elevation when symptoms start to appear and things only get worse from there.
Bumpass Hell trail takes you merely 3/4 of a mile from the road to introduce you to the roiling sulfuric mud on the volcano's crust. The name of the trail; lent from the man who first traversed it with hopes of commercialization. He perilously walked over the weak surface in search of a site to mine when his leg fell through the crust. Below him was a boiling pit of mud infused with acidic sulfur gas at a staggering temperature of 230°. His leg was severely burned, and eaten partially away by the acid. He survived with the amputation of his leg.
Steam wafting from "Big Boiler" has been recorded at a world record of 322°.
Bubbling pools of mud remind visitors today that the earth remains a powerful force. An active volcano lies in this range.... waiting to open up once more.
A drop in elevation on the way out yields one more surprise being held by the sleeping beast. Cold Boiling Lake is merely another 3/4 of a mile from the road. Here the water is normal temperature. However the bubbles of sulfur permeating their way to the surface gives way to the illusion of a pot on the boil. What will be next? When will nature decide to restructure the surface of the earth once more?
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