Unstable ground, Yellowstone National Park
The pothole seems to have opened up in the parking lot at the Mudvolcano area.
We saw quite a few new thermal "holes" in areas that looked like they did not have any before. This one had some smoke coming out of it ( you can't see it really well on the photo).
So, watch where you step, or park...
One of the grossest ways to die really has to be being scalded to death. Who in their right mind would want to be boiled like a potato? Yet still some people just have an aversion to rules, so off the path they wander. The ground around the springs and geyers in unstable. The crust surrounding a hot spring or geyser could be very thin and it's possible to break right through it and fall into scalding hot water. Warnings are posted around the areas, but even if you do not see one, use caution when in these thermal areas.
We were told a few really disgusting stories, one happened just two weeks just prior to our visit! The worst one was the story about the guy who tried to save his dog. He jumped into the spring to try and save him and ended up with 3rd degree burns covering most of his body, including his eyeballs. They found slabs of skin in the shape of his hands alongside the edge of the pool where he tried to get out. He died from his injuries, as did his dog. Dogs are no longer allowed within 100 feet of thermal areas. If you don't believe me, read Death in Yellowstone by Lee H. Whittlesey.
Be smart, be safe, stay on the path.
It is a good idea when in Yellowstone to be cautious while in thermal areas. The soil in these areas can be highly unstable and you can actually break through the soils and get burned. Stay out of thermal areas if you can. If you must walk around the geysers and such, watch the soils for mineral leaching. Areas that are bleached out and white in color are likely to be the most unstable...don't step there.
People who come to Yellowstone are often dilusional tourists, which means that most of the time they cannot drive. Something as little as spotting a tree that looks like an elk may cause them to:
a) slam on their breaks while going 45 mph to a complete stop in 2.2 seconds
b) leave the car running in the middle of the road while attempting to get a picture of the "animal"
c) leave the car doors ajar to be hit by oncoming traffic on a 2 lane hwy,
d) all of the above
Beware especially of the RV's that have in bold type along the sides "1-800-Rent Me"
This is no joke folks, watch out for CRAZY tourists! And this goes back to my Yellowstone Mantra, which is "STAY OFF THE LOOP ROAD at all costs" ......Do not pass go, do not collect 100$.....
This is my advice to you ...
before you decide to start hiking to a place that is not makrked as a view point .... talk to a ranger .... and ask him if its safe ...
anything could happen there ...
anymoment a smoking geyser could errupt and send you treight to hell....
( inferno speaking ...)
and whereever there is smoke ... there are swamps ...(@!$@$^%!)
and they look like regular ground ...but they are not ....
look at the picture ....
the ground between me and the smoking holes is a swamp.... and i almost fell into it ...
belive me ... thats NOT FUN ...!!!!!
Yes, the life of a hobby photographer has many unexpected dangers! Walking in the park on the many boardwalks trying to make a great close-up picture from a geyser is not without risk! So remember going through my travelogues that we risked our lives for you ! Luckely we survived and managed to bring home all those pictures which you can see in my travelogues :-)
Pay attention the Warning Sign- especially in the West Thumb area. Stay on the trails to prevent being harmed.
Yellowstone is the largest thermal area in the world. Warning everywhere not to leave the designated pathway. You can fall through the crust of the earth and die a scalding death.