Three Forks Confluence in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes
NOTE: While it is possible to bike or hike the 23-mile Valley Road from Brooks Camp to the cache site at Three Forks Overlook, most people will instead want to (or have to) purchase a $79 ticket for the bus ride operated by the National Park Service.
In June 1912, a massive eruption 10 times more forceful than the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens rocked the Katmai area. Enormous quantities of hot, glowing pumice and ash -- twice as much as Krakatoa in 1883 -- were ejected from Novarupta and flowed over the terrain. For several days ash, pumice and gas darkened the sky over most of North America.
When it was over, more than 40 square miles of lush green land lay buried under deposits as much as 700 feet deep. When Robert Griggs, exploring the aftermath for the National Geographic Society in 1916, stared awesetruck at the valley riddled by thousands of steam vents, he dubbed it the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes." While the smoking has since ended, the valley still impresses with its testimony to the power of nature. It is above this dramatic landscape that the Three Rivers Overlook, the location of this cache site, sits.
To log this cache, find the interpretive sign at the posted coordinates that is entitled, "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes." Snap and post a photo of yourself with your GPSr standing near the sign (old vacation photos and photos downloaded from the web don't count). In addition, please email me with the answer to this question: What mountain is shown at the far right of the photo on the sign?
While visiting the cache, be sure to take the 3-mile round trip hike down to the Valley Floor and visit Ukak Falls and the Three Forks Confluence. It is well worth the walk, it gives you a completely different perspective on the valley and the massive ash flow that covers it.