Visiting Bumpass Hell

Bumpass Hell is part of the Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. Lassen is one of the few places on the globe where all four types of volcanoes are located next to each other, even in multiples. Aside the shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano, it harpers the largest plug dome volcano worldwide. Yet, when volcanoes are peaceful, they are a bit boring and difficult to hike. Not so Bumpass Hell, where everything is hot, babbling sulfur smelling steam emanating from the ground. If you are a believer of fairytales … hell is just around the corner … even vegetation stays away from hell. Nowadays, even hell has to be manageable, so people are kept out of harms way by letting them walk on artificial walkways.

Fort Ross, Imperial Russian Settlement 1812 – 1841.

It is commonly know that imperial Russia sold Alaska in 1867 to the United States of America. But Russia also occupied land in Alta California, belonging to Spain/Mexico at that time. In order to keep the Russian population in Alaska healthy, Fort Ross in Northern California was established in 1812 to grow vegetables and fruits and other vitamin containing food items. Especially during the winter months, it was impossible to sail through the Bering Sea from Russia to Alaska and so the supply of agricultural products from Alta California was important.

The Fort was not the only Russian Settlement in Northern California. Small settlements stretched from today’s Point Arena to Tomales Bay, including Port Rumyantsev in Bodega Bay, a sealing station on the Farallon Islands (18 miles out to sea from San Francisco). Today, Fort Ross enjoys about one million visitors per year. Surprisingly, here and there in especially Sonoma County, Russian Orthodox Churches can be found. Fort Ross also had one of the first will mills to grind grain. A replica can be admired today, an interesting simple engineering design that can be easily disassembled and transported to a new location.

The cannons in the Fort supposedly were only used to greet visitors.

Today, kids love to play on those cannons.

In the corner of the Fort, a simple Russian Orthodox Church with it’s bell right in front of it.

The kitchen building is rather cosy

Supply arrangement

More on Bodie




of Bodie

by inverted daylight

The photographer and the Staircase. This gentleman spent a good amount of time with an old “film” camera to take photos of the staircase. He later told me about the pleasure he has with maximal 3 photos of one subject.

Don’t huff and puff if you want to keep the ghost town Bodie alive!

California Central Coast – Renaissance Festival

After more than 10 years, I went to see this medieval festival last weekend. Looking at all the beautiful and expensive costumes, I guess, for some it is a form of lifestyle, moving along from festival to festival. Back in Florida, we visited those festivals several times with my daughter and other kids … a blast for any type of kid, be it small, large, old, or already with grey hair… 🙂

Snowed-in Again

Currently, the Sierra Nevada in California is getting a good “snowing”. For a week already, I am not able to get out. Even if the snow would magically disappear, there are numerous branches and trees laying on the road (dirt road to start with, really).




The snowing-in gives me the opportunity to show some old photos from 2008, when I was in the Antarctica doing good old research. Also there, after wanting to leave the West Antarctic Ice Shelf, it took 2 weeks for an airplane to get through, partially due to bad weather.

Here, I am arriving at McMurdo on Ross Island. The plane landed on the frozen ocean. So, under the feet is a thick layer of ice and then ocean.

After we did our survival training, instruments check, etc., we left McMurdo to fly to the West Antarctic Ice Shelf. At the location we camped, the elevation was about 2000 meters, with an ice-layer of 3000 meters below us. Here, a photo of our research luxury tent, in the distance, the blue spot. Since we did air measurements, we needed to stay away from the main camp, where an Ice-Core Drilling was underway, all the way through the ice.

Inside the tent, we had all sorts of instruments and a heater, to keep everybody not too cold. An a warm day, it was -30C, which is about -30F. Because of the low levels of stuff we were measuring, only home-made instruments where sensitive enough to detect what we were looking for. Even so the instruments look kinda glued together, they were top-of-the-line.

Finally, when the plane arrived, a quick photo of the funny guys. In this camp, there where about 40 people and a bulldozer. The bulldozer was used to push the snow away from the tents.

And here, finally, the air plane is arriving for pickup. Pilots don’t leave the plane and the engines are running while unloading and loading.