Like Earth itself, I remarked.
Precisely, he agreed.
The risks at Yellowstone apply to park employees as much as to visitors. Doss got a horrific sense of that in his first week on the job five years earlier. Late one night, three young summer employees engaged in an illicit activity known as "hot-potting"—swimming or basking in warm pools. Though the park, for obvious reasons, doesn't publicize it, not all the pools in Yellowstone are dangerously hot. Some are extremely agreeable to lie in, and it was the habit of some of the summer employees to have a dip late at night even though it was against the rules to do so. Foolishly the threesome had failed to take a flashlight, which was extremely dangerous because much of the soil around the warm pools is crusty and thin and one can easily fall through into a scalding vent below. In any case, as they made their way back to their dorm, they came across a stream that they had had to leap over earlier. They backed up a few paces, linked arms and, on the count of three, took a running jump. In fact, it wasn't the stream at all. It was a boiling pool. In the dark they had lost their bearings. None of the three survived.
I thought about this the next morning as I made a brief call, on my way out of the park, at a place called Emerald Pool, in the Upper Geyser Basin. Doss hadn't had time to take me there the day before, but I thought I ought at least to have a look at it, for Emerald Pool is a historic site.