Greetings Fellow Travelers,
While on my travels of the Lincoln Highway, I have ventured off the beaten path many times to learn and see more about the history of our great nation’s past. These journeys have led me to learn about some of the characters who used the nation’s natural and man-made beauty to make a buck or two.
One such character was Kendall Vanhook Bumpass, a miner who worked in the Sierra Nevadas in the 1860s. Mr. Bumpass, discovering the beauty of a thermal area near Mt. Lassen in California, decided to try to turn a dollar by leading folks up to the area.
On a fateful trip with a newspaper reporter, the excitable Mr. Bumpass made a grave mistake. He stepped through the crust of a boiling mud pot, badly scalding his leg. The ghastly injury later caused him to loose that same leg. Unfortunately Mr. Bumpass’ brief turn as a tour guide entrepreneur ended almost quickly as he began.
Today this beautiful geothermal area is named after the poor miner who lost a limb, and a few dollars, to his own personal “hell.”
As I sat on top of the lookout above Bumpass Hell, the sun was fading into the trees and I decided to sketch the character of Mr. Bumpass in honor of his attempted exploits that ulimately ended in failure. Though Mr. Bumpass did fail in his venture, we must never forget that it was these types of characters who built the West and our past, creating the great nation we have today.
From the Road,
Lincoln Highway Johnny
To learn more about the area of Bumpass Hell, take a gander at Bumpass Hell.