I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The landscape was bursting with great clouds of steam. We kept seeing pools of boiling water, sometimes clear and blue, sometimes streaked with orange. Streams of hot water shot into the sky and came falling down in a sizzling rain that smelled like sulphur.
I could feel the adrenaline in my blood rising. I’m not the kind of person who stays inside a building when the fire alarm is going off.
Boardwalks were set up near the most active geysers, and tourists walked about, taking photos and eating ice cream cones and chatting happily, as if oblivious to the active volcano churning below them. It seemed crazy really.
“This is where they got their set designs for Star Trek,” I said to my husband as we gazed at strange rock formations and oddly-shaped pools cut into sizzling grey rock.
We came around a curve and saw spirals of steam rising from a meadow, as if a bunch of fires were smoldering. “Another village has been plundered,” my husband said in an ominous voice.
The thermal area was a fascinating, surreal landscape of boiling mud, scalding pools, and dragon-like steam. I kept taking photos, but I couldn’t relax. That night I had anxiety dreams.
I kept trying to imagine living in the landscape hundreds of years ago, before the national park had been established and the parking lots built. I could see how the pools of boiling water could come in handy for cooking. Even now, I was tempted to toss a handful of pasta into the nearest geyser because it would make for such a cool picnic. I don’t know if I could have settled down near a landscape that kept churning and spitting and sending such violent signals. But still, I'd like to go back some day.