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Bumpass Hell Trailhead has plenty of parking near Lake Helen and road marker 17. This 11/2 mile (3 mile round trip) well marked trail is mostly level with about a 100 ft. drop into the thermal basin.
Welcome to Lassen National Park, created in 1916 by congress after 3 years of sporadic eruptions the largest of which occurred on May 22, 1915.
Bumpass Hell is the largest concentration of hydrothermal features in the park. This 16 acre area is host to 3 of the 4 main types of geothermal features. Hot springs, mud pots and fumaroles. Only geysers, like those found Yellowstone Park are absent.
The first pioneer to discover the hydrothermal area was Kendall V. Bumpass in 1864. A year later in 1865, while he was guiding a newspaper reporter into the hot springs he stepped through the thin crust into a mud pot severely burning his leg. He lost his leg and the area became to be known for his name's sake. It is unknown if the "hell" part came from how it felt or if it is what he said when he fell through.
Water from rain and snow finds it's way through permeable rock and along faults and fractures to be heated by magma or solid but still very hot rock about 5 to 6 miles beneath Mt. Lassen. Because, this heated water is less dense than cold water it rises with gases and acids that have been dissolved along the way. It is these dissolved chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and sulfurous gases that gives the area it's unique aroma that can often be smelt from a distance away. When the hot water, containing metal and other chemicals, evaporates it leaves behind these colorful sulfate minerals. With a temperature of 455 to 464 degrees Fahrenheit at about 1/2 to 1 mile deep it will boil and reach the surface. Big Boiler is one of the hottest furmaroles within a non erupting volcano with a stem temperature that can reach 322 degrees fahrenheit.
The coordinates will take you to the heart of Bumpass Hell. To find the answers you may have to go from sign to sign.
Please remember that all rules and regulations for a national park apply.
Tread lightly, take nothing but memories and pictures.
For your safety and the safety of the park stay on the designated trails and boardwalks. Remember Mr. Bumpass?
It is illegal to collect rocks feed the animals of damage the natural features in national parks.
DO NOT POST YOUR ANSWERS IN YOUR LOG. If you do not satisfy all the requirements your find can be deleted without notification.
To take credit for this EARTHCACHE email me the following:
1: How many fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs can be found in the 16 acres.
2: What does Bumpass Hell occupy.
3: to prevent armchair caching post a photo of you or your group with your GPS in Bumpass Hell.
(No hints available.)