Hell or Low Water

Even though it’s only day 2 of my CA road trip, I’m ready award the Best Name for a Natural Site: Bumpass Hell

Though strange at first, the name effectively encapsulates both its origin and a summary of its character in 2 magnificent words. I believe “Bumpass” was the last name of the gentleman who first discovered it and popularized it through his misguided belief that he could somehow extract gold from the area (as was the belief of pretty much every area of California at the time). The “Hell” refers to the agony of a misplaced foot when walking through the actively boiling geothermal pools seeping from the ground. Thankfully, these days there’s a network of wooden bridges that span the area, allowing you to safely avoid any scalding surprises.

What you can’t see in the pictures (unless you happen to be eating a boiled egg at the moment) is the overwhelming sulfur smell that hangs in the air. I guess we can’t expect Hell to smell like roses and lavender now can we.


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