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November 04, 2013

Observations for 03 November

It was probably a mistake to go out for one last Grand eruption, but it was still fun in its way.

The precipitation started shortly after we came in from the previous eruption. By the time to leave for the next eruption, there were several inches of snow on the ground. The snow kept coming down the whole time we were out in the basin. Grand took its time before erupting, so most of our tracks were gone for the walk back. Settled in and bundled up, though, it was quite warm despite the the buildup of snow on blankets and coats and hats.

So I got the full wintertime experience, in the dark. It was actually pretty light out, with the glow from the few lights from a few buildings around Old Faithful brightening up the area. How much became apparent when the power went off and the area became truly dark. Even then, there was enough light to make out shapes. The lights came back on, and again it was brighter.

The Grand eruption was another variation. It surprised us because the Turban interval preceding it was only 15m30s. The wind was strong enough that the steam was blown north up and onto the slope behind Grand, making the bursts visible in Suzanne's powerful light. At the same time, the wind knocked down a lot of the bursting so that it did look like a large Sawmill.

The first burst was so short that we knew we had to get a second burst. And the surges from the burst overcame any wind knockdown and was impressively high in the snow. But unlike last night, the burst also kept on going, so that the total eruption lasted almost twelve minutes.

After that, it was go in, dry out, get a bit more sleep, then hope the snow would stop so I could pack and get out.

Which it didn't, and it was from 10 to 12 inches deep, but I left anyhow. The road to Madison had seen a single plow whose blade had reduced the height of the snow by about 6 inches, along with leaving a pair of tracks. By following those tracks, I was able to make fairly good time. The road from there to the west entrance was in a bit better shape, and in all it took only an hour to get out of the park. Which is usually how long it takes to get out during the summer, when what makes for slow going is other driver's stupidity. I think I prefer snow.

So it was a crazy, stupid weekend, but it was lots of fun, and I look forward to similar opportunities in the future.

November 03, 2013

Observations for 02 November

Since I went out for one nighttime Grand, might as well go out for another. It was still partly overcast, with an occasional breeze, and much like a typical summer nighttime wait. This time ended up waiting a few Turban intervals for another one burst eruption, but this time it was initiated by Grand.

The day started out overcast and breezy, and slowly changed to sunny and breezy.

Of course, the next interval had to make up for the previous short intervals. First, at the six hour mark there was a Turban interval of around 35 minutes. During that time, West Triplet started, and a half hour later Rift joined in. That West Triplet eruption lasted for an hour, as did Rift, Then Grand took its time. After several long intervals and unimpressive fills and Turban eruptions, we finally got a short Turban interval of about 3m30s. With that, I expected Grand in another couple of Turban intervals.

As it turned out, it was four Turban intervals, and each Turban eruption was just as short. This is something I've not seen much. Each fill of Grand's pool started early, around 11 minutes, and by 14 it would look really good. Then drop. Finally the pool held, and through the steamy breeze we could see the waves on the pool.

The eruption, at least, compensated for the wait. We not only got two bursts, but the wind died down as the second burst started, so we did get to see the full height. This was unlike the Beehive eruption that took place about an hour earlier, where the wind picked up and carried the truncated water column north toward Lion.

I also wasted some time down at Fan & Mortar after Grand.

The long Grand interval wasn't totally disappointing, as it did have the side effect of pushing the Fountain and Grand windows apart. So I went out to Fountain on the off chance that Morning could erupt. As it turned out, we got Fountain, and a short eruption lasting 34 minutes. While there, the weather started to deteriorate. The Fountain Group always seems windy, but this was more than usual. But the sky was still pretty clear, and the sunset was a bit colorful.

An hour or so later, when it was finally time for Grand, the weather had gotten worse. It was still windy, and there were occasional chunks of frozen precipitation. But at the same time, the half the sky could be clear, with even the Milky Way visible. It was also warm enough that the boardwalk downwind of Sawmill was not icy on the walk back. The night was the opposite of the previous night in just about every way.

The Grand eruption itself was a disappointment,too. The first burst only lasted 7m20. That short meant we should get a second burst, and we did. And that's all we got, even though the total eruption duration was 9m35s. Can't tell at night, but it sure seemed that Grand didn't even try for a third. In years past, having a first burst that should would bring out the hope of four or more bursts. Now it just means that you should get a second.

November 02, 2013

Observations for 01 November

The last time I was in the Park late in the season was 1995. That year I spent a week here around the 20 October or so. It was also a year that the road between Madison and Fountain Paint Pots was getting a major reconstruction, so I had to go around via Lake and Craig Pass. The last time Ive been here in November was in 1983, which was a week after the Borah Peak Earthquake. Was hoping to see earthquake effects in the thermal features, but it seems either we missed them, or that all occurred later during the winter.

As I approached Pocatello shortly after sunrise, I could see the fog bank to the north. From there until north of Rexburg it wasn't so much fog as a very low cloud cover. Visibility along the highway was fine, but I couldn't see the tops of tall cell phone and antenna towers. North of Rexburg, as the altitude increased, the fog thickened too, just enough so that by St.Anthony, all I could see was just the roadway.

That was when I first noticed the snow. By the time I reached the bottom of the Ashton Grade, all the trees were white. By the top of the grade, it was winter. A low gray sky with occasional fog all the way to Targhee Pass.But the road was dry and I never had to slow down except for the seven 45mph zones through Island Park. Then I crossed the Divide at the pass, and suddenly it was puffy clouds in blue sky. I've noticed that having the weather suddenly change when crossing the Divide there happens a lot.

The road from West Yellowstone to Madison was mostly dry pavement, except in those sections where it was shaded by unburnt trees. The road south from Madison, though, was mostly white, especially in the northbound lane. Fortunately I was in the southbound, where it was wet, sloppy pavement except where shaded. But I still decided that I should get some use out of my 4-wheel drive, and slowed down quite a bit for a number of what could have been icy curves.

The afternoon in the Upper Basin started out mostly overcast and a bit windy. But as the day progressed, it got sunnier, and the wind did seem to not be as much of a factor. By the end of the day my face felt warm from the windburn.

Being in the Basin and in the developed Old Faithful area this time of year is a bit strange. Especially this year. Because the NPS shutdown for the first half of October, all the concessions and accommodations were closed. With the recent storm, and no services, this meant almost no one was in the Park. I would have to guess that I knew over half the people I saw out in the basin, and most of them were either West Yellowstone residents, or people like me who were here for the closing weekend. It was a lot like being out at night, except you could see and it was a lot windier than it usually is at night.

Grand cooperated, and I arrived at the start of the predicted window. It waited long enough for a crowd of almost a dozen geyser gazers to be there for the one-burst eruption. Shortly before Grand, Castle and Oblong had eruptions, too.

Afterward, waited around for an eruption of Penta, as the Sawmill Group looked promising, but nothing came of that cycle. Farther down basin spent some time at Giant and at Fan & Mortar, then finally caught an eruption of Riverside.

With a Fountain time from the morning, a few of us went out there to catch the next eruption, and to hope that we'd get lucky and see Morning instead. (A multiple eruption with Fountain would have been a steamy mess.) Fountain started erupting just as we got to the steps, almost perfect timing. The eruption itself was less than 35 minutes long, so it seemed like there would be no reason to go out for the next one.

When I decided to visit this weekend, I decided that I would forego nighttime Grand eruptions unless the conditions were good. Tonight was good enough, with overcast helping to keep the temperatures from going too low. Also, Suzanne wanted to try out her new spotlight, and with the new moon conditions and no one around to see us playing the light around, I was out there.

As it turned out, the spotlight is amazing,and something I hope doesn't catch on. Fortunately, for now, at least, it costs several hundred dollars, so definitely not an impulse purchase. But Suzanne was able to illuminate a Daisy eruption from Grand. But even then, so much of the foreground is illuminated that you can be blinded by things nearby (like railings and benches.) What this light is good for is illuminating unusual activity, like they did with one for Morning. Or in the future, activity, Giant. It would also be useful to see exactly what is going on with Fan & Mortar or a Giant hot period, if used judiciously.

As for the Grand eruption, we only ended up waiting for a Turban interval. Grand had a definite false pause at the 8m20s mark, and then the eruption only lasted for 9-1/2 minutes. I'd really like to understand why some one burst eruptions are so short, and others last for almost half again as long.

September 03, 2013

Observations for 02 September

It was clear when I went out for the nighttime Grand. Quiet too, as I believe this was the first time this visit that neither Percolator or any other of the noise makers were active. The distinguishing, and amusing feature of this eruption was that someone happened to make just the right turning the Inn parking lot to briefly illuminate the rising water column from the second burst.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I woke up a few hours later, and from behind the curtains I could tell that it wasn't bright and sunny. Instead it was a thick, gray overcast. So unlike previous mornings, I had to head out to Grand wearing some jackets and be prepared to get out the rain gear.

Had an almost classic sequence of Turban intervals. The first eruption I saw went long, after Grand had been sitting for quite a while with a full pool. The next eruption went short. (Not sure of the exact length, as was interrupted by an eruption of Uncertain.) That was followed by a short interval with poor runoff from Grand. Finally the pool filled and stayed up and we could easily see the full sequence of events for a long Turban start, from Vent overflow to Grand booping before finally starting.

The eruption itself was, as David Schwarz put it, was "an experience you normally get at night". Because of the coolness and the dampness, and the lack of any breeze, the water column was quickly shrouded in steam, a huge cloud that almost immediately started to precipitate on all the benches. To see anything required moving around.

Another feature of the wait was another short duration eruption of Rift which ended during Grand's eruption. I was standing down by it for the ending portions of Grand (due to the aforementioned rain.)

September 02, 2013

Observations for 01 September

Going out for the nighttime Grand shows some more obvious differences between September and July. Seeing Orion rising was one. Hearing an elk bugle was another. While waiting for Grand the crescent mood first was visible through the trees behind Grand, then cast a strange pearly glow above the trees until it finally made its appearance.I'm used to the moon rising much farther to the south, from behind Rift or Spasmodic.

I arrived with West Triplet in eruption. It was a while before Rift joined in,so I must have just missed Triplet's start. That was not encouraging, as it was so early in the interval, and Grand could take several hours and still erupt well within the window.

The thin crescent was surprisingly bright, easily casting shadows. It's position behind Grand also meant that it was almost impossible to tell what was going on there. Usually I can use the contrast in the thicker portions of the steam over Turban and Grand to gauge what is going on, but the moon was illuminating the whole steamy area. So it was a pleasant surprise when a nondescript overflow was suddenly interrupted by a sizable burst from Grand. There wasn't any preliminary boop that I could hear.

The moon also provided a new and different view of the eruption. Or at least one I haven't seen in years. Grand was nicely backlit, and with there being no wind, it was possible to get into a position to actually use that lighting to enjoy the eruption.

It was cool whenI went out for the next eruption, but quickly warmed up. There was also a distinct layer of smokey haze throughout the area. This time Grand cooperated again, with an interval well under seven hours. The pool filled and began having waves at about the twenty minute mark, then fluctuated between looking great, and looking like it was dropping. We just missed having a delay by about 15 seconds.

The eruption itself was nice, without any preliminary hoops, but with Grand staring with a nice large explosion. At around the ten minute mark Grand had one of the longer false pauses I've seen. For about ten seconds there was nothing more than a big boil over the vent-- not stopping, but not rocketing either. Then one of the bursts broke free, and Grand continued on for several more minutes.

After Grand stopped, West Triplet started up. The Vent & Turban pause was notable because on several occasions it looked like the restart was about to happen, then the steam from those two vents stopped. But Grand continued to steam heavily all through those times. Finally, once the restart happened, Grand within a minute started having some nice sized afterplay.

It turned out waiting for the end of the West Triplet eruption was a good idea, as instead got to see the start of another Rift. An interval of less than eight hours.

Heard a radio call about Penta erupting. Got out there in time for the last minute or so of a 33 minute eruption. That was about the only noteworthy geyser activity (at least for me) until it was time again to go to Grand.

I didn't have high hopes for the next interval. With the second Rift eruption, I expect Grand to try to have a long interval, especially because it had had so many shorts lately. The first Turban interval I saw was 30 seconds of being a delay, and the next few intervals showed no sign of Grand wanting to have a short interval.

Then Turban tossed in one of its short duration eruptions, and Grand's pool did look like it could be having low pool waves. So now I was hoping for a long-short series, and for Grand to attempt to erupt on the second Turban following. Which is what it did. Grand looked good, with a high pool, but no waves, at the start of Turban. But over the course of the next 50 seconds, the pool rose and waves got bigger. FInally there was a series of at least 4 boils and hoops (one at least 2 meters high) before Grand finally did begin the first burst.

Of course during this time the sun managed to disappear behind a single small cloud. It did reappear for a while during the eruption, but was again hidden when the first burst ended at nine minutes. Or I should say the eruption ended, as despite the sort duration, Grand made no attempt to refill and give us a second burst.

Here are the bear footprints I mentioned yesterday. The bear passed by Economic, headed north toward the Purple Pools, it appears.

September 01, 2013

Observations for 31 August

Have really gotten used to coming here in July and early August. Was a bit surprised when I came out for the early Grand and it was still dark, without a hint of dawn to the east. A month ago I probably wouldn't have needed a light to take notes. The crescent moon had a slight reddish color, and the stars seemed to be not a prominent as a few hours earlier, too.

As it was, Grand was fairly cooperative this time. While it did wait a bit, by the time it did erupt, it was light enough to see the eruption. Unfortunately, that eruption as a short, single burst.

Since I had no excuse, I went out to Fountain on the off chance that Morning might try to do something. An hour's wait, and Morning didn't erupt, so it was time to come back in and have something to eat.

Middle of the day brought another Grand eruption. Like last night, the difference between now and July was noticeable. A month ago the clear sky would have been unbearably hot. This time it was just bright, and the breeze made it comfortable. In the lead up, Turban had a series of intervals where each of the durations were about 30 seconds shorter than the previous, going from about six minutes to just under four. The intervals also decreased from about 22 minutes to 18. Then Grand made what looked like a feeble attempt to erupt, finally going two Turban eruptions later.

The eruption itself was another one burst, at least it was a full ten minutes this time.

Went out for the next Grand eruption at sunset, which was earlier than necessary, but I had nothing better to do. Turned out to be useful, as it was almost 25 minutes from the time I arrived until Turban finally erupted. The duration of the Turban eruption itself was almost 7 minutes. Since this delay was so early in Grand's interval, I figured that it would not have a great effect on Grand, and even if it did, Grand still could erupt well before the middle of the prediction window.

I also learned, too late to take photos, that there were a nice series of fresh grizzly bear footprints between Economic and the boardwalk. Not the kind of news that I wanted to hear, as previous reports of bear sightings this summer had been well away from the Grand complex.Will try to take pictures in daylight tomorrow. (This is not the first time I've seen grizzly bear prints at that particular spot. Years ago in mid-May I saw a nice fresh print on the boardwalk during a snowfall.)

As it turned out, the delay was only for three Turban intervals. It was again one of those cases where Turban started, and suddenly one could hear the intensity of the eruption pick up. At the same time, the grayish glow of the steam in the dark seemed to pick up, and within 90 seconds Grand started.

The first burst was short enough, well under ten minutes, that there seemed a good chance for another burst. The pause itself was so short, and the burst duration also short, that I hoped for a third, but no such luck.

August 31, 2013

Observations for 30 August

Arrived at sunset, at about eight hours after the previous Grand eruption. Only took 20 minutes to get checked in and get ready to head out. So right as I leave the cabin and I ride my bike in front of the Lodge, I see in the semi-darkness a steam cloud down basin, to the right of Old Faithful. I think to myself that this is perfect timing. Then again, it didn't look like it was beyond the trees, so maybe it was Lion. But as I continued on, I realized I could hear the eruption, and that meant it had to be Beehive. So I was only in the Upper Basin and for a few minutes, and already saw more eruptions of Beehive than in the two weeks of the previous trip. Things might be starting out pretty good.

Out at Grand, things were more normal. After a series of undistinguished Turban intervals, Grand finally had a one burst eruption with an interval well over 9-1/2 hours.

July 28, 2013

Observations for 28 July

Grand did cooperate. The next two intervals were short, but they were both one burst eruptions. I could have left immediately after the dawn eruption, but decided to give Morning a chance. Seeing how it had erupted with Fountain less than an hour after the previous Grand eruption, I wasn't getting my hopes up. An hour wait, and a start of Fountain without Morning meant I could head home.

During this trip I managed to see all the eruptions of Grand, 47 in all. Of these, 29 were one burst eruptions, or just under 62% of the eruptions. At one point during my visit, that was up to 70%. I don't expect the number to go down any time soon.

Besides a couple of Morning eruptions, for which I didn't try very hard, I also got several Penta eruptions, Uncertain and Churn, and a couple of North Goggles minors. Then there was the middle of the night Fan & Mortar as seen from Grand, and the Beehive seen from the cabin area between the trees. Not particularly exciting visit.

Observations for 27 July

After the sub-six hour Grand interval, was hoping this indicated the shift was on. It wasn't. Rift and West Triplet were erupting as I came out, and Rift ended about an hour later. Ended up with an interval around 9 hours, with the last few Turban intervals with alternating eruption durations, short followed by long followed by short.

The next Grand eruption was similar, except for Rift itself not being active. Grand took an hour and a half after West Triplet ended to finally erupt after a series of alternating Turban intervals. West Triplet then started erupting after the end of the one burst eruption. The only notable thing to happen was getting a single Churn eruption from the Sawmill Group on a cycle where Penta looked good until Spasmodic dropped.

That evening there was another relatively short interval for Grand, but with a two burst eruption. The interval was short enough that it looked like I could easily get in a couple of Grand eruption before I had to leave the next day.

July 27, 2013

Observations for 26 July

Came out after midnight for another three hour wait. At least this time there was a second burst, which made the wait not seem so bad.

One thing the long interval did do was separate the Fountain/Morning window from the Grand window. There was little chance of overlap, and with the first being at dawn, all it would cost me would be a few hours sleep. For some reason I decided to go out and try my luck. I got a Fountain eruption, and headed back before the roads became the usual mess I try to avoid. It also confirmed my suspicions that Morning's next interval was going to be back in the 5 to 7 day range.

When Grand has had long intervals, there appears to be little reason for it. The mid day wait didn't even have Rift to provide an excuse.

Despite the longer intervals , have been going out early for Grand, as it seems like it could have shorter intervals. This time it worked.

The pool looked good when I got there, and kept rising. Then stayed at heavy overflow for about ten minutes before receding. There were never any waves, and with the low lighting, they would have been easy to see. I did not see the previous Turban, but the elapsed time implied an interval close to thirty minutes when Turban finally did erupt. And then Grand started to refill. There was heavy convection visible around the vent and then waves started. About a minute after Turban started, Vent began to overflow, and Grand had small boils over the vent before finally erupting.

July 26, 2013

Observations for 25 July

I went out to Grand in the pre-dawn hours with the hope of seeing it in the dark, but prepared for a wait until after dawn. The first Turban eruption had all the characteristics of a Vent delay, but in the dark I couldn't tell. One factor making that more likely is that Grand did erupt on the second Turban afterwards. It was also the sixth one burst eruption in a row.

With nothing much to do in the mornings, I came out earlier than necessary to see what Turban might be doing. Turns out it was a good decision. The first partial Turban interval I saw had to have been about 22 minutes, and then we got a 34 minute delay. The pool rose up nicely at around 24 minutes, then sat there for almost 8 minutes before heading back down. The five Turban delay afterwards was a bit more than I'd have liked to have seen, but at least we finally broke the string of one burst eruptions. This was one of those cases where Turban started and Grand went from looking decent to having waves.

As the first burst approached the 8 minute mark, I noticed that the wind had shifted just a bit, and realized that if we did get a second burst, we were going to get wet. And we got the burst, and we did. And it wasn't a quick letdown, but seemed to last for a while as the water droplets drifted our way instead of dousing the crowd down by Rift, like it did for the first burst.

There were reports that East Sentinel had had a couple of major eruptions during the day. So after Grand I decided to go look for myself. What I found didn't look much different than what I'd seen earlier. I was disappointed that there wasn't any evidence of catch basins that contained water that shouldn't be there, the way you can tell Fan & Mortar have been active the next day by the wet areas on Mortar. But I did see a nice surge that had water filling the crater while the surging reached about 6 feet and occasionally splashed over the near edge of the crater. The next two cycles were not as big.

We also started getting afternoon sprinkles today, after most of a week of dry. Fortunately, there wasn't any reason to be out and about at the times we got the short showers, so I didn't get wet.

The evening Grand was another one of those cases of going out with the hope of short interval, but prepared for long. Because of the time, this preparation meant carrying some jackets and even a flashlight. Off to the north we could hear the clouds rumbling as we waited. But it wasn't a short wait.

But we did get one of the best examples of a "boop" from Grand that's I've seen in years. The pool came up to completely full, where the ridges were completely gone, but there were not waves. And then just sat there for the better part of a minute. Then the little bubbling over the vent that Grand always has during into a boil about a foot high. And then nothing, for a good ten seconds. Finally we got another boil, and almost got a blue bubble from Grand as the eruption started explosively the way some Grand-initiated eruptions can do.

There are at least a couple of gazers who really like to announce geyser starts before the actual start who are someday going to get caught by a boop that becomes a delay, and have to retract their report. And it'll serve 'em right, as I've been commenting to people who do that sort of things to watch out. (Beehive in another popular target.)

And we got another one burst. Since my server is down (or gone), I can't get at all the numbers I need, but the average is definitely not getting better. At one point last week we were at 70% one burst eruptions, but thanks to a series of two burst eruptions, that actually got down to about 55%. It's now probably back in the 70% range. This means that most days there is only one Grand eruption with multiple bursts, and our 4 day/4 bursts Grand day yesterday isn't that unlikely. Enjoy the second bursts while you can.

July 25, 2013

Observations for 24 July

The night started with a longer than necessary wait for Grand by a fair number of people (for night, at least). At least West Triplet's eruption didn't lead into a Rift. The one burst was disappointing because otherwise the conditions were perfect-- it wasn't frigid and the moon was high and bright.

The Rift eruption was what greeted me a few hours later when I came out for the second Grand of the day. But it wasn't all bad. Rift ended shortly after I got out, and I only had to wait two more Turban eruptions. Again, Grand did not rise to the conditions, which were ideal early morning. Instead it gave us another very long eruption, this one 12m54s. So once again it couldn't quite get to 13 minutes.

The wait for the third Grand of the day was even shorter. With the increasing number of sub-seven hour interval, I decided that I definitely had to be in sight by the six hour mark. And again, Grand didn't put the conditions to good use, by having another one burst eruption. The conditions being the empty benches at midday due to the shortness of the interval.

But that did set Grand up for a nice sunset eruption. This time, the Fountain/Morning activity didn't coincide with the Grand window, so quite a few gazers were out the shortest interval of the day, and the fourth Grand eruption of the day. And it was another one burst eruption, also the fourth of the day. So ended a boring day.

July 24, 2013

Observations for 23 July

The full moon had a slight yellowish cast as I went out at midnight. Probably from fires in Montana, but it was still bright out. Got a West Triplet start during the first Turban interval I was there, and Rift followed on right on schedule. That's when things got fun.

I was listening for the end of a Turban eruption, which can be a bit tricky when you've got all the noisemakers active-- Percolator, West Triplet, Rift and even Sawmill off in the distance. So I was surprised to hear a roaring off to the north. It didn't sound like Oblong, and sure enough, there was a steam plume to the right of the Giant complex-- Fan & Mortar were finally erupting. So I made my one radio report of the trip, and even got a response from someone.

Watched (and listened) to the activity down there for a while, then watched the steam build up at Grand before and after the next Turban start. Finally got a beautiful moonlit eruption of Grand, whose only drawback was that it was a one burst that lasted over eleven minutes. There weren't any moonbows like the previous night's eruption because the moon was too high in the sky.

In the morning I was practically alone at Grand for an 08:03 eruption because the mass was out at Fountain waiting for, as it turned out, Fountain. A thin layer of ice had formed on the walkways and benches, making the former slippery and the latter wet after you sat down.

This was a two burst eruption nicely backlit by the morning sun after a short wait in which West Triplet also started.

In the afternoon the interesting activity wasn't at the Grand Group. Upon arriving, Oblong erupted. It was noted by several that the bursts as seen from Grand seemed impressively large, but otherwise it was a normal eruption. Then, forty minutes later, I looked up from the book I was reading and saw the steam there building, and then a surge of water. After a couple of decades, Oblong was having empty crater eruptions again. If I hadn't seen the earlier eruption, or known about it, I would not have thought this one was any different from any other Oblong. The height and duration and behavior, as far as I could tell, was no different from any other Oblong I've seen from there.

Then we got an eruption of Penta. When I'd gone out to Grand an hour earlier, the group looked good but not great with regards to Penta. So was a bit surprised as I thought the Sawmill Group would be draining by then. Others who had been watching said that the group drop had stalled out, and it appears that that gave Penta the time or the opportunity to build up the energy to erupt. The eruption itself lasted about an hour, which is a bit shorter than the others I've seen this year.

Grand itself decided that midday was a good time for a nearly nine hour interval, and to reward everyone who waited with a single burst eruption.

Later,while killing time in my cabin, I heard over the radio that Beehive was erupting.I walked over to in front of the Lodge to catch a few minutes of the activity. This was the second Beehive in as many days.

So in a less than 24 hours period, not quite coinciding with yesterday, there were four Grand eruptions, two Morning eruptions (one with Fountain), a Beehive eruption and a Fan & Mortar eruption. For this year, that's a great day, although for most people, the only thing they saw of it was the first Morning eruption.

July 23, 2013

Observations for 22 July

Out at Grand the moon was high and it seemed like the humidity was low and the temperature high (for night, that is). Ended up arriving in time for a close to 28 minute Turban delay. The first of this type delay I've seen this trip. But fortunately, it resulted in only a two interval delay. As the time of the second Turban approached, I could see the steam getting heavier over Grand's pool, and then finally, about ten seconds before the start, could hear the boiling over Grand's vent.

The wind direction was perfect for a moonlit, nighttime eruption, toward Rift, instead of the usual direction toward the northwest. This allowed me to see a full arc moon bow in the spray coming off of Vent, a thin ribbon with a reddish cast.

Saw my first Fountain/Morning dual, and I must say I was unimpressed. It may be rare activity, but rare doesn't imply better. The primary reason is that Fountain's activity gets in the way of seeing what Morning is doing. The fact that it was a morning eruption didn't help, as both Morning and Fountain were shrouded in steam from all their overflow channels. But comparing it to the one I saw earlier under similar conditions, I'm much rather have the solo so I can see Morning's huge bursts, and not have their sound drowned out by the crashing surf going on in Fountain.

Another drawback was that it seemed like for minutes at a time, Morning was doing a "Big Oblong". Large, but steady boiling without any of the bursting for which Morning is known.

In some ways, the activity reminded me of the Daisy/Splendid duals of 1997. In that year, a majority of the eruptions I witnessed were dual eruptions, and one outstanding feature of most of those what that when Daisy started, Splendid quit. This was in contrast to the 1980s activity when Splendid would not only continue, but sometimes become huge and last longer than normal. So in 1997, it got to the point where I didn't want Daisy to erupt. (There were a few eruptions of the 1980s variety that year. Fortunately I managed to capture one in June on video.)

Finally, the ambiance of the area is perhaps the worst possible for viewing any geyser in the Park, and in that I include the ring around Old Faithful. You have a constant stream of people who have no idea what they are seeing, and don't care a bit about it,other than "it's rare", or taking a picture of themselves in front of something erupting. And then they move on. The walkway is too narrow, and coming apart, and that makes it hard to move around to try to take in different views of Morning's activity. Which on a steamy morning, is important. Add into this that I can no longer tolerate the yammering that goes on when a large group of gazers is at this sort of activity. A few in particular won't shut up, and keep talking about other, irrelevant things, adding to the drowning out of the sound of the eruption.

A middle of the day Grand had a short enough interval that it pretty much insured that the evening eruption would appear in the daylight.

As it turned out, Grand pretty much erupted at the earliest opportunity, at just over six hours. The only different feature of this eruption was that at the 17 minute mark, Grand's pool was completely full, ridges fully covered, but there were no waves. It took the better part of a minute for the waves to finally appear. With the short interval, Grand at least set itself up for another moonlight eruption, as tonight is the full moon.

July 22, 2013

Observations for 21 July

The moon was up when I came out, and set an hour later, but Grand waited long enough so that I could see the top of the second burst illuminated by the rising sun.

A couple of hours later, North Goggles had its first known minor eruption of the year. Since so far I hadn't had a reason to visit Geyser Hill, I took this as an excuse to make the loop. As it turned out, I ended up seeing a couple of the following eruptions of the series. The activity continued well on into the afternoon, but for me it was time to go back to Grand.

I went out to Grand with the intention of eating some lunch. I didn't wait for a Turban, but started right away. I was well into my crackers and tuna salad and pickles when it became obvious that the pool was full and having nice waves. So Grand erupted with an interval just over six hours, as if it was trying to compensate for the earlier long interval.

The final Grand eruption of the day also did not quite follow the usual pattern. This time the eruption came before the sun set. With the slight wind, this gave us a beautiful set of rainbows. The eruptions started with one of Grand's unusual "blue bubble" starts, which it can sometime do when it initiates the eruption. Getting a second burst was a nice treat considering that we'd already had our multiple burst eruption of the day.

July 21, 2013

Observations for 20 July

Grand's average interval is close to eight hours, so it is in a pattern where it is erupting at the same time of day, every day. Unfortunately, the times of day seem to be the worst possible-- shortly before dawn, right after sunset, and the middle of the day. So there are no true nighttime eruptions, but the lighting is poor for two eruptions, and the benches crowded for the third.

At least the first two eruptions of the day continued the run of two-burst eruptions. And the midday eruption did have a Vent overflow delay to explain why it took so long.

The third eruption started right after sunset, so the water column was still visible. Around the 11m mark, Grand's activity slowed down like it was going to stop. Then, after about 20 seconds, it picked back up and Grand continued, finally ending at 12m59s. So we got a long single burst, but couldn't even make it to a full thirteen minutes. Then Vent and Turban quit almost immediately, instead of their usual vigorous play for a minute.

July 20, 2013

Observations for 19 July

I didn't expect to see the morning Grand in the dark, and I didn't. But I was disappointed that it only had one burst. The light was just hitting the ridge to the northwest, and it would have nicely illuminated the top of a second burst, if there had been one.

The last couple of days there have been reports of more activity at East Sentinel, including some large eruptions. So I decided to check the area out. There was definitely evidence of at least one large eruption, with dead grass as much as 10 meters from the vent. The areas upstream was also cleaned of any debris, which is typical when something erupts infrequently. While there, I saw the pool in the crater cycle in height by about a foot, and several of the holes upstream splashed water to about that same height. The area bears further watching.

The mid-day Grand actually had a shorter interval, and two bursts.

While waiting for Grand in the evening, saw another eruption of Bush Geyser,out on the flat to the northwest. This time I noticed a second small sput active just north of the larger activity. This was about a couple of inches high, and continued on for at least another hour before it became too dark to see out there. I might even have seen a third vent active out there, but not sure.

The evening Grand was like the previous two evenings, but this time Grand erupted on the Turban right after sunset.

This was also the first day all week where there were no announcements of the same Fan & Mortar event cycle during the day. Would be nice if this signals a shift down there.

July 19, 2013

Observations for 18 July

With Geyser Hill pretty much dead, and no "charismatic megafeature" active in the rest of the basin (Fan & Mortar are still dormant as far as I'm concerned), things are pretty dull. Today consisted of basically catching up on sleep and three Grand eruptions. None of them were distinguished.

It seems like every night I'm coming out at the same time of night, only to have to wait for a long interval. The exception this morning was that Grand erupted when it was still dark enough to not see much. It was also another one of those cases where the activity of Turban became vigorous about 30s into an eruption, with Grand finally starting over two minutes after Turban. It did have a long second burst, and took place at that point where it was light enough to start seeing details, but I still needed a light to write in the notebook.

The redeeming feature of the second eruption of the day was that the interval was relatively short, less than eight hours.

The final, evening eruption could've erupted at or just before sunset, but it waited long enough to fall outside of any window and almost be too dark to seen. Add in the total length of 9 minutes for a single burst, and it capped off the day.

Morning should be showing signs of life soon,so things may get interesting again.

July 18, 2013

Observations for 17 July 2013

The raindrops started as I came out of the cabin at midnight. It was light until I got out to Grand and got all my raingear on. The I waited for two hours as the rain fell and Tuban intervals came and went.

The rains finally died odd, and it looked like I could actually see stars in the gaps in the clouds. So it was actually nice of Grand to wait as long as it did. When it finally erupted. It was also a nice surprise when the first burst ended at 7m15s.

The third burst ended at 9m42 s, and I was anticipating a fourth burst, which I haven't sen in years, but nothing happened. Then I could hear Turban stop and the force of Vent suddenly decreased. Another little variation on what Grand could do, and not an appreciated one.

When I came back out for the next Grand eruption, the pack was still damp. On the way out, did the usual stop to look at Tilt, and noticed that not only was it palpitating slightly, but was bubbling from both vents. A short wait,and the eruption started. I like to watch Tilt from the corner of the boardwalk, as it's the one place where you can look straight down and watch a geyser erupt. But for this eruption, I couldn't do that. The water and spray got that area wet. Not only that, but the height of Tilt seemed more than previous, as much as 12 to 15 feet.

For the evening Grand eruption, the prediction sign hadn't been changed since the earlier one. As a result, for the first our of the window, the benches were empty. The evening started out calm (and bug free) with storm clouds to the north and south. We never got any weather, other than at one point the wind suddenly picked up and then it stayed windy.

The eruption itself waited until after the sun disappeared behind clouds, in effect giving us an early sunset. Without the clouds, it would have been a nice, long one burst with lots of rainbows.

July 17, 2013

Observations for 16 July 2013

The next Grand interval was a little bit longer,but still indicating a possible shortening. It was nice to go out at night and actually see an eruption in the dark. Getting a second burst was a nice bonus.

But before I went out, I was awakened by someone hitting their radio "call" button. It was about a half hour before the alarm was supposed to go off, so I was a bit annoyed. But then a couple of minutes later,that changed to gratitude. Kit Barger announced the time of the latest Fountain eruption, 21:52, and that the duration was 40 minutes. So far this season, an eruption that long has implied a chance of a Morning Geyser eruption. So as I went out to Grand, I was running the times trying to figure out when I needed to set the alarm and head out. No excuse to not go to the Lower Basin, as traffic would be minimal and parking easy.

So easy that I was the first there.So I set up my chair down on the boardwalk next to Fountain, got out the iPad and started to read. All time I waited,Jet never erupted, just huffed and rumbled. Finally we got a real eruption. A few minutes later, so did Morning.

This was my third attempt to see an eruption of Morning, and resulted in my first one since 1991. Behaved much as I remembered. It's not the size or the height that is impressive. I mentally placed an eruption of Grand out there, at a similar distance, and only once or twice did I see anything even approaching the start of a Grand burst. Anyone talking about height is missing the point of the activity. It's the power of the water being thrown in all directions, almost noiselessly. It was nice that it was dead calm, and well before the herds of people tromping through began, as it made it just a little easier to hear and appreciate the bursts.

The eruption of Morning ended just at the six hour mark for Grand, so I hurried back to the Upper Basin, and got out by the 6h30m mark. And then waited for three hours. Again, no delays, nothing to indicate why it was taking so long. We did get an eruption of West Triplet, but that didn't seem to push Grand any. The wait wasn't so bad, because while it had been clear and sunny for Morning, by now it was overcast and distinctly cool. The biggest annoyance was that I had planned on a quick Grand and then head in for breakfast. That'll teach me.

So the string so shorter intervals and two burst eruptions ended. The rest of the day consisted of another of longer Grand intervals and another one burst eruption.Otherwise I kept trying to make up for missed sleep, without much success.

July 16, 2013

Observations for 15 July 2013

So this morning was a replay of yesterday. Except Grand never even attempted to erupt during the wait. Then it was time for West Triplet and Rift. Rift finished, and yet another Turban eruption started. Except by about a minute in, it became obvious that Turban was much more powerful than usual, and there was enough light from the dawn to see the steam increasing over Grand's pool. So after two minutes, there was a one burst eruption, the beginning of which was nicely backlit by the brightening sky.

For the next interval, Grand finally cooperated. It had the short interval at a time when I was out there for it. Following the Rift eruption this morning, I was half-expecting it. Early in the window, and with most of the noise-makers in the Lower Basin, it was also a pleasant short wait. Quitting after the second burst wasn't surprising, but having West Triplet start and having the restart take the maximum amount of time wasn't either.

The Sawmill Group had looked pretty high, and Tardy was still erupting, so I figured I could hang around there for the drop in the system. Instead, the wait for the restart delayed me, so for this Penta eruption, I saw the start from up by Belgian Pool. It lasted 1h10m, but didn't have the steam-phase type activity I'd seen the other day. This time Oval did not pulsate, either.

By that point, Fan & Mortar was having another event cycle. This time, at least, the person calling it had been there a while, so I decided to head down since I had nothing better to do. Another one of those cases where Mortar's Bottom Vent takes over, causing the rest of the system to stall out until it's finished. It seems to do that every four to six hours lately.

For the evening eruption of Grand, I went out expecting that I might be there at sunset. As it turned out, I had to wait just one Turban interval. It was a case where when Vent overflowed, it poured out the water. With the low sun and enough of a breeze, the staring columns of both bursts were spectacularly tall.

West Triplet started and I decided to wait for either the end of it's eruption, or the start of Rift. Was a bit surprised to see the latter, since we'd already had a Rift eruption in the morning. Not a good sign. On the other hand, having three of the last four intervals be around 6 hours makes me hope for a bit of a shift to the shorter side.

July 15, 2013

Observations for 14 July 2013

Came out at 02:00 for my first perfectly clear night this year. Stayed for a dawn eruption of Grand. In the meantime, Grand made an attempt to erupt signified by the sound of the overflow and the short, vigorous Turban eruption. The next Turban eruption had no overflow at all, so I decided that I was going to get lucky and it would erupt the next time, for a nice, noisy eruption in the dark.

Instead there was no real pattern to the Turban intervals, so that finally, five more Turban intervals later, it looked like it would be yet another one to wait. Grand had not overflowed at not just the usual time, around 14m30s, but at 18m30s, was still quiet. So it was a bit of a surprise that when Turban started, it again sounded like the times Grand would erupt after it. But there was a enough light to see that the pool was now overflowing, and fairly heavily. So about 1m30 into Turban, Grand finally started up. The wind, fortunately, was away so that it was possible to see some of the activity before completely obscured.

Not much happened until it was time for the next Grand. Rift was already active, so we had to wait for the hour and a half activity to quit.

Early in the wait we heard that Fountain had erupted with a 37m duration. This is long enough to indicate that Morning might attempt to erupt on the next opportunity. I did some quick calculations, and realized that the longer Grand took this time, the less the two windows would over lap. So I publicly stated my desires for a long interval, one to match the one I'd experienced earlier in the day. This was not appreciated by others waiting there.

As in the previous interval, Grand and Turban showed no pattern, until we passed the eight hour mark. Then the Turban intervals were dropping in length. I noticed that in the last case, Grand was already full and overflowing at 11m30s. This rise continued, so that by fifteen minutes, Vent was overflowing and Grand was having large waves. Again, the wind favored us, also not knocking down the large Vent activity.

So I went out to Fountain a little bit early in order to avoid a pending Old Faithful eruption exit, and in case there were any jam ups along the way. So of course I had to wait about three hours for Fountain to finally erupt. I did spend a little time watching it, instead of rushing off. So of course when I got back and changed into clothing more appropriate for a nighttime wait, and as I biked past the Lodge, I saw Grand erupting a little more than six hours after having three consecutive intervals of about nine hours.

I think it's time for people to realize that Beehive's Indicator is meaningless when it comes to predicting Beehive eruptions. The Indicator has the same relationship that Turban has with Grand: Beehive erupts with the Indicator, which erupts on its own with its own intervals. Or, Beehive should just be considered dormant with occasional eruptions. Yes, it erupted tonight, after about a dozen Indicator eruptions.

July 14, 2013

Observations for 13 July 2013

The day started out boring. Despite arriving at 06:00, I didn't make any entries in my logbook until Turban at 10:30. That was after a quick trip out when I arrived to see the empty pool at Grand, and after breakfast. But things picked up after that.

Only had to wait one Turban interval for Grand. A long one burst, so nothing out of the ordinary there. Then while waiting for West Triplet to end (and to see if Rift would start), caught the start of Castle after the overnight minor eruption.

Made a visit to Daisy. It looked good, like it was close, but probably because of the wind, it just sat there like that for about half an hour before the surging finally reached the point where it could initiate an eruption.

About an hour later came the report that Penta had started. Deciding that I shouldn't pass up the opportunity, since it might be the last Penta eruption in a while, I went out to see it, getting there about 10 minutes into the eruption. Shortly after I got there, Spasmodic stopped overflowing. That's usually a sign that Penta will stop soon, but this time Spasmodic, along with all the other features in the Sawmill Group, just sat at their pool levels for about an hour. During that time Oval had three episodes where it came up, started having waves, then had some boiling bursts before dropping back down. Each time it lasted a minute or two.

Finally Spasmodic began to drop, and within 15 minutes was down in what would be expected from a deep drain of the group. Instead of quitting, Penta went into a strong steam-phase type of activity. The top vent was roaring away, being cut off by jets of water which got weaker as the activity progressed. I had to leave at the 90 minute mark, and Penta was still going strong at that point.

During the day Beehive's Indicator erupted about every 3 hours or so, starting about 6 hours after the pre-dawn eruption that no one saw locally. This continued all day.

The evening Grand wait was long, but worth it. Grand had a Vent delay with a short but vigorous eruption of Turban. After the next Turban eruption, it refilled rapidly, such that it caught me a little off guard. I was reading, and suddenly I noticed the sound of the overflow much earlier than expected. Looked at my watch an we were only at about 12 minutes, with the pool completely full. Over the next few minutes, the pool stayed high, so that by 17 minutes Grand was pouring out water and starting to have strong upwelling over the vent, easily visible in the low sunlight. Finally, Grand boiled up and started the eruption, quickly followed by Vent overflow and then Turban.

The timing was perfect, as by the next Turban the sun would have probably been hidden behind clouds on the horizon, and definitely the next Turban would have taken place with the sun below the ridge. Grand also quit at a little over 8 minutes, which while not guaranteed, did promise a second burst. This burst was huge, again with the low sun illuminating it perfectly. After that, Grand gave only a slight indication that it might want a third burst, but drained instead. The eruption was short enough that Vent & Turban didn't quit.

At the start of Grand, there was a small geyser erupting out in the flat to the northwest of the boardwalk. The last time I can remember seeing activity out there was in the early 1990s, about 20 years ago. There are a lot of holes out in that area, so this may not have been the same geyser (or geysers) that I saw, or the Bush Geyser that was named by Marie Wolf. It was perhaps less than 0.25 meters high, and lasted only a couple of minutes.

July 01, 2013

Observations for 30 June 2013

So I decided that I should at least make the effort to go out to Fountain, just in case. As I drove past Biscuit Basin, the sprinkles started, but fortunately they'd ended by the time I reached the Fountain parking lot. That walk, unfamiliar to me, in the dark with wet boards, required the frequent use of a light, and was much longer than I remembered.

Finally found my way to the group waiting for Fountain, and the rain started again. Finally broke down and put on the rain gear, just as it seemed the rain ended. But didn't matter too much as shortly thereafter Fountain erupted. I didn't stick around for the duration, since there were more than enough people there who could do that.

A few hours later it was time to head back out for Grand. Found that the Fountain duration was just on the cusp of being good news. But then Grand decided to follow the pattern of the previous eruption, and play around and not erupt. Finally, we had something I've rarely seen, a couple of short Turban eruption durations. That was followed by Grand reaching overflow at around 12 minutes, and waves starting moments later. So we got a nice backlit one burst eruption.

The problem now was that we were well into the Fountain window. Since I was leaving, heading that way meant I wasn't coming back. On the other hand, there wasn't much reason to stay. Finally decided that the odds were in my favor and had breakfast. Turned out to be the right decision, as just after I ordered, we learned that Fountain was erupting again. So for this trip at least, I didn't miss any Morning eruptions, even though I only went out there once.

June 29, 2013

Observations for 29 June 2013

Northwest of Grand, I was surprised how dry the area was. Economic Geyser is well below overflow. I think the only feature in the are in overflow is East Economic. If this is an indication of ground water levels, it means things are pretty dry, at least in that area.

The wait for Grand was short and pleasant. With no wind, and the sun out, the two burst eruption was nicely backlit. The reflection of the sunlight made the water pouring out of Vent just before the eruption easily visible despite the steaminess coming from Grand.

Decided to kill some time down basin. Miscalculated, so missed a Daisy eruption, but then saw a Riverside without even trying. Still needing to kill more time, went over to the shade at Fan & Mortar, intending to leave when the shade disappeared. While there, I noticed that it looked like there was a trickle of water coming down the North Chain Lake runoff channel. Also some evidence that the overflow may have been stronger at some point. It also looked like Link wasn't having heavy overflows, although it was in overflow at the time.

Chain Lakes Group Chain Lakes Group
Chain Lakes Group
Decided to kill some time down basin. Miscalculated, so missed a Daisy eruption, but then saw a Riverside without even trying. Still needing to kill more time, went over to the shade at Fan & Mortar, intending to leave when the shade disappeared. While there, I noticed that it looked like there was a trickle of water coming down the North Chain Lake runoff channel. Also some evidence that the overflow may have been stronger at some point. It also looked like Link wasn't having heavy overflows, although it was in overflow at the time.

In contrast, Bottomless Pit, which I remember as a black, ugly hole, is an opalescent blue, as it Middle Chain Lake. Clasp Geyser, the pool north of North Chain Lake is also a bright, clear blue. Most of the runoff you see from that group seems to come from it and the swamp between the Chain Lakes and hillside. (The swamp, of course, fed by Square Spring.

While waiting in the truck for the time to head back out to Grand, I got to experience my first thunderstorm of the season. The morning had been dead calm, which made for a nice Beehive, but it was also warm and humid enough that it didn't look all that tall. It was obvious that at some point we were going to get wet, because all the time the clouds were building.

Suddenly the the flat between the parking lot and Geyser Hill turned a misty sort of gray, and the downpour started. The wind picked up considerably, too, so much that I could leave the window on the other side open and not have any water come in.

A couple of more such showers followed, including one that had a bit of hail in it. Then it was time for Grand. I waited for a break, and it turned out the break was actually the end of that series. Grand was in the midst of a two-Turban delay, and conveniently erupted before the next shower came in. It, however, wasn't much, although I finally did give in and get out the raincoat.

After Grand, West Triplet tried and failed to erupt several times. One attempt even splashed (although I didn't see it myself), so technically, West Triplet erupted.

Later came the report that the Fountain eruption at 16:38 had lasted 38 minutes. This meant that there was a decent chance that Morning might try to erupt at the next opportunity. Which would be after midnight. Decisions, decisions. Of course, if I headed out to Grand at 21:00 for the next eruption, there was an excellent chance of it going before midnight. Which meant I could, if I wanted, go out there. I'd already be dressed for nighttime. The only real question is if the weather would cooperate. Because at 18:00, a series of thunderstorms started coming though, and the weather prediction sites didn't show a whole lot of improvement in the short term.

But things cleared up by sunset when it was time to go out to Grand. But Grand had one of those long intervals for no apparent reason, so the eruption waited until the last possible Turban opportunity before midnight. During that time, the sky, instead of clearing up, got more cloudy instead.

May 21, 2013

Observations for 20 May 2013

The rain stopped overnight, but everything was still damp in the morning. Th sky looked like it might try clearing, but by the time it was time to head out to Grand, it was sprinkling again.

So it looks like Penta did have an eruption overnight, and based on what I saw when I left, it might have been before dark. At Grand, the pool still had about an hour to go before first overflow, so there was another fairly long overnight interval.

Walking back from checking out Penta, as I was walking up from the bridge,I noticed a coyote coming down the Castle runoff channel to the west. It never really seemed to pay attention to me, but kept on going, using the bridge to get across the river.

At that point I went down basin to just take a look at things without it raining. About 45 minutes later, as I approached Castle on my bike, there was another coyote crossing the trail. Or the same coyote. It took almost exactly the same path as in the previous encounter, disappearing in the trees to the east of Tardy. It'll be interesting to see how bold this critter gets as the season progresses.

One thing I noticed down basin is that they've put the bike rack at Grotto in the wrong place. It should be south of the boardwalk, not north of it, blocking the view of Grotto. It's just one of those little things that reinforces my belief that the NPS is "esthetically impared". It would be nice if someone who works here would realize the problem and fix it, but odds it's gonna be squirrels in the middle of the night that have to put it were it belongs.

By then it was time to head out into the basin for another Grand eruption. While it had been dry when I'd been out before,now we were starting to get intermittent showers. All during the several hour wait at Grand the rain would come and go. One moment nothing, then the next almost a downpour. Around 11:15 several groups from Montana schools appeared. Of course they were unprepared and underequiped for the conditions, and everyone was trying to outdo everyone else in the amount of noise produced. Fortunately, they had a deadline of noon for leaving, and did.

When they left, Grand was approaching the second Turban after what appeared to be a weak two-Turban delay. The pool had filled earlier than usual, and looked good for a while. Then, when Turban erupted, it was noticeably more "vigorous" and the eruption duration was short. Since Grand doesn't like going on the next Turban after one of those short duration eruptions, I knew we had at least two more to go.

The pool filled early again, and for quite a while it was hard to tell if there really were waves. Finally, around the time Turban started it became obvious even in the steamy conditions. Then the real fun began. At the 8m14s mark, Grand just quit. With all the steam, it was hard to tell if it was refilling, but as time passed, no water was visible, while at the same time Turban and Vent became stronger, with Vent blasting away. About then it was obvious that Grand was not even trying. I stuck around a bit in the hopes of some quick, early afterplay, but even after eight minutes, I saw nothing.

So, based on the duration and the conditions, this may not have been the Worst Grand Ever, but comes close.

So after the eruption, that's when the rains finally stopped.The sky even cleared enough for there to be occasional sunshine, the first I think I've seen this trip.

Yesterday I noticed that there was a bit under eight hours between two Aurum eruptions. So when Aurum erupted in the morning, I thought that this afternoon might be a good time to try and see an eruption up close with out a six hour wait. With no rain, there was no excuse to not make the attempt. I got to Aurum at about the 7.5 hour mark, and saw that all the side sputs were active. So I wandered down to Doublet, which while it was palpitating, wasn't having any thumps that I could feel. As I turned back to Aurum, that's when the eruption started. Not counting the walking around geyser hill I think I spent less than five minutes waiting for this eruption.

After that, it was almost time for Grand. Since the window could be closing after sunset, I prepared for the wait accordingly. I saw Penta erupting as I biked past the Inn parking lot, but it ended by the time I got to the bike rack.

Over at the Grand Group, I arrived just in time for West Triplet, and what appeared to be a nice heavy overflow from Grand, but not enough to be considered a delay. That early in the interval, I figured it might be a good sign. The next Turban eruption was unremarkable, but by then the wait had been interrupted by the call for Beehive's Indicator. And it was a short Indicator this time. No way would I have gotten over on the Hill in time if I'd started from the cabin area.

West Triplet continued on well past the half-hour mark, and was approaching 40 minutes as the next Turban eruption approached. It was then that I noticed that I was alone. Really alone. I didn't see anyone anywhere down the walkway to Oblong, nor was there anyone I could see in the Sawmill Group or on the walk down from Castle. So there was no one to share the nice steady progression of Grand's pool as the waves finally began. This interval was going to be just over 6-1/2 hours.

Turban went first, and it was between then and the start of Grand that West Triplet ended. I was surprised that Rift hadn't started yet. So once Grand was well underway, I looked again, and Rift was sputting away. Great timing,as Rift could now be safely ignored. The conditions were the best of the trip. The sun was hidden behind a cloud, but there was plenty of blue sky to provide lighting.

Quitting at just over nine minutes, I was hoping not to get a repeat of this morning. And fortunately, me and the few people who finally wandered up got a nice second. It was also during that second burst that Rift quit, giving it a duration of about 8 to 9 minutes. Strange that twice this trip I've seen Rift end during Grand, both times with what seemed like short eruptions, at least for it. I think it was the only Grand eruption this trip that I saw not wearing rain-gear.

And at that point, this trip was effectively over. Although I did see Old Faithful start as rode the bike past the Inn.

One good thing about these wet, early season days is that I haven't had to deal with bug goo or sunscreen.

May 20, 2013

Observations for 19 May 2013

Maybe I should have gone out the night before. I woke up at dawn and headed out. The rains had stopped recently, and considering what it could have been like, it was kinda nice. I was pleased to see that there wasn't much steam at Grand, so at least I hadn't just missed an eruption.

As I got closer,I found that the reason there was no steam was because the crater was totally empty. Vent and Turban had quite a while earlier, and the eruption was from one to two hours ago. That meant that overnight, there was either a long interval, or a couple of eruptions in less than 12 hours. Would have to factor that into the plans for the rest of the trip.

The Sawmill Group had also just ended a deep draining eruption by Sawmill. Uncertain was gurgling a bit, but not enough to make it with sticking around. But Castle did start up, and despite the gray sky background, the rumbling and column of the steam phase were nice. By that time, it was starting to drizzle again.

Headed in to take a nap, and when it was time to go out to Grand again, the rain was coming down as wet white flakes.

At least those turned into a sort of drizzle that persisted the rest of the morning. Didn't really need the umbrella, as it wasn't really getting much wetter, but the umbrella did function as a sort of wind-break. The wind was strong enough to have appeared to have delayed Daisy during that time.

Grand was not showing any sort of inclination to erupt when West Triplet started. Grand still didn't look any more promising when Beehive's Indicator was announced. That cleared the benches, so there were only a few to see Rift start. So I was pleasantly surprised when about 1/2 after Rift started, Grand definitely had waves and then erupted. Was a nice two burst with enough contrast between the steam and the clouds, and enough wind to see the jets separate from the steam.

During the eruption, Rift also quit, with a duration of somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. A bit short, but the first one I've seen this year.

Since Grand had had several short intervals lately, decided that I should be there at around the six hour mark. The weather was acceptable, with only a drizzle, not enough to require use of the umbrella. But as the wait progressed, the drizzle turned into sprinkles and by the time Grand erupted, it was raining. Grand seemed to ignore the West Triplet eruption, and we didn't get another short interval, unfortunately. At least it was a long one burst eruption.

Afterwards, I noticed that Penta was looking really good. The bottom vents pool was full, and might even have been overflowing. WIth the rain it was hard to tell that, or if there was any upwelling over the vents. Spasmodic was full, as was Sawmill, which might even have also been in overflow. But it was so wet it was hard to tell, and I was so wet myself I decided to let the marker catch the eruption, and came on in.

But at least the cafeteria has Bison Meatloaf back on the menu

May 19, 2013

Observations for 18 May

Coming in from the West Entrance, and knowing that Grand probably wouldn't erupt for several hours, I had no excuse not to stop at the Fountain Paint Pots and take a look around. Got to see an empty craters for both Fountain and Morning. Even with the overnight rain, it was pretty obvious that it was a lot wetter around Fountain that back around Morning. Jet huffed and puffed, but didn't erupt while I was there. I did get to see several boils in the 3/4 meter range on Celestine.

By the time I got to the Upper Basin, the rains were starting to pick up again, just enough to be constantly annoying. Which seemed like it would be the theme of the weekend. Sawmill was pounding away, and it seemed obvious that the group was going into a drain mode. This was confirmed when Penta had a weak steam phase eruption. shortly before Sawmill quit.

Grand had a couple of desultory Turban eruptions, which were followed by a Vent overflow. The pool never looked good through the fog. A couple of quick 16 minute Turban intervals we got a nice, but short one burst eruption.

By then the rains had stopped, so I decided to take the opportunity to run down basin. It might the only dry opportunity. That it was also about time for Daisy was another good reason. The Daisy eruption was typical for the last decade in my experience-- a duration of 3m24s. Splendid shows no signs of any overflow to the north, not even from Daisy eruption water.

Fan & Mortar showed that they can still look really good for a few minutes when the Fan vents start up. But about three minutes later, that activity had died down and the Angle Vent had started.

Geyser Hill from the parking lot can be really boring without Plume, and during the long pause between Lion series. I saw nothing over several hours of killing time but an Aurum eruption.

I finally got checked into my cabin and things unloaded, and was about to change into warmer clothing when I heard the call that Grand was erupting. An interval well under 6-1/2 hours was not what I was expecting. I decided that I should at least make an attempt to see something, so biked down and was walking down from Crested when the long one-burst eruption finally ended.

A bit later in the evening I did get to see an eruption of Beehive as the rains started to return. I considered going out to Grand, if the intervals were going to be short, then maybe there wouldn't be a wait, but it was still sprinkling, and decided I wasn't up for a cold wet wait in the dark.

August 10, 2012

Observations for 10 August

As with yesterday morning, Rift was erupting as I tied the bike down at Castle. Only this time I didn't even get to see a full Turban interval. Arrived during a nice overflow, and it kept on building. It was still too dark to see well, but when Turban started, it was with the sound that only precedes a Grand start.

For some reason, despite it being dead calm, the entire Sawmill Group got rained on during the first parts of the eruption. Another one-burst eruption, but this with two distinctive false pauses at 9 and 11 minutes into the eruption. There were several seconds of silence (again, dark and foggy enough that had to go on sound), then the sudden, sharp jet that always accompanies the end of a die-down in Grand bursting. Grand finally quit after over 12 minutes.

It's far to easy to ignore Daisy and pass it by. With the greater than two hour interval, it's hard to get motivated to go up there at a random time, and much easier to just cycle by to or from Fan & Mortar. So I made one last deliberate attempt to see it today, and ended up with it erupting just as I arrived. Splendid is as dead as it's always been, too.

Except for my second or third day here, every day has been dry, or at least the showers so short and light that they didn't matter. Today the clouds rolled in and stayed, and it looked like only a matter of time before we got dumped on. At least Grand didn't hold off like it would have done in previous years. About an hour there were several nearby lightning strikes, and then the sky opened up for about five minutes. But once the clouds cleared, the sky did seem cleaner, not as brown, and the humidity of the morning was gone.

With nothing much to do, and knowing that earlier in the day it looked like the Sawmill Group was in a Tardy mode, decided to head out early. To either watch Sawmill or wait for a possible Penta.

When I got there, things didn't look promising. It appeared that Sawmill had been overflowing earlier, and was now sitting just below overflow with tiny bubbles reaching the surface. Spasmodic looked like it had been erupting and overflowing for quite some time, and Thumping Hole and friends didn't seem all that full either. Then we got one of those Oval high fills with pulsations and ripples. Not bad enough to abandon, but not encouraging, either.

After about an hour, I decided it was time to concentrate on Grand and Turban since it was over 5-1/2 hours since the previous eruption. Was a bit surprised, then, to see the Penta steam cloud form, and for an announcement of the start. So it was back to splitting my time and attention between Penta and Turban again down by Rift and Belgian Pool.

After Penta had been erupting for about 25 minutes it was time for another Turban. Once it started, I looked back toward Penta, and noticed Churn starting to boil up. It had been overflowing, but I didn't really expect it. So I moved in that direction, and managed to get some photos and video of the eruption, which seemed long at about 1m20s. As it was, I missed the Turban duration, which might have been useful info considering later events.

So after the Churn eruption, I was trying to split my time between waiting for a possible second Churn eruption, and watching for the next Turban. So I was a bit surprised that when I turned at around the 17 minute mark to see Turban starting. The previous intervals had given no indication that a short interval like that was in the works. In any case, almost immediately Grand began to boil up. The sky made a nice contrast to the water column, as the photo shows. The second burst lasted for almost 2-1/2 minutes, and despite this Vent & Turban continued to play strongly.

At that point, another storm was heading in, and I decided that not getting wet was more important than seeing the end of Penta's eruption. So I headed in and caught an eruption of Aurum from the bike trail, and just missed seeing the first Plume eruption of the month. Also got back just in time to miss the downpour.

When I got here, I was afraid that the short Grand intervals would mean a lack of sleep, but it didn't turn out that way. When Grand has had these short intervals in the past, the interval range was still large, with 6-1/2 hour intervals intermixed with 10 to 11 hour intervals. This meant that a lot of nights, the wait could be several hours. This year, however, the waits have consistently been about an hour or less. Sometimes I'm not even out there for a full Turban interval. It's just an hour or so break in the middle of the night. So, while I haven't gotten long periods of sleep, I don't feel like I'm missing out on it. It's the long waits that get to be grinding, and that's not been the case this year.

Observations for 09 August

After yesterday's adventure, I was none too thrilled to see Rift in eruption as I was tying down my bike at Castle. Got closer, and found that West Triplet had ended a while ago, so at least Rift might quit soon. The moon was providing some light, but filtered through a thin hazy layer that didn't seem brown enough for the smoke. Because of that layer, and because it was warm earlier, I didn't need all the layers I'd brought out with me.

As it was, turned out Rift was in eruption the whole time i was out there. Just that Grand didn't have the expected delay, although it tried. It took nearly two minutes from the start of Turban before Grand kicked in for another one burst eruption.

On the ride back in, saw something new and different. As I was passing the Inn at 04:30, there were four people in white bathrobes walking along the railing next to the walkway. Were they really out to see Old Faithful erupt? Or to get a baptism by Holy Mother Gaia? I have no idea, and not sure I want to know.

Turns out that the Rift eruption that I saw ended over an hour later, so the duration was at least two and a quarter hours, and could have been as much as three. For the next eruption, we got a delay at around the 5h40m mark. Coupled with the long Rift duration I was expecting a several hour wait, but it turns out we only had to wait two Turbans. The one-burst eruption itself started with an explosive blue bubble, instead of the usual booping around for several seconds.

The next eruption was another unremarkable one burst, other than it constituted the seventh one-burst in a row. After five consecutive two-burst eruptions, I guess Grand feels a need to revert to the mean.

Coming in from the late afternoon/early evening one burst Grand eruption, I noticed something different. The little frying pan area that used to be drowned by Castle's runoff channel, that for the last two weeks had been noisy but otherwise ignorable, was now acting like a little mudpot. There was water in the runoff channel leading into the area, and a gray muddy cone had developed on one side.

The Beehive overlook doesn't get quite so packed when the Visitor Cathedral isn't trying to cram everyone who was in the building into that little area.

Grand erupted on the last Turban of the day, making sure it was another four-Grand day. This was the first clear, dark night of the trip, with the Milky Way easily visible and without the fire haziness of previous nights. It was also dead calm, so when the eruption started, the steam quickly obscured any chance of seeing anything. But that was okay, as the sounds more than made up for it. From the start of Turban with Grand quickly joining in, to the fall of the water away from the jets coming from Grand, to the roaring of Vent reaching maximum height. It was easy to fill in the sights based on the sounds.

It was also another one of those cases where the two bursts ended before the ten minute mark, but there wasn't a third burst. A bit disappointing, but at this point, just getting a second burst seems like a victory of sorts.

August 09, 2012

Observations for 08 August

Headed out to Grand at midnight. The moon was rising, and red from the lingering smoke. At Grand, due to the hillside, it always takes longer for the sun and moon to appear. The wait was so short that only the top of the water column was illuminated, and because of the backlighting, the water actually looked black, in contrast to the steam. Otherwise it was just another one burst eruption, ending the string of five consecutive two burst eruptions.

At dawn, it was Rift that greeted me. That resulted in a longer than usual interval, and was also a short Rift interval, which is a bad sign.

Another bad sign is when Grand just sits there for no apparent reason and just doesn't want to erupt. That was the case mid-day, which turned into mid-afternoon by the time it did erupt. In this case, there wasn't any sort of heavy overflow or delay or anything, just a series of uninspired pool fills before it finally couldn't hold off any longer. All this is beginning to look like there may be a mode shift in the group.

So just to put all that speculation to rest, or at least make it harder to support, the next interval was less than six hours again. So the obvious guru geyser gazer guess is that Grand is becoming bi-modal.

In any case the fourth eruption of the day was another one burst, this time exactly twelve minutes long.

The day started with a red moon, and ended with a warm, almost muggy overcast. In between, the sky was a dirty brownish-gray color that just made the heat of the day even less appealing.

August 08, 2012

Observations for 07 August

While it wasn't that cold, the fog was forming during the wait for the early Grand eruption. The short first burst gave promise of at least two bursts, but the two minute long second burst made sure that was all it promised.

Grand and Beehive managed to coordinate their eruptions for the late morning so that Beehive was still in eruption when Grand started. After a short first burst, and a reasonable second, the pool caught and started to refill. So far the duration of the eruption was only 9m45s. This was a slow refill, getting higher and higher for well over 100 seconds. During this time the activity of Vent & Turban increased in intensity, until Vent was going about 20 feet and Turban was full and sloshing as high as it ever get. Then suddenly the water just drained. And to make the insult complete, Vent & Turban quit almost immediately. So we didn't even get to hope for an after burst.

But the strangeness didn't end there.West Triplet started erupting, and there was nothing unusual about that. But it quit after a bit over six minutes. The pool level dropped slowly, and even seemed to stall a bit at the level I was seeing the other night when it was overflowing intermittently. Finally it receded to a level just in sight from the walkway. Waited a bit longer, perhaps for a delayed Rift start, but nothing much happened.

The evening eruption wait began with another West Triplet. If it had erupted since the short one earlier, I don't know. But where that was only a few minutes, this one lasted almost an hour. Of course, that meant also an eruption of Rift. If Rift does have an effect these days, it appears that it only delays Grand by about an hour, which is acceptable.

In any case we got the fifth consecutive two burst eruption, which is nice. This time, although the duration of the first two bursts was the same as earlier, the pool drained immediately while Vent & Turban continued. A short wait saw no afterplay, so I left again.

Castle also managed to coordinate its activity with Grand, in the morning it had a minor during Grand, while in the evening it preceded Grand by about an hour.

August 07, 2012

Observations for 06 August

The nighttime turned out to be a bit warmer than I expected, but having the full set meant my short wait for Grand was comfy. It was clear, but clouds were forming in the south and encroaching on the moon. Just as the first burst ended (at 9m30s), the moon went behind a cloud. I thought that that would be enough to get a second, but no such luck.

The next eruption of Grand was another one burst, and like so many these days, there wasn't much to distinguish it, other than Rift was well into an eruption and was still erupting as we left Grand. So time to head in and maybe get some more sleep and perform other overhead tasks.

F&M #1 F&M  #2
Fan & Mortar, during and after
While taking a nap, the cloudiness turned into a show, which I missed. Later I had nothing much to do, and since it looked like it was going to clear up, decided to kill that time down at Fan & Mortar before going to Grand.

So I get down there and the three main Fan vents are active, but nothing spectacular. About twenty minutes later, they are all off. After a few minutes, Angle starts blipping, and after ten minuets of that, I figured I could safely leave. I never did see anything out of Main or Bottom, and the runoff from Bottom was non-existent, so it hadn't done anything recently, either.

So sitting at Grand about 50 minutes later, and look down basin and see a huge steam cloud rising to the right of Giant. So much for "safely leave." So F&M went from what looked like some sort of garbage mode to full eruption in less than an hour. Something to keep in mind for the future.

After Grand, decided to go down and pay my respects/curse those sputs. From the areas that got wet, looks like the wind blew everything to the south, inundating the bridge. The boardwalk from Spiteful north was dry, and there was no evidence of any surges hitting the walkway or gravel on the fly.

Looks like the trail repair crew got to see the eruption, and there was a ranger car parked there too. Then over at Link's runoff, I see this guy who looks like he's standing in the runoff. I yelled, loud, twice, and he finally got back on the trail. But two of the NPS's finest never seemed to notice me or care. They got into the car and drove off.

So got back to the cabin as the sky was starting to get dark and angry, but to the north. So of course the call that Beehive's Indicator came over the radio. I only took an umbrella with me, but with the strong wind, didn't expect to need it for protection from Beehive. Did need it for protection from the sky, as it started to sprinkle just before the Beehive eruption. The wind did nasty things to the height of the eruption, but one of the advantages of being next to the cone is that height is not an important factor. The roar of the jet escaping the cone is much more impressive, and it looks the same for the first 50 feet or so no matter the wind.

As it was, the wind soon died down. As Beehive dropped below about 30 feet and the eruption came to an end.

Grand again erupted after dark, and before the moon was up. Other than the total abandonment of a couple of dozen people when they realized that the 21:00 on the prediction was a start of the window and not an absolute prediction, there wasn't much unusual.

August 06, 2012

Observations for 05 August

So I was a bit surprised to find Rift in eruption when I got out there just before midnight. West Triplet had just finished, it appeared, so this would have been a second Rift eruption with an interval of around five hours. (Or, a single eruption with a five hour duration.) In any case, Grand didn't even try to erupt until Rift had finished. Not only that, but it was not just cold, but there was a breeze, so even though it was a 7h14m interval, it felt much longer.

The next eruption made up for that. Another one Turban wait for another one burst eruption. Again the lighting was such that the top of the water jets at the start were all that were illuminated.

This eruption surprised me. As I walked up to the Sawmill Group on my way to Grand, I saw a nice Penta minor eruption from the Top vent. It even put some water down the runoff channel. But Thumping Hole across the walkway, and the other holes like Oval were all down, so I figured that was the extent of Penta's attempt to erupt. So pleasantly surprised when Penta was seen in full eruption, my first of the trip. Grand of course made sure that I couldn't stick around, but as soon as Grand was over, I headed back.

Just after I took this photo, Penta just quit. One moment erupting, I look at the phone to turn off the camera function, look up and nothing's happening.

For Beehive, I decided to do something I'd not done before, and go up to Observation Point and see it from there. Only took me 18 minutes. The water column is plenty tall, but if O.P. is 200 ft. up, then Beehive came nowhere near being 200 ft high.

The next two Grands of the day were fairly undistinguished, although the sunset one was nicely lit, and even had two bursts.

August 05, 2012

Observations for 04 August

After a cool day, I expected a clear night to be cold, and it was. The walkway got slippery by Sawmill, and it was ice by the time I got to Rift. But what I didn't expect was that West Triplet was in overflow.

For about 40 minutes I watched it by Maglight rising to overflow for about 4 to 5 minutes, then drop just enough to stop the overflow. This cycle lasted about 10 to 15 minutes each time. Percolator was quiet, and Grand had another short interval. Another overflow started with Grand, and this time it seemed there was a greater outflow of water. After about 4 minutes, it started thumping, even though the pool itself was quiet. Another minute, and West Triplet started erupting normally.

By moonlight Grand was nice, with the cold making for well defined steam clouds and a hint of moonbow, but it was just one burst.

After I'd just bicycled past the Cathedral on my way to the cabin, a coyote sing-a-long started. Sounded like two different groups yelping and whining and barking at each other, both somewhere in the trees beyond the cabins. It occurred to me as I pedaled that I was headed right toward them. But it all stopped by the time I reached the cabins.

In the morning came a report of Fountain in eruption that was more likely Morning in eruption. The heady fog caused my the cold made it hard to tell which was actually erupting, but the timing of known Fountain eruptions before and after are much more consistent with Morning that with several short Fountain intervals.

Late morning was clear and still cold. There was an occasional slight breeze, and when it was there, a jacket seemed required. Grand had another one of those long Turban delays. This time the overflow from Grand was so heavy that Grand actually "booped", boiled up to about a meter, twice before the overflow subsided. This is the first such activity I've seen in years, although it was quite common in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It's too bad that more geyser gazers weren't around to see it, as there are more than a few who need to realize that they are calling Grand starts too early.

With the cool air and no breeze, Grand's two bursts were both quite tall and impressive. During the start, the steam cloud kept rising faster than the jets, casting shadows onto water column until a higher jet came along.

The later afternoon eruption was similarly picturesque, this time with a rainbow from Vent to Rift, due in part to the breeze blowing the spray to toward the southeast. Unfortunately, there wasn't a second burst to take advantage of the conditions.

Then the third bit of weirdness of the day occurred. As I was walking away I realized I was hearing a familiar noise-- the start of Rift. Except West Triplet had finished an eruption well before I arrived for my two Turban interval wait. I looked, and sure enough, there were the vents of Rift starting to show water. A double-check confirmed that West Triplet was dry and empty as a view from the boardwalk permits. Percolator was also quiet. A truly strange situation, as for at least the last twenty years, as far as I can remember, every eruption of Rift started after about a half-hour of eruption by West Triplet, and usually with Percolator at its noisiest.

I haven't paid much attention to Rift this summer, but was also surprised to see the crack in the rocks to the left of Rift proper spitting and erupting. If it has been active, I've always thought of it as something that comes later, not within moments of the start of Rift. As far as I could tell, the Sputnik area was as dead as it's been all trip.

August 04, 2012

Observations for 03 August

After midnight it was still slightly overcast. The moon was able to shine through an obvious layer of what was probably a smoky cloud, but that also did seem to have the side effect of keeping the night warm.

As it was, the wait for a nice two burst eruption was only one Turban interval. Despite the subdued lighting, it was also possible on occasion to see a slight moonbow in the steam.

In the morning, it cleared up, and was nicely calm for a sunrise Grand eruption. The shadows of the trees on the hillside were visible during much of the long one-burst eruption.

After that, it didn't warm up much, and the wind picked up so much that by the time Beehive erupted, a bit after 11:00, the water column was sent sideways across Geyser Hill towards Cascade. At least the direction was steady, and only the people on the corner by Plume had to evacuate due to the water.

Speaking of Plume-- one thing that hadn't been mentioned before, so it surprised me, was that Plume is not just dormant, but rumbling can be heard at depth. I've been around Plume dormancies before, but have never seen this sort of activity. No idea what it means,other than, along with activity by Little Squirt and Dome today, that Geyser Hill is messed up.

After the morning eruption, the average for the last twelve Grand intervals was 6h22m, with a range from 5h48m to 6h56m. That changed with the next interval, where Grand decided it was time to toss in an interval of over eight hours for no apparent reason, other than Rift did erupt. But Rift hasn't mattered much lately. We didn't have any delays, but the pool never looked good and Grand never seemed to want to try until the Turban eruption on which it finally started another one burst eruption. This one was short, only ten minutes, so a bit disappointing after the long wait.

In years past, having four Grand eruptions in one day was worthy of comment. The past few weeks it seems that is now the norm. In any case, the fourth Grand of the day came after dark, and just as the moon was becoming visible. At the start of the eruption, an orangish glow in the steam cloud was apparent. Then the tops of the highest jets were illuminated, more so each minute. A second burst would have been nicely spectacular, but there wasn't one. The interval on this eruption was just seconds short of six hours.

I haven't moved the truck in a week, since I got back from Shoshone. In that time, a spider found the time to build a web between the antenna and the neighboring cabin.

August 03, 2012

Observations for 02 August

With last evenings excitement, I decided to forego the early morning one-burst Grand eruption (and that's what it was) and spend the morning playing tour guide. Part of those duties were to see an eruption of Riverside, which was actually pretty nice. Hard to see in the photo, but the backlighting and the lack of wind made for a nice eruption.

Also got to check out the effects of last night's Fan & Mortar eruption. The boardwalk north of Spiteful was still wet, and you could see the lack of footprints and bike tire track when the water from the Main Vent landed. While I was there, I saw several large splashes from Main Vent along with splashing from Bottom Vent while all the other Fan vents were quiet. I resisted to urge to get on the radio to report a possible event.

Just missed an Oblong eruption, but did get to see a nice Beehive eruption from Castle area. Also learned that Plume has not been seen all morning, so something put it to sleep.

A bit later got to Grand just in time to see a heavy overflow, but fortunately, it resulted in just a two Turban eruption delay. Like last night, and the early morning eruption, this was a long eruption lasting well over 12 minutes. During the final minute, Turban seems to have finished erupting while Grand continued on with its Big Sawmill impression. Vent and Turban were definitely off when Grand quit.

During the last few minutes of that eruption, Castle woke up from its overnight minor, and we got a nice display of the transition from water to steam after leaving Grand.

In the late afternoon the Sawmill Group was full looking good for Penta. At one point, the bottom vents started bubbling and even looked like they'd erupt when the Top vent took over and gave another Penta minor eruption instead. The cycle was short and neither Penta nor Sawmill erupted. The Grand eruption was another two-burst.

More tour guide duties got me to Fountain for the evening. It was extremely windy, and with the long duration of the prior eruption, it looked like little chance of actually seeing Fountain, which did finally erupt almost an hour after we left.

Did get to see a couple of eruptions of Morning's Thief, which can be quite impressive, with massive surges that remind me of other erupting pools like Oblong or Artemisia, but more explosive.

August 02, 2012

Observations for 01 August

The clouds from the previous eruption must've stayed around for a while, as it was a warm night. There were still some visible off in the distance to the north, but nothing to interfere with the moonlight.

Another short wait for Grand. This time thought, it took 2-1/2 minutes from the start of Turban for Grand to finally decide to get going.

In the morning we had one of those times where everything happened at once. Grand had had a Turban delay when Beehive's Indicator was announced. So it looked like Beehive would be erupting first. I was down by Sawmill to catch that eruption, and also because Uncertain was steadily coming up to overflow and pushing out water. So within a matter of seconds. Uncertain started, then Beehive, then Grand. Makes note-taking a bit difficult.

And Grand punished the folks who abandoned it for Beehive by having two bursts. Following the second one, Turban quit almost immediately, but Vent refused to follow. For over a minute, it was erupting a thin get to about a meter high. Finally it died down and joined Turban.

As part of my tour-guiding duties, when heard that Great Fountain was predicted for about an hour after the end of Grand, went down to see my eruption for the year. Was an your usual Adequate Fountain eruption, with some large bursts but nothing outstanding

Was taking a nap, or at least not doing anything when I was surprised by the radio call for the Indicator. The surprise was that I was expecting Beehive to be around midnight at the earliest. Ten and a half hour interval not unheard of, but still short. It was also the longest Indicator of my visit, at 25 minutes.

During all that, in comes the call that it looks like Fan & Mortar are finally having a real event. Since it was well over an hour before I'd expected to head out, I decided that I could just as easily kill time down there and maybe actually see it erupt. I was one of the first to arrive, since most folks were over on Geyser Hill, but within a half hour there were several dozen people out there, including a small group of tourists who had been out to see Riverside.

Which it did. It became apparent early on that this was not going to be like the pseudo-events of the past few days. We got a full Bottom vent eruption along with the coordinated huffing and splashing from Main vent. When the Fan vents came back on, they were all strong, and quickly built up to the point where High was erupting to at least 4 meters continuously, with Gold and Angle not a whole lot smaller. Finally, the eruption was initiated by Fan moments before Main kicked in.

The conditions, for a nighttime eruption, were perfect. The moon was at full, and high enough to illuminate the area. Once the initial playing of flashlights over the jets of water was over (and it took at least one person a while to get the message), it was possible to see moon bows in the jets coming from Main vent. Since there was no breeze, the only way to get wet was to go down into the target zone by Spiteful.

After that it was time for Grand, which was a bit anti-climatic. Again, the moon provided plenty of illumination. From the north end, the entire runoff apron was aglow from the reflections, and it was easy to see the surge in runoff head down from Grand's pool. The eruption itself started nicely, but was another of those that last almost 13 minutes. It was so long that Vent & Turban stopped within seconds of the end.

August 01, 2012

Observations for 31 July

Was a nice moonlit night, and Grand decided to take advantage of it to have what passes for a long interval this summer, almost eight hours. (It's not the length of the interval itself, but how much time you have to wait from when you need to arrive to cover the shortest intervals.) Down the basin, toward Economic, I could hear what I think was an owl hooting. Been a few years for that. I was a bit disappointed when Grand acted like to was trying to erupt and I saw Riverside's steam cloud down basin, as that seemed like it would have been the perfect opportunity to have two Grand eruptions during a single Riverside interval.

Instead Grand waited a couple of more Turban intervals and began just after West Triplet started, and after letting Turban erupt for about two minutes.The moon was starting to head for the horizon, which actually made for a nicer eruption.

Came back in and decided I needed sleep more than I needed to be woken by chatter on the radio. Decided I'd risk the chance that Fan & Mortar would erupt in the next few hours, and so turned it off and set the alarm for 08:10.

So was a bit annoyed when my neighbors awoke me about two hours before that by slamming the door. Since I wasn't going to get back to sleep, I turned on the radio, and heard an announcement that Beehive's indicator had started several minutes earlier. Nice, but I wasn't in any shape or mood to run out. I think my neighbors were headed out that way.

It turns out they may have done me a favor. If I had headed out to Grand when the alarm had gone off, I probably would have watched the start from the bike rack at Castle. Despite getting there early, I didn't even see a full Turban interval, and barely had time to finish breakfast. It was a nice two burst with just enough breeze blowing the steam south so that the backlight was ideal.

Following Grand, noted that the Sawmill Group was high. Waited at Penta for a bit, as while the front vents and the vents across the walkway weren't looking great, Penta's Top vent was occasionally putting out water. After a few minutes, got an actual Penta minor eruption, with the Top vent going about a meter high and putting out planty of water, some of it into the bottom vents. Unfortunately, those vents never showed any inclination to join in, or perhaps it was because they were being used as drains, the minor only lasted a minute. Then activity shifted to Sawmill as it started eruption, and it was time to head in.

The next Grand took place after Rift had been erupting for more than an hour. Other than that, it was another unremarkable one burst eruption.

The next Beehive was similar, it was a twelve hour interval, but with a strong wind to knock the height down and to get much of Geyser Hill east of Depression wet.

At sunset a layer of clouds obscured the sky to the east and south, so the moon didn't contribute much light to the evening Grand eruption. But the sky itself was bright enough that we were clearly able to see the starts of both bursts.

Down at Fan & Mortar, it's my understanding that nothing much happened again today. Which means we are approaching several days since the last event there, and over a week since the last eruption.

July 31, 2012

Observations for 30 July

By this morning the paper plate had disappeared.

The Grand eruption was the first three-burst for this trip. Occurred right as the sun was coming over the hill, so only the very tops of the second and third bursts were directly illuminated. The noon-time eruption was a two-burst so this day has already had more bursts that a four-Grand day last week, and there's one more eruption to go.

Fan & Mortar didn't erupt over night, and there wasn't an event witnessed all day. Overnight looks about right.

The evening Grand was also unremarkable, although it did wrap up a 7-burst day for Grand, bursts spread over three eruptions.

And I'm so tired of Donnie. I wish he'd just "go to five" and stay there so I don't have to hear that call every ten minutes.

July 30, 2012

Observations for 29 July

Grand Plate #1 Grand Plate  #2
Grand's Plate, before and after eruption
So it looks like the plate that went into Grand last night didn't make it very far out. And that two subsequent eruptions have not been enough to dislodge it. The eruption itself was a typical one-burst in dead calm, so quite pretty, but Grand made no attempt to even refill after that burst ended.

In the middle of the afternoon there was a minor event down at Fan & Mortar, but nothing much came of it. Of course I heard the radio call after I had returned to my cabin from taking a well-needed shower.

West Triplet was splashing away as I tied my bike up at Castle for the late afternoon Grand. Since it had been a while since the last known Rift eruption, wasn't surprised when it started. But what was a surprise was that Grand stayed up and high, and started having waves. It wasn't quite long enough to be considered a delay, but came close.

Before the eruption, the plate did get pushed around a bit by the wind, but it stayed in the general area it had been in all day. It seems that maybe the water it was in was keeping it in place, because after the Grand eruption, a gust of wind blew it all the way across to the Sputnik area. Further gusts moved it closed to Rift. I was kinda looking forward to it going downstream, too.

There wasn't much remarkable about the fourth Grand eruption of the day, other than it was the third Grand eruption between consecutive Beehive eruptions. I'm waiting for the day we get two Grands between a pair of Riverside eruptions.

The eruption itself was nicely lit by the moon, with a hint of moonbows when I looked specifically for them. WIth the dead calm night, the second burst was nicely spectacular.

July 29, 2012

Observations for 28 July

Turns out I was wrong about the next Grand eruption. Thanks to a sub-six hour interval, Grand was able to erupt on what was probably the last Turban before the moon set. The eruption itself was 3 seconds short of 13 minutes, but was perhaps still the best possible one burst Grand eruption.

Dawn Fog #1 Dawn Fog #2
Dawn fog in the Upper Basin
Even with the short intervals, Grand is finding it hard to erupt twice at night. The next eruption window began well before sunrise, and this time featured a 36 minute Turban interval on which Grand started. It not only managed to have two bursts totaling about eleven minutes, but also Vent & Turban continued following the eruption.

With nothing much to do, I decided to check out the time of first overflow. It's been a long time since I paid much attention to it, since in never really changed, but with these short intervals, wondered if that might have some bearing. What I saw was inconclusive.

Where in the past I've assumed a 4-1/2 hour refill, today it took 3h53m. It took only two Turban eruptions for the crater to go from empty. Then it got a bit weird. West Triplet started, so I decided I'd wait until WT ended, and get a possible Rift start. Turban erupted early during that time, so not surprised that Triplet ended without a Rift. But out at Grand, while I didn't see a Turban eruption, I did see a full pool pouring out water and maybe even some waves. At about 4-1/4 hours after the previous eruption. Finally, the pool subsided and Turban erupted at 37m20s, which was even longer that the earlier delay overflow that turned into the eruption.

Only missed a Turban eruption, and was curious to see what would happen next. Grand ended up with a moderately long interval of just less than seven hours, and erupted on the seventh Turban following the heavy overflow. Interesting co-incidence there. None of the preceding Turban eruptions showed anything remotely like they were leading into an eruption, either.

So that meant were were almost certainly going to get another four-Grand day, with three of them in daylight. Or maybe not, as Grand had a delay which pushed the eruption back five Turban eruptions and gave us a nice moonlight eruption instead.

The entertainment preceding the eruption was a paper plate which had blown into the runoff channel below Turban the day before during the storm. This time a strong wind suddenly came up out of nowhere and move the plate closer to Grand. A second gust pushed it right into Grand's pool, where if floated around. Unfortunately, this all occurred after sunset, so after a bit the plate was no longer visible. It did not appear floating down the runoff to New Orleans during the eruption either, so it must out there somewhere. Will have to look for it tomorrow.

July 28, 2012

Observations for 27 July

For the morning Grand, it was a short wait for another one burst eruption. For the next eruption Grand made up for the ease of seeing it the last few days.

First, there was a 27 minute Turban interval, the first true Delay I've seen this trip. The next Turban Grand did not act like it wanted to erupt, as the pool wasn't very high, but Vent overflowed. This led to a series of short Turban intervals and durations. This culminated in Grand being full and having waves 13 minutes after Turban, and then erupting at 15m44s. It didn't start cleanly, but had about 5-10 seconds of large boils which in years past could result in "false starts" or "boops". Even when the burst began, it wasn't strong and vigorous,and seemed to almost skip the start and move right on to the 9 minutes of jetting.

All of this took place as a series of storms moved to the east both north and south of us, with considerable lightning down south, but other than a short shower and some strong winds from the north, it all missed us.

This long interval also had the effect of moving Grand's next predicted eruption to a time right after moonset.

A few days ago I took some photos of Bulger's Hole, but never got around to posting them. Since it's not erupting, and not changing, there wasn't any hurry.

July 27, 2012

Shoshone Geyser Basin for 26 July

The day was taken up by a trip to Shoshone Geyser Basin. Took lots of video and photos (at least for me) and will post a few photos here in a day or three, once I find some good ones.

Started out before dawn, and ended up arriving at the basin by 08:30. Finally figured out that the creek crossing needed to be done in something other than bare feet, and so had some sandals with me. Worked great, although the water was numbingly cold.

The areas around Little Giant was changed from two years ago. The crack with the pulsating formations had enlarged into a crater about 1x2 meters across, which was bursting water to about a meter whenever I was close enough to see it. Little Giant itself was dead calm , which is not how I ever remember seeing it.

Got to Minute Man just as it was starting to erupt. Wasn't sure what was going on, as Minute Man's Pool was full, and I saw three quick eruptions of Minute Man, then nothing for half an hour. The Pool also dropped below overflow during this time. Then I four more, then another gap. The third series, however, kept on going, and as it turned out, Minute Man was erupting the entire time I was in the basin.

By that time it was time to cross the creek, and while doing so, I did my usual deconstruction of the hot pot dam that the NPS seems to tolerate, or perhaps plans to use as part of excuse to close the area.

Velvet was quite active, and saw a number of eruptions as we spent several hours in the area in the hopes that Hydra might erupt for us. But no such luck there. There were some Knobby minors, and I managed to miss the Bead eruptions, although I did see the first when I was eating breakfast over by Minuteman.

Disappointed that Lion had been turned into a drain for the runoff from the "Old Lion" geyser that broke out nearby. Really liked the way Lion would eject the little horizontal spits of water.

Tried to go up to see Boiling Cauldron, and did manage to pay my respects to it and its runoff channel, but the deer flies were so thick that I didn't want to stay. They'd land all over me, half a dozen at a time whenever you moved to a new location, and you need to move around to appreciate the runoff sluiceway.

Skipped the call for a short Beehive interval, but did go out to see the fourth Grand of the day, right after sunset. Having two consecutive four-Grand days is something I can't remember experiencing before.

July 25, 2012

Observations for 25 July

With an eruption of Grand only ten minutes after midnight, it looked like it could easily be a four Grand eruption day. The second eruption of the day occurred just at dawn before 07:00, so that looked to be even more likely. And it was a two burst eruption with calm wind conditions.

After taking a couple hours of napping, I decided that since there was plenty of time before Grand, I should head down to Fan & Mortar and eat lunch and maybe even try to do some computer work. Sitting in the shade on the bridge abutment was the place to be. So shortly after I arrived, just starting to dig food items out of my pack, Fan's Main Vent start splashing.

The event progressed nicely. There were a couple of pauses, and during them it was obvious that the water level in Main was high. We weren't seeing just the occasional spits, but boiling and splashing. I saw at least one burst that put water over the rock divide into East Vent.

Fan's vents quickly went into what seemed to be a lock, and then sat there. It was almost like the lock came too quickly. But eventually we got the huffing from Mortar, and then water appeared in Lower Mortar.

25 July F&M #1 25 July F&M #2
Fan & Mortar eruption
It was a powerful Fan dominated eruption, with several surges out of main putting water into Norris Pool. Unfortunately, the wind was fairly strong and blowing right toward the trail, so the only dry vantage point was at the north end of the walkway. The timing of the eruption also meant that tomorrow is free for a Shoshone trip.

Following the eruption, went to Grand for the third eruption of the day, which came less than an hour after noon. If the intervals so far today had just been a little shorter, we could be looking at a five Grand day, something I've never heard of before.

Later in the afternoon we got Beehive's eruption. The wait during the 20 minute indicator was a crowded on both sided of the river as I've ever seen it. I was on Geyser Hill, and it was impossible to move around the walkway. The crowding on Geyser Hill could be explained by the eruption of Old Faithful only about 15 minutes earlier, and I assume the Visitor Cathedral was responsible for directing gush rush down to the river.

The eruption itself was pretty cooperative, with only a few moments at the start of the eruption where the boardwalk on the Hill got sprayed. Then the wind shifted so that by the end of the eruption, people over Old Faithful's runoff channel were scurrying to new locations.

Clouds began to thicken, and thunder was heard in the distance as the fourth Grand eruption approached, but other than preventing the rainbows in the eruption from appearing, nothing much happened. So in a little over 16 hours, Grand had four eruptions (three of them one burst) and three of those in daylight.

Observations for 24 July

Heading out to Grand I passed a small herd of louts heading up toward Castle. Interesting time of day to be out for a hike, considering it was mostly overcast, but it was warm. They passed by just after I'd settled into waiting for Rift to end.

That's also when Fan & Mortar decided to have another event. When the announcement of a second pause was made, I was at least fairly confident that I wouldn't have to go down that way, and I turned out to be right.

Like last night, Grand erupted when there was just enough light to see it.Since it was not as cold as normal, and dead calm, it was also possible to easily see the second burst. Although, this business of erupting not in daylight or darkness is going to quickly get tiresome.

So headed back in for more sleep, then played around in the cabin until ran out of things to do. By that time the Grand interval was approaching five hours, so decided to head out and kill time. So paid my respects to Splendid, took a look at Fan & Mortar just to say I'd been there, and then went over to Grand.

As I approached Sawmill, the eruption there stopped, so I watched the pool drain down, when a call that Grand was showing waves came over the radio. Surprised, I turned to see Grand boil up about 1/2 meter. A few seconds later Grand started, resulting in a 5h42m interval. As far as I can remember, if that's not the shortest interval in the last few decades, it's only a minute or two short.

But the weirdness wasn't over. It was a bit steamy, so I wasn't paying close attention to the activity when I suddenly realized that I hadn't seen Vent. I looked at the time, and we were approaching three minutes. Vent's vent was still empty. Getting better views showed no activity, not even any steaming. As the eruption progressed, kept looking for activity, and it wasn't until 8m12s before it suddenly started. Within seconds it seemed it reached full height.

And from then on, it was an ordinary short Grand eruption. Vent & Turban continued, and by twelve minutes later there wasn't any afterplay.

Next up was Beehive, but first we were treated to some exhibitionistic clown walking down the boardwalk from Castle toward Geyser Hill in dry-wall installers stilts. He even posed for his girlfriend by standing on one foot or bouncing in front of one of the slimy holes by Liberty.

The Indicator started within moment of my arrival at the benches south of Depression. The wind was fairly cooperative during the eruption until the last minute, at which point the raincoat and umbrella got used. At least it was just the edge of the spray, so I wasn't totally soaked.

The rest of the day was taken up with a fruitless wait down at Fan & Mortar for a weak early afternoon event. Since I had no idea what was going on at Grand, I got there early again. This time we got a Vent overflow delay (Type 3 ?) along with a West Triplet eruption. The long two burst eruption was followed by a long pause in Vent & Turban activity.

Leaving the area I thought that Sawmill Group looked good for some Penta activity, but didn't stick around. Turns out I was right, as Penta did erupt.

About an hour before time to head out to Grand, the call went out that there was another event starting at Fan & Mortar.Perfect timing, as I'd just gotten a nap but was way to early to head out.This way I could kill some time and maybe even see F&M. There were a few moments where they looked good, but on the whole was another one of those weak events that promised little and delivered.

Grand itself had another short interval for another one burst eruption shortly after midnight. I do expect to see my first four-Grand day in quite a while tomorrow.

July 24, 2012

Observations for 23 July

As expected, at dawn the fog was thick. Geyser Hill was a mass with a couple of larger plumes of unknown origin rising from it, origins unknown. At Grand the whole north end of the basin was a solid mass as it began to lighten.

I also arrived to find Rift well into an eruption. Not surprising, and after a day of 6-1/2 hours intervals, I figured it was time for a long. So was caught a bit by surprise when Grand initiated another short, one-burst eruption just short of seven hours. The idea of going out to Grand without the expectation of at least a two to four hour wait just doesn't seem right.

So that afternoon, Grand decided to make up for that. It ignored a West Triplet eruption, which in years past would have been a good time for an eruption. It had multiple "Type 2" Turban delays, where there isn't a long Turban interval, but there are early waves on a flooding Grand pool. The second time it did that, the poll was full and pouring water at the 13 minute mark. But by 17, the attempt was obviously over, and the pool so drained that some of the ridges were dry between them.

The eruption, at least wasn't the usual short one burst, but we actually got a second burst, although it lasted for a bit over two minutes.

There were also a couple of weak Fan & Mortar events, which of course got people all excited, despite it being nearly a day short of the shortest known interval this season. I did bike as far as Castle for the evening one, on the off chance that a four day interval was about to happen.

The long Grand interval had the unfortunate side effect of pushing the next eruption into the dark. But Grand also reverted back to the pattern of yesterday's activity, so it had another 6-1/2 hour interval. It was still visible at the start, enough light to see the base surge and the start of Vent, thanks to it also being dead calm. (Dead calm also meaning that the mosquitoes were out.) I did get to see some moron dipping his feet into the runoff channel to impress his idiot friends, but otherwise there wasn't anything unusual about seeing another one burst eruption.

But what was a little pathetic was that despite the huge herd of geyser groupies in, none of them bothered to be there. This despite there having been a Beehive eruption only 30 minute before. I think the reason is that most of those people don't like Grand. They only go out there because they like socializing at Grand, and when no one else is around (but me) the opportunities for socializing are minimal.

July 23, 2012

Observations for 22 July

Nice to see that some things don't change. Early morning was sitting in the parking lot typing up some notes whenI noticed a car on the bike trail, coming down from the Inn. I was a little late in getting to the camera app on my phone to take a better picture.

Headed out to Grand to see what had happened overnight I approached and there was no activity visible. Which meant that probably I was either arriving well after the afterplay had finished, or it really was a 9-1/2 hour interval Turns out the pool was about an hour from filling, so it was definitely a short interval. So headed in for breakfast and to wait several hours.

Headed back out for another short interval, and another one burst eruption. Went downbasin for the first time this trip, and then waited for an Oblong eruption. The thumps were noticeable only because I was trying to hear and feel them, and the eruption probably would have been more impressive from Grand as the breeze, what little there was, pushed the steam toward the walkway. Also, passing by Giant, I noticed that at a couple of gravelly places there was grass starting to grow.

The day had been semi-overcast and a bit humid, so not surprised that the sky suddenly thickened and turned gray as the afternoon Grand window approached. (It was also time to start watching for Beehive's Indicator). Went out to Grand with the expectation of getting wet, and making sure that all the rain gear was in the pack.

Turns out I needed it. The wind picked up and the droplets started about a half hour after I got there, at about the time that Beehive erupted. During the next half hour the wind was strong out of the southeast and the rain kept coming down harder. Then just as it reached a downpour in whichI was expecting hail, Grand erupted. The first burst lasted about ten minutes, and by that time the rain had let up quite a bit, and the wind had died down. So it was possible to see the water of the second burst.

It was still pretty damp when I went out for the next eruption. There was still a bit of glow in the sky, and it was pretty clear, but also quite foggy down basin. Oblong erupted, and I couldn't see much more than the tower of steam it was putting out. But after about an hour, it seemed that much of the fog had dissipated.

Grand itself was another one burst. The only interesting thing about the wait was the the prior Turban interval was well over 23 minutes long, with considerable overflow. There's a good chance there was some attempt at Vent overflowing, and it could easily be considered to have been a one Turban delay.

July 22, 2012

Observations for 21 July

Grand could have waited just another five minutes. I'd just arrived and was passing Crested Pool when the eruption started. It was two burst, so I guess I can't complain too much, as that might the the last one I see for a while.

The evening's eruption took place just as the sun was disappearing. The start was completely lit, but by the time Vent started, only the tallest spikes were colored orange by the sunlight. And it was a one burst eruption.

For the drive itself, the most exciting thing was the family of raccoons in the middle of the Owl Canyon Road. In the dark I couldn't figure out what that grey writhing mass was until they all faced me and I got a reflection of their eyes. At least I didn't hit any of them.

August 19, 2011

Observations for 18 August

In the morning, Grand refused to take advantage of the West Triplet eruption window, and waited for the next one. It appeared that it might be a while, with West Triplet's water level invisible, when we got Grand. During the eruption, West Triplet's water level rose, so that once Grand ended, West Triplet began. At the same time, Rift was steaming heavily, more than seemed normal for the cool but warming conditions. As it turned out, West Triplet had a nice, normal eruption and nothing was heard from Grand.

On the way out, I saw something in Tilt that needs to be taken into account. As I walked up, the water over the vent was palpitating for about 20 seconds, when suddenly it stopped and the water level dropped about an inch. The flow from Crested quickly filled it back up, but maybe the assumption that observing the pool drained (especially partially drained) implies that there was an eruption.

Turns out that yesterday I didn't miss Beehive, it just went shortly after I went in, and everyone else either missed it or were preoccupied with Fan & Mortar. Since that one I saw in the afternoon was a short interval, it didn't seem surprising that the next interval compensated by going over 16 hours. Was considering having breakfast, but also knew that, based on past experience, that was certain to cause an announcement of the Indicator between the time the meal was ordered and the time it arrived.

Saw that eruption of Beehive from the overlook, which might be the first time this trip. I've really come to not like that place, because of the times when the Naturalists practically herd people into the area, making it packed. But his morning a few people showed up, and then the population didn't increase much until the time of the eruption. Beehive itself didn't drench anyone, as the main rain plume was toward Blue Star and the Lodge Cabins.

So it was mid-afternoon when time to go out for one final Grand eruption. First thing I see from Castle is an eruption of Uncertain with Sawmill. Okay. Going to be that sort of wait.

The Turban eruptions leading up to it were boringly regular in terms of both duration and interval, which was different from most of the waits I've had. Then West Triplet opened the eruption window, handing the activity off to Rift instead of Grand. At that point I expected to have to wait a few hours for both Rift to end and for Grand to put in 3 or 4 Turban eruptions. But shortly after West Triplet ended a nearly hour long eruption, Grand's pool looked really good, and as Turban started, not only were there waves on the pool, but Vent started to overflow. And haven't had a Vent Delay this trip…

Didn't get the delay, but an actual eruption. And when Grand quit at around 7 and a quarter minutes, I really thought I was going to get a multiple burst eruption on the order of 3 or maybe even 4 bursts. But following the second burst, Grand showed water in the pool briefly, then quickly drained. For a total duration of 8m49s. How disappointing.

Then Rift quit for a duration of only about 45 minutes. Could've done that any other time the past couple of weeks...

Then Bulger had a major eruption, and for the first time, I saw steam from the Hole but no water.


[Server was down for two days because of a power failure, and the computers not needed were the ones to restart.]

August 18, 2011

Observations for 17 August

The night time Grand turned into an exercise in frustration as it also turned into the dawn Grand. When you get an eruption of West Triplet resulting in Rift and not Grand at the 10 hour mark, you know it's going to get even longer. There was also considerable frost on the walkway, indicating that this night was even colder than the previous. And it all lead up to another one burst eruption. As I was walking away, I did notice that not only was Bulger having a major eruption, but that there was a patch of steam rising above the Hole. So went back from Sawmill and by dawn-light, watched the eruption.

One thing I didn't see was Beehive. I probably missed it in all the noise and steam coming from West Triplet and Rift and even Sawmill. I know that I did hear Old Faithful at least once during the night. Also knew for certain that Fan & Mortar hadn't erupted during my wait. So unless it went before midnight, it would be the center of attraction for the rest of the day.

Around noontime I figured the best place to wait for Fan & Mortar was at Grand. Even though a bit early, could actually see something, and maybe Grand would cooperate for once. As it turned out, got out to Grand in time to see West Triplet in eruption. About the same time, the call from Jim Scheirer that an event was possibly starting (splashing in Main Vent) went out. I figured I could wait for the Turban eruption after West Triplet ended, as that would be the end of the early window. Then I could head down to F&M, and if there wasn't an eruption, probably miss only a single Turban eruption at a time when it Grand wasn't going to erupt anyhow.

As it was, this wasn't one of those usual events that piddle around and make you wonder why you are down there. There was a River pause that lasted less than 20 minutes, little Bottom Vent activity and when vents restarted, they didn't have that "is it good enough" look. During that time, I'd left, gotten my bike and stopped along the trail at a spot where Turban and Grand are easily visible. Once I got that Turban time, I went on down the trail.

I arrived to extremely good looking activity from Fan. Best I'd seen this trip. I barely had time to get ready, getting on my rain gear, when the eruption started. I wanted to try making a video, but I'd ran out of time, and the wind was making things too wet for me to want to expose my phone to it. The wind was fairly steadily blowing toward the bridge, so north of Spiteful was fairly safe.

Afterwards it was back to Grand, where only had to wait one Turban interval before a nice two burst eruption. So unlike the last few days, there wasn't an interminable wait in a huge crowd.

Later in the afternoon got over to Geyser Hill for Beehive, and from there could see that Castle was in late-to-heavy steam. The wind was still fairly strong, and in the same direction, but it didn't vary so if you got wet, it was because you wanted to get wet.

The next Grand eruption was going to be after sunset, especially when I got out there and saw Rift erupting. It simply became a matter of waiting the next few hours out. The one burst eruption was nicely lit by a rising gibbous moon, helped by having the breeze blow the steam to the northwest.

August 17, 2011

Observations for 16 August

As expected, it was clear and cold. It looked like West Triplet had ended recently, which was actually good news, since that made it more likely that the next eruption may precede Rift, but would also be the primary Grand window. That next eruption was during a Turban eruption, and Grand erupted on the next Turban. A nice two burst, although the first was so steamy I couldn't see much until I moved past West Triplet near Rift. The second burst was visible in that gap, and while the sky behind was starting to turn blue, the moon provided the lighting. And as expected, Rift started shortly after the eruption's end.

This morning I also thought I detected that tang of forest fire smoke in the air.

Starting at noon, Grand could have gone any time, but didn't. Instead it had a 36 minute Turban interval, resulting in an over 11 hour interval

Despite it being over three days since the last Fan & Mortar eruption, there never was a real attempt at any sort of eruption event.

Found that when a raven lands on the back of my truck, it makes a bit of jolt.

August 16, 2011

Observations for 15 August

Headed out to Grand to sprinkles that slowly turned into actual rain as I hurried to get to a place where I could pull the rain-gear out of the bottom of the pack. So of course the precipitation was mostly over within a Turban interval.Over the next few hours the clouds slowly thinned, letting the moon to shine through, to finally disappearing completely. But by the time Grand did erupt, there were hints of a new band off to the west. As for the eruption, was nice to have consecutive two bursts for once.

Castle was in heavy steam as I was tying up by bike. I figured the eruption was about 25-30 minutes in. Once I got the rain-gear on, and the showers died down, the sound of the steam-phase was impressively loud, especially the deep bass rumbles that you normally have a hard time hearing in daylight due to all the other noise.

Took my time getting back to the cabin. About fifteen minutes after I got there, I could hear rain against the roof.

The radio call for Beehive's Indicator came out during another set of showers. As I'd just awakened, I figure there wasn't any reason to not go over there. At worst, I'd be back in the cabin for a few hours drying out. As it was the showers weren't much, and there was a nice, growing area of blue behind the buildings. But not growing fast enough for Beehive. The sun finally came out as I was walking back. From the maps it looked like there's be a couple more before time to head out to Grand.

The cloudiness continued for the afternoon Grand wait, but the rain never materialized. It just got windy and stayed cool, especially when the clouds blocked the sun. During the wait we got an Uncertain eruption during a Deep Drain Sawmill eruption. Since West Triplet appeared to have erupted well before Grand could erupt, it looked good that Grand would use the next window for it's eruption, and that's what it did. Another one burst, but a short wait for once.

The afternoon cleared, but it also got windy, so that when I went out at sunset, it felt more like September than August. West Triplet was showing water, so I expected, and got, a shorter interval. But West Triplet never erupted during Grand's one burst, which surprised me. Not sure what that means, but do expect that there's a good possibility of another short interval.

August 15, 2011

Observations for 14 August

Turns out the forecasts were right. There was no precipitation, and the sky was mostly clear. And the earlier clouds had kept it from being as cold as the night before. Too bad I wasn't out there much.

Grand started during that short time that it was hidden behind the trees below Castle. I did get over there in time to see West Triplet just start, and to finally get an eruption with a second burst.

Sawmill had been erupting as I passed by, but by the time Grand's eruption was over and I could return to enjoy Sawmill by moonlight, it had quit. Looked like it was going to be one of those nights, when Castle started.

As I gathered back up my stuff and headed over there, Castle kept having long pauses, as if it was going to have the minor eruption end before I got over there. But that didn't happen, and after many more such pauses, the change over to continuous water happened around 12 minutes in, and shortly after it was definitely going into steam.

The moon was really too high for any moonbows. I could see one, at the base of the cone,with a hint of red and yellow, if I was well below Castle. But it was really too low to be more than a hint.

The morning was quite a contrast to yesterday. Instead of the thick fog, it was so dry that there wasn't any dew on the benches at Grand. Since Rift had gone after the last eruption, we had a similar situation to that of the last few days, and once again, Grand waited several hours for West Triplet to appear. For another one burst eruption.

During the wait several deer appeared on the hillside behind Grand, hidden in the early morning shadows. I took photos, but can't find them in those photos even though I know they are there.

Splendid Geyser runoff Splendid Geyser runoff
Splendid Geyser and runoff channel
It was such a nice cool day that I decided that a visit down basin was in order. Saw an eruption of Daisy from the south side. Went around over to Splendid, which is in sad shape. The runoff channels to the north which were so well defined when it was last active are now just gravel depressions between the grass. There's no runoff from Splendid that I could see, and what little water there was seemed to be more the result of the sputs between it and Comet.

Then went over to see how much grass was growing on Giant's platform. Just as I passed Grotto, which was in weakly eruption, Rocket started up. So I went back to get a few pictures of it, then proceeded onto Giant. On the walk back, about seven minutes later, Rocket took off again. This time seemed higher and more vigorous than the previous. Since I took still photos during the first, I took motion for the second.

In the afternoon, Castle skipped the minor eruption and went straight to slopping. When I headed out to Grand, about 15 minutes after the close of the Castle window, there was a huge crowd lining the walkway, spilling onto the boardwalk out to Crested. All during the afternoon there would be inquiries on the radio from someone in the Visitor Cathedral asking about it.

Once again Grand didn't take advantage of the early West Triplet window, forcing us to wait an extra couple of hours. At least it was a two burst eruption, and it even tried for a third. The pool stayed high for at least 90 seconds before finally draining. After that, it was just a matter of waiting to confirm that Rift was going to erupt,

Sturgis motorcycle idiocy is in all its full glory. One thing I've noticed is that all the obvious motorcyclists are older than I am, or at least look like they are a lot older. Where are the younger riders? Aren't they interested in an annual reenactment of Easy Rider (but without the happy ending)? Or just not dressing up in that way? Does this mean the whole Sturgis get-together is going to die off in a few years? If that's the only way to get rid of all the noise they make, then so be it.

August 14, 2011

Observations for 13 August

In the morning fog was about as thick as I've seen it. As my crude panorama shows, it was impossible to tell what was going on over on Geyser Hill. Out at Grand the benches at the ends were not visible from the middle. On the boardwalk itself, over by Rift, there was a thin layer of ice. About a half hour later, with the sun finally above the trees to the east, the fog began to dissipate enough that we could finally see an eruption of Daisy.

Being dead calm, there was still plenty of steam during the Grand eruption. West Triplet erupted early in the interval, so we had to wait for the next window, which Grand promptly took, with West Triplet starting during Grand. Unfortunately, the string of one burst eruptions continued.

Fan & Mortar erupted again overnight. So while it's having shorter intervals, it's doing so such that no one can really see it, even if they are actually there.

Again in the afternoon what could have been a short wait stretched out. Since I went back to sleep when I came in, I hadn't heard that Rift erupted on the West Triplet that started during Grand. West Triplet could have erupted well before it did, which resulted in Grand having an interval well over 9 hours. An eruption that could have also happened before the high clouds came in. As it was, got another short one burst.

Despite the clouds, the forecasts are for no precipitation and even a clear night. I'll find out how accurate that really is when I get up after midnight for the next Grand.

August 13, 2011

Observations for 12 August

When the big thrill is seeing a full moonbow in West Triplet's steam, you know the overnight Grand could have gone better.

Once again I came out in time to see West Triplet lead into a Rift eruption. So knew it was going to be a wait. But didn't expect one that long. At around the ten hour mark, got a Turban interval that was down to 16-1/2 minutes, which i took as a sign that an eruption would take place on the next Turban eruption or two. So was a bit surprised when at 13m52s into the next interval Turban started. It was a short, vigorous eruption, which is usually a sign that we've had a bit of a delay, and that Grand wouldn't erupt for at least two more intervals. Just after the moon would be setting, of course.

So when there wasn't any overflow by the 20 minute mark, I wasn't surprised, but curious as to why Turban still hadn't started. Then about a minute later I could hear the runoff pick up. By 27 minute mark, it was a torrent, and the steam over Grand's pool looked like an eruption was imminent. But that all died down a few minutes later, and all ended up getting was a Turban interval well over 32 minutes. Most definitely this was a real delay.

So was a bit of a relief that it was only a two-Turban delay. Could have been worse. The eruption could have been better. When Grand quit at a bit under nine minutes, I expected at least the reward of a second burst, but once a minute passed, it became obvious that one burst was going to be it.

During the wait, around 02:45, suddenly a Ranger car turned on its lights and siren near the Lower Ham's store. This was moderately unusual, as in years past there often wasn't anyone on duty that time of night, and even then rarely have I seen them use a siren at night unless was to make an actual stop. This car kept going, out to the intersection and northwards. The whole time the siren was on, and I could still hear it echoing well north of Biscuit Basin. I assume it was some sort of medical emergency at Madison, or perhaps someone had just provided some fresh meat-loaf for the Lodge.

With Rift out of the way, figured there was always the possibility of a short interval. So while the longer wait made it feel that way, it really wasn't. Grand waited for the end of the West Triplet window, well after West Triplet had quit. If it hadn't been on that Turban, I figure we'd have had to wait another couple of hours. The eruption duration 12m11s, made of for this morning's short, but it still would have been nice to have some pauses in there.

On the other hand, the timing of the eruption was great for the next one. Tonight is the full moon, and the window opens at sunset. This is one of my favorite times, with the full moon rising over the trees behind Rift and the Sawmill Group (as seen from the benches).

A radio call brought some good news: that Rift had started at shortly before the six hour mark. This was good news because I was expecting Rift anyhow, and getting it out of the way early meant that Grand would have one less excuse to have another ten hour interval.

As it was, it needed it. It was another one of those intervals where Grand never showed signs of interest until two Turbans before it finally erupted. Was nice by moonlight, but a second burst would have been even nicer.

During the wait, I finally got to see another eruption of Bulger's Hole. I noticed that Bulger had started a major eruption, and got down there in time to see the hole start to show water. The activity seemed more powerful that three weeks ago, and the vent still makes sounds as it drains. Also, I noticed that the water appeared to be clear as it rose, but turned murky only as the eruption started. Which, I believe, is to be expected.

August 12, 2011

Observations for 11 August

This morning I did something I haven't done in well over a decade-- see Beehive in the middle of the night.

I'd left the radio on, and so heard Carl Hoppe's call of the Indicator clearly. At first I thought of just trying to stay awake for his call of the eruption, then realized that with the 20 minute Indicators we've been having, I could easily get dressed and out there. And with the moon low on the horizon, that made my decision for me.

Unfortunately the moon set at about the 17 minute mark when I got out there. But the lights of the area, along with our couple of bright flashlights for part of the eruption was enough. And the best part is the roar of the eruption in the quiet of the night (no motorcycles in the background, for example.)

Coming back in from Beehive, there were some clouds in the sky. Going back out for Grand about two hours later it was almost completely overcast, with occasions droplets. At Grand the droplets were enough to get out the rain pants, and then it stopped. And while it stayed cloudy for most of the rest of the wait, no more rain.

It was a wait that saw West Triplet transition into Rift, and then we had to wait for the recovery from all that. Grand once again showed perfect timing. The eruption started shortly after the sun disappeared behind a thick cloud, and finished the second burst as the sun reappeared.

For the next Grand I thought that there was a chance of an early eruption with West Triplet. It was mostly clear, but quite windy the whole time. As it was, West Triplet took its time, and then Grand didn't take full advantage of the window. It did have a strong attempt, one that I thought would probably result in an eruption two Turban eruptions later, and that's what happened. There were nice rainbows in the one burst Grand, too.

Sawmill was also in eruption when I came out. That eruption continued on for over three hours, and for once I was standing right there when it finally quit. Usually it seems I walk away and notice that it stops while I'm on the other side of the river.

Castle and Beehive erupted during the wait also. Beehive was a bit of a surprise, at that was just a bit over a 12 hour interval. On the walk back from Grand, Castle was in late steam, but due to the wind, the spray made for a nice full rainbow looking out toward Geyser Hill.

Oblong was quiet today. Considering all the hours spent out at Grand, I should have seen more than just one eruption from it.

August 11, 2011

Observations for 10 August

As I'd expected, before dawn it was completely clear. Also, West Triplet still hadn't recovered from last night's Rift eruption. Had to wait about an hour for water to finally appear there. Even so, West Triplet didn't erupt until well after Grand.

The mid day Grand was forgettable. Came out on the off chance that it might have a short interval, and instead got Rift. During the wait, though, did see an eruption of Penta, which was surprising as it didn't look all that great twenty minutes before when I walked by. Shortly after we got Beehive's Indicator and then Beehive for a double interval of nearly 30 hours. At least Grand did give us a second burst.

In the evening, there were clouds (and lightening) to the north, but the moon was out and nothing coming in to obscure it. Grand cooperated with my going out early again by erupting early. Unfortunately, it was a one burst eruption that lasted over 12 minutes.

All in all, a dull day.

August 10, 2011

Observations for 09 August

So after an extremely short interval, it only follows that the next interval would feature an eruption of Rift and an interval at the other extreme of the range. I was awakened well before the alarm by thunder and the pounding of large drops on the cabin roof, but fortunately, by the time I headed out, the clouds had broken and the moon was visible.

Got out in time to catch West Triplet in eruption, shortly followed by Rift. With Sawmill pounding away beyond, that meant that any silence during the wait was out of the question, as Percolator continued long after Rift ended, and Sputnik added its own voice even after everything else finally did die down.

Other than another visit from the night coyote, who this time went behind the benches instead of through the runoff, it was a dull wait. I kept looking down to see any changes in the steam to the north, but nothing, not even a Grotto start.

The moon had long set by the time Grand did erupt, but at least it wasn't another one burst eruption. It was another one of those quick starts where, based on the runoff sounds, the pool was full early and Grand started explosively before Turban.

It appears that people were out at F&M for the night, as shortly before Grand I saw a bike leave that area headed in, and someone did get the start time. It was a bit of a relief after yesterday to hear that it had erupted in the dark.

Went out a little early for Grand, since it might take advantage of the early West Triplet window like it did yesterday. No such luck, and while West Triplet was in eruption when I got out there, it ended without Grand, and that meant we'd be waiting for the next West Triplet. Another uneventful wait, although some of the people passing by provided entertainments-- First, were a couple coming from the north walking their bikes, shortly afterwards we got a dogleg being walked out into the basin. It was at about the same time, maybe even from the doglet-walker, that the question of the day was asked, "Which is the way to Old Faithful?"

After about 8-1/2 hours we got the first true Turban delay that I've seen this year. At only 26 minutes, but Grand had waves for about 8 of them, and West Triplet was also showing water. It was as if they weren't quite in sync enough, that either Grand was ready too early for West Triplet, or that West Triplet was running late and wasn't prepared for Grand to make an attempt. In any case, shortly before the second Turban was due, West Triplet started, and Grand had another one of those quick fills that leads to an eruption. In this case, a nice, short two burst. The pool drained immediately, there wasn't even the stopped drain as Vent and Turban continued on.

All during the wait Sawmill was erupting, and the group itself was going into a Deep Drain. Shortly before Grand it finally quit. After Grand, as we were walking toward it, it began erupting again, this time from an empty crater. We weren't close enough to see those bursts well, and by the time got over next to it, Sawmill was already overflowing.

During the afternoon we had our first False Indicator. It only lasted about a minute, but came at less than eight hours since the previous Beehive eruption. Now we just need the full hour eruption at a time when Beehive is expected. On the other hand, Little Squirt is active again today, and some are hoping that it, along with some of the other Geyser Hill activity is a sign of an impending Giantess eruption.

Conditions for the evening eruption of Grand didn't look very good.There were thick clouds overhead, and the weather maps showed that they weren't going to disappear soon. But there was no rain, and by the time I went out, it looked like things might clear after dark. But it turns out it didn't matter. I saw Turban erupting as I was tying down my bike. The Sawmill Group was going through another Deep Drain, and I watched Sawmill for a while put up bursts in the 40 to 50 foot range. By the time I got to Grand, it was already in overflow for the next Turban eruption.

And it just sat there. Nicely full, all the ridges covered, but no waves and no indication that it wanted to erupt or not. I'd come out early with the expectation of there being a possible West Triplet window, but more likely that I'd be seeing Rift and get to wait for the clouds to clear and the moon to come out. So wasn't surprised that West Triplet did start a few minutes later. Also expected the delay to be just that, a delay. But finally, small waves appeared, and when Turban started, it had the "time for an eruption" sound it makes as Grand starts to overflow heavily and to boil. So it made up some of yesterday's excessively short interval by having a short interval, but one for which I was there.

The eruption itself could have been spectacular if the sun had been out, but even so, the one burst made a nice contrast against the gray sky.

August 09, 2011

Observations for 08 August

There were reports that conditions were right for an auroral display, but when I got out to Grand after midnight, there wasn't much to see. The moon had just set, and I could still see its glow off of some distant clouds. To the north were more clouds, and a definite glow. The glow seemed to intensify a bit during the wait, but the clouds were there the whole time, and there was never any definition or coloration.

As for Grand, it went back to its recent pattern of intervals a bit over eight hours. The eruption itself was, of course, another one burst. I did get to see a Bulger major eruption right afterward, but there was absolutely no steam in the Hole, despite the low temperatures and the best opportunity for an eruption. Strange how every other hole but it can steam all the time.

Dawn meant that Fan & Mortar had to have an event, and it did. A long one featuring River Vent off for nearly an hour, and splashed from Main Vent during most of that time. But it also featured long activity from the Bottom Vent, which resulted in one of those events in which it was obvious that no matter what happened, F&M was going to be dead for the next few hours.

At the end, we did get some rumbling from Upper Mortar and steaming from all the various frying pans around Mortar. But it didn't mean much

On the way back, Castle was going into steam, which presented some opportunities for photography.

At Grand Rift was active, and of course that meant we were going to have to wait out the recovery. Grand went through several cycles with intervals around 19 minutes and Turban durations between 4-1/2 and 5, when suddenly it had a early fill and waves on its pool. Since the previous interval had been a bit under 18, I thought that the cycle shortening was underway and we'd get the eruption in about an hour, once they'd dropped to under 17. Nice of it to skip that part.

As it was, it was just another 10-1/2 minute one burst, although for the first time in a while the wind direction was toward Rift and Belgian Pool, soaking the walkways down there.

Between Grand eruptions featured two more trips down basin for Fan & Mortar. Both times the events weren't quite good enough so that once Fan's vents started, it became apparent that there wasn't quite the energy to get an eruption.

As for the evening's Grand eruption, it took place more in the afternoon, at a time when I was in the cabin thinking that maybe I could head out a little early, just in case. In this case, a 6h20m interval, for which there was no way I was going to be out for. But that did, at least, put the next eruption at a time when the moon could be up.

Shortly after, Beehive's Indicator was announced, and I got my umbrella and went over to Geyser Hill for it. This was another case where Beehive's interval was less than twelve hours, and the Indicator lasted well over 20 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if we start getting false indicators soon. The eruption itself started fairly explosively, but the wind cooperated and didn't shift around as it often does.

August 08, 2011

Observations for 07 August

As it turned out, the monitor said that I could have gone out an only waited an hour for the middle of the night Grand eruption, but getting some sleep was more important.

Not knowing that, I did head out on the assumption that a 16-hour double interval was not unreasonable, and as it turned out, I was right. Got out just in time to see West Triplet ending a long eruption in which Rift acted like it wanted to erupt, but didn't. The wait after that was only about 90 minutes for another two burst eruption. So this trip I've seen as many multiple bursts in the first 24 hours as I did in the first week of the previous trip.

But of course that couldn't last. For the afternoon wait, it quickly became apparent that Grand was going to wait for the next West Triplet, and since the system was recovering from Rift, that meant a bit of a wait. One that started out in the sun, but turned cloudy with a few sprinkles. Then the clouds thickened and the rain became stronger, but never quite enough to be really annoying.From the radar maps, it looked like this little storm was actually building directly over us and was also headed southward rather than the usual northeasterly direction. Finally the rain stopped, and the sun tried to come out, but never did manage it.

That wait also featured a couple of Daisy eruptions, as well as the unexpected announcement that Beehive's Indicator was in eruption. As it turned out, that Indicator lasted at least 26 minutes, and coupled with the 11-1/2 hour interval for Beehive, bodes not well for false Indicators in the coming weeks.

Finally, West Triplet started and still Grand didn't seem to want to take advantage of the situation. When Grand finally did erupt, it was on one of those extremely early fills and with strong waves in a full pool at the 15 minute mark. West Triplet quit within a couple of minutes of Grand's start, too. It was my first ten hour, one burst Grand of a trip in which I still expect to see more.

Walking away, I also saw an eruption of Oblong, only 3-1/2 hours after the earlier eruption I'd seen from Grand. The first seemed to be weak, with few surges that had any height, at least from my Grand vantage point.

There's a raven that seems to have developed a fascination with the vehicles in the Lower Ham's Store lot. It's been seen casing several vehicles there, including my truck. It also seems to have learned that the front of vehicles can be an essay source of large, dead bugs.

August 07, 2011

Observations for 06 August

Nice to pull into the Lower Ham's parking lot and have Beehive's Indicator erupting. Except it being the middle of the afternoon and finding that there's a huge crowd being herded down to the overlook by a Naturalist. So I watched the eruption of Beehive from the bike trail on the way to Castle.

Then get out to Grand and have West Triplet start soon after arriving, and having to wait all of one Turban interval. The eruption itself was a short two burst, which considering how things went a few weeks ago, might be one of the few multiple burst eruptions I see.

At that point, it's time to go check in and recover from being on the road for over 10 hours. (The worst has got to be the last 90 miles. After cruising along through Wyoming, that 45mph in the parks seems like standing still. And you do 45 only if the RV far ahead of you doesn't want to do 35 instead.)

When I got on the freeway in the pre-dawn hours, the very first thing to greet me, right at the entrance, was that three of the four lanes were filled with blinking flue lights and shut down due to an accident that had just happened. Since I made it safely, I figure that was a auspiciously good.

July 24, 2011

Observations for 23 July

The anticipated short Grand interval didn't materialize. Hard to tell, but appeared that Rift had erupted earlier, and Grand was going to wait until West Triplet recovered or ten hours had elapsed. It wasn't until about the nine hour mark that Grand finally had what appeared to be an attempt to erupt, or at least get into an eruptive mode. After that it was alternating short and long Turban eruptions for over an hour until it finally did erupt.

Came out of the Lower Ham's Store parking lot on the Beehive Indicator call and had to change direction due to a pair of bison right next to the road. The Beehive eruption waited, of course, for the dead calm to end and there to be just enough breeze to douse all the people waiting on the boardwalk by Plume. But not enough breeze to seriously affect the height of the column.

After a couple of false alarms, finally had a real Fan & Mortar event around noontime. The activity looked good until the Angle Vent started, and that's when it became obvious that wearing the rainwear was being overdressed.

After that was another Grand wait, another one of those where every Turban interval is the same because the system is waiting for the West Triplet eruption. It appears the window extends to the first Turban eruption after West Triplet ends, as that's what happened again today. The eruption itself was a two burst. The wind direction helped emphasize the size of the early Vent eruption, keeping Grand and Turban's steam from obscuring the height of the water plume.

One feature of Grand's eruptions that I've noticed is that starting around the eight minute mark, Grand will have slowdowns as if it's about to quit, or even pause just long enough to make it look that's what's happening. The water only boils up 3 or 4 meters during that time, then when you expect the bursting to stop, we get a explosive rocketing of a slender jet. If seen several eruptions with two of these slowing, implying that the one burst Grand could have easily been a three burst Grand if only the system had a little less energy. This afternoon's eruption had the slowdown, and then actually did quit.

I'd decided to turn off the radio at 20:00 so I could get a good night's sleep, so of course the call about a Fan & Mortar event comes over at 19:45. Oh, well. Went down to see a nice double pause with lots of Main Vent splashing and then strong play from Fan. But nothing much came of it, and got back just as it was getting dark.

Paul Strasser suggested that the reason there's no longer bison meat loaf on the Lodge menu is because drivers haven't provided enough road kill.

July 23, 2011

Observations for 22 July

After several relatively short intervals, decided that I'd better get out earlier than I might have a day or so ago. Turned out that I didn't need to, but Grand still had an interval of a little over 8 hours, which for most of this trip would be considered a short.

I arrived to find that Sawmill had finally erupted, as its formations were wet. After dumping my pack and heading back, I found Uncertain in eruption, which confirmed that the group was in a Deep Drain mode.

West Triplet started about the time Grand had what could have been a Vent type delay. Which meant that there was a good chance that it could erupt in two Turban intervals, about the time West Triplet would end. Which is what happened. By then the moon had risen, and a breeze had come up,so the start of the one-burst eruption was nicely backlit. West Triplet quit a few minutes into the eruption, too, with no Rift accompaniment.

During the wait I got to hear lots of noise coming from drunken louts over in the Gov't Area, They were so loud, along with musical noise, that they sometimes made it difficult to hear the thermal features. I could even hear them during Grand's eruption. At least they kept the stupidity out of the basin.

Came back out with the possibility of another shorter interval only to find Rift early in an eruption. So we got the one-burst eruption about four hours later than I'd liked. But during the wait got to see a couple of distant Churn eruptions, and another eruption of Bulger's Hole.

The Hole now slurps when it drains after a fill, even if it doesn't erupt. The eruptions themselves seem to be getting stronger and throwing around a lot more rocks, now that they don't have to hit up against the bridge. And the increased power and water means more gravel and debris are being washed in from along the edge. Since they are obviously related, and since there's no discharge of the milky white water from the Hole, surprised that Bulger shows no sign of any water discoloration. Perhaps it's there but we just can't see it.

There were a couple of minor Fan & Mortar events during the day, but nothing much came of them. After the second, caught Beehive on the way back from the railing above Tilt.

Went to the evening Grand early, as I didn't quite trust it to not have a short interval following the long one this morning. Was quite windy, making what should have been a warm wait distinctly chilly. Saw a series of uninspiring Turban eruptions on longer (21m) intervals until West Triplet. For two more Turbans, nothing much to get excited about. Then, right after West Triplet ended, we got an early fill that stayed up and kept building to heavy waves flooding out in all directions. But no Vent overflow as Grand started yet another one-burst eruption. Twice, around the seven and the nine minute marks, Grand slowed enough to make it seem like it might stop, but then after some "Big Tardy", it surged as if a new burst had started. At least with the low sun, and the wind pushing the steam up the hillside, was pretty. The start of Vent, for example, was not wrapped in steam as it usually is, which made it even more impressive.

It appears that "food storage" isn't taken seriously anymore. These people have been here most of the week and I see all this stuff strewn about every morning.

July 22, 2011

Observations for 21 July

Heading out to Grand was interrupted twice. First, Beehive started to erupt just as I got to the front of the Inn. So took a few minutes to watch and listen to it by moonlight. Late in that eruption Castle started, which meant I got rained on between the bike rack and Crested.

Since that wasn't a minor eruption, it also looks like we are going to get at least one more synchronized eruption of the two this afternoon.

The wait for Grand was uneventful. West Triplet was high enough to erupt, but didn't. Even after Grand's one burst eruption.WIthout a breeze, got another one of those starts where the water column outraces the growing steam cloud at its base.

Also encountered the coyote in front of the Inn on my way back. Also below Crested encounter a couple of people who were headed out, to what, I don't know, as Castle and Grand had already erupted. (And there was another light over by Liberty Pool.) Only thing I can think of is that they interpreted the center time of Grand's window as the time to be out there.

So six hours later I wasn't just killing time in the parking lot at the Lower Ham's Store. There was no reason to be headed out. Except that's when the call that Grand had started erupting with an interval of 6h04m. Got out there in plenty of time to watch a 11-1/2 minute one burst eruption.

Following that, did see Bulger's Hole fill with water during a Bulger major eruption, but no eruption from the hole. The Sawmill Group was just ending a Tardy cycle, so decided that since I had nothing much better to do, I'd go back out in a bit and watch for Penta. After 1.5 hours of nothing much happening during the next cycle except heavy convection in Penta. At least on the way in I got to see an eruption of Tilt, and even recorded the whole thing.

Beehive broke the lock it was appearing to have with Castle by having a 12-1/2 hour interval. With the strong shifting winds, it was also a soggy eruption.

When I went out for the evening, it appeared that we'd still had neither an eruption of Sawmill nor Penta since I was last out. Got a major from Bulger, but no fill in the Hole. Grand had a sort of repeat of last night, where Vent came up and dropped, but this time the 11m15s eruption started only about a minute after Turban. And during the eruption, we had a Churn eruption, which signaled the end of another Sawmill cycle.

After both of today's daylight eruptions, Vent and Turban paused for about 20 minutes, which is the longer of the three modes. Interesting to see what happens tonight, since that and a two hour Rift eruption seemed to not prevent a 7h16m interval.

July 21, 2011

Observations for 20 July

In the early morning hours there was a bright moon and enough breeze to keep the mosquitoes away. For the first time this trip the benches weren't dripping, despite all the storms of the day before.

After dumping my pack at Grand and getting the first Turban eruption, I intended to go watch Sawmill by moonlight for a while. After I passed Bulger the activity just stopped. It seems to do that a lot.

Also for once Grand took advantage of the start of an eruption of West Triplet to start erupting instead of delaying for three hours. From my vantage point, it was nicely backlit by the moon. Unfortunately, there wasn't a second burst.

The next morning it felt like September arrived early. It was cool and blustery, thanks to a cold front that had moved through since I'd last been out. As with the previous eruption, Grand took advantage West Triplet and erupted shortly after it quit. This was a two burst eruption, and with the breeze blowing to the north and backlighting by the sun, was another nice view.

Bulger's Hole Bulger's Hole

Bulger's Hole morning and evening
It was still cold and blustery in the early evening when it was time for the next Grand. Came out to find Rift well into an eruption, and spent the next few hours with desultory Turban eruptions. Penta did have an eruption during that time, as well as Bulger's Hole. I didn't get over there to see it because of the unusually large crowd packing the benches. But this was the eruption that finally destroyed the bridge.

Turban finally had an eruption that signaled that Grand would be really to erupt in a Turban eruption or three. Three later, the pool looked okay, and Vent started to overflow then dropped, along with a drop in Grand. Usually this signals a two to four Turban delay, and I decided that maybe I should take advantage of that by making a gas station run. As I walked away, I noticed that Grand's pool had refilled. Scuttled back to the bench and saw a noisy, powerful Turban well into its third minute as Grand began having waves. Grand finally erupted (and Vent overflowed again) at 3m28s into Turban's activity.

Of course Vent started almost immediately, as its start time is related to Turban more than Grand. But then Grand quit at the 7m33s, which gave us a nice three burst eruption.

At the Lodge they no longer sell bison meat loaf in the cafeteria. "Meatloaf" seems like a good name for the annoying bison that hangs around the various trails.

July 20, 2011

Observations for 19 July

From in front of the Lodge, there seemed to be quite a bit of steam in the direction of Grand. Since I'd decided to add in an extra half hour of sleep, that meant I might have missed the eruption. Things didn't look any better as I tied my bike up at Castle. But As I came up from the bridge it became obvious that all the steam was from Rift and West Triplet both erupting. That was a sort of relief.

As it turned out, West Triplet ended almost immediately, and then I was surprised by Rift quitting within 20 minutes. And unusually short eruption. but unfortunately, it didn't result in a Grand eruption interval that was any shorter than usual.

It was dead calm, so the mosquitoes were annoying, despite the early morning cold. But that also meant that Grand's steam cloud went straight up during the eruption, just like those down basin from eruptions of Daisy and Oblong. Grand took advantage of the conditions for once, and proceeded to first quit a about 7.5 minutes, then have three bursts. After all the one bursts, was a nice change.

On the trip out to Grand, I encountered a coyote which ran across in front of me as I passed by the new Cathedral. Then out at Grand, once I'd settled in, a coyote followed the same path in front of me through Grand's runoff as on the other night. Coming back people had to contend with a bison that decided that the bike rack at the Lower Ham's Store was the perfect place to bed down..

Got the call for Beehive's Indicator as was finishing up breakfast. Since it was fairly early, there wasn't the usual crush of people, so decided to watch from multiple viewpoints. along that trail. From Blue Star, we got some nice rainbows. But between Beehive and Old Faithful is not the best place to see a concerted eruption.

At East Chinaman I noticed something that seemed unusual. The formations around the feature are a strange grayish green color, all the way to the rim. The color looks a lot like it could be some sort of slime or bacteria, or could be mineral. But except for a couple of small patches, there wasn't any of the usual orange colors. Quite a contrast to Chinaman, which was normal looking in its coloration, with the area immediately next to the vent a sinter gray and the orange only starting once the water cooled a bit.

After that it was nap time, and I awoke several hours later. Nothing much was going on until there came a call saying that there had been splash in Fan & Mortar's Main Vent. There had been no pauses or any other unusual behavior before that, and the vents looked okay but not great. Later reports were that the activity seemed to be getting stronger, then after a few minute, got a report that things had died down. At that point I had gotten myself ready to head out, but just didn't think it was worth the effort. A slight "event" at 3.5 days seems like a long-shot.

Then came the report that the vents had gained strength, and were looking good. I decided that I would hate myself if I at least didn't start making an effort to get down there. I threaded my way through the crowd gathered for an Old Faithful eruption, and then encountered a herd of Boy Scout who were all over the trail. But despite that, I made good time getting down basin, and my bike speedometer said I got up to 22.5 mph going down.

As I passed Oblong, the reports were such that I was expecting to see the start from my bike. But as I passed Grotto, there was still no eruption. I made it by about 30 seconds to spare. The High Vent was huge, but the other vents weren't as big as I'd have expected. Then the surging in Main Vent started, and the eruption was on.

The wind was all over the place. From well north of Spiteful to the bridge, no place was safe. Since I arrived with so little time to spare, I wasn't fully prepared for the eruption. My pant legs got soaked, and I resigned myself to getting dry later. Because of the wind and the lack of preparation, I also didn't try to get any photos, but there were some nice circular rainbows.

As the eruption wound down, the sky to the south-east started getting blacker. As it was the start of the Grand window, and because I didn't want go back and forth to the cabin in a rain, I headed over to Grand. The rain started as I walked over from Castle, and I was headed upstream in a continuous line of wet people headed in. I arrived in time for an eruption of West Triplet to start, but the rain didn't last long, that time.

The eruption of West Triplet lasted over 40 minutes, and as it ended, Rift started. Estimating that the earlier eruption started at 04:30, the eruption at 15:22 meant about an eleven hour interval, which is much shorter than I'm used to. Rift was still erupting over two hours later when Grand finally erupted.

That eruption took place just as another storm was threatening to douse the basin. It came on the third Turban after a Vent-type delay. After a week of no such delays, not it seems most every interval is having one. The eruption itself was unremarkable, a 10-1/2 minute one burst with Vent and Turban continuing. I took off without waiting to see the afterplay, and got back to the cabin just as the sprinkles started.

On the way back it was noted that Dome was active. Not sure what that means.

The last few days the Firehole River has dropped about a foot from where it was when I arrived last week, and it has also gone from muddy brown to clear. The level is approaching what I would consider more normal for early July.

July 19, 2011

Observations for 18 July

While the moon was out for my early morning trip, there were also high thin clouds cutting down on the light. The weather map showed some sort of storminess to the east which we'd somehow missed. But was calm (and mosquitoes out!) so was easy to hear first Oblong and then Castle finally have an eruption. That was the first in about 30 hours, and for the first ten minutes ago it acted like it was going to be another minor. The sound would completely cease for about 5 seconds, then Castle would have another noisy surge.

One thing I hadn't had so far this trip was a short nighttime Grand wait. Being out there for 3 or 4 hours is not only tiring, but usually means that I don't get as much sleep as I probably need. (Yes, sitting in the cold takes effort.). So it was a bit of a relief that I only had to wait two Turban intervals for this early morning's one burst eruption.

There was a plane circling the area, waiting for an Old Faithful eruption. At the same time, Grand began to show signs that it might erupt. As Old Faithful started, I mentioned that I hoped that Grand might hold off long enough that they'd see Grand in the rear-view mirrors (if any). And that's exactly what happened. As the plane disappeared to the north, the several minutes of waves finally resulted in Vent beginning to overflow. And given that Grand had a two burst eruption, it was an all-around nice eruption.

I really need to remember that I do have a camera with me. Otherwise I'd have a picture of the bison that walked within 20 feet of the boardwalk right after the Grand eruption. It proceeded on directly toward West Triplet, only changing course when it encounter the steam from the eruption and the water. It showed a bit of agitation from that encounter, then calmly continued on toward Spasmodic.

On the walk back, saw an eruption of Tilt for the first time this trip. (That's "Tilt Geyser", not "Tilt's Baby", by the way). Have seen the vent empty several times, so it might be fairly frequent, on the order of several times per day.

In the evening it seemed unlikely that Grand would erupt before sunset. Turns out that right about sunset West Triplet started. After that, when there still would have been quite a bit of light, there was a delay and so Grand waited two more Turban eruptions and ended up erupting just before any light was gone completely. A second burst, if it had happened, would have been hard to see.

July 18, 2011

Observations for 17 July

Grand seems to have fallen into a nice little routine. There's an attempt at erupting at around the 6.5 hour mark, then it waits the three or so hours before it's time for the next eruption of West Triplet. The resulting eruptions a one burst that's just short enough that a second burst is possible but unlikely.

At least that's what we got in the morning.

Castle's predicted time came and went, and all it did for the rest of the day was slop.

Mid-day decided that might Iwant to do the Geyser Hill death wait for this visit, and instead got Beehive's Indicator within 15 minutes. Was quite windy, and no matter where I tried to be, the wind seemed to be coming directly over Beehive. So picked a spot and hunkered down when the drops came, which was mostly in the last minute or so of the eruption.

In the evening realized that if Grand didn't go short, that would put the eruption just before sunset, which is great time for an eruption. I hadn't had one at that time of day yet. Just as long as it didn't delay so long that it was dark. Arrived to find a wet West Triplet and Penta in the middle of a long eruption. The Turban activity proceeded as usual this past week, then we got an appearance of water in Vent and a slight overlfow. Fortunately, long Vent delays are uncommon, and this one was just three Turbans. When it came time for Grand to erupt, the pool filled early and stayed up, flooding the formations. Conditions might have been a little better, as the rainbows were a bit hard to see, but definitely there.

In years past, when Grand actually had multiple bursts and one burst eruptions were rare, some of us would jokingly start yelling or asking for Grand to stop. Because we knew that the subsequent bursts were the best part of the show. This evening it was Mike Keller's daughters who were making the "stop" pleas, and they were rewarded with just that at around 9m30s. Perfect time for a second burst, which we also got.

July 17, 2011

Observations for 16 July

With Rift having erupted well before Grand, I thought that if there was any chance of an early eruption, this might be it. So headed out early, but not too early, As it turned out, with the full moon, it was an interesting night, no thanks to Grand.

When I arrived just before midnight, I was greeted by Percolator. This is the first time I've noticed Percolator unrelated to current activity by either Rift or West Triplet. It's annoying at night because it makes just enough noise to make listening for other features a bit harder. And the steady breeze didn't help the hearing situation much either. But I did hear an eruption of Old Faithful just fine, perhaps because I was downwind.

As usual, I took the first couple of Turban intervals to check out the Sawmill group. Nothing much of interest, although Sawmill was erupting, At midnight West Triplet started, but Grand show inclination to erupt with it.

So I had just settled in when I noticed a new large cloud, an eruption of Fan & Mortar had started. I'd had the radio off, but a quick check showed that no one was down there, and there are people who do leave the radio on all night.

In the other direction Bulger started an eruption. After a minute it was apparent that it was a major,and time to go down and see what sort of activity was going on in Bulger's Hole. I got there just in time to see the water start to fill, and was rewarded with a nice 3m38 long eruption by MagLite. The bridge is still intact.

I settled back in to waiting and in quick succession got eruptions Riverside, Daisy, and Churn. Then a long series of indifferent Turban eruptions, with both intervals and durations showing not variations or even hinting of any eruption possibilities. Mixed in was an Oblong, which is always impressive by moonlight by the size and height of the steam column, and its distinctive sound.

After a few hours I was suddenly not alone. I saw a small shape running across the runoff sheet between Grand and me. Got out the MagLite again, and it was a coyote quickly trotting off to the north. That's the first time I've ever encountered a coyote out there at night, and a bit surprised one would come so close to me.

It was finally time for another West Triplet eruption, well over three hours since the previous one. By this time Turban had finally shortened its intervals to about 16 minutes, and the durations were oscillating between a bit over 3 minutes and about 4-and-a-half. Turban started the eruption, and unlike several other eruptions the past few days, it was obvious that Grand was quickly going to join in.

Nice by moonlight, with the breeze pushing the steam away, it would've been a nice to finally have a second burst. (Since I arrived, there have been only a couple of two burst eruptions, one when I was distracted by Bulger's Hole.) West Triplet joined in, and I also got to get an interval on Daisy.

Also during the wait I noticed a large, noisy steamcloud down near the river at the base of Grand's middle runoff channel. In years past I remember there being active features down there, but due to its position, it's difficult to evaluate what might be going on down there.

It turned out that the West Triplet I saw start preceded a Rift eruption, so mid-day's wait was another one of those where it's just a matter of waiting for West Triplet to recover. A less than 10 hour interval, again without much to distinguish any of the Turban activity. Followed by another one burst Grand. At this point I've seen sixteen eruptions and fourteen of them have been one burst. I'm beginning to believe that in a few years I'll have seem my last multi-burst eruption.

During the three hour wait Bulger did absolutely nothing. The formations were dry and gray the whole time. Seems like a long time without even a minor. Over in the Sawmill Group there was a Tardy cycle that came and went.

Went out for the next Grand at sunset, and walked up on West Triplet in eruption and Grand in heavy overflow. The overflow turned into a delay, and West Triplet ended shortly after. Castle erupted, but it appeared that none of the crowd came over toward Grand. For the next three hours we got the usual long Grand interval.

Because it was bright from the moon, were about a dozen at around midnight, when we finally got another West Triplet. Grand showed signs of life, but Rift started at midnight. Fortunately, Grand showed that it could erupt with those other two also erupting. The evening was dead calm, and so Grand put out a nice base surge that rolled almost to the boardwalk. But that calm also meant that it was almost impossible to see the eruption, especially with al the steam being produced to the southeast. But the pause for the second burst was just enough time to clear out the worst of it on the northern side, and we got a nice, huge backlit burst. That made up for all the waiting around we'd just had.

July 16, 2011

Observations for 15 July

The morning Grand was sort of the same wait as the night before. Gtand waited for West Triplet, but this time, instead of sunset, it was the moon that set just before the eruption. (Well, the sky was so light that it didn't matter, but still…) The eruption itself was another long one burst.

A few hours later we got a Beehive with a nice wind direction for once, meaning that I didn't really need to bring the umbrella. (The difference in brightness of the sky above and below the rainbow is natural phenomena called "Alexander's Dark Band", and is because the light that should be there is forming the rainbow(s).)

The afternoon Grand eruption was all around disappointing. Instead of following the Grand eruption, it waited 6 hours. Given that the Rift eruption only lasted about an hour, it was disappointing for not only Grand to wait four more hours, but for West Triplet to start erupting right after another long one burst eruption.

Today was the first of this visit in which there wasn't even a hint of possible rain.

Was walking past Sawmill after a recent Grand eruption and heard a girl say, "it smells just like Granma's house". Which is more than I ever want to know about "granma" and her hours."

July 15, 2011

Observations for 14 July

After several relatively short intervals, with and without Rift erupting, decided that I should try to get out for the morning eruption as early as seemed reasonable. The day also looked like it would starting out just like yesterday. Except it went from one extreme to another. Grand had a delay overflow when I got out there, and then proceeded to delay close to four hours, finally erupting one hour into a Rift eruption. At least the weather was mostly dry. (We did get some droplets from a mystery cloud a couple of times.)

The evening wait was another long but eventful one. When I went out, there was a nice large gray cloud to the south. Looking at the weather maps, it appeared that it was a small cell, and the center of it was due south. So I figured that while we'd get some rain, we'd avoid the worst.

I was right about that. Most of the time it was sunny, even when raining, and there was often a nice full double rainbow.Only once did it get intense enough to be annoying.

Towards the end of the rain, suddenly there was yelping from coyotes up on the hillside behind Rift and toward solitary. The first I've heard this year. Unlike other times, this noise didn't stop, and after a bit it became apparent that they were moving down the hillside. Finally a pair appeared over in the Sawmill group, still yelping, and headed for the bridge. Which they crossed and passed on over toward the interchange. The noise continued for a good half hour. Never heard anything like that before.

The geyser activity during the wait was the usual, a Daisy and an Oblong, and the unusual, an eruption of Penta. Until the previous one I saw, this one did not last more that 45 minutes. All during the wait I never noticed any activity from Bulger, neither major or minor eruptions.

Grand itself just sort of sat there. Unlike in the morning, there were never any delays or failed attempts to erupt. West Triplet was empty the whole time, still not having recovered from the Rift eruption hours ealier. Finally when West Triplet started to show water, and once the sun had disappeared behind the ridge, was when Grand erupted.

It was another one burst, a long 12 minute one punctuated with a couple of false pauses at around the 10 and 11 minute marks. Right after the eruption, West Triplet started, and I noticed the moon rising. Time to go in.

July 14, 2011

Observations for 13 July

After the short overnight interval I thought there was a chance of another short interval. But I wasn't expecting to be in the parking lot thinking I should be heading out when Grand started. The only thing short intervals do is make it harder to get sleep. In this case, it really wasn't even worth the effort of zipping on out.

That also messed my plans, such as they were, for the day. I was expecting various waits on Grand and Beehive to be split up by an hour or two available for other things.

By the time to go out to Grand, the weather radar map showed a small cell headed this way. Sure enough, for one Turban interval we got pelted with a strong wind with lots of rain and a little bit of hail. Fortunately, the first Bulger major eruption took place before that, and during that time Bulger's Hole only filled and drained.

After the storm, we got a second Bulger major. This time the Hole did't pay around with filling and dropping,but almost immediately began bubbling. The eruption itself lasted 5 minutes, and ended a little after Bulger did. The bridge is still there, but I'll be pleasantly surprised if it lasts long.

So Grand erupted under relatively calm sunny conditions, and proceeded to give us another one burst eruption.

The weather was nice and clear with a bright moon for the next eruption. Grand had a chance for a four-Grand day, but only managed to have three intervals in just less than 24 hours. Grand had to wait for the eruption of West Triplet to finish, it appears. The Grand eruption started 2m23s after Turban. After the first couple of minutes, the steam over Grand's pool just didn't look right, even though Turban wasn't all that vigorous. The slight breeze pushed the steam away, allowing for a beautiful pair of bursts.

While waiting for Grand, saw a couple of Bulger major eruptions, but in neither case did I see any sign of even steam coming from Bulger's Hole.

July 13, 2011

Observations for 12 July

After the rain last night, I expected it to be foggy, and I was right. From what I could tell in the cabin area, it was clear and cloudless, with bright stars,. Just as I approached the front of the Lodge, I heard an eruption of Old Faithful start. I couldn't seen much in all the steam. When I dropped down the hill in front of the Inn, I was in the think of the fog. Out at Grand I could barely make out the lights of the Inn.

I arrived at Grand just in time for the end of another Rift eruption. Through the fog, I heard an eruption of Riverside, but that was as the day slowly brightened. Over at Bulger there were occasional minors. When Beehive erupted, I could hear it easily, but all I could see was a thickness int he fog over Geyser Hill.

As with yesterday, it took Grand several hours before I finally recovered from Rift. This time the one burst eruption, instead of being around 11 to 12 minutes long, didn't even reach 9 minutes.

After that, it was a bit of a surprise that by 10:30 there was a noisy storm moving in. Inside the cabin there were quite a few times that the whole cabin shook, and the echoes seemed to last close to a minute. We even lost power for several minutes. The storm took 4 hours to go though, but fortunately I was able to spend it all indoors. As the time to go out to Grand approached, the rained died down and the sky began to lighten.

Expected a short interval, but got a longer one instead. Grand waited until well after the end of an eruption of West Triplet. The only real item of interest was that Churn erupted twice during the wait.

I also think that Bulger's Hole erupted during the storm. The bridge at the front of the vent hole seems narrower, and there were rocks strewn about, including one on the end of the bridge, that I didn't remember seeing there earlier today.

Got out to Grand before midnight to discover that Rift had not only erupted, but had also finished. A good sign. The sky was mostly clear, and the few clouds didn't obscure the bright moon. In the next half hour I got to see Oblong, Daisy and Castle. The last one seemed to have attracted a sizable contingent of yelling morons, but fortunately they stayed there well into the steam phase and never came over to bother me.

After about another hour, I heard Bulger erupting, and it became apparent that this was a major. I went over and found that the Hole was filing up. Unfortunately, it never erupted. As it was now time for Turban I started heading back, and caught the start of Grand.

A steamy eruption, but clear enough that seeing Vent start was easy. A disappointing eruption, it being another one of those less than 10 minute one burst eruptions.

July 12, 2011

Observations for 11 July

Today started out as a continuation of yesterday. I decided to forego the middle of the night Grand eruption and instead catch up on sleep, Besides the night was supposed to be cloudy and I didn't relish a three hour wait in the dark. As it turned out, I wouldn't have had much wait at all.

Woke up around 06:00 and I was just starting to post the photos and report on yesterday when the call for an event at Fan & Mortar came in around 06:30. So I finished up and header over to the store parking lot to continue on down basin on the bike.

I arrived to nice, consistent activity by the High and Gold Vents. Within a few minutes the Angle vent joined in, and unlike yesterday's event, the activity did not show any sign of weakening. Instead, it steadily increased until around 07:10, by which time we had the High vent erupting to about 4 meters, continuously. By the only question was how would the eruption start.

Since my phone has video capability, I shot some shaky footage of the start. It began with extended play by Upper Mortar for about 10 seconds. Just as it looked like it might die down, Lower Mortar showed water, and at almost the same time water gushed out of Fan's Main and East vents.

Fan & Mortar Fan & Mortar

Fan & Mortar eruption, 2011 July 11
The conditions were ideal. Because of the overcast, the night wasn't as cold as it could have been, and the sun had been up long enough to remove any other chill, and to provide excellent lighting. There was absolutely no wind, and surprisingly, no mosquitoes. During the eruption I never needed to use my umbrella or raingear, and with the steam cloud going straight up, all of the rainbows were easily visible.

Following that, decided time to head out to Grand, just in case it pulled a short interval. A guess as to the eruption time based on overflow pretty much matched the time from the monitor. Except it turned out to be a long wait. One with Rift ending and Grand still not showing any signs of trying to erupt. When Grand did erupt, we got an eruption like yesterday, one nearly 12 minutes long.

During the wait we did see an eruption of Churn. Not sure why, as Sawmill was active. Bulger was having minor eruptions, but no major eruptions, and the people who watched it for all that time said that the hole never showed any signs of activity.

So after that, it was time to head in. Knowing that there wasn't much going on until evening (except for the possibility of Beehive), I took the opportunity to perform other chores, like take a nap.

To get to the Beehive eruption, one had to negotiate another bison gauntlet. This time the three of them were bedding down over by Little Squirt and Silver and Bronze, but just close enough to make me hesitate before quickly passing by. The Beehive eruption itself was well behaved for the first half, until the wind shifted. I tried to hunker down next to the railing under my umbrella, but after a bit I gave up and moved on. Rather than run the bison gauntlet a second time, I took the opportunity to walk around Geyser Hll.

The sky had clouded up by the to head out to the evening Grand. It was extremely windy, but I did get out there before the first shower started. Nothing too much, about ten minutes long with a little hail mixed in.

Grand erupted about 15 seconds before the delay would have officially started.As it was, it was just a short one burst, and I was able to head in while it was still a little light, and before the really heavy rain (and thunder and lightning) started.

The rock wall at Aurum may be intended to hide the monitor's wire, but it seems to instead call even more attention to itself. Surely a better job could be done here, and in several other places where the monitors and their wires are obvious. Of like at West Triplet, exposed.

July 11, 2011

Observations for 10 July (Part 2)

Before I got checked in, I did get to see a nice Beehive from the overlook, and Castle had another minor eruption.

So when I headed out for the evening Grand eruption, the first thing I saw when I got out to the bikerack at Castle was Rift in eruption. By the time I got over there, it was obvious that West Triplet had been quiet for a bit. This gave the false hope that the end of Rift might be soon. While waiting, Sputnik was quite active, with some of the eruptions as much as 1 meter high.

About the same time it was noticed that there were a couple of bison to the north, near the boardwalk by Wave Spring. The slowly moseyed along and one of them settled down right next to the boardwalk near Shoe Spring. This did not deter visitors from using the walkway, getting close-up pictures of the bison, and in at least one case, stepping off the boardwalk to be part of a picture. The bison, fortunately, ignored them all.

When I passed through, I also noticed that the Sawmill Group had nice high water levels, and about 45 minutes later it was noticed that Penta was in a full eruption. With Rift still going, I took the opportunity to head down to see it between Turban eruptions.

That's when things got interesting. On the way back from my second visit, I saw Bulger start After about a minute or so, it had all the indications that this was going to be a major eruption. I hadn't seen any minors before that.

It was hard to tell with the lighting, but it seemed that the amount of steam in the hole had increased, and I thought I saw water. At 3 minutes into Bulger's eruption, it was obvious that the hole was full to about 15cm below the rim. The water stayed at that level for about 30 to 45 seconds, then dropped.

About 30 seconds after that, the hole refilled, and five minutes into the Bulger eruption, the water on the left side of the hole started bursting.

Bulger's Hole Bulger's Hole

Bulger's Hole in eruption
The eruption lasted about 2 minutes. Most of the activity was forced through the small hole that has recently formed in the sinter shelf about the hole. Though there it seemed that there were thrown a number of rocks by the milky white water. The steam made it hard to tell what was going on inside the hole itself, but there were definite small bursts in the area where I first noticed the start of the eruption. Bulger itself continued to erupt for another 45 seconds or so, with a total eruption duration of 8m07s.

In the middle of all that, Turban started and was quickly followed by an eruption of Grand. While I missed the start of Turban and Vent and the end of Rift, we did get a nice second burst and an eruption of Daisy. Seemed like everything was erupting at once.

After that, I decided to stick around the Sawmill Group, to see if there might be more Bulger related activity, and to get a duration for Penta. During the second visit to Penta, I noticed that Spasmodic actually seemed higher than before, and wondered if this might be one of those very long Penta eruptions.

After 49 minutes, which seems short, Bulger had a another major eruption. Once again, after about 1.5 minutes the hole showed water for about 30-45 seconds, drained and refilled. This time though, there was no eruption.

But there was an eruption of Churn. Again, not surprising with the long Penta duration, which at this point had been erupting for about 90 minutes. All of the features in the Sawmill Group were high. Oval was having periodic pulsations, and Sawmill was bubbling nicely in a high pool.

There was a second Churn 27 minutes later, and about 4 minutes after a kind of false start where Churn bubbled and surge up to 0.5 meter for about 15 seconds.

By that time Penta had been erupting for over two hours. The bugs were starting to get nasty, and it had been a long day, and I decided that Penta could quit on its own, so I headed in.

At Penta before Grand I got to see the naturalist who seems to be this year's Dixy. There several people sitting along the boardwalk, with their feet on the old paving stones, watching the eruption, as we have all done at some time or another. He requested that they stop doing that. Next, he went on down to Grand, and seemed to be studiously avoiding notice of the bison to the north. Finally he couldn't ignore it any longer, and went up there to keep an eye on things.

After the Grand eruption, the bison were on the move again. Since the bison were wandering near the boardwalk, he kept herding all the people there toward Sawmill, instead of just waiting calmly for them to pass. The bison just followed their usual path at the base of the hillside. The last I saw of them they went behind Spasmodic and headed into that swamp. Dixy hung around for a while, then followed them toward Geyser Hill.

July 10, 2011

Observations for 10 July (Part 1)

I got through Pinedale with about 4 minutes to spare.

Never have really cared for coming in from the South Entrance, so decided to try something different this trip. Even though it would be longer drive, come in via US 191, go over Teton Pass and then head for Ashton via state routes in Idaho. Encountered new and different things because of that.

Only active construction was on the the whole portion of US 20 in Montana, all 12 miles of it. Even though they were striping the lanes on a Saturday afternoon, were using pilot cars and letting traffic stack up (almost a mile long line westbound.) On one stretch of 191 were replacing large culverts under the highway and routing traffic on temporary diversions.

But the real fun began when I approached downtown Pinedale. Suddenly the streets were lined with people and there were old horsedrawn wagons and other paraphernalia. On a side street I noticed what  looked like a rendevouz of mountain men. Suddenly realized that there must be a parade today. The time was 10:56, and right after I got through the gauntlet, I noticed in the rear-view mirror that a police car with flashing lights was now blocking traffic. My timing could easily have been much worse.

In Victor, Idaho, was a gathering of "classic" cars. One of the traffic lanes was coned off and all sorts of cars were parked along the curb, but I didn't see signs of any impending closure. All the rest of my way through Idaho I noticed old cars (including one that probably needed a tow) in the oncoming lanes.

Shown on the map north of Victor are a series of braided streams. Because of there is still heavy runoff from the mountains nearby, there were several miles of flooded roads. Only a few inches deep, they had posted 25mph and you just rooster tailed your way through. (I found 15mph worked better.)

The drive in this morning had further entertainments. As I passed the Mallard Creek Trailhead turnout, just north of the Upper Basin, at around 06:00, I noticed that there were a couple of motorcycles there. Interesting, as not a place you normally see motorcycles that time of day. Then I noticed why. Next the the pavement was a green pop-up tent. I guess the morning patrol had not yet passed that way.

The Grand this morning seemed like an appropriate greeting. A Grand initiated one burst that lasted 12m03s. Then Vent and Turban paused for about 14 minutes, tried and failed to restart, waiting another 7 minutes before their activity began.

After that, visited Daisy to see how bad Splendid looked. Water is no longer finding its way over from Comet, so there are no runoff channels to the north. I didn't get around to the south side as there were three bison lying down from north of Daisy to near Bonita to near the south trail.  When Daisy erupted, it got the attention of the first one. That bison got up and started moving, only to stop in the middle of Daisy's runoff. There it left a rather liquid opinion and then move over to join the other two.

Fan & Mortar had a nice event around noon-time, but this early in the interval it wasn't surprising that nothing much came of it. I went down there earlier in the day, and got to see a new Stupid Bureaucrat Trick. There was an official Suburban parked well south of the Pit of Eternal Stench, in a gravel patch surrounded by trees. I guess someone out performing their official duties wanted to be in the shade, or got the genius idea that a vehicle wouldn't be as noticeable over there.

Sat and watch an interval from one major eruption of Bulger to another. The interval was about 1h40m. Didn't see any activity, but noticed a few things. It's hard to see in the photo, but off to the left, at the edge of the sinter sheet, was a patch of steaming ground. Also, it appears the dripping from within the hole is due to water from a major seeping into the sinter, as it was strongest after the end of the majors and almost gone at the start  I would guess that it also is more in the mornings than in the afternoons when the water would tend to evaporate. So, for the first time in years, will be keeping an eye on Bulger and noting eruption times.

Finally got checked in in time to head out for the evening Grand eruption. What happened out there will be in part 2.

August 06, 2010

Observations for 06 August

I learned today that if you are going to do something really, really stupid, it's best to do it on the last day of the trip when it'll just be an inconvenience instead of a catastrophe

The day started out with a damp wait at Grand. Some of the thickest geyser fog I've seen this trip, which occasionally got swept away by a strong breeze. Grand itself was steamy, hard to see.

After that I rode down to find that Fan & Mortar did erupt overnight as expected. Based on the amount of activity from the vents, I wouldn't be surprised that it happened right after I left Grand the night before. (Not that I wanted to be in that weather.

Following that did get to see a nice Beehive eruption from the overlook. An eruption whose significance became apparent later in the day.

The afternoon Grand took place just as a small but windy storm was clearing out. One Turban eruption later and we'd have had sunshine and much less wind. And we didn't even get the compensation of a second burst.

I used the lull before an Old Faithful eruption to go to the Lodge Cafeteria to get some food. I was just finishing up when the call that Beehive's Indicator had started. This was a bit of a surprise, as it was only 10 hours since the morning eruption. So I finished my meal, went back to the cabin to get a raincoat and umbrella, and sauntered over to Geyser Hill.

Where I got to see the first false Indicator in quite a while. 65 minutes of it. Beehive stopped splashing and trying at about the 35 minute mark. So now the question becomes, will Beehive have an eruption with the next Indicator eruption, making this an interesting and annoying exception, or does this mean that this morning I saw the last Beehive eruption of the summer?

Observations for 05 August

Turns out that leaving Sawmill Group last night was right decision, as Penta marker was still in place when came out before dawn. Once again, water levels there were high, but I didn't stick around. About half hour later heard to load thumps of a high pool Sawmill start.

After the morning Grand eruption, headed down to Fan & Mortar for a few hours of garbage mode, although i think I arrived at the end of a minor event. At least it never looked as good during my wait as it did when I arrived.

After breakfast, there was finally a report of an event at Fan & Mortar. This was Mortar dominated, with the activity of the Fan vents never looking good, but we did get one surge from Mortar that could've grown into a full eruption.

Following that, it was about time for Grand, but Rift had also just started. When II had returned as far as Castle, I had a decision. Based on past behavior, that meant about a three hour wait, but on the other hand, I had no reason to head any further in. So decided to head over to Grand.

That proved to be the right decision, as within minutes of arrival, the pool on Grand was full with waves. Unlike so many recent eruptions, Grand initiated this one, and we got a nice two burst eruption with Rift sputter away over on the side, on a less than 7 hour interval.

Following that, the Sawmill Group was high with Sawmill quiet. Some bubbling from Penta's lower vents was enough to get me to stick around. (That I'd been prepared to stay out a few hours was a factor, too.) All the pools continued to rise, and finally we got a good, doming surge over Penta's bottom vents, but no eruption. Expected that the next good surge should be the one which started the eruption, instead looked over and saw Sawmill boiling and doming up. Time to head in.

I was starting to get ready to go out to Grand when the next call for an event at Fan & Mortar came over the radio. It was good timing, as I figured that no matter what happened, I could then go directly to Grand. As it turned out that while the surging from Lower Mortar looked promising, when Fan came back on it never really looked all that good. So it was off to Grand.

Even heading out to Fan & Mortar the sky looked ugly. At Grand I got to experience possibly the worst conditions I've ever encountered that didn't involve precipitation. While there was no rain, it was dark and there was a strong wind from the north that had to have gusts at or above 40 mph. But it only lasted about 20 minutes, and by the time Grand erupted, it was relatively calm.

That eruption started with one of the most explosive Turban starts I've seen. It suddenly and without warning threw a plume of water sideways at least 15 feet high. It was getting dark, making the steamy pool hard to see, but just based on that I figured we were about to get Grand. And I was right. The second burst was also sort of a bonus, as the first burst was nearly 11 minutes long. But thanks to the wind, which had been picking up during the first burst, it wasn't all that impressive.

The wind was picking up because another storm was moving in, but fortunately, I was back in the cabin by the time it started to get wet.

I noticed when I was riding my bike on the service road behind the Inn in order to make the previous day's posting that there was a freshly flattened tree rat on the pavement. Coming back ten minutes later, the carcass was gone. Those ravens work fast.

August 05, 2010

Observations for 04 August

Like the night before, the possibility of an eruption of Grand just as it was getting dark turned into an after-midnight eruption. I arrived just as West Triplet started, and Rift joined right in a half hour later. Unlike the night before, this time it was mostly clear (just the usual clouds far to the north and south) and calm.

The predicted aurora never materialized. As the sky darkened, the area to the north seemed to remain bright, but as midnight approached, it too finally became dark, and then the eastern sky began to lighten slightly as the moon rose. There was a little light on the top of Grand's steam column during the eruption, but it really didn't help make anything more visible.

In the morning, we had yet another long interval at Grand. At least we were rewarded with the second three burst eruption in two days. Was a long pause between the second and third, so it didn't surprise me when Vent and Turban quit after.

With the next Fan & Mortar window approaching, I spent an hour down there, watching garbage, although there was some Upper Mortar rumbling with water visible down in the vent, and steaming from the Frying Pan. (It's amazing how large that vent has become. No way that water would have been visible even ten years ago.)

Grand was set up for a sunset eruption, but when West Triplet's eruption led into the start of Rift, I figured I'd be seeing it in the dark. So it was a pleasant surprise to have it start on the last possible Turban eruption, just as Rift was ending. The only drawback was that there wasn't a second burst, but the lighting during the eruption, along with a breeze out of the north, gave us full arc rainbows which ended in Sawmill on the right end.

Beehive's Indicator was announced just before the Grand eruption, and thanks to the long Indicators we've had lately, I was able to seen the entire Grand eruption, and leisurely walk all the way to the overlook at Crested Pool. Too bad the sun had already set by then.

Along the ways I noticed that the Sawmill Group was again full, and in Tardy Mode. It had been that way when I came out to Grand, but after about 20 minutes, Spasmodic shut off and the system drained. I probably should have stuck around, but getting some sleep seemed a higher priority.

August 04, 2010

Observations for 03 August

The nighttime Grand eruption wait started with overcast skies and a Rift eruption. By the time Rift had quit the clouds had turned to a strong wind and some showers. But it only took a half hour for things to clear back up. When Grand did start, the moon, while dimmed by some thin clouds, was enough to illuminate a nice three burst eruption.

The Castle eruption during the wait had to be one of the more powerful it's had in a while. Or else the wind conditions really amplified the noise of the steam-phase. It was still an impressive rumble an hour after the start of the eruption.

The afternoon Grand eruption was another one of its cases of having a delay at a reasonable time, thus making sure there's another long interval.

Here's what an eruption of Old Faithful looks like when viewed from the Snowlodge. Another lost opportunity we've gotta live with for the next few decades.

August 03, 2010

Observations for 02 August

The previous day's late evening Grand turned into the after-midnight Grand. It turned out to be quite nice.There was a bit of a breeze from the south, which was pushing the steam to the north. The moon had just risen, so even though only about half, it was illuminating the pool of Grand and its runoff nicely. I was able to see the waves build on the pool and clearly see the start of the eruption. A second burst would have been really pretty, but that didn't happen.

I also got to hear Beehive just before Grand. It was perfect timing, as al the noise of Rift and Percolator erupting had finally subsided, making it obvious that something was happening over on Geyser Hill.

The morning eruption turned into the noon-time eruption, thanks to a Vent delay just as West Triplet had it's early window eruption. Again the lighting was nice. As Grand's surges climbed, each one broke out of the shadow of the previous one's steam cloud, a nice effect. And again, we got a one burst so there wasn't a chance to see that happen again.

During that wait, saw one of the tallest Oblong Geyser eruptions I've ever seen. A massive surge was not just as high as the dead tree by Chromatic Pool, but appeared as high as the trees behind Oblong on Wylie Camp hill.

After Grand it appeared that Penta might try to erupt from a normal Tardy Mode, but for half an hour everything in the Sawmill Group just sitting there. When Oval Spring's pulsations didn't seem to change things, I decided it was time to leave. Penta didn't erupt, as shortly afterwards Spasmodic stopped overflowing and all the water levels dropped. Later that afternoon, Sawmill erupted.

This afternoon's Beehive eruption was a warning. After several weeks of Indicator durations around 20 minutes, this one was barely over 6, just enough time to get from the store parking lot to the Firehole river overlook. (This was my first daytime Beehive this trip from that vantage point.)

The evening was clear and pleasant, and I didn't need to bring out the nighttime gear. Grand took advantage of the early West Triplet eruption to erupt as soon as the next window became available. While waiting, I saw another Oblong eruption, this one not impressive at all.

August 02, 2010

Observations for 01 August

After learning that I had made the bad choice the night before, the day settled into the fairly typical and mildly boring three Grand eruptions and one Beehive eruption. A good day to catch up on sleep and other tasks I'd been neglecting over the previous few days.

Overnight Beehive got lost, but based on the early afternoon eruption I'd guess it went during the Grand or Fan & Mortar eruptions when people were out but preoccupied.

One good thing about the day was that the Grand intervals were a little shorter. Of course that wasn't going to last.

August 01, 2010

Observations for 31 July

In the middle of the night I thought 7 hours would be enough to get out to Grand but it wasn't. Once again I got to see Vent and Turban and an empty crater. As a bonus, I did get to see Rift start.

The next time I got up, it was overcast with a thunderstorm moving in. Eating breakfast during that time seemed a good idea, then it was time for a Grand wait.

I really wasn't expecting a third short interval and I was right. But we did get to see a different Penta eruption than the norm. Usually a Penta eruption starts after there's been heavy overflow from Spasmodic and a slow, steadily more vigorous eruption of Tardy. This eruption was about an hour after Sawmill and Spasmodic was just at the point of overflow, and dropping. Otherwise it was a normal eruption that lasted about an hour. During the eruption itself(another two burst) Sput A and Sputnik started blipping.

At that point it was time to head in, as the sky was getting black and the rains were coming. But as we approached Sawmill, it started erupting, lasted about 30 seconds and then quit. I've seen that before, during deep drains,but this must've been more of a post-Penta effect as the water levels weren't low enough for that.

That afternoon, after a quick but intense thundershower, saw a disinterested event at Fan & Mortar;. Heading out for the evening Grand eruption, it looked like I was going to get wet, but the heavy clouds passed both to the north and south. The southern one was close enough that we got a rainbow, but no droplets.

Once again Grand demonstrated its bimodal behavior, passing up early opportunities for an eruption to only wait until it reached the 10 hour mark. I did get to see another Penta steam-phase eruption during the wait, though. It was while I was coming in that I heard that another event was starting at Fan & Mortar. The idea of riding down all that way, then coming back disappointed an hour later didn't appeal to me, so I turned off the radio and headed in instead. That proved to be a mistake, as the event quickly built into an eruption that took place well before midnight.

July 31, 2010

Observations for 30 July

Today was mostly spent recovering from yesterday.

Some of that was out at Grand, where it continued its string of long intervals. At least we got another two burst eruption out of our wait.

I was headed out to the evening Grand eruption, dressed for a wait that could be after midnight. As I approached Tilt, the call for Beehive's Indicator came over the radio, and since it was only at the 7 hour mark, I decided that would be a good place to catch the next Turban eruption and see Beehive erupt.

As it turned out a minute or so later, I saw Turban start, followed after another minute by Grand. So I slowly walked over to watch the last half of a single burst eruption. By the time I got back to Sawmill, Beehive started, so that geyser I watched as I walked back over the bridge. At least after that I could look forward to a 5 hours of sleep before the next walk.

July 29, 2010

Observations for 28 July

Came out this morning and saw something new for the year: a 36 minute long Turban interval, which ended with a 7 minute long eruption. Unlike the other day, that was the only unusually long duration during the rest of Grand's interval. But four Turban eruptions after that we got another delay, this time when Vent overflowed. And that took three more Turban eruptions, so we ended up with what could have been a short interval being over 10 hours.

The eruption itself was quite nice, as the steaminess of the chilly morning was long gone. After the second burst, Grand did try for a third burst, with a short fill of the crater, but then it drained and almost immediately Vent and Turban quit.

One nice thing (the only good thing) about these recent long intervals is that they've not been one burst eruptions.

Funny how just as Beehive was getting out of its habit of erupting at the same times every day, Giantess erupts and it pushes right back into the same behavior. But these mid-afternoon Beehive eruptions are nice because we are guaranteed the opportunity of a predictable daylight eruption.

While walking up for the afternoon Beehive eruption, I saw my first up close Plume Geyser eruption of the trip. What caught my attention was that there really wasn't a gap between the second and third (of five) bursts. Between the others there was a distinct pause when water wasn't even visible in the vents, but between those two, Plume continued to surge up to about 1 to 2 meters before taking starting another burst. I don't know if this has been the normal behavior, or is a Giantess eruption effect

It was clouding up by the time I went out to Grand, but mostly sunny, but that didn't last. At one point I realized that the hot sun that had been beating down on me had been replaced by a steady breeze and thickening overcast. As the interval progressed, that overcast turned to rain. At least the rain stopped for the Grand eruption, by which time most folks had abandoned their stay. The eruption continued the trend of two bursts. This time Grand had to really fight for the second. By the time it began, Vent was blasting away and Turban was thrashing madly. And almost immediately, the rains began again, but fortunately, I made it back to the cabin before the heavy stuff hit.

Today, I was sitting on the Snowlodge while posting the previous day's observations, (gotta go where the wifi is…). Down below I noticed our dog owners sitting at one of the tables with umbrellas with their two hounds. A little later, I heard someone down there ask, "Are you with the Disney group?" A lodge manager was walking up to them. The head of the family said, "no", and the manager said, "those sandwiches are for them," and confiscated some items off their table, and walked away. Some people just seem to generate trouble wherever they go.

July 28, 2010

Observations for 27 July

This day started out with my going from geyser to geyser at dawn. First, I got out to Grand just in time to see a two burst eruption, the first with overcast, but that cleared just before the second burst started. During that eruption, Beehive's Indicator was announced,but I failed to hear it. I did hear a second announcement after it had been erupting for 10 minutes, but assumed it had just started. So while I thought I had time to maybe even get over the Geyser Hill, Beehive ended up starting as I was riding down past the trees below Castle. I did have time to go down to the overlook, and while walking out there was rewarded with a moonbow in the eruption spray, a sight I wouldn't have seen if I had been at the overlook at the start.

Just as I had arrived back at my bike an announcement of the start of an event at Fan & Mortar was made. I knew I would hate myself if I didn't go down and it did erupt, so north on the bike I went. It was a typical event, and when Fan's vents came back on, it quickly became apparent that the water levels weren't high enough. So back in for a nap I went.

There was a second event a few hours later, but it pretty much followed the same path as the earlier event. The only good thing that could be said about these two events is that they were far enough from the Grand eruptions that I didn't have to worry about interference. The midday Grand was a long interval, but did result in a nice two burst eruption.

The final event of the day started with a call of some sort of pause. The reporter wasn't quite sure if Gold had splashed, but in any event, the River vent was off and Main vent was splashing. Mortar's Bottom vent only splashed a bit during that pause, and then the vents reactivated. (Another opinion is that this was just a short, very poor cycle.) Only to have all the vents shut down again, and this time Bottom began an eruption to accompany vigorous Main vent activity.

This continued for quite a while, and when Fan's vents finally reactivated, they didn't take any time getting started, but almost immediately started erupting vigorously and continuously. This activity slowly, almost excruciatingly, built to the point where Fan's High vent was going to 15 feet, with the Gold vent not much smaller. The Angle vent seemed to be alternating between water and steam. Finally, we started to see steaming from Mortar's Frying Pan and the little vent on the back of Lower Mortar's "back armrest." The conditions were ideal, as most of the breeze was away from us, and the sun still high enough to provide perfect backlighting.

When the eruption finally began, it was one of the tallest and most powerful that I can remember. Most eruptions are dominated by one or the other geyser, but in this case both were huge. I wouldn't be surprised if someone had measured Upper Mortar's column at 70 feet. Fan's first surges went a good 10 yards beyond the walkway toward the Pit of Eternal Stench. The activity of the Mortar vents seemed to last a lot longer than it had in the previous eruption, and this time I remember actually seeing Fan's East vent during much of the first active phase.

The breeze did push some of the eruption into the walkway, and with the low sun, it was easy to get a huge, full circle rainbow. Outside the drizzle zone, a 240° double rainbow was obvious when standing north of Spiteful Geyser. Some of the activity of Fan in the subsequent phases was impressive too.

After than, it was time for another Grand eruption, and once again it was a long wait. There was overcast (some of it might have been smoke from Idaho fires), but it broke enough to illuminate the post-midnight two burst Grand eruption.

July 27, 2010

Observations for 26 July

Even after all these years of watching Grand, it is still capable of doing something new or different. This morning was one of those times.

As Grand's pool refills, and until about the time of first overflow, it is not unusual for Turban eruptions to have long durations, up to 9 or 10 minutes. But after that, anything over 6 minutes is unusual. This morning, several hours after the first overflow, I saw an eruption that lasted 7m21s. The next lasted 6m43s, and three of the next seven Turban eruptions were over 6 minutes long. The only short eruption came with a short Vent overflow, leading to a 5 Turban delay. So nothing really spectacular, but it does show that the system might be changing in other ways. Only keeping an eye on it these next few days and weeks will tell.

The evening eruption was back to more typical behavior, the only similarity was that both intervals were over 10 hours. The eruption itself took place in a dead calm after we'd had a moderately strong breeze all afternoon. As such, there was a beautiful base surge of steam rolling across the platform as the eruption started. It's been a long time since I'd experienced one of these, and forgotten that it also means that the bench areas around the runoff channels have a good chance of getting rained on. Which is exactly what happened. Not much, but enough to scatter the crowd to farther ends of the benches.

Mid afternoon Beehive finally erupted, its longest interval in quite a while thanks to Giantess' eruption.

That was also the time that the circus came to town. The head clown was here to see Old Faithful and visit the Inn, but also went down with his entourage to the overlook across from Beehive and watched the eruption. And unlike a visit when the RIngmaster showed up a few months ago, security wasn't tight and there was no change in access.

Today also had a couple of events down at Fan & Mortar, but nothing came of either one.

The night had an adventure of a different sort. When I got back to my cabin, there were a couple of dogs tied to a truck which were barking. Not only that, but it looked like they had food dishes, too. (Maybe just water). In any case, I realized it was a situation that needed complaining,and so I went to the front desk. They were busy, with only one clerk because there was a medical emergency; a 66 year old woman had fell and hit her head. I finally got to make my complaint and went back to the cabin. The barking continued, and so I called the rangers to make another complaint. The cabin next to the dogs was all lit up, with the windows wide open. I thought the medical might explain the seemingly abandoned cabin, but that turned out to be wrong. Coming back from the restroom just before midnight I heard a family of three walking over from the Inn. I waited at my cabin, and sure enough, it was them.. I will complain even more if they are still here tomorrow.

July 26, 2010

Observations for 25 July

This morning Grand erupted just as the sunshine was starting to clear the hillside. So the tops of the water jets were in the sun, at least when there was enough breeze to push the steam away.

During the eruption I also noticed a lot of steam downbasin in the vicinity of Giant. Was just a trick of the cold morning, because a later check showed no evidence of anything, and Grotto wasn't even erupting.

For the day's second Grand eruption, it took advantage of erupting before West Triplet instead of waiting for the next window after an eruption. And it was a nice, straightforward start with only 21 seconds from Vent overflow to Grand start.

The Sawmill Group continues to have some interesting activity. Before the Grand eruption I got to see an eruption of Uncertain Geyser from the start. After Grand, I noticed that Oval Spring was having a mid-level pool eruption while Sawmill Geyser was active. There were a couple of half-meter high boils before it dropped.I waited for a possible second attempt, but Sawmill quit and the water level immediately began to drop.

I had just finished getting dressed for an evening of waiting for a Grand-by-moonlight eruption when I heard the call that Beehive's Indicator had begun. Perfect timing, as I was able to go over and see the eruption, then head out to Grand. Beehive started just as the sun dropped behind some clouds that were moving in from behind the ridge.

Those clouds thickened as the evening progressed until we reached the point where the moon disappeared. But I'd checked the infrared satellite map, and it showed that the clouds were probably nothing more that the remnant of thunderstorms out of Idaho, and they'd clear soon. In the meantime, Penta had a steamphase eruption, which got the attention of some of the folks waiting for Grand.

A few minutes later, I remarked that that Penta eruption sure was loud, but the eruption was over. That's when the call came over the radios; Giantess was in eruption. That cleared the benches out. I decided to stay put because I wanted my moonlight Grand, and this might be my only chance. So I got to easily hear Giantess' steamphase roar from Grand.

Grand rewarded my patience shortly after midnight with one of the taller eruptions I've seen. The dead calm and relative coolness of the night air may have contributed to that. But Vent also seemed to reach a height I've rarely seen. (I say relative coolness as it was still warm enough that after Grand I was still being attacked by mosquitoes.)

Have noticed another way in which the new Visitor Cathedral is an eyesore. As the picture shows, the windows in that cupola standout in relation to all the other buildings and landscape in the vicinity. Wonder what the people who vehemently object to a simple cell tower have to say about this.

As this second picture shows, that building is huge. It makes the Inn look small, and I find that to be obnoxious, and I suspect that may have been the intention. Those silvery waves on the roof draw attention to that size, too.

July 25, 2010

Observations for 24 July

From Castle I could see that Rift was erupting, but there didn't seem to be any steam from Turban and Grand. But as I made the turn at Sawmill, I could see that Turban was erupting, and it might even sound like Vent was starting. So for a moment there was this panic that I was about to experience the previous night all over. But it turned out it was just a normal Turban eruption, and the pool was still full.

So while waiting for Rift to quit, did get to see Daisy and Oblong off in the distance, and a Castle start. I didn't go over for Castle, but watched it from Sawmill, which was also erupting. The moonlight gave a nice glow to the edges of the steamcloud, which was vertical at first, then sheered off to the north. Castle had several attempts at stopping, but eventually it did go into a steam phase. Not sure if there had been a minor before I came out, as the interval was nearly 17 hours without one.

Unlike previous nights, this time Grand erupted before the moon set. It was nice and low, giving us some nice moonbows. At the start of the second burst, there was even a hint of color, a touch of red and yellow.

That second burst ended just 9 minutes into the eruption, so anticipation of a third burst was high. Except nothing happened. Vent and Turban never changed their behavior, and after 8 minutes, there was no sign of afterplay. Since the pause between the bursts was 49 seconds, that means there was barely 8 minutes of water in this eruption.

Some of the geyser groupies need to understand the prohibition against sleeping in the basin. You really can't claim to be "waiting for the geyser" while lying down next to West Triplet, with a pillow, when all of the geysers in the area have already finished their eruptions.

The Beehive eruption in the morning showed one of those things that can be so frustrating about being around here. I woke up at about 08:00. I'd turned off the radio because I knew it would wake me up, and sleep was more important. So when I woke up and turned it on, the first thing I'm greeted with is a series of warbles and tones and assorted noise. I made the right decision there. So I make a quick trick to the restrooms, leaving the radio behind. After I return, I start putting away all the stuff, like blankets, long underwear and jackets that had seen use last night. Suddenly there's a call, asking how long Beehive's Indicator has been erupting. Fortunately, it's only been a few minutes, but I had no idea. And based on this past week's experience, not one of those people on Geyser Hill would make a further announcement. The only thing that didn't surprise me is that during that time I didn't hear one "switch to 5" announcement.

Anyhow, the Beehive eruption was quite nice, with full double rainbows and only the occasional spray hitting the walkway. It's also nice that Beehive is finally looking like it's going to shift out of the mode it's been for the past week and erupt at other times of the day. I tired to take a video with my new phone's video recorder, but discovered that I still need to learn how it works, as all I took were still photos at the start and end. Oh, well, try again later.

Later in the day Grand had a fairly normal one burst eruption. At least this time it was long enough that we didn't feel cheated out of a burst.

With nothing much to do after Grand, and it being over 5 hours since the last Oblong eruption, decided to head down there and see it up close. It started as I passed Chromatic, so decide that was a good place to see it, since had never been at that spot before.

Then went on over to check out Splendid and Daisy again. Wanted to see what Splendid was doing before and after Daisy. Before it was just a quiet, full pool. The runoff channel to the north was a bit wet, but it seemed that it was drying faster than new water was coming down. The area between Splendid and Comet appeared dry.

After Daisy, during the refill both Splendid's Main Vent and the Side Boiler were active. Usually boiling would start in Main and then shift to the Side Boiler, which could then boil well over a meter high at times. Later on the Side Boiler would initiate its own activity, which could be even higher. By about 20 minutes after Daisy, the area between Splendid and Comet was wet, but it didn't seem like there would be enough to wet the flat, orange area north of Splendid which seemed even drier than before

Beehive still hadn't erupted by the time it was time to go out to Grand. When I got out to the Sawmill Group I discovered that the water levels were high, and Tardy was erupting. Penta looked promising, but not encouraging. The bottom vents were well below overflow, but periodically the top vent would rise up and spit like it was going to start erupting. I also saw a couple of Oval Spring's palpitating eruptions, one that actually included some boiling. All that continued for almost an hour, and then shortly after Beehive, Sawmill finally found the means to start erupting.

At Grand the coyote made an appearance, this time skirting northward along the base of the slope until it got down to the boardwalk. Then the moon rose and the sun set, and we had a Vent overflow delay. This was one of the rare times when the consensus was that the delay was desired. The lighting then was poor, and would only improve as the moon rose and the sky darkened. As it was, we got the eruption three Turban eruptions later. It was a strange start, in that the interval was less than 17 minutes, and the preceding Turban duration was only about three-and-a-half minutes. Usually Grand would have gone on the next Turban. But as it was, the lighting was nice, and more than we could have expected.

Also today was an eruption of North Goggles Geyser over by Lion Geyser. I didn't see it, but a number of people did from various vantage points. The consensus is that it lasted at least three minutes and reached as much as 6 meters high. So it would qualify on the smaller end of a major eruption.

Squirrels are nothing more than rats that live in trees and don't shave their tails. Chasing the vermin out of a cabin with an open door is normal, and I've had to do it several times already. The other day I went into my cabin for a nap and forgot to close the back door during that time. This morning I discovered that one of the [expletives deleted] had somehow found its way inside the truck, found the only large plastic box back there whose lid I hadn't closed securely, and then got down into the bottom of that box in a crack between a second, smaller box and the side and gnawed its way into a couple of peanut M&Ms packages at the bottom.Seems like an awful lot of work for very little reward.

July 24, 2010

Observations for 23 July

Unlike yesterday, today things beyond the dull happened.

I had set the alarm for midnight for the middle of the night eruption. After getting three hours sleep, I got out to Castle by 00:15, at which point I realized that the steam from the Grand area didn't quite look right, and I knew that look. By the time I got to Churn, I was certain that what I was seeing was post-eruption Turban and Vent. That was the sound of Vent I was hearing. I got close enough to light up an empty crater and returned to my cabin to get some more sleep.

Not knowing the previous Grand time, i just assumed midnight and so decided I should get up at 06:00. So I was slowly getting everything organized, like putting away the clothes and jackets and blankets I had carried out six hours earlier, when the call came that F&M were having an "event." Which was excellent timing. I could go down there until the even ended and then go to Grand. The odds of two less than 7 hour intervals made that an easy decision.

So I got down for the later portion of an hour long eruption of Bottom Vent. Once Bottom finally turned off, and Fan's vent started back on, it became apparent that the water levels were high enough. And they stayed high even when the activity in the vents paused. From my vantage point north of Spiteful, eventually we got a steady but low eruption of both High and Gold. Nothing all that unusual, the kind of activity that could easy turn into steam.

At that point Upper Mortar suddenly started to splash heavily, and Mortar's frying pan began to steam heavily. Another surge from Mortar and it was erupting to at least 10 meters/30 feet. That activity seemed to last for 15 to 20 seconds (I didn't take times) and then quit. So at least we got to see an Upper Mortar minor. Then moments later water appeared jetting from Fan's Main and East vents and the eruption was on.

The conditions were perfect, as the photos show. It's perhaps the first eruption of F&M that I've seen that not only didn't you need an umbrella or raincoat, but except for the initial surges from Main vent, you couldn't get wet even if you wanted to. Neither did you have to constantly shift positions due to the shifting winds. The sun was high enough to give a full semi-circle rainbow, and what little breeze there might have been always blew the steam away from us.

After a few minutes the Mortar vents turned to steam, and the majority of the activity in Fan seemed to be concentrated in the Angle and Main vents. The East vent was quiet for the remained of the first burst. The second burst saw the re-emergence of the East Vent, which joined the Main vent in a couple of nice sized surges as big as any in the first burst.

Grand eruption 2010 July 23
Grand Geyser eruption 2010 July 23
So following that, it was time to head to Grand, which was nice enough to have not yet erupted. Only waited for two Turban eruptions when we got Turban start and Vent overflow on a short Turban interval. Turban sounded nice at first, then seemed to quiet down, so we prepared ourselves for some sort of delay. But then Turban's activity picked back up, and Grand's pool began to rise. As with F&M, the lighting and breeze for this was perfect, making it easy to watch what was happening. It took two minutes before Grand finally joined in.

The end of the second burst came only about 10 minutes into the eruption, which meant we had a chance for a third. The pool filled and sloshed, but eventually drained. If the vigorous Turban and Vent activity had continued, we would've had to watch for an afterburst, but that activity died out.

In the afternoon, once again I had Beehive erupt while I was at Grand. Getting to be a normal occurrence every afternoon. As the West Triplet window was closing, Grand had the first heavy, "delay overflow" since I've been here. Was typical of this sort of behavior: Grand's pool filled early, and looked good, with even some small waves, until about 20 minutes at which point it slowly began to drop. One difference was that the Turban duration was long, when often in these cases it's a short duration.

Perhaps because of this long duration, we didn't get the usual short Turban interval with no overflow, but something that looked more like the second interval after a delay. The period from the start of Turban to the start of Grand was a bit long, almost a minute. The pause between bursts was also a bit long, a minute, so not surprised that Turban and Vent quit without any attempt at a third burst.

July 23, 2010

Observations for 22 July

Nothing much to report. One of those dull days where Grand had a couple of one burst eruptions and Beehive erupted during one of those Grand waits. So spent a lot of the day on computer work and even catching up on some sleep.

July 22, 2010

Observations for 21 July

If Grand is going to have one burst eruptions, at least the middle of the night eruption showed how to do it. It lasted 12m09s, and other than one slight pause around the 10 minute mark, never had any of those slowdowns that make you think it might be stopping. This after it took Grand 1m44s from the start of Turban to finally get going.

The morning itself started out with a few clouds which about an hour later pretty much covered the entire sky. And it only got worse as the wait for Grand got longer. Fortunately, it never actually rained, although putting on the rain gear helped cut down the wind. Once again Rift had erupted earlier, and Grand showed no inclination to get into any sort of pattern which would give an indication of how long it would be. A West Triplet eruption even came and went.

The eruption, when it did come, was another nondescript one burst whose sole interesting feature was that it took a minute from the start of Turban (and Vent overflow) until Grand joined in.

The nasty sky persisted, but the sun finally started breaking through the clouds just before the afternoon eruption of Beehive. Since I've been here, that was my first good, close up view of Beehive. All of the other eruptions seem to always be during the wait for Grand or in the middle of the night.

The wildlife were out for the evening Grand. First, it was a coyote wandering southward on the rocks. Then a little later a deer appeared at the base of the slope to the north of Turban. It took its time grazing there, then moseyed up the hillside.

Grand itself once again delayed itself until two hours had elapsed since the last West Triplet. On the third Turban following what appeared to be a Turban eruption with Vent visible, there was never any overflow audible. Turban started out slow, but within 30 seconds had built to that heavy bursting stage that says that an eruption is imminent. But it took two and a half minutes before Grand finally started.

But what made the eruption special is that when Grand quit at 8m44s, that ended the eruption. It was possibly the shortest one burst eruption I've seen. (I'd have to check my records to be sure, and they aren't here.)

July 21, 2010

Observations for 20 July

I tried to get some sleep before going out to Grand at midnight, but my neighbors seemed to have brought with them boulders which they insisted on rolling around. Then, once it seemed that I was finally sleeping, they had some sort of medical emergency, which strangely enough, resulted in them being quieter than they had been before. But the rumbling of the ambulance engine wasn't going to let me get back to sleep, so I decided to head out to Grand a half hour before I'd intended.

Which wasn't so bad, as the moon was still up and low, which made for some nice lighting, with long shadows and even a moonbow in the steam over Crested Pool. Sawmill's eruption was nicely backlit, too. Grand itself behaved the same way the night before, erupting on the first Turban eruption after the moon had set. Fortunately, the soon the moon will be up the entire night, and I'll finally be able to see the eruption instead of just hearing it.

In the morning, there was a slight amount of frost on the boardwalks still in the shadows. Grand continued the shorter intervals, and again I only waited for one Turban interval. Unlike yesterday morning, there was a slight breeze which made the activity visible, even without backlighting. It was quite nice seeing several successive spikes appear out of the steam cloud of the second burst.

The hopes of a four Grand day ended with the 9h43m interval leading up to the day's third eruption. Rift had erupted early in the afternoon, but Grand just got into the mode where each interval was a little shorter, and you just have to wait until you get a really short one (less than 17 minutes) before you even have a chance of an eruption.

But the eruption itself was a bit different. Only one burst, but Grand did refill and at least look like it was making an attempt at a second burst. Then, when the vent drained, Turban and Vent acted like they were going to quit. But for about a minute there were a series of small blips not much bigger than the ones you get at the end of a solo Turban eruption. Then quite suddenly Turban was fill and splashing as vigorously as it can. I hoped this might signal an afterburst, but it was nearly nine minutes before Grand started splashing.

July 20, 2010

Observations for 19 July

So this morning started with the news that no one went out to Fan & Mortar until it had been daylight for several hours. And then proceeded to walk up on the eruption. That took care of my intention to spend any free time down there today.

But I still figured that I would be able to eat breakfast at Grand. I had just dropped the pack after having dried off a section of bench, and was facing away when I hear Turban start. Followed immediately by the sound of Grand starting. It was calm, so it was a steam two burst eruption. The steam was so thick that the sun wasn't visible when trying for a backlit view.

The afternoon Grand eruption was nothing unusual and nothing special. A dull, typical one burst eruption.

Also today Castle had two minors which resulted in an interval between major eruptions that was almost exactly what the interval would have been if the first minor eruption had been a major eruption.

July 19, 2010

Observations for 18 July

I decided I'd rather try for a good night's sleep than try to get up for Grand. But I still woke up around 04:00, which would've been fairly early in the window. I still decided I'd rather try to snooze some more, so I was able to confirm what I'd half-expected: I should've gone out because I'd have seen the 05:16 eruption.

With Beehive erupting shortly thereafter, there wasn't much going on. So I spent the morning down basin just seeing things. Caught a couple of Daisy eruptions, and even a Riverside.

It's been awhile since I paid attention to Link minors, but the one I saw today struck me as having larger boils than I remember. It built up to one at least a meter tall and then the boiling (but not the overflow) seemed to completely stop. The overflow continued, but for the next ten minutes I didn't seen anything like that big boil.

Giant may have shown slight signs of progress back in May, but today it looked about as bad as I remember it back in the 1980s. All that was missing is the grass growing on the platform.

I also noticed that Daisy's runoff channels seems to have shifted. No longer does it appear water flows from an eruption into the pools around Splendid. The runoff to the southwest is much wider, and has invaded an area of trees next to the trail. One advantage to not having Daisy runoff at Splendid is that should Splendid ever start showing signs of life, that will be reflected in large pools around it and even the rejuvenation of its runoff channels.

Made the mistake of going out to Grand too soon. Hearing a report of West Triplet at about the 5.5 hour mark in Grand's interval, I thought that it might have a chance to go on the next West Triplet eruption and have a short interval. As it turned out, it did go on the next West Triplet opportunity, except that was a three hour West Triplet interval, and Rift had already started.

The eruption itself was a nice change from the usual one burst. After the end of the second burst, several times Turban looked like it had quit, only to become active again. Then the activity really picked up, and that meant that an afterburst needed to be considered. As it was, there hadn't been any play by 10 minutes. Didn't want to stay any longer because of incoming black clouds.

Beehive's Indicator started during Grand, and today we had a Beehive interval shorter than the coincident Grand interval. Which gives some idea of the frequency (or lack thereof) of the two geysers.

The middle of the night Grand was a bit hard to see, since the moon had just disappeared behind the ridge since the previous Turban start. But it was a relatively short interval (8h30m) and I did get to see the Castle minor eruption and an Oblong while waiting.

July 18, 2010

Observations for 17 July

Since I was coming in the South Entrance anyhow, and I had already been told the last Grand and Beehive times I decided that I should at least stop by and see if King Geyser was still active and at least make an attempt to see it. That was my first visit to West Thumb in years, and during the 45 minutes I was there all I saw was periodic boiling. Maybe I'll stop again on the way out.

Heading out to Grand I received a pleasant surprise. When I walked up on Tilt, it was pulsating with occasional bubbles coming up from both vents. It's been years since I've seen an eruption from the start. Since I had plenty of time, I waited there a bit, only to have the pulsations get heavier, with increased overflow, along with more bubbling. Finally, the western/right vent started to erupt. The total duration of the eruption was 3m24s, and there were occasional droplets well above my head. So from what I remember, this was a fairly typical and normal eruption.

At Grand, got a Vent overflow delay, with Grand erupting 4 Turban intervals later. The eruption itself came near the end of the West Triplet window, about two hours after the start of West Triplet. The eruption itself was an ordinary short one burst. (You can tell it was short because Vent and Turban didn't pause.)

May 31, 2010

Observations for 31 May

This morning Fan & Mortar could have erupted in daylight with no one around. I'd been up since 05:30, and not hearing anything from that part of the basin, decided I had to know what was going on. I got down there about 06:45 and found the area deserted. Fortunately the marker was still in place and the walkways showed no sign of wash. But still, at over 5 days, with a large crowd of geyser groupies in the area and even an expert or too in attendance, you'd think that one of those folks would have comet at dawn.

The weather was no excuse. There'd been no rain overnight, and it was pretty calm and relatively cloud free (at least compared to this past week). As it was, everyone got lucky as F&M appeared to be in a garbage mode, a mode that persisted all morning.

Tilt Geyser blowout Tilt Geyser blowout
Tilt Geyser blowout
I didn't check Tilt on the way to Grand as I usually do, so it wasn't until walking back that I noticed that it had cleared out the red scum and muck which had been choking the vent. I think I checked it yesterday, so that would put the eruption, such as it was, overnight. While standing there and taking photos, the pool pulsated for a minute or so, then dropped well below the rim.

With the relatively nice day, and since I was already down at that end of the basin, I also decided to check out the Giant platform. Wasn't quite as dead as I'd expected. At first I thought the water standing on the platform indicated something might have happened, but later evaluation by myself and some others was that Mastiff and Giant are just really splashing hard, enough to keep the puddles in front of them wet and full. It probably means that Giant just might erupt in September.

Overnight Grand had a short interval, and followed that up with one that was just within my window. So glad I'm not going to be here anymore to fight with it. The morning eruption was probably under the best conditions I've seen this trip, with sunlight most of the time, and even a second burst. It started only about 40 minutes after the end of Rift's eruption, so it might even be said that it appeared in the proper West Triplet window.

By having the morning eruption go on a short interval also meant that there was now a chance for one more daylight eruption, at sunset.

Once again, Beehive erupted at almost the same time as Grand, this time starting during the second burst. That also meant that once again, there were several hours of nothing to do. Fan & Mortar did fill that gap, either.

The weather stayed fairly nice until the time for Grand approached. By the time I got out there, it was already sprinkling, and I spent the wait under an umbrella. Once again, Grand erupted about 2.5 hours after West Triplet.This was a little long, as indicated by West Triplet starting during the first burst.

At that point I made a mistake. The first call of a possible event at Fan & Mortar was made. I considered just heading in and getting ready to go home, but the idea of missing an eruption down there just didn't appeal. Even though I know that those things never give me a break or cooperate. This was no exception. Spent another hour and a half in the rain. The only thing of interest is that once Fan's vents started to die down, Upper Mortar started having splashes, the kind that can possibly build into an Upper Mortar initiated eruption. But after a couple of good meter high plumes, it died down and it was time to bike in in the dark.

Observations for 30 May

Started out the day by seeing a coyote nosing around my cabin. Then out at Grand saw the first elk of the season, when a couple of them wandered through over by Economic.

The morning itself was dry, but overcast and windy, making it much more miserable than it needed to be. I decided that I didn't need to be out until 8 hours, and arrived just at the end of a West Triplet eruption, so everything worked out. Grand did wait almost 2.5 hours, which makes for a bigger window than I'd like, but still one about an hour wide.

Fan & Mortar didn't erupt overnight, so they could have been the timewaster of the day. Turns out they cooperated in their not erupting. Made two round trips down there, the first from the cabins in the morning after Grand, the second, from Grand right after the eruption. In both cases arrived for Bottom Vent activity which led to normal looking activity from the Fan vents. So the middle of the day was free to do nothing much, but at least not spent out in the showshowers and wind.

We finally got a Beehive eruption. There was a rumor that it erupted last night at or before midnight, so it appears that the reason it was missed yesterday was because it had also erupted shortly before dawn.

That evening Grand I mentioned was post-Rift, which is a case where the West Triplet window doesn't really apply, at least for now. In the past there used to be a period post-Rift where Grand wouldn't normally erupt, and with some observations, it might be determined that that's still the case.

On my back from my morning attempt to make yesterday's posting, I saw something new: someone who'd driven onto the pedestrian walkway/emergency road to get to the OF entrance road. Another reason I take the trolley to work instead of playing in traffic twice a day.

May 30, 2010

Observations for 29 May

Not much to report. Another dreary gray day with not much going on. Beehive either erupted during the night, or can have intervals much greater than 24 hours, as it wasn't seen during daylight.

After the long wait at night I got out to see another long wait. Coming to the conclusion that the 7 hour interval was unite an outlier and needs to be ignored when going out in poor conditions. West Triplet is providing a couple of eruption windows, the first with its early interval eruption around 7 to 8 hours, the second about 1.5 to 2 hours after the stat of an eruption. West Triplet itself is erupting with intervals of around 2.5 to 3 hours.

If the NPS were a flexible organization, and there were people around to make the changes, it would be easily possible to adjust the Grand predictions based on this information, reducing the current (and wrong) 4 hour window to a smaller one hour one. It just requires someone to see West Triplet erupt.

(The current Grand window is from 6.5 to 10.5 hours, which means that the first half of the window the NPS provides to the public is not only useless, but actually making it harder for visitors to see an eruption. Right now, there's no one with any authority or motivation to get that window changed, either.)

May 29, 2010

Observations for 28 May

So after multiple intervals of 10 hours, and none shorter than 8.5, I decided no reason to be out any earlier. I was looking forward to going out in the dark and experiencing a dawn (as long as it wasn't raining, like it did overnight). So I get out to Rift in eruption and an empty crater. So it appeared that Grand finally took advantage of the early West Triplet window instead of delaying for two hours like it had been doing earlier this week.

That's what can be really annoying at Grand, the inconsistency. The length of the interval is irrelevant (at least once it gets up to 8 hours). But the range, jumping from ten hour intervals down to a seven and then probably more tens, is what gets frustrating. It leads to a lot of two or three hour waits, unless you are willing to forego those short intervals. (which is fine if you are letting others do your waiting for you…)

So for the mid-day eruption, came out early, and of course Grand erupted two hours after West Triplet for a nice 10 hour interval. And almost like yesterday, Beehive's Indicator started right as Grand was ending. So at that point, I had nothing more to do, and with rain heading in, too.

Went out to the evening Grand at a break in the rain. But first I had to dodge a small herd of bison who were moving through the trees next to the Lower lift station. Then, when I got out to Grand, I noticed a coyote nosing around the rocks behind Rift. Apparently I didn't bother it.

Right as I got there, West Triplet started. I hoped that this was a good sign that it would be a short wait, at worst getting the eruption in a couple of hours for a nice 9 hour interval. Instead, that time came and went, and then the rain returned. Finally, West Triplet started at the ten hour mark, with Rift joining in at midnight. At least Grand didn't wait the full two hours, just an hour and a quarter.

The rain also had stopped by then, and at least it was a two burst eruption. Might actually have been better to delay one more Turban as the moon came out right after the end.

May 28, 2010

Observations for 27 May

After a clear night, it was a gray, overcast morning. No rain, but the threat was there. While waiting I heard that West Triplet had started at the 7h30m mark in the interval, so I figured there might be a chance that this could be a short interval. No such luck. Once again, it took Grand two hours after West Triplet to erupt.

Geyser Hill was reopened. There didn't seem to be a mad rush to get over there. Depression still erupting about every two-and-a-half to three hours.

For the evening eruption, Grand took the opportunity to delay just long enough to completely avoid the intermittent sunshine coming through the clouds. During its eruption, it appears that Beehive's Indicator started and so did Beehive.

There is nothing quite as creepy as the lock-step over-reaction of neo-Victorian bureaucrats. This year it's all the little signs advertising "bezerk gunmen welcome here" on all the building doors that just reinforces that feeling.

May 27, 2010

Observations for 26 May

Put together an overnight eruption of Fan & Mortar and a bear closure of Geyser Hill and you get a number of people standing around with the look you get on an old dog whose food dish has been moved from the spot it's been in the last few years.

So Fan & Mortar did erupt overnight, and based on the amount of water still on the walkway at 08:00, I'm guessing just before daylight. Castle had a dawn minor, and Grand appears to have had another long interval.

For me the morning was one of watching GeyserHill from the parking lot, working on a project and watching a woodpecker trying to work on the tree next to the bike rack. (Whenever people would walk by, it would fly off, only to reappear a few minutes later. So there must be something to like there.) The weather itself was nice, a little breezy at times, but a great improvement from previous days.

The early afternoon Grand eruption was a pretty unspectacular 1 burst which this time was only an hour and a half after West Triplet.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to go out for the middle of the night eruption of Grand. The day had become overcast, and before sunset (which couldn't be seen), there was even a sprinkle or two. I decided that maybe I should stay in, when I noticed the moon was visible. SInce I could at least get out with some light, decided to go out.

It cleared as I waited, but it was really steamy. At one point, I heard a bison or two grunting away over by Calida. There was other wildlife out and about too: drunken Amfac louts were making noises, but I never saw any until after the Grand eruption. Even Sawmill had quit by then, so they were going out only for exercise.

The eruption of Grand was spectacular in its own way. Rift had just finished when I arrived, so no need to worry about West Triplet. Finally there was a Turban that had all the right sounds for an eruption, and Grand's pool looked steamy than before. But the Turban eruption just kept on going, with no Grand. Finally, at 3m18s, Grand took off. It was so steamy over toward Turban that I couldn't see what Vent might have done.

With that long to get started, I was half-expecting a short one burst, so not surprised when the first burst ended after only 7m36s. This had to mean a second burst, which I did get. After it ended, I could hear Vent blasting away, a sign that the pool was probably trying to refill and a third burst was possible. It took 1m13s before that finally happened, and once it was over, so was Vent and Turban. SoI would have liked to have seen exactly what they were doing back in that steam, it was still enjoyable.

May 25, 2010

Observations for 25 May

I woke up at what might have been the 9 hour mark if Grand hadn't yet erupted, but with the snow and cold and such, it seemed like I wouldn't get out there by the 10 hour mark. So I stayed in, and Grand had a second interval longer than 10 hours.

I've seen several eruptions of Depression the last few days, including a couple of intervals of about 3 hours. Quite a change from my last visits when one Depression eruption per day was about it.

Bison at Grand Bison at Grand
Bison herd at Grand
The walk out to Grand was delayed for a bit by a herd of bison that probably numbered over one hundred. For at least an hour they came down from the hillside behind Grand and Rift and crossed over to the flats to the northwest.

Turns out the bison delay didn't matter, as once again Grand waited two hours from the start of a West Triplet eruption before itself erupting. And once again, there was a considerable period (75 seconds) between the start of Turban and the start of Grand. At the 9m30s mark, Grand had a false pause at least 5 seconds long. So it was a bit surprising that both Vent and Turban didn't quit with Grand.

The odds of walking up onto an eruption of a geyser measured in days is low. The odds of that happening the very first time you walk up to that geyser are even lower. So when you walk up and see what appears to the activity which may lead to an eruption, your first assumption should not be that you are going to see an eruption. Especially when an eruption would lead to an unusually short interval when compared to recent intervals.

So some advice I don't expect to be followed: not only find out what the geyser has been doing recently, but also at least spend a few minutes determining if it really is going to lead to an eruption before you begin a radio play-by-play.

I may or may not have a full Geyser Groupie rant later in the week. That was just a sample.

Observations for 24 May

Woke up to a winter wonderland, as the photos show. There was about four inches of wet snow on the ground, and about as much slush on the roadways. The boardwalks had a little layer of slush at the bottom making them extremely slippery.

Also during the wait for Grand an eagle perched on one of the dead trees behind Grand for about an hour. (No photo, as the clouds and sleet and my camera wouldn't have shown anything.) A bison herd also passed through on its way to Geyser Hill.

The big surprise though, was that West Triplet was in overflow but not erupting. For about ninety minutes I watched have about five minute long overflows with 12 to 19 minutes intervals. Finally, the overflow increased in intensity and upwelling began to appear over the vent. After a couple of minutes of that, a burst finally occurred.

The activity appeared no different from what I've seen the last few days. WIth its start, West Triplet was quickly joined by Percolator. The eruption lasted a bit less than 31 minutes, again nothing unusual, and Percolator quit with it. Rift make no attempt to start, as only once did I even see a whisp of steam form it.

At the end of the Grand eruption West Triplet's water level was near the point where it could erupt, but I didn't stick around long enough. A few hours later I came back and it appeared that both West Triplet and Rift had erupted while I was gone.

The evening's eruption of Grand was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for another West Triplet overflow, but all we got was a normal eruption followed by the two hour wait until Grand. All while waiting in windy snow showers. And because it had warmed up during the day, it wasn't sticking but was just getting everything wet.

So the West Triplet overflow may have been some fluke, for reasons unknown.

So after I did yesterday's posting, I noticed a couple of rangers park over behind the Lodge and head over to Geyser Hill for a while. Then later I saw one carrying a new signboard over that same way. The next morning, on my way back from Grand, saw one finishing a patrol. Perhaps the fact that prints would be visible in the snow kept people out.

May 23, 2010

Observations for 23 May

Woke up to a light overnight dusting of snow and watching an eleven hour interval of Grand from my cabin window. I had been planning on getting up around then, so I didn't have to endure the wait, but it did mean there'd be no reason to go out for a while if the weather remains nasty.

Outside my cabin door I found not only my footprints from earlier in the morning, but a new set of elk prints. So that noise of some sort of commotion outside wasn't entirely a dream.

The day started out looking like a continuation of yesterday, but as it progressed, it got nicer. The wind died down and the clouds disappeared, even though it was still cold. (The light snow which was in shadows took hours to disappear. It wasn't until after Grand's afternoon eruption that the clouds came back in. But by that time, there wasn't much reason to be out.

I made a sweep down basin, visiting all the features which weren't going to merit a visit in yesterday's conditions. Got suckered into some early interval chaos at Fan & Mortar: Lots of Bottom Mortar activity accompanied by Lower Mortar splashes and Upper Mortar rumbles, and big splashes from Fan's Main Vent. All during that time, Fan would start steaming like it was having River Vent pauses. Then suddenly it all shifted to Gold erupting and everything else quiet. If I hadn't known that it was less than a day and a half since the last eruption, I would have been disappointed. As it is, I still wonder what it is that makes that same sort of behavior seem so important to an eruption when it occurs later in the interval.

Otherwise saw a nice steamy Castle and your typical Daisy eruption. The Grand eruption surprised us with a second burst, since the first was over 10 minutes long. The lead-up Turbans were all the same, bland and average, so it was an uneventful wait in relatively nice weather.

I found out that the responsible party for the lack of bike racks is not the NPS, but for once we can blame Xanterra I've already voiced my disappointments to my contact within that organization.

Over on Geyser Hill, located below Lion, is a fresh elk carcass. There've also been bear sightings, so the prudent step was taken to close Geyser Hill last night. Today it was still closed, but the closure wasn't being enforced. By the time I was heading out to Grand, it seemed like there was a small but steady stream of people visible over there. When Beehive's Indicator was announced while waiting at Grand, and number of geyser groupies were seriously considering running over there for the eruption. Word was getting around that the closure wasn't being enforced.

Which is all fine and good, but I also am fairly certain that they'd have screamed for sympathy if they'd been caught. It seems every few years gazers and other such hangers on need to be taught the lesson about the application of the rules, and we must not have had a volunteer for the case-study recently.

As for the NPS, what's the point of having a restriction if you aren't going to enforce it (seems like the Feds so that a lot, doesn't it?). If they can't or won't enforce their restrictions when they are so publicly flouted, then they need to use a different policy. How about posting signs like the current ones, warning of the bear activity, and basically telling people, "beyond here, you're on your own." That might actually keep more people out.

Yeah, I know, the first such incident and the idiot (or idiot's estate) sues, and wins. But I also don't like the idea that those of us who follow the rules are punished (by not seeing Beehive up close), while those who break them get rewarded. (Again, seems like a common policy with the Feds.)

(And as I post this, it's starting to snow again…)

May 22, 2010

Observations for 22 May

I haven't come into the park through the South Entrance in 20 years. For that matter, I haven't come in any entrance but the West during that time. So today was almost a new experience.

But getting there was lots of fun. It started snowing in Dubois, and there was several inches accumulated by the time I reached Togwotee Pass. Sometimes the wind would shake so much snow off of the trees that I couldn't see anything ahead of me. Fortunately, the road itself was bare, with only occasional patches of slush.

The snow showers continued all the way to Old Faithful, but it really didn't slow the traffic down.

There, once I'd checked into my cabin, I discovered that Grand was due in the next few hours. I got lucky in that once I put on the long underwear, the weather going out was nice. That quickly changed, and I was glad I and did the clothing change. Grand decided that it was a good time for a delay, So I got to also see the starts of West Triplet and Rift.

So after four more Turban eruptions in which it was obvious even through the steam and snow that Grand wasn't going to erupt, finally got a good vigorous Turban. One that went on for 2m14s before Grand finally joined in for a short one burst eruption. At that point, was time to head in and warm up.

Once again, the NPS has come up with a new way to be annoying. The bike racks at Castle are gone. I don't know about the ones down basin, as didn't get that far. Checking that out is on tomorrow's agenda.

July 08, 2009

Observations for 07 July

I heard the call for Beehive's indicator, but decided that since the actual start hadn't been seen, I had no idea how much time there was to get out of bed, get dressed and get over to Geyser Hill. Actually, I just rationalized it that way because I'd forgotten to have things ready just in case, and was too lazy to get moving. As it was, I might have made it, as Beehive was 8 minutes later.

Getting up for Grand was a bit disappointing. The moon was obscured by a band of clouds. Not what I'd wanted, but as it turned out, by the time I got out to Castle, the clouds were mostly gone, and the few remaining were not going to cause a problem. The rest of the night was clear. It was a quiet night. In front of the Inn, on my bike, I also could hear the bursting from Giantess.

The wait for Grand was one of those where everything else has to erupt first. Not only was Grotto in a marathon, but I also got to see Castle, Daisy, Oblong and Riverside first. Once again, Turban avoided the chaotic activity and fell into a nice pattern where I could predict what should happen next. The eruption of Grand was two burst, both nicely illuminated by a low moon (a penumbral eclipse was in progress, but I couldn't tell the difference).

Wanting to get some sleep, and not expecting anything much to happen, I left the radio off. So the first thing I hear when I turn it back on in the morning was a report that at Fan & Mortar the Bottom vent was erupting and still in a long pause. Figures. Three and a third days is also long enough that it could erupt. So instead of a leisurely start to the day, I ended up zipping down there just in case. Looked good, but what do I know, for quite a while until suddenly the water levels in Fan dropped and Mortar's frying pans started steaming.

Giantess was still active over 30 hours after the start, with some nice Big Sawmill type spikes throughout the morning and afternoon. Geyser Hill just didn't look right with all that activity going on. Giantess also doesn't appear to have had an effect on Beehive. Again this morning there was an interval in the 12 hour range.

The morning's non-geyser entertainment was when someone in a car decided that they wanted to drive up to Old Faithful. I saw them negotiating the little connector between the Inn parking lot and the trail, then make a right to go up the hill. I heard they figured out that they were not on a road, but didn't leave it until they got out to take some pictures of Faithful.

Grand could've had a short interval, but instead decided to try all sorts of tricks. Not only did we have Rift, but a couple of of times Vent came up to overflow on a less than ideal pool. This caused the interval to almost put Grand in conflict with the next Fan & Mortar event. But fortunately, Grand couldn't wait any longer, and I was able to leave the two burst eruption at a civilized pace and still get down to see another failed attempt at an eruption by Fan & Mortar. Like this morning, the water levels never wanted to progress beyond, "looking okay".

While waiting for Grand, a pair of coyotes did make an appearance from the north, then moving up the hill. I'd guess this is the same pair I saw back in May, and are probably the reason this whole trip I haven't seen any marmots on the hill behind Grand.

The next Grand eruption was going to take place after sunset. As with last night, there were quite a few clouds to the south, but like last night, whatever storm that was went right by, and within an hour the sky was clear. But heading out meant bugs. There must've been a fly hatching as there were more than just mosquitoes in the mix, and they were so thick that I had to breath through my nose or ingest more than few as I biked down from the Inn.

The first view of the moon I had was through the steam of a West Triplet eruption, with it casting shadows of the trees by the trail onto that steam cloud. Viewed from my usual spot while waiting for Grand, there was an almost 3-dimensional appearance as the steam caused various parts of the shadows to disappear and reappear. The Grand eruption itself was nicely illuminated, but one burst eruptions are always a bit disappointing.

Beehive made up for that. After the eruption, just as I was going to leave Grand it was announced that the Indicator was erupting. I decided that I didn't want to walk to Geyser Hill and back, but could easily ride the bike to the overlook. I arrived there just moments before the eruption started. I believe that this may have been the first time I'd seen a moonbow in Beehive's spray, which was to the northwest over the river. (And at the start we had the usual idiot with a light, out for the full moon, who thinks he can do a better illumination job than the moon is doing.)

July 07, 2009

Observations for 06 July

The plan was to take a few hours nap, then head out to Grand just as the last bit of twilight disappeared. Just not much twilight as there were still quite a few clouds. But unlike the previous nibht, these were scattered and there wasn't any layer scattering the moon when it was in the clear.

A check of the weather radar sites shows a nice storm in Idaho between Idaho Falls and Pocatello heading in a direction that should take it just south of her. So as the night progressed, so did the cloudiness to the south, along with occasional flashes of lightning. But moon did make it between the clouds for the crew who got to see the middle of the night Beehive eruption, and by then it appeared we were going to miss that storm.

But for some reason, just as Grand started, the wind shifted putting my position directly in the line of precipitation. A fairly unusual occurance, as only rarely do I have to make a run for it at the start of the eruption. Like several other eruptions, this one had well over a minute and a half from Turban's start to Grand's. Then Grand wasted the opportunity by denying us a second burst by low moonlight.

I decided getting to Grand by the 7-1/2 hour point would be okay, and so was just turning into the Inn parking lot on my way to the Lower Ham's lot when I heard someone announce the current time and "Great Fountain". Which didn't make any sense, since there's no way to report s Great Fountain start time from there. Then the report was amended to "Giantess" or something that sounded like that. I glanced over toward the Inn and the new Cathedral and saw a large steam cloud rising, so I knew that it must really be Giantess.

I considered turning around and following Scott Bryan, who I passed on the utility road, but decided that going to Geyser Hill via Castle and Sawmill worked just as well. As it was, I could still hear the boiling from the initial bursting as I walked through the trees towards Lion. That bursting stopped around the time I broke into the open. The main burst started almost precisely at the half hour mark. The water jetting wasn't all that impressive, and after only a couple of minutes quickly turned to steam.

That part of the eruption was pretty impressive. The roaring was louder than anything Castle can produce, and a naturalist on patrol reported hearing it over by Grand. Standing on the boardwalk near the Vault sign, I could feel the rumbling in my feet. Turns out the walkway was acting as a sounding board, because standing on the gravel didn't have the same feel. At one point, when there was a miniature rainstorm landing on the walkway down by Pump, I got out my umbrella and went looking for a 360 degree rainbow. Which was easy to find, but there wasn't a sign of a second rainbow.

The weather conditions slowly worstened, and by the end Beehive (a long indicator but almost the interval one would have expected without Giantess), Giantess was starting to have pauses and was transitioning back into water. So it looked like the rest of this eruption was going to be in Big Sawmill Mode.

After all the excitement earlier in the day, a one burst Grand in windy conditions was just ordinary.

July 06, 2009

Observations for 05 July

After all the long Grand intervals, I decided that there wasn't much point in going out in the morning at the seven hour mark. I could use the extra hour sleep. As it turned out, the interval was a minute under eight hours, and I arrived no more than a couple of minutes before the start of the eruption. Another two burst eruption, but this time the first burst lasted 10m15s, making it a minute longer than all of last night's eruption.

I finally got around to seeing what conditions are like around the new Visitor's Cathedral, and discovered that they had provided a bike trail bypass around the new junction. That's all I really wanted when I was here last time, I can slow down for the gravel detour. But what I don't understand is, why did they up pull up the old concrete walkway only to replace it with an identical one? Are they planning to do more concrete replacement?

Waiting for the morning Beehive eruption, for the first time in years I saw an eruption of Depression up close. A combination of little time spent on Geyser Hill and Depression's long intervals were the reason. Still need to do the same for Aurum. Beehive itself waited until the mid-day clouds had a chance to form and block the sun for most of the eruption.

Castle started a minor just as I was about to head out to Grand in the morning. The sound gave me a brief start. A few hours later, it had another minor, this one over 10 minutes long.

The midday Grand was another case of waiting for Rift to end, then waiting a few hours of chaotic Turban activity before finally getting a one burst eruption. Time to revert back to normal and get used to a bunch of one bursts.

July 05, 2009

Observations for 04 July

So it turns out that the assumption that Fan & Mortar was safe to ignore for the night because of the event it had at sunset was not true. It ended up erupting in the early morning hours with no one around. I might even have heard the start. Like I said in an earlier post, by the time I went it, it was calm and quiet and easy to hear Old Faithful from the Sawmill Group. A little bit farther on, as I was trudging up the hill to Crested, I remember stopping and looking back for quite a bit of time. Some noise down basin caught my attention, but I couldn't place it. There was just general steam down there, but nothing that looked like an eruption of Giant. So I went on in.

I made the right decision to eat breakfast in the Lower Ham's store right when the opened at 07:30. Because Grand decided for no good reason to have an 11.5 hour interval. Instead of a steaming, backlit eruption, we got a warm midday one. None of the patterns I've seen recently seemed to work or matter. An eruption of West Triplet came and went. There were several short Turban durations in a row. At least once we saw water boil up in Vent. Nothing seemed to matter. The eruption itself was a nondescript one burst that didn't even give the appearance of trying for two.

So at that point, there wasn't much to do until evening, at least in terms of large geyser activity. Mike Keller pointed out that Great Fountain would be erupting during the afternoon, so this actually looked like a good time to risk a trip to the Lower Basin. The afternoon itself was a series of thundershowers, but Great Fountain managed to wait until things were generally dry before erupting. Nothing spectacular, and a bit steamy, but there were some nice bursts during the first and third burst periods.

The rains continued off an on, but by the time it was time to head out to Grand, the rains had quit and the clouds seemed to be promising to disappear. Thanks to the cloudiness and rains, it was a bit chillier than would normally be expected in July. But not cold enough to discourage the mosquitoes. Shortly before sunset I noticed that the moon had risen, and was increasing the distance between itself and the clouds as it rose. An announcement of Beehive's Indicator then cleaned out all the geyser gazers. The Beehive eruption itself was easily heard at Grand.

An hour after sunset, about 22:05 or so I notice what sounds like thunder off in the distance to the northwest. By this time the clouds have mostly cleared away, and there's nothing that looks like it could produce lightning in any direction. I hear it several times. It sounds like it could be a thermal feature, but there's not been any changes in the steam clouds. Then it occurs to me-- I'd heard that West Yellowstone was going to have fireworks tonight, starting at 22:00. So what I was hearing was the sound of those fireworks, about 20 to 25 miles away with all sorts of terrain in the middle.

On the next Turban, it had finally been long enough that Grand couldn't hold off any more. It was too dark, despite a near full moon, to seem much more than the steam, but Turban gave the typical explosive start that signals that Grand is having waves. This time, that Turban activity seemed to die down, and by a minute and a half, despite all the steam coming from Grand's pool, it sure did seem like there wasn't going to be an eruption. As it was, it was 1m40s before Grand started. All that Turban activity must've had an effect, as the total duration of the two bursts was only 9m10s. I wouldn't be surprised that if we could have seen the pool of Grand, we'd have seen water sloshing around for about a minute or so before draining.

July 04, 2009

Observations for 03 July

Usually leave the radio on on the off chance that I might hear something interesting. Last night, decided that I didn't care what F&M were doing, and whatever happened after the start of a River pause, I would learn about it in the morning. So I shut the radio off and added and hour to the alarm.

That meant that instead of going out in time for Grand and Beehive's early morning eruptions, I got out just in time to miss them. Leading to another day with a huge gap before time to head out. But with the intermittent showers of the late morning, having no reason to be out and about wasn't so bad. Did get down to check out Daisy and the wash zone from the recent Link eruption, and to watch an hour of Bijou pauses. (Easier to recognize unusual behavior when you have some idea of the look of the current normal behavior.)

The Grand eruption in the afternoon was a bit of a disappointment. Other than the first few intervals being shorter than the previous one, the Turban activity leading to the eruption showed no clear patterns giving any indication of when the eruption would occur. Worse, an eruption of West Triplet came and went without either Rift or Grand. Usually a bad sign, but at least Grand did decide after a couple of Turbans to erupt. Like yesterday, we had two bursts, but unlike yesterday, they were short and the total duration barely totaled 10 minutes. One bit of amusement was that because of the storms and general bad weather, the wind was coming from an unusual direction, and all the folks gathered on the benches by West Triplet found out the hard way that Grand can get you wet. A few people didn't learn that lesson and were there for the second burst, which gave a repeat performance.

Beehive turned out to be quite cooperative in the afternoon. The weather didn't improve after Grand, and on the whole, got worse. The only good news was the wind direction, it was blowing away from Geyser Hill, so no need to worry about getting drenched by Beehive. Only getting drenched by the weather. I took a look at some weather radar sites via my iPhone, and saw there was a nice, strong cell headed our way. So as I was deciding if it was time to leave, water appeared in the Indicator. That made the decision easy, as since I was going to head in immediately after, I could risk getting doused. As it was, the rain held off just long enough to give us a nice eruption, one that drenched the people gathered across the river instead of us.

Before the evening Beehive eruption, Plume had a couple of eruptions that varied from the norm. The first, which I didn't see, was a six burst eruption. I was told that the last two bursts were the smaller, minor variety where the height only reaches about 10 feet. The next eruption was a typical five burst. The next one I saw, right after the end of Beehive's eruption, had an unusual fifth burst. It started out looking like a minor burst, staying around 10 feet for a good 10 seconds or so before lifting to a more typical height. The burst also seemed to last much longer than I'm used to seeing.

The rainstorm was pretty heavy for an hour, finally ending before sunset with a nice full arc double rainbow from my cabin door (with a Pipeline Meadows bison below it.) It was then that Fan & Mortar decided to have their first event since the activity of the night before. With the rain nearly over, and at least another hour of light, I decided that I had no excuse not to bike down there. To get there just in time to see a weak restart of the Fan vents. At least didn't have to spend much time down there.

At that point it was only about an hour before it would be time to go out to Grand, and with the clearing skies, decided that I would go out for the nighttime eruption. The moon was shining through a high thin layer, so there was plenty of light, but the sky was gray instead of black and full of stars. I arrived to find Rift in eruption, but with the overcast, it wasn't all that cold either. A couple of hours waiting for a two burst eruption wasn't so bad, especially when the second burst lasted over two minutes.

One thing I like about nighttime are the sounds you don't hear during the day. As I was leaving Grand, walking toward Sawmill, I could hear, but not see, an eruption of Old Faithful. This particular night I also got to hear a new sound. Having seen/heard so many nighttime eruptions, all the various sounds are familiar, and even expected: the gurgling of Turban after the post-eruption quit. The spitting of Percolator, and rumbles from West Triplet. As I was getting ready to leave, standing by West Triplet, I suddenly became aware of a new sound, a liquid splashing I'd never noticed before. Quickly realized it was an eruption of Sputnik. I'd seen it during the earlier eruption waits, but never heard it before.

July 03, 2009

Observations for 02 July

I arrived just in time to have to wait a full Grand interval before the next eruption. But Beehive did oblige me by erupting with a less than 12 hour interval just as I was about to head out to Grand. With two eruptions per day, now it's jut a matter of it adjusting the intervals so we can have a few days with both eruptions in daylight.

The day was cool and blustery. I encountered some showers in Island Park which appeared to headed toward the Park, and they did get some showers around then, too. But it never again really looked like we were in for rain, and the wind helped keep the mosquitoes from attacking. The less said about the drive in from West Yellowstone, the better. Let's just say that I saw "animal jams" that involved no animals.

The Turban intervals at Grand were longer than I've been used to 21 to 23 minutes, at least until we had a early overflow and Turban had a short duration. Just before the second Turban, the one that I expected to have an excellent chance of leading into the Grand eruption, West Triplet started. Considering that Rift had erupted at dawn, I took that as another good sign. And it all was. It did take Grand almost a minute to build to the eruption from the start of Turban, with good waves then appearing.

The eruption itself had a nice full rainbow, thanks to a large break in the clouds. When the first burst lasted 10m44s, I was surprised to look at the pool and see water sloshing about. Not only did we get another burst, but it lasted long enough to make it a T2*Q. Vent and Turban did act at first like they wanted to continue, until suddenly Turban shut off and Vent quickly followed. The restart, while quick (about 7 minutes) had Turban taking its time, with lots of steam and noise and very little water in the first minute or two.

Tomorrow the Fan & Mortar window opens, more or less, which should take care of a lot of my free time. Reports today were that it was having actual cycles, as opposed the chaotic activity featuring Angle vent which was featured before the previous eruption. What that means we will find out later...

May 26, 2009

Observations for 26 May

After several long Grand intervals, it would have been nice to not have seen the steam cloud as I drove into the Han Store parking log. Then again, 8.5 hours was about average until the other day, so I could have been out there earlier. With all the yelling of geyser times as (or before) eruptions start, this would have been a nice time to have had something besides silence, too.

When I stopped for gas in Idaho Falls, I discovered that despite my attempts to avoid them, I managed to pick up some bison deposits from the Madison entrance road. Nothing as bad as last year, but I'll be visiting the car wash as soon as I can to remove them.

Observations for 25 May

When I came in from the night, I was thinking that if it stayed clear, it looked like we were in for some significant fog. It was already starting to form in some areas. Instead, tday started out looking like it was going to be a continuation of yesterday, with a solid gray sky that had to rain. But by about 08:00 it had already broken up, so what we had may have been just the fog I expected, but a bit higher. From Lower Ham's, I could easily seen the fog banks of Midway and Lower Basin to the north, but there also people said it wasn't that bad.

One thing people don't realize is that a Rift delay doesn't always happen after Rift starts. Sometimes the delay is that wait you have from one West Triplet eruption without a Rift to the next one where Rift starts. This morning, though, we just had a long wait between West Triplet eruptions for no good reason. And while last night's two burst eruption was far too short, this morning we had nearly three minutes that could and should have been broken up.

Overnight, around 04:30 there were a series of small (1.9 to 2.9) earthquakes centered in the Lower Basin, somewhere between Thud Group and Porcupine Hills. It was felt by a few in this area, as well as campers at Madison. But it appears they had no effect that was visible.

On the other hand, the monitor confirmed that I did see a second minor at Castle last night, and we didn't get the major until 12:48. Despite the winds (from the north) Daisy's intervals dropped below 2 hours. And Beehive reminded people that just because the last few indicators were over 15 minutes doesn't mean it still can't toss in a 6 minute one.

The rest of the day was filler time. Daisy was having intervals below two hours, and Grotto started another marathon. Oblong wasn't reported, either. While waiting for evening Grand, Penta looked good like it did the other day, but once again, just as Penta was about to start, Sawmill took over.

The pair of coyotes who tried to harvest marmots behind Grand the other day were back during the evening Grand wait. They made two attempts, the first of which seems to actually have some planning, or at least appeared that way. The first one crossed the boardwalk between Rift and Belgian, and slowly made its way along the base of the hillside, right next to Grand. All the while the marmots were chirping, but the coyote seemed to not mind or care. A few minutes later the second appeared. This one quickly ran up the hill a ways before trying to snatch a meal. No such luck. About an hour later one of them appeared on the northern edge, again without success. In any case, it appears these two know that there are meals to be had behind Grand. Now if they can only acquire them.

Grand itself first waited for Rift, then for sunset before erupting. As it seems happens way to much to be mere chance, the eruption occurred on the last possible Turban before darkness. As it was, we even had a little light to see the way back. The eruption itself was another eleven minute long one burst, notable only for Turban and Vent continuing instead of their usual pause.

May 25, 2009

Observations for 24 May

An overcast night turned into a gray, dull morning. Grand was there, somewhere, inside all that steam, and Castle would have been much nicer if it had been backlit by the rising sun. But there's no rain with these clouds, which is an improvement over many Memorial Day weekends I remember.

In the dark I thought I heard frogs croaking off in the distance, north of Castle. Years ago that swampy area north of the lift station was their home. The racket they made would cease when people got close, and then one year they just disappeared completely. Would be nice to get them back.

Also, I noticed how it is possible for things around here to improve instead of get worse. Years ago there were problems with the lights from the buildings and parking lots. Over the years it was the Lodge, or the Inn parking lot, or Lower Ham's or the gas station. One year it was so bad that I could see my shadow on the trees by the trail at Rift. That's no longer a problem. There are still lights in from all those areas, but they are unobtrusive and do not detract from the nighttime experience. (Although I must admit I don't know if that's also the case on Geyser Hill, with it's direct exposure to the developments.) I hope the new Visitor's Temple creators resisted the temptation to illuminate their masterpiece, although I have my doubts about that cupola on the top.

Until around noon or so it was a dull, gray day. Then the hints at dawn that the clouds might break became reality. Sort of. At least the sun came out and things warmed up, but also got windy. It only lasted an hour or so, and then it was back to dull gray, but the wind didn't go away. After the mid afternoon Beehive eruption, the promised afternoon showers finally materialized. Enough to dampen the roads and walkways, but not much else. And even that didn't matter as by then there wasn't anything much going on. (Well, unless you had an uncontrollable urge to see Oblong or Grotto start.) Besides, it's not a Memorial Day weekend if there's not at least some rain.

The rains appeared ended by the time Castle was due, and the weather radar maps showed that there should not be any more heavy showers after that. Unfortunately, because of the rain I was a bit slow getting out to Castle, and saw the start from the parking lot. I got there just in time to get a duration on the minor eruption.

The weather radars were wrong, as there was one last shower as I arrived at Grand as the last light faded. Just enough to wet things down one last time and to make sure I had to put on all the rain gear. A West Triplet eruption with neither Grand or Rift accompanying it let me know I'd be there a while too. Was there long enough to catch the next eruption of Castle just before Grand, at least I thought it was Castle.

So after a long string of steady Turban intervals, suddenly Turban starts when I was expecting to hear the first trickles of overflow. Yep, Grand is reaching into the past and letting me know that it can still have sub-sixteen minutes Turban intervals that lead to an eruption. Because of the dark, I have no idea what went on out there, but assume it was a very good, early fill. Then one more reminder of who is in charge-- a two burst eruption lasting less than nine minutes. After all that wait, I really wanted that third burst. But that also meant that Vent and Turban never stopped, so I was back at the parking lot within half an hour.

As for Castle, I'm not sure what I saw. It sure looked like major activity in the three or so minutes before Grand, but when I walked by, it was quiet. I may have got to witness a pair of minor eruptions in a row.

May 24, 2009

Observations for 23 May

Looking at the weather predictions for the next few day, I decided that today would be my only real chance to be out for a nighttime Grand eruption. Besides, Castle was also predicted for the same time frame, and there was even a chance for Beehive. So worth the effort. But what kind of interval to expect. Decided to compromise on getting up at the 7 hour mark.

The night before a small herd of bison was hanging around the Lower Ham's parking lot. (Such that when I arrived at the end of Grand, I thought I might have to wait to get to my truck. So when I pulled into the parking lot in the dark, it occurred to me that I might need to take that into consideration when I biked out. I know there was a least one bison out there somewhere, as I could hear it snort both when I left and when I came back.

It turns out that I wasn't out long, either. When I arrived in the parking lot, I thought I heard a thumping type sound, but dismissed it as Sawmill. Walking up it was obvious that Sawmill wasn't erupting and hadn't erupted recently. West Triplet was erupting, and hoped that it was the reason that the Grand area looked so steamy from Castle. Nope. I arrived during the post eruption pause, and thanks to the steam, I had to finally hear the deep rumbling of an empty Turban vent to be sure.

Wasn't a complete waste of time, as Castle did start as I crossed the bridge going out, and was going into steam on my way back.

The bison herd that hanging around last night was still in the area in the morning, all spread out in the meadow between Castle and Old Faithful. I noticed that it looked like some of them were headed towards crossing the river and invading the Sawmill Group. So I headed out for Grand a bit earlier than I would have normally, but I was also hoping for a short interval. As it was, most of the bison went elsewhere, although about six or so did wander downriver past the Scalloped Springs and Witches Cauldron.

Next morning's Grand was a classic example that the Rift delay can come before the eruption of Rift. Based on Rift's intervals, I was hoping that Grand would get in a eruption and then we'd get the West Triplet and Rift eruptions. We did, but about two hours later than it could have. West Triplet was erupting as I arrived, and quit shortly thereafter. At about that time, Rift was steaming heavily, and it looked as if it was going to start, but didn't. The next Turban interval was a little over 24 minutes long, a sort of half-hearted delay. After that, there was nothing more to do than to wait out a series of mediocre Turban intervals until it was time for the next West Triplet.

After Grand's second burst, the pool refilled and stayed up and sloshing for about a minute. Too long, it turned out, and we had to settle for two nice bursts, the second one much higher than the first. After that, it was West Triplet and Rift, as expected.

  While waiting for Rift, I notice a large bird circling overhead. Too big to be one of the osprey (one of which came over Grand yesterday with its catch). Binoculars showed it was an eagle. I never saw its wings move, but it kept circling higher and higher until once when I looked away I couldn't pick it back up.

Oblong had been full since first observed in the morning, and by the time Rift started, that was close to seven hours. So I decided to take advantage of having nothing to do to put in an hour when an eruption there was likely. My hour was about up when we got the eruption. There were some audible thumps, but nothing that I felt, and the height of the surges did not match the impressive activity I've seen from Grand. So it was time to trudge back to Castle and get my bike and take care of more mundane activities, like eating. I had just unlocked and mounted my bike when the call came out that water was visible in Beehive's Indicator. Great timing. So I walked back to Sawmill (which was in a Deep Drain mode eruption) and over to Geyser Hill. The wind was ideal, no one on the walkway got wet. That also meant I was able to station myself right in the shadow of Beehive's water column to get a nice backlit eruption. Then it was back to the bike. Again.

A few hours after Beehive, the clouds came. No rain, other than a few droplets on the windshield, but it was a definite mood change from the previous days. While waiting for the evening Grand, I got to swat my first mosquito of the season. I'd prefer that to be the last, but know I won't get that lucky unless it rains for the next few days.

That evening Grand eruption took place shortly after sunset. It wasn't as annoying as those far too many times when it seems to wait and erupt on the first Turban after sunset, because the clouds obscured the sun. It was dead calm at the start, so we got a huge base surge at the bottom of Grand's water column. There was till enough light to see the full height of the second burst, too. (For the first time in years, the one burst eruptions I've seen this trip constitute less than 50 percent of the total. Toss in a couple of threes in and I might even get to 2.0) Grotto was still active as I left, meaning it was twelve hours into a marathon eruption. I want it to be still erupting at dawn.

May 22, 2009

Observations for 22 May

I like heading out at dawn on a cleaqr, calm morning. Sure it's cold, but that also brings out the steam from every little warm hole.

This morning I knew that Grand wuold have gone well before I got out there. Unless, of course, it had a really long interval an, which would mean that I still made the right decision in not going out to wait for hours in the cold and dark. What I didn't want to see was Vent and Turban. I got my wish, as the pool was near but below overflow. I did see the overflow start at around 06:30, which put the eruption at around 02:00. Perfect, as that put the next eruption, most likely, before noon.

Another reason I was out there was to check on the Sawmill Group. Definitely wanted to catch a Penta if I could, and at first it looked like the group was going to oblige. Sawmill overflowed for a bit, then dropped, but Penta never really had the look of an immenent eruption. The surging over the bottom vents, though, was an encouraging sign that I might want to be around for the next cycle.

Since it was still early, I decided to take advantage of a loop around Geyser Hill. On a hot, crowded afternoon, Geyser Hill isn't all that pleasant, but in the cold morning, it's well worth the time. I did get to wait for an over 80 minute Plume interval, and saw a few new holes I hadn't noticed before, but otherwise, it looked unexciting.

When I returned to the Sawmill Group, I noticed that there was evidence of Churn eruptions.The gravel near the boardwalk was wet and there were puddles. Churn itself was well below overflow. But the group was rising, and again everything looked good for Penta. The water levels rose nicely, and as Spasmodic started to overflow and the back vent to erupt, Penta started to sputter from its main vent. A little while later, as the Penta pool neared overflow, the bottom left vent started to bubble heavily. Another good sign, I thought, until I heard some thumping over to my left. So much for Penta, as it's pool dropped into the vents within moments of Sawmill's start.

Turns out my guess for Grand's previous eruption matched the monitor time, so it was time to shed some jackets, reload the pack and head back out. On my walk back to the Sawmill group I noticed some fresh, wet dog-like tracks on the boardwalk among all the cold springs. At Grand we got to see the makers of those tracks, a pair of coyotes who failed in their attempts to harvest a marmot or two. One failure and they decided to move on.

The Grand eruption itself was very nice. What little wind there was pushed the steam an spray back onto the rocks and towards Rift. Considering that usually at that time of day the wind has picked up, and is blowing the steam to the north, it made for a nice backlit eruption without all the steam of early morning. And of course, Beehive's Indicator started during the second burst. Unlike yesterday, I decided that I'd had enough exercise for a while, and watched the eruption from the bridge. Again, the nice wind conditions made for an impressively tall column.

And then, what to do? Time to take advantage of the time to visit Daisy, then it's nap time. Today, perhaps thanks to the lack of wind, the Daisy intervals were a little over two hours.

The evening Grand was preceded by a not unexpected Rift eruption, but if Rift is having a delay effect, this time it only added about 45 minutes. During the wait we got to see a second Oblong for the day, an interval that was identical to Grand's: 9h17m. The one burst eruption was nice, thanks to the lack of wind and low sunlighting. At one point it was so calm that Grand had a small base surge develop and obscure the base of the water column.


The new Visitor Temple is at the stage where they are installing the insulation, so it's covered with white Tyvek making it look like a huge white plastic wrapped block. Or as Paul Strasser suggested, one of Christo's lesser attempts.

May 21, 2009

Observations for 21 May

Let's start this year's visit with a rant.

Every first visit of the season seems to have one thing in common. I get to find out what has changed since I left in the fall. Not changes in the geysers, that's a given. Changes in the way the place is run. Rarely does it seem that the changes are for the better. It's not just nostalgia for the way things were a quarter century ago, either. It seems that every year, there are more restrictions, more inconveniences, more actions which would get businesses cited by OSHA or the EPA, more cutbacks in service. The little things do matter. Sometimes I get the feeling the motto should be "for the benefit and enjoyment of no one but us."

This year has been no exception.

Let's start with the removal of trash containers, like the one at the Lower Ham's. The excuse is that it takes too many hours to service all the trash cans. While that may be true, where will those freed up hours be used? What is the average visitor, who doesn't seen any obvious receptacle going to think or do? I expect another increase in the general shabbiness of that area.

Then there's the large trash dumpster, a replacement for some of removed trashcans in front of the Inn which is blocking one of the paved access paths between the parking lot and the bike trail. I guess it's convenient for the trash crews, but what about those of us who used the bike trail as a bike trail?

Speaking of bike trail. In front of the new Visitor Temple (a monstrosity that will deserve rants all its own...), the cement bike trail and path to Old Faithful is all torn up and closed as a "construction zone". I assume that the powers that be have decided that a new building deserves a pretty new walkway all the way out to the boardwalk. (Wonder how much that's gonna cost...) In any case, the only way between the current VC and the Lodge and the rest of the basin is either on the boardwalk itself, or you have to ride all the way over to the Snowlodge and then behind the Inn. There is simply no alternate route provided. (And I found out the hard way, that plastic walkway at Old Faithful is extremely slippery on a bike.) Can you imagine some business doing this and getting away with it? "We're the NPS. You just get in the way of our job."

All the boardwalks from Biscuit Basin to Fountain Paint Pots are closed, "due to bear management". Bear Management being the all purpose excuse for not bothering to actually provide visitor services in the springtime. This particular closure came about because, supposedly, someone noticed that the bear closure regulations which have been in use for decades include those walkways, and for some reason, now we must enforce the exact letter of them. As opposed to the Superintendent amending those regs to keep those walkways accessible.

Maintenance of course, took that closure opportunity to redo the Fountain Paint Pots walkways. Which would seem, at least, that someone was looking ahead and taking advantage of an existing closure. But as anyone who saw the speed at which the boardwalks were rebuild in the Upper Basin a few years back would tell you, they are not finished, and apparently not even close to finished. So the trail there will stay closed.

"I feel much better now, I really do."

What about the geysers? Both Giant and Fan & Mortar are not going to erupt any time soon. Bious is powerful and continuous. Penta appears active almost every other day, with frequent Tardy cycles in that group. Today Beehive provided a bonus eruption in the evening with a nice wind direction, no shifting, and a full arc double rainbow.

September 01, 2008

Observations for 01 September

The promised snow didn't appear, everything was only slightly wet this morning. But it was cold and overcast, and quickly got windy, too.

The Grotto marathon eruption ended overnight, and by the time I got there, Bijou was already back to erupting strongly and continuously. There was some indication that Giant might start having hot periods, but I didn't stick around. But on my way down there, I did have an animal encounter of sorts. As I passed by the grove of trees below Castle to the east, a couple of coyotes suddenly took exception to my passing by. They yelled at me the whole time I was in view, even when I got up to the Castle bike rack. This also set off all the other packs in the basin, so soon the whole areas echoed with yelps. In all the years of biking on that trail, both day and night, that was a first.

Since Grand was an empty crater, and Beehive's Indicator started while I was checking out Bijou, that meant that there was nothing to do in the Upper Basin, I decided to leave, but when Lynn Stephens told me she was headed for Great Fountain because it was probably due soon, I decided that I had the time to see my eruption for the year. I got there well into the overflow, and the start was pretty good. I guess it didn't realize I was there. I also forgot about parking and the wind direction there, but my truck wasn't in any danger this time.

On the return from my first trip to Yellowstone in 1982 with my then just purchased old truck, I got a nice rock chip in the windshield in a construction zone near Burns, Oregon. I then went 25 more years without another such hit. This time at least it was on the last return trip of the season, in the just completed construction zone around Rigby, Idaho. Oh, well.

August 31, 2008

Observations for 31 August

After yesterday, it was to be expected that the day would be a bit dull.

As I reported before, the night was warm. The weather prediction for today was for cold and rainy, but the only rain was in the morning, and nothing more than a few drops. The rest of the day was warm and blustery, with rain only returning at the end of the day. It's supposed to snow tonight.

The only real geyser news was that sometime during the night Grotto began its first marathon eruption since Giant's eruption on Tuesday. My mid-morning Spa had already had its eruptions, but Bijou showed little inclination to go to sleep. There were distinct Bijou shutdowns accompanied by some of the trappings of a hot period attempt, but that was only another indication that the platform was in flux.

Add in a couple of Grand eruptions, a Beehive and even some Daisys, and it made for a quiet day.

Observations for 30 August

On a normal morning, by 06:00 there's a certain amount of radio chatter. You get a lot of reports of eruptions on Geyser Hill or of larger features down basin, along with the occasional "switch to 5". This morning from when I awoke at 06:00 until 06:45, there was dead silence. I was wondering if my radio was mistuned or not working in some way, but Alan Friedman demonstrated that it was working just fine. He then got people down basin to confirm what all the vehicles in the Lower Ham's lot was saying (both the ones there and the ones missing). That Fan & Mortar had not erupted overnight.

It turned out to be a busy day. Grand had a nice two burst eruption, but the nearly three minute long second burst let us know that we could have had more.

Down at Grotto, there was quite a crowd waiting for an eruption of Rocket. Of course these were really people waiting for F&M. Over the period of about an hour, Rocket had several false starts before finally and reluctantly erupting. Unlike my experiences in the past, this Rocket Major did not start suddenly but at first looked like one of these "Rocket Minors" we'd been seeing.

After that, it was more Fan and Mortar. Some people stayed out there overnight, and so we knew definitely that there had not been any attempts at eruptions. After the Rocket Major, we were approaching 26 hours since the event yesterday. When I arrived, the people who'd been there were ignoring what to me (and others) looked like some strong activity from Fan. I asked, half-jokingly, "so tell me what its about this that looks so bad?" That when things got interesting. The vents of Fan really did look like the strong play that preceded eruptions back in the 1980s. After all the random "garbage mode", it was quite a difference. Tara belatedly put out a radio call, only to have F&M moments later force her retract it as the vents suddenly dropped in vigor and height. And went back to previous behavior.

Looking at the time, I decided that I could just as easily wait for any further events in the parking lot, and after a while, head out for the mid-day Grand. But first, a stop for Daisy seemed worthwhile. It was right after that eruption that I heard that splashing had been seen in Fan's Main Vent. Well, so much for my plans. Back to F&M. By the time I got there, the splashing had pretty much stopped. It wasn't long, however, before the Fan vents started, and they didn't follow the pattern of the last day-and-a-half. This time they were taking their time. Instead of Gold Vent following High vent within a minute, we saw several minutes of High splashing. Between these splashes the water level, just below the overflow lip, could be seen from the right locations. Finally, when Gold did start, the activity of High stayed vigorous, and its height seemed to increase.

By now I was getting to experience activity which I'd not seen before. In years past, when I'd seen a start, once the "lock" stage had been acheived, it was only a matter of moments before the eruption began. Here the lock seemed to drag on and on. In a few minutes High vent was erupting at at least 8 to 10 feet, with Gold going 4 to 6. Angle had turned to steam and still no eruption. Then Main vent began to have small surges, each one bigger than the previous. Even after the East vent began erupting it took Main about ten seconds to join in.

Mortar's vents showed a bit of water, then shut down. Not even steam. With a fairly strong breeze from the west, this gave us a clear, unobstructed and dry view of Fan for several minutes. Then suddenly Mortar came back to life, and everyone who'd tried for that closer clear view became wet. All three of Mortar's vents seemed to come and go independently of each other. While getting wet from Main vent meant getting hit on the fly by warm water, from Mortar it was a cold, soaking mist.

With the considerable warning, and it being the start of a three-day weekend, there was quite a crowd of gazers there. No census,but wouldn't surprise me that the number was close to one hundred. There must have also been and equivalent number of visitors who wandered up during the preliminary excitements. Fortunately Riverside wasn't near an eruption, because adding in that crowd would have made the walkway impassible.

The F&M eruption was short, only 29 minutes to the last water, and then there was a final huff of steam from all the vents. During the eruption we also got activity, of a sort, from South Norris Pool. The water level rose and was accompanied by boiling along the southwestern edge. It was almost an eruption.

After the eruption it was time to head for the Grand eruption which I had thought would be my place of waiting for the event. Turns out Grand had other ideas, as just as I was about to get on the bike to head out, the call comes that Grand has started. A 6 and a half hour interval. I did get there in time to see the second burst, which was perfectly timed just as the wind paused. An already tall burst was not cut down by wind.

Next up was Penta. It started a steam-phase eruption shortly after the Grand eruption. Most steam phases aren't really that interesting, but this one put out a lot of water. The runoff eventuallly reached beyond the walkway. The Top vent was roaring loudly, at times putting out nothing but steam. Meanwhile, Oval started to rise and burst to several feet. This activity lasted several minutes before the water level resumed its usual Deep Drain levels.

By this time it appeared that everything of interest that could erupt had done so, but not quite. After erupting some time during the night, Beehive had what had to be a short interval to finish off the day with a nice, but wind reduced water column.

Meanwhile, down at Giant, Bijou is starting to have shutdowns and Mastiff is showing that it can have "bathtub" hot periods. It wouldn't be surprising for Giant to erupt some time in the middle of the coming week. It's been iknown to do that in the past.

The weather prediction was for increasing cloudiness and increasing wet, and by sunset that had become obvious. But with the clouds came a warmer night. During the wait for the nighttime Grand, I never even felt the desire to dig out all the coats and blankets I would have put to use on a more typical night (like the day before...) We were also treated to occasional heavy gusts of wind and periods of dead calm, and a few spits of wetness.

August 30, 2008

Observations for 29 August

Fan & Mortar continue to show their contempt for me, and everyone else gets to suffer too.

Last night I learned that the previous eruption was not at 02:37, but four hours earlier, at 22:37. This was both good and bad news. Bad in that it meant that the window would open just about the time I arrived at dawn, and that I now had a chance of missing an eruption by being late. Good in that two short (less than two-and-a-half days) intervals would allow me to see the chance to see two eruptions.

F&M took the third option, which was to throw in a long interval after having several shorts. Shortly after I arrived it started having the kind of activity that can lead up to an eruption: it had a lot of powerful surging in the Main Vent, and three pauses before the Fan vents began erupting. But that wasn't enough, and we got no eruption.

Then it spent the next twelve hours not even trying to erupt. By sunset, there had yet to be anything seen from main vent. Most of the cycles had Angle vent playing the whole time. Quite disappointing, and just another reason to never be optimistic about that geyser.

Elsewhere, Grand is taking advantage of the shorter days to make sure that two of the three daily eruptions occur in the dark, with the third right in the middle of the day. The evening eruption was one of those where Grand was waiting for West Triplet, while W.T. was waiting for Grand, so neither wanted to erupt any time soon. But it was only a nine hour interval, so guess I should complain too much.

I did see the latter stages of a Tilt eruption, my first of the year. I also noticed that the hole across from Scalloped Spring has, for the first time I know of, water visible in it, about two feet below the surface. Just another reason that the board walk there will need to relocated. (The more likely alternative is a collapse, and then the NPS will shut it down for weeks while deciding what to do about it.)

August 04, 2008

Observations for 02 and 03 August

Weekend trip wasn't a total bust, but you'd think that by showing up at the start of Fan & Mortar's eruption window, I'd get to see more than one attempt at eruption. Which is what I got: over half an hour of the Bottom Vent erupting and pouring out water only to be followed by what was quickly and obviously not very strong Fan activity.

That happened around noontime on Saturday, and by sunset there hadn't been a second attempt. I was out almost at dawn (06:00) and by the time I left at noon, there still hadn't been any attempt.

There is something about those geysers that makes me have to work hard to see them. There have been some years when they've been fairly active, like 1997, where I could be there for weeks (months?) and still miss all the eruption starts. When I do see an eruption from the start, it sure feels like I've always had to spend at least a day down there waiting for it. Sure, I might walk up onto it, but that was the second day, the first being spent broiling on that gritty embankment. (Back in the days before the benches and boardwalk.

On the other hand, I did get to witness the next stage in the evolution of Sputnik and friends. Previously, Mary Beth Schwarz has been seeing them erupt at or near the start of a West Triplet eruption. On Sunday after Grand, at about a time when we'd have already seen West Triplet start, we saw two independent eruptions. They were twenty minutes apart, and twenty minutes after the second was when West Triplet started and we got a third eruption.

We also saw activity from a new vent. All of the previous activity had been by vents that were active back in the late '80s/early '90s, and correspond nicely to my maps and notes from back then. (I've got some Lynn Stephens photos from 1989 I'll try to scan and post, and see if I can still get at the disk files with my maps.) But this little sput, only a couple of inches high, is new. Or at least never caught my attention. Like Sput "a", it's out on the sinter sheet, on a slightly raised ridge that lead to, if I can remember correctly, the site of East Triplet, and is about half-ways between the two larger features. Now if we can only get East Triplet itself to try to clean itself out.

July 21, 2008

Observations for 19 and 20 July

Finally saw the reactivated sputs by Grand. These are in the exact same place as the sputs of the early 1980s, but their behavior has changed.

Back then they were pretty much active all the time up to a Rift eruption,which would kill them. Sort of like the way Percolator behaves even today. But now they only erupt for a few minutes. The activity, especially from the leftmost one,which probably is at the location of the original Sputnik, was going at least two or three feet high at one point. Also of interest is that the water starts out a muddy gray, only to turn clear as the eruption progressed. A good sign that they are still cleaning a decade or so's accumulation of debris out of their vents. And based on this behavior, I'm even more convinced that this is North Triplet we're seeing.

I also learned that an umbrella is no protection from Beehive when there's a still breeze right at you. I had a circular dry spot on my front, but my pack and legs were soaked. Fortunately, the day was warm and sunny, so it only took a few hours to dry out completely.

On Saturday Castle also pulled one of its pause eruptions. It really didn't look like it wanted to start, and after about 4-1/2 minutes, it finally quit. After determining that it was definitely quiet, I waited for the mass of people to leave and then followed them. But before that, I remarked to several people that it was known to restart at any time. I got partway down the hill when I heard it erupting, again. So after about a seven minute pause, it restarted and continued with the major eruption. And it was no surprise to learn that it did have the minor eruption during the night.

Otherwise it was a pretty dull weekend, but the point was to field test my new iPhone geyser-log program. In that regard, I was successful, as I got over four pages of notes on bugs, enhancements and things that just weren't going to work the way I had expected. Now to spend the next few weeks fixing all of them.

July 07, 2008

Observations for 06 July

A morning of watching Fan & Mortar do nothing much persuaded me that I might as well head home. Plus I followed my rule of never letting Grand suck me in when heading out.

It was nice of Grand and Rift to keep Grand's eruptions synchronized so that at least two of the three eruptions per day took place during dark, or semi-dark conditions. This despite it being the time of year where it's dark for only about 7 hours.

But I was wondering about one thing. On my first night trip out to Grand I encountered a coyote in front of the Lodge. This morning it appears that it had found all the stuff one of the cabin guests had left outside, and scattered some of it about. Which got me to wondering. Years ago, every evening I'd hear over the radio scanner that one of the Protective Rangers was about to do a "food security" sweep of the Lodge cabins. And it wasn't unusual for them to make contact with someone just about every night. I've seen a lot of coolers and grills and other such stuff out in the open in the Lodge area. When did they stop the sweeps, and who gets sued when a food-related wildlife incident occurs? (The woman at the front desk when I checked out also said that the Rangers had finally collected the carcass sitting on the plastic bag behind my cabin. It'd been pretty well picked clean, so there wasn't any smell.)

One advantage to having the bison herd in along the Madison River is that people in the outbound lane have already seen bison, and aren't as likely to cause the two mile long backup that they had of all the people arriving in the Park.

July 06, 2008

Observations for 05 July

Yesterday evening Mary Beth Schwarz warned me that she'd seen the old bull bison who hangs around the area in the open space between the Lower Ham's Store and the Inn.

As I'm headed out for the middle of the night Grand, I stop at the top of the slope headed down to the Store to pull up the hood on my jacket. Off to the right, I hear some crunching sounds. The MagLite reveals that it's the bison, slowly making its way toward the Inn. Fortunately, it paused far enough from the trail that I could scoot on past.

Later that morning, the bison was busy again. This time marking his territory, leaving two large gooey hazards on the bike trail cutoff in front of the lift station and gas station. I saw it put down the second hazard, and it was almost like it was positioning itself before release.And since it's the time of year where there's not much rain, the bison's handiwork could be there for weeks.

Because of the quick trip, I did something I normally wouldn't do. When a call went out that Fan & Mortar had had the activity which is indicative of a possible eruption (River vent pause, Main vent splashing), I left Grand. Normally I'd just hope for the best, that Grand would cooperate and erupt soon, or that Fan & Mortar wouldn't erupt at all. If they did, then I'd just rationalize that I would have plenty more opportunities.The worst case is to leave, and end up seeing neither.

Which is exactly what happened. I got down to F&M just in time for things to die down. I waited to return just long enough that when Mary Beth made the call that the eruption was imminent, I was only as far as Grotto when it started. I could have lived with having gotten as far as the bend of the River. It's a nice view, and I watched the eruption from there. So when it quit after only about 9 minutes, I thought it would also be a great place to see a second burst. Which never came.

The rest of the day was spent watching F&M play around and do nothing. They didn't even try to look like they were going to erupt until about 8 hours after the first false alarm. Then Grand had another short eruption, but this time at least it was a two burst one.

The day did end nicely, however. While we were waiting for the evening Grand, it was obvious that the Sawmill Group was in Tardy mode. Which means that the next cycle has a good chance of there being a Penta eruption. I waited after Grand to see what would happen, telling myself that I could leave after the sun set. I didn't want to get sucked into waiting until after dark for nothing to happen. I was just about to follow through with my promise to myself, as things didn't look that great. Penta had overflowed a bit, but not the flood I remember seeing before a start. Sawmill had also started to overflow, and that's a sign I could do without. But then the left front vent bubbled, and I got sucked in. That's too good a sign, even with less than ideal overflow. There was one more, stronger series of bubbling, along with some bubbling from the right vent.Then the third time, the bubbling continued, with both vents getting stronger until the main vent finally joined in.

July 05, 2008

Observations for 04 July

I thought that Thursday was pretty boring, but Friday was even more so.

The day started promising enough, with a predawn but well lit two burst Grand. But then Beehive erupted before I could even go past Sawmill on the way to Geyser Hill. Which meant that the best use of my time would be to head in and take a nap.

The mosquitoes are bad, and aren't going to get better for a while. While sitting next to the dorm trying to upload yesterday's report, I splatter at least two of them who left crimson splotches. Well, I have experience worse. There was one trip coming back from Shoshone where I stopped at the Grand Pass spring only long enough to refill the water bottles. Every time I stopped they were everywhere, being held at bay only by applications of full strength DEET Cutter's. And even then some would get through.

Without a big feature or two to liven things up, these short trips can have a lot of downtime. If I were here for weeks, I'd have some other projects to fill in the time, or maybe take care of those maintenance tasks like doing laundry or cooking a real meal. It's my hope that Fan & Mortar fill that void for the next couple of days, and maybe for future trips this summer.

It also doesn't help when all the geysers erupt within a half-hour period. Between 20:00 and 20:30 we had eruptions of Grand, Beehive, Oblong, Daisy and Riverside. Castle had already gone a few hours earlier. And then the one geyser I wanted to see finish off the list, Rift, didn't put in an appearance, meaning I'd get to deal with it during the night.

My first night in the cabin area, there weren't any parking spaces. So I was surprised that when I got back from Grand, the place was empty, with space everywhere. Around 23:00 I found out one reason why: a large tour group arrived, with the usual dragging of suitcases and discussions of who goes where and banging doors.

July 04, 2008

Observations for 03 July

If I hadn't known that it had erupted the day before (at 14:33 on 02 July), I could have been fooled by Fan & Mortar's behavior this morning. Around 06:00, only about 16 hours after the eruption, I got to see a perfect example of post-eruption type activity. The water levels are low, which seems to make the normal splashing and surging that F&M are always doing even more vigorous. During the fifteen minutes I was there, Mortar's Bottom Vent was erupting most of the time, with some bursts to two meters. This produced overflow  down the various catchbasins and into the river. On the Fan side, the Main Vent as the star. As it always does, the surging in the two geysers dies down only to be followed by a quick restart. A number of these restarts were accompanied by Main Vent splashing well above its rim accompanied by explosive sounds. But none of the other signs of high water were there, so time to move on.

Grand appears to have had two long intervals in a row. The second, daytime one was accompanied by Rift. The Turban intervals leading up to the eruption started long but after a couple got progressively shorter until dropping just under 17 minutes. Some of the sputs between Rift and Grand have reactivated, but have only been seen for a few minutes, unlike past years when they could be active most any time.

Giant is dead for now. The platform was mostly dry. I was told that the puddles that I did see were probably due to huge cone-filling surges out the front that look impressive, but mean little. Mastiff is having the same sort of activity, but there are no real hot periods any more. Some day this summer, it's just going to erupt without warning, just like it's done in past slowdown years.

For a short trip, it doesn't make sense to not take advantage of a geyser I wouldn't put in the same effort if I were here for weeks or months. Since it was obvious that Grand wasn't going to be anytime soon, I went to Geyser Hill and waited for Beehive. Perfect conditions, dead calm but warm enough that the steam wasn't obscuring. I was able to stand on the boardwalk closest to the cone and see a double 210° rainbow, and only get wet once. (But the umbrella served its purpose there.) I may even have to visit the Lower Basin.

May 26, 2008

Observations for 26 May

After a string of single burst eruptions, this morning it tossed in a three. And considering the weather, it was pretty good: no rain and calm. Also the sky behind the water column provided some contrast making the water column visible. But following the eruption, I was left with the bigger question— what to do next? By 09:00 it was obvious that the best choice was to head home.

I think I need to get over to Geyser Hill more. Shortly after making the last posting, I talked with Scott Bryan who informed me that the water level I'd seen in Vault was normal, at least for the last few years. It dropped to that level a few years ago after a series of independent Vault eruptions.

Observations for 25 May

It's a lot easier going out into a cold, rainy day when you've got a good night's sleep. The early morning Grand eruption of course started just as the rain picked up, and the rain ended soon after Grand did.

The channel leading to the new drain for Old Tardy's runoff appears to be wider and deeper than it was last week. The hole itself doesn't seem much changed, but I have yet to see Old Tardy in eruption, either. The vents by the bridge aren't as murky as yesterday. I'm assuming that that means there's not been an eruption recently. (Alternative is that they are erupting frequently enough to start to clear out the system.)

The river seems higher and murkier than it had been yeserday, but I guess the cold, steady rain is having its effect.

Probably the best indication that Giant is not going to erupt soon is that all the people who in previous Mays (or previous days) would have made an effort to go down and wait for something to happen instead today went to see Great Fountain. (You know the basin is empty when no one reports a Plume eruption on the radios.) Not that that wasn't a good decision. I killed an hour down there. The amount of splashing from Giant is impressive. On several occasions it slopped out the front, leaving a steaming pool at the base of the cone that could almost have been mistaken for the result of hot period activity. But when it came time for the hot period, everything looked wrong. The southwestern platform vents preceded Feather by over a minute. Bijou didn't even try to slow down. If it had any reaction to the hot period, it didn't show it until the end. That's when it went into a nice steam phase which in previous years would have followed an eight to ten minute long hot period. Otherwise, Bijou reminds me of its appearance back in the 1980s.

Since it seems a waste to be here for only a couple of days and not be out and about, I decided that I should make an effort to visit various parts of the basin. Another sign of how dull things were is that I did something I probably haven't done in close to two decades. I waited for an eruption of Riverside. It was too steamy to see much, so maybe it shouldn't count.

Paid a visit to Geyser Hill: walk the loop, catch a Plume and get lucky with anything else. In this case, got to see a nice eruption of Lion that started while I was down by Depression. (There was an Aurum while I was at Plume, but that doesn't count.) But what I found interesting is that both Vault and Infant were down about 3 inches from their respective rims. It seems a bit long for them to have not recovered from the Giantess eruption. Or have my Geyser Hill visits been so rare that I no longer even know what is normal for them?

While waiting for the late evening Grand eruption, I got to witness a perfect example of how people get themselves lost.

The sun had already set but it still wasn't totally dark. There were three other people besides me waiting for the eruption, when up from the Sawmill Group up walked a man. From accent it was obvious that his native language came from somewhere in East Asia. But language didn't seem to be an issue. He asked the couple, "is this the way to Old Faithful?"

Now at this point all that could be seen down basin were the whitish splotches of various steam clouds. Behind him were all the lit up buildings of the Old Faithful area. He was told, no, you need to go back the way you came. But he insisted that he needed to keep heading downbasin, despite repeated attempts to make clear that he was wrong.

The second woman waiting even gave him simple instructions, "go back to the junction, go right across the river to the paved trail, then left towards the lights." The last we saw of him, he was headed towards Geyser Hill.

The man asked for information and directions multiple times, yet every time he got an answer that he didn't like, or didn't fit what he needed to hear, he'd asked again. It would seem obvious with it getting dark that the way to civilization was toward the lights, yet he wanted to go farther into the dark. Why did he bother to ask us when he wasn't prepared to listen? What would he have done, how far downbasin would he have gotten, if no one had been waiting at Grand?

May 24, 2008

Observations for 24 May

Today showed a number of the ways that things can go wrong on a weekend trip, or at least how they can not be as good as they could be. Nothing catastrophic, like for last year when my old truck immediately needed repairs the day I arrived. Just a bunch of annoyances.

First, I left from home too soon, so I arrived in the park while it was still dark. I'd forgotten what nighttime driving here can be like. It's something I've never liked it, even if it's the one time of day that the roads are free of other vehicles. The odds of meeting up with a bison are just too great. To make things worse, there was thick fog almost the entire way from West Yellowstone. Doing 30mph was more than fast enough, but some stretches, like the Firehole south of the canyon until the Lower Basin, seemed to go forever.

And the bison still made their presence felt. There must have been a large herd using the road as a trail just a few hours earlier, because the lower part of my truck behind each wheel on the left side was thick with manure. I will definitely be visiting a carwash when I get home.

So I figure the best time to arrive would be just before sunrise.It will be light, but before the bison and most visitors are up and about and blocking the road. Last weekend I arrived after the ranger-in-a-box went on duty, and had to deal with both varieties of obstruction. I want to set up a nice routine that gets followed every trip, so I keep the thinking about it to a minimum. (The same goes for prepacking needed items not used at home, and making checklists for the stuff that I need to gather up.)

The weather wasn't nice either. The fog turned into gray overcast skies, which turned into precipitation. Unfortunately, it warmed up just enough so that it was rain and not snow. This continued off an on all afternoon, although it could actually be nice when the sun broke through and the wind died down With a limited amount of time, it seems a waste to be sitting and waiting to go out, but if there is nothing to wait for, there's also no point in getting soaked and chilled. This was typical weather for late spring, and one of the reasons I have usually avoided long visits this time of year. (Last year being an exception due to job commitments that worked out well.) I knew from the forecast it was going to be scattered rain. Just means in future years, springtime trips will be limited and subject to cancellation.

Then there were the petty annoyances: I broke the wire on the bike's odometer. It's horrible not knowing how far I've gone and how fast I'm going. On the other hand, I can get it fixed or replaced before the next trip, and will also figure out how to prevent it from happening again.

Perhaps for the best to get all these things out of the way. It does help set a baseline for what to expect, and I always prefer being pleasantly surprised when things go right. Having to use the rain and cold weather gear did show that I'd packed the right items And I've got another day and a half this trip, in which thngs can go either right or wrongl .

And what about the geysers themselves? I saw another Penta, which is always nice, even if I missed the start. On my way there I finally got to see activity in those features on the other side of Sawmill's runoff at the end of the bridge. I'd seen it before, sometime in the early '90s, but that had been from the walkway just below Crested. This eruption only lasted 39 seconds, so you've really got to be there to see it. The second vent between it and the river drained, then refilled to the rim only to drop down a foot. The water also turned a milky white in all the vents. During the Penta eruption, Churn filled as the rest of the group dropped, but no eruption.

There's also a new feature over on Geyser Hill at the north of that expanse of sputs between Depression and Arrowhead. At least I've never seen it before, and didn't see it last week. I really should try to get to Geyser Hill more often,and for more than just Beehive, especially since it's an easy walk from the Lodge Cabins. There's something about not being able to bike over there that keeps me away.

Grand at least waited until I could get out there this morning. I caught the end of Rift, which was probably the reason. The next Grand was during one of the aforementioned rainstorms. I tried to catch Daisy but a wind shift meant I saw a lot of steam, and not much Daisy. Giant is going to be a great timewaster for the next few weeks. It looks so impressive with all the activity until you realize its been essentially unchanged all month.

May 18, 2008

Observations for 18 May

After returning from last night's Grand eruption, I figured that today not only could I get a slow start, but would have several hours to head down basin to take a look at Daisy, Grotto, Giant and other points of interest. Except it didn't turn out that way.

As I was getting up and about in my cabin, I heard Scott's voice on the radio announcing that Penta was in eruption at 06:44. Knowing that most eruptions of Penta last well short of an hour, I was resigned to not seeing it erupting. So I was surprised when I biked up past Castle and there it was, still going strong at 07:30. I figured I had at least an hour before it was time for Daisy, so I could head over there and catch Penta draining away. Instead, it just kept going, with all the other members of the Sawmill Group full.

Penta/Sawmill 2008 May 18 Churn 2008 May 18
Penta/Sawmill 2008 May 18 Churn 2008 May 18

Penta, Sawmill & Churn Geysers, 2008 May 18
It was at the time that I noticed that the overflow of the vents by the Thumping Hole had ceased that I looked over and caught Churn in eruption. It had been going for a while, and like yesterday, wasn't able to get a picture. But now things were getting interesting, but at the same time, my plans for the morning were ruined. Unlike yesterday, Churn didn't have a series of eruptions. A hour later, however, Sawmill started. I wanted to get pictures of both Penta and Sawmill in eruption from several angle. I went down towards Belgian, and right after I turned around, I saw the first splashes from Churn. Gettting all three into a single frame with my ancient camera was a bit of a challenge, and you can see my best efforts aren't that good.

The Churn eruption seems have been the key to getting Penta to finally quit. As the window for the next Grand eruption was approaching, I took the opportunity to head back to the gas station to prepare for another wait. Sawmill was still going as I returned, but as it seems to do far too often, it quit about the time I passed Scallloped Spring.

Speaking of Grand. Both last night and today's series of Turban eruptions were quite similar. In both cases there was a "Two Turban Delay". Instead of heavy overflow and waves as in years past, in these cases there was visible bubbling in Vent along with what appeared to be a full pool. In both cases, the duration of Turban was short (less than 4 minutes) despite what appeared to be vigorous activity. The following Turban intervals were short, around 17 to 18 minutes, with the Turban eruption lasting around 6 minutes, which is typical activity in such a delay mode. The bubbling in Vent is hard to see unless you know where to look and what to look for, but I wouldn't mind if this became a preferred delay mode. (Sure beats the 7 Turban Delay which takes 10 or more...)

The photos of the new drain vent near Old Tardy will have to wait until tomorrow. I've discovered that, thanks to software upgrades in the last year, I only have one computer that can still read the old Kodak KDC format. And that requires and it can't connect directly to the computer I use to post these messages. So it's become a convoluted task, and probably the incentive I need to finally get a new camera.

I also confirmed that, with my iPhone, I can add geyser eruption times to my Geyser Log database while in the basin and during the actual eruption. The speed is modem-slow, but I can make things a little faster/better by changing around the webpage.

The drive home was exactly what was expected: 6 hours of dullness that ended in my garage.

Other Geyser Times

18 May 2008
  • Penta, 06:44ie, d>2h15m
  • Churn
    • 07:45ie, d>30s, during Penta
    • 08:54, d=1m16s, during Penta and Sawmill
  • Sawmill, 08:52, d=55m05s

May 17, 2008

Observations for 17 May

A weekend visits to the park is always different than a long stay. They always seem to feel too hectic,at least for me, and I've always prefered the long stays. It's okay to miss the an eruption that takes place as you arrive, whereas with a weekend, that's a significant portion of what you came for. But when a weekend is all you can get, you take it. Earlier in the week it became farily obvious that this was going to be a really nice couple of days, perhaps the best of the spring, and a good time to figure out how to prepare for future weekend trips this summer. What t I didn't count on were the bears getting in the way.

The entire basin was closed yesterday because there were a couple of bears seen roaming about, including one which earlier in the week had take down a baby bison in full view of visitors up on Geyser Hill. So when I arrived, tthat closure was still in effect, and the choices for what to do were severly limited. I decided the Beehive overlook was the best place to spend my exile. The advantages are that it is near something erupting (Geyser Hill), you can see most features down basin (at least their steam clouds), and Beehive was probably going to erupt this morning. Fortunately, the three hours I spent there resulted in my missing nothing interesting down basin, as Castle had a minor as I arrived and Grand waited until well after the opening. (The less said of Giant and Fan & Mortar, the better.)

The indicator preceded the 10:39 Beehive eruption by only 19 seconds, and was maybe a couple of feet high at most. Beehive was already sloshing heavily when it started, and it quit moments after it became obvious that Beehive was in eruption. It did awaken for a bit later in the eruption, but due to the wind, I was not in a position to see much of it. So while Beehive has been fairly reliable erupting every day, the amount of actual warning you get may be none.

The Sawmill Group was interesting, too. During my exile, I noticed that Tardy was always on every time I looked down basin. So the wet runoff channels but dropping pools was no surprise. Looked like Penta might have a chance during the next cycle. Instead, as I was leaving the area, I saw Churn erupt for the first of three eruptions in the series. The first eruption even had that dead fish smell even though I was told that Churn had been active earlier in the week. During that same series, I saw a Bulger major, the first one I've probably seen since the 1990s.

Penta was not to be, however, as the pool levels didn't look right and Sawmill had a steady stream of small bubbles reaching the slowly rising surface. Sure enough, Sawmill began eruting while well below overflow.

Even worse, Rift started an eruption while I was there. I didn't see when West Triplet started, but it was active when Rift started, but quite within a few minutes of Rift's start. It seems typical of the Grand Group for West Triplet and Rift to reactivate in mid-to-late May, but why can't it ever wait until after I get to see West Triplet as an intermittent spring?

But the most intriguing thing is a new hole in the Old Tardy runoff channel, just before it joins the Crystal Spring/Slurp runoff. THis hole is about 8--12 inches across, and has that same layered appearance that the holes near Scalloped Spring exhibit. When I first saw it, I thought that it might have been a feature that appeared over the winter, but Scott Bryan said that it wasn't there when he was in the basin on Thursday. From where the ground is wet or dry, it appears that it might be a drain for all of the Old Tardy runoff that used to flow in that direction. Years ago there were some patches of steaming ground around Old Tardy. I'll have to go through my old notebooks to find the maps to see if any of those places correspond with this hole. (And I'll try to post pictures of it tomorrow.)

There's a lot of snow still on the ground. Coming in through Island Park, it seemed that if there wasn't snow, then there was standing water But the Madison and Firehole Rivers don't seem all that high, at least compared to some of the seasons I remember. The shelf in the Firehole at the Sawmill Bridge is just barely under water. So perhaps the worst is yet to come. (And if there's standing water around here like there is in Island Park, gonna be a long, nasty mosquito season.

Other Geyser Times

17 May 2008
  • Churn
    • 12:01, d>1m
    • 12:21, d=1m22s
    • 12:40, d=1m18s
  • Rift, 12:57
  • Oblong
    • 08:12ns
    • 14:00
  • Castle
    • 08:01, minor, d≈3m
    • 11:39

May 09, 2008

Giantess

This morning the webcamera shows an eruption of Giantess, the first eruption in about 22 months. Based on the nature of the play from Giantess, and that I think I saw activity in Vault, it appears that the eruption started in the early morning hours.

Update: 10:45

Well, it appears that the activity was the final stages of a steam-phase eruption that started early last night (say around 22:00). The OFVC seismograph should have the start time, so let's see how wrong I am.

July 05, 2007

Grand Observations

Mary Beth Schwarz reports that since I've left, the mode shift at Grand continues. There have been several more false Vent overflow delays, and then yesterday (04 July) Grand had it's first known "boop" delay in several years. (A "boop" is when, during a Turban heavy overflow delay, Grand has boiling to up to several feet over its vent which does not result in an eruption. )Like the false Vent overflows, this usually results in several Turban interval delays.In this case, six. Fortunately, the delay took place early in the Grand interval, which kept that interval from being excessively long.

July 02, 2007

Observations for 01 July

Grand decided that it needs to not only have more long intervals, but to resurrect a pattern I've not seen this trip: the one where every Turban interval is about 30 seconds shorter than the previous,and Grand won't even try to erupt until there's an interval of about 17 minutes or so. And even then, there's no guarantee that you won't just get some sort of Turban delay. But this time everything cooperated and we got a less than ten minute long two burst eruption.

Then while starting to pack up the truck for the trip back, I got a bonus. Haven't really seen Beehive all trip, because so many of the eruptions have been without the Indicator. The previous eruption someone announced that water was rising in the Indicator, and within a minute, Beehive was in eruption. I was in my cabin, and barely got out the door from one radio call to the next. Weeks ago I'd resigned myself to seeing Beehive no closer than from the river overlook, if I was lucky.

Today we got another such call, but this time the Indicator cooperated. I was able to walk fast and get to about Anemone when Beehive took off. With the prevailing winds, that meant I was on the wrong side, and took the cold drenching to get to the other side. There were full 360° rainbows in there somewhere, but I didn't stick around for them. That water was cold. I wish I'd brought the camera, because not only was that the first time I've seen the Second Indicator, for much of the eruption it appeared taller than the Indicator itself. And I still don't know who exactly it was who gave out the call.

For the second afternoon in a row, Grand had a false Vent overflow. Today at least Grand finally did erupt during West Triplet, but I don't like this sort of behavior, and almost thankful that I won't be around to have it frustrate me. While waiting, we did have a herd of elk and their calves appear below Castle and head off across the walkway and north.

July 01, 2007

Observations for 30 June

Lately Grand has been having a long interval followed by a couple of shorts, or some sort of variation on the theme (like two longs in a row, or three shorts, etc.) Today it tried something different. The early morning interval was a long, so I expected a short. Instead we got one of the longest intervals of my stay. It seemed to break all the rules. We had a false Vent overflow, West Triplet erupted a second time without Grand following along, and had several short (under 17 minute) Turban intervals, and Grand finally initiated the eruption for The Burst and Quit. It was a hot day and fun was had all around.

At least it kept to form for the nighttime eruption, with a little over seven hour interval putting the start in the second minute of July. But what I don't understand is why tourists come out on a moonlit night and then proceed to wave weak flashlights at the eruption. Fortunately the moon was so bright that they didn't matter.

June 30, 2007

Observations for 29 June

Coming back from downbasin, I always look over on Geyser Hill as I bike up that well-despised hill the Inn sits on. It's mostly to check for a Beehive Indicator, but occasionally I do get to see something else of interest. This morning, after Grand, I noticed that Giantess was putting up a strong, well defined steam cloud. Now it was around 08:45, which is a bit late for any dry ice effects, but the last few days we've been having calm mornings, and those are excellent conditions for Giantess to have its big boils. Not making any predictions, but just noting that this is the first time that I've seen anything at all from that pool.

The second burst of the mid-day Grand eruption was had a long second burst that featured lots of Big Sawmill action. During the last half minute, Vent was reduced to a steam jet with little to no water visible. The post-eruption pause, at over 23 minutes, was unusually long, too.

I was a bit surprised that for a Grand eruption that would take place just after sunset with a full moon in warm conditions, there were just a few tourists out beside me. No gazers or even geyser groupies. I remember years past where there would have been a dozen or so of us out there. Then again, most of those people have gone, been driven away, or gotten older. But still, you'd think that some of the newer gazers would take advantage of such opportunities.

June 28, 2007

Observations for 28 June

Thanks to Grand once again deciding to have a long interval when it could instead have erupted by moonlight, I got to see that Grotto was still in its marathon eruption when I left at 04:30. Which, it turns out, was just about the time it shut down. Grotto was off and dead by 05:20. So once again, the Bijou Monkey Cage would be filling mid-morning and overflowing by noon. Grand had a consecutive long interval, and despite the breeze, it was a hot wait there.

Had already decided earlier in the week that if a Giant hot period started while I was at Grand, I was not going to race down to the Cage with the rest of the herd, but stay there and, should it actually erupt, try and get some photos, and get to see what it looks like from there. Today I got my chance. Unfortunately, some of the pictures were blurred because I was in such a hurry and the camera is so slow to respond. As with last week, the time between the start of Mastiff's surging turning into actual jetting until the start of Giant seemed to last forever, despite it being just a bit under two minutes.

Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #1 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #2 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #3 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 #4
Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 28 12:33 from Grand and Oblong

I do sort of wish that the circumstances of the two eruptions, this one and last week's, were reversed, as I'd really have liked to have heard just how high this one was. It was definitely larger that earlier, but by how much? (Maybe someday, instead of immediately yakking into their cell phones from within the Monkey Cage every time, some people can put the effort into seeing and recording eruptions from other locations like I've tried to do. And I do resent, just a bit, how a number of geyser groupies just assumed I'd be measuring this height like last time.)

Observations for 27 June

The Grotto that started the night before didn't last, so when I came out for the middle of the night Grand, nothing much was happening down there. Giant's platform looked like there hadn't been an event in hours. Thanks to Grand having a 9 hour interval, I got to see the platform again, when it looked unchanged just before a short, weak hot period. But then Grotto started, and it became apparant that this was going to be the hoped for marathon.

The marathon meant that it was possible to be elsewhere, and I was able to fulfill other obligations, as the photo shows. I'm told that while I was gone, Beehive had an eruption that was actually preceded by the Indicator. That evening, thirteen hours after the start, Grotto was still erupting.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto Fountain 06:33
  • Grotto 06:44
  • Giant hot periods
    • 06:27 d=1m57s
    • 07:35 d=4m21s
    • 08:40 d=1m40s

June 27, 2007

Observations for 26 June

The marathon quit shortly after sunrise, setting things up for an afternoon of Giant. A short afternoon, as the hot period took place at 12:44. It was disappointing because it didn't last long (about 9 minutes) and did not feature much in the way of Mastiff activity. And then the hourly hot periods resumed with a Mastiff bathtub.

That activity continued, with the last daylight hot period actually the best of the day, and in some ways better than the recovery hot period. Grotto also started only about a half hour earlier, so it was hoped that it was a new marathon starting, and this all meant everyone could get a good night's rest.

Grand finally almost cooperated by erupting just before sunset, with the light disappearing late in the eruption. There was a particularly intense rainbow coming straight out of Vent when you stood in the right location. It would cooperated better if it had had a second burst.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto 19:48
  • Giant hot periods
    • 12:44 d≈9m
    • 14:04 bathtub
    • 16:14 d=2m00s
    • 17:27 d≈6m
    • 18:57 d=2m
    • 20:14 d=7m15s

June 26, 2007

Observations for 25 June

Turns out it was a mistake. Spent a whole night, and the next day, seeing weak hot periods and short Grotto eruptions. Grotto finally went into a marathon at 14:35, and Giant had the big hot period we'd been expecting for 36 hours shortly after that. The first six minutes of it seemed fairly ordinary, the only distinguishing feature being a number of previously quiet vents were active. Then, several minutes after Feather had quit, it restarted and Giant started massive surging. So much so that observers there insisted Giant was about to start. Unfortunately, it didn't, and now we wait out the marathon.

Grand seems to like having short intervals during the evening, night and early mornings, reserving the longer intervals for mid day when the crowds are the largest. The morning eruption was right at the time when the sun was appearing over the trees, so that only the tops of the jets, and the mass of the second burst were illuminated.

Other Geyser Times

  • Grotto 00:42 d≈2h15m, 09:00 d≈1h15m, 14:39
  • Grotto Fountain 08:57, 14:35
  • Giant hot periods
    • 00:16 d=4m37s
    • 01:17 d=2m08s
    • 02:27 d=4m32s
    • 03:58 bathtub
    • 05:02 bathtub
    • 06:08 bathtub
    • 07:15 bathtub
    • 08:10 bathtub
    • 09:05
    • 10:04
    • 10:56 bathtub
    • 11:57 4m53s
    • 12:51 bathtub
    • 14:02 d=1m55s
    • 15:11
    • 15:57 d=2m22s
    • 17:02 bathtub
    • 18:02 d=5m55s + restart

June 25, 2007

Observations for 24 June

Another pretty dull day, with lots of weak Giant hot periods and waiting for Grotto to do something. But as the day progressed, the amount of surging in Giant and Mastiff got stronger. Made it easy to believe that something might happen, and soon.

Other Geyser Times

24 June 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 10:44, 18:44ie
  • Grotto 10:48, 18:44ie
  • Giant hot periods
    • 11:30
    • 12:24 d=1m44s
    • 13:32 d=3m46s
    • 14:22
    • 15:28 d=4m40s
    • 16:17 bathtub
    • 17:13 d=2m27s
    • 18:18 d=5m20s
    • 19:10 d≈2m
    • 20:12 d=2m46s
    • 21:11 d=4m19s
    • 22:08 bathtub
    • 23:17

June 24, 2007

Observations for 23 June

Grotto went into a marathon eruption. Start time was almost certainly the eruption the previous night, as it was erupting when I was out at Grand after midnight. Well into the eruption Grotto had the first observed Rocket major eruption that I have heard of for this year, at 12:48. Lasted only a couple of minutes, and a strange time for it. But the marathon ended shortly thereafter.

This set the recovery hot period in the early nighttime hours. The duration was a bit disappointingly short, but an indication that at least we don't need to worry too much about any eruption taking place on Sunday.

Fan & Mortar continued their usual chaotic behavior with flashes of " hot periods" which sucked in a new set of the newly arrived who someone get the idea that the very first cycle they see is the one that's going to initiate an eruption. Despite being the same as what everyone else has been seeing for weeks.

Beehive broke out of its window, with a late evening eruption. Again, it appears that there was no indicator. Beehive surged a couple of times and then took off.

Other Geyser Times

  • Giant hot period 22:30 d=5m37s

June 23, 2007

Observations for 22 June

Been a dull series of days, with little to report, other than Beehive had yet another Beehive eruption with not just no indicator, but no warning. Someone whose voice I don't recognize was at Lion for the start, and because she was facing away, was caught by surprise.

And yes, below is another Grotto Fountain that didn't result in the start of Grotto.

Other Geyser Times

22 June 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 15:40, 17:12
  • Grotto 17:22
  • Uncertain 16:46

June 21, 2007

Observations for 20 June

Agsin, post-Giant there's not a lot to report. Yesterday I did forget to include the photo of the signs' resting place.

I did see a new bit of touron weirdness on my way to Grand: an orange car (I don't even bother keeping up with the models and makes any more) that was practially in the old plaza area between the old VC's theaters. It seems someone thought the walkway leading from the road across from the old Photo Shop was a road. It was headed by the time I got near enough to get a better view. No camera on me at the time, either.

Grand itself was another short interval. The best feature of that was that it put the next eruption squarely in the dark to dawn time frame, and that was more than enough excuse to use the night to catch up on sleep instead. (And the rain showers I heard at 02:00 helped, too.)

June 20, 2007

Five for Five

The day started out as expected: Grotto still erupting along with a several hour wait at Grand. But just before the Grand eruption, I noticed that the steam cloud at Grotto had suddenly ceased. Scott Bryan confirmed that Grotto was off, giving us a fourteen hour duration, and a Giant window opening sometime in early afternoon.

The rest of the morning was spent in trying to catch up on a little of the sleep I hadn't gotten the last few nights. Then it was out into the basin to see what would happen next. I figured the Bijou Cage was near capacity, so no reason not to wait at Grand, even though it was well before time for an eruption. One indication of just how full the cage probably was was when I saw an eruptions of Aurum and that weren't announced on the radio about an hour earlier. On the way out, ran into Lynn Stephens at Castle.

Since I was in time killing mode, we were talking there for quite a bit when Lynn suddenly goes, "Beehive!" Sure enough, there it was, climbing to full height, and once again without an indicator. You could almost tell by the radio reaction that there were a lot of people who once again were thinking of how they'd heard of another Beehive eruption while at Giant.

Beehive was nearing the end when Scott announced the rise in water in Mastiff. Now this was a bit of a disappointment, as we were only a little over six hours since Grotto quit, and the last time there was a quick hot period/recovery, it lead to a weak hot period and nothing much. But not this time. Lynn and I both got on the bikes and headed down that way. Within two minutes, at 14:01, the hot period had started with several vents starting. By the time I was in sight of the platform it was apparent that Mastiff was in charge, with nice boiling visible even at a distance.

Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:11
Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:11
Mastiff Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:10
I'd decided that for this eruption, I was going to try to get a height measurement at the start of the eruption, and for that I had to walk past the platform and on south to the markers. I got into position at the 200ft markers just about the time Scott announced four minutes and Mastiff going flat but overflowing. This was normal, but the key was for Mastiff to come back, quickly and even stronger, which it did. I also noticed that at the 200ft mark, Mastiff was obscured by Giant's back shoulder, so quickly retreated to the 300ft marker instead. By 14:10, Mastiff was obviously in eruption.

Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #1 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #2 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #3 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #4 Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 #5
Giant Geyser 2007 Jun 20 14:12 Start Sequence

After two consecutive nighttime eruptions, and two more under less than ideal conditions (although 31 May was more than acceptable), it was wonderful to be perfectly positioned to see a start on a warm afternoon. I quickly took the sequence of photos here, then used my clinometer to get a reading on the height. I was disappointed to get only 60%, which comes to 180ft. But as the photo sequence shows, this just didn't seem like a huge, high start.

(My camera is an ancient, ten-year old Kodak DC-50 first generation digital camera. It takes up to 7 seconds to process and store an image, so that sequence is at least 30 seconds long.)

I noticed that the northern corner of the cage got soaked nicely, and took pictures of the resting places for the marker signs. After that, it was enjoy the spectacle time.

Shortly after the start it was announced that Castle was erupting, as if anybody cared. I assume by an NPS naturalist on rove, as unless they were lucky enough to be stuck in an NPS staff meeting, every gazer seemed to be at their chosen spot in sight of Giant.

Grand kept up the tradition of being difficult in erupting after Giant. The two nighttime eruptions of Giant I saw featured Grand erupting within ten minutes or so (at least from the steam clouds I saw.) For this one, like the early morning eruption in May, Grand erupted while I was tying down my bike at Castle, denying me the enjoyment of waiting for Grand while watching the waning Giant activity.

Now the pressure is really on. I figure I've got one more chance at a Giant eruption, next week before I leave, and can't leave with a five out of six record.

Observations for 19 June

The morning hot periods were a bit disappointing. I was expeciting a bit of a wait, and the first one occurred within minutes of my getting settled in. Doing the math, I realized there was no reason to go back in, as Grand would be due in a few hours more, and besides, the next hot period might be the real one.

As it turned out, I went to Grand, and caught a Penta eruption, too. The geyser fog was as good or even better than I remembered it. I really enjoy it when it's so thick and patchy that you get situtations like you can't see Sawmill group from Grand, but Beauty and Chromatic to the north are easily visible by their immense steam columns.

Back at Giant, things got progressively weaker, so that as noon approached, it appeared as if the platform was in a post-marathon phase. Both Scott Bryan and I noticed and commented on this at about the same time, how it reminded us of what things looked like last week. But this time, just as everyone was about to abandon the Bijou Cage, water rose in Mastiff and we got a fairly good (but not great) hot period.

So the rest of the day was a series of disappointments, at it just seemed that Giant did not want to erupt, and was using the hot periods to make that clear. Then we got a Grotto start which turned into yet another marathon, about the fourth for this interval. Ultimately, a less than satisfying day.

At sunset, we did get the first bug-hatching of the season. The Firehole River by the Castle-Sawmill bridge was thick with all sorts of insects, and the trout seemed to be actively feeding too. Over at Grand, the mosquitoes were not quite thick enough to be annoying, but it is definitely time to find that bug juice.

Other Geyser Times

19 Jun 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 06:39, 17:36
  • Grotto 06:56, 17:44
  • Giant hot periods
    • 03:55 d≈4m
    • 05:20 d=5m20s
    • 06:25 d≈2m30s
    • 07:51 d=6m48s
    • 09:14 bathtub
    • 11:47 d=6m55s
    • 15:33 d=3m47s
    • 16:40 d≈7m
    • 17:35 d≈2m
    • 18:43 bathtub
    • 19:46 d=2m02s
    • 20:49 bathtub

June 19, 2007

Observations for 18 June

It's amazing to think that I can be awakened by Kitt Barger saying "Water rising in Mastiff" and be fully dressed and equipped and biking past the Inn when the hot period ends about 6 minutes later. (More on this hot period under "Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks")

Turns out we had another short marathon, with Grotto starting before 05:00 and ending around 20:30. So now have a busy, " hurry up and wait for Giant" day ahead.

The middle of the night Grand was uneventful, but the morning one went and erupted when I've said it shouldn't: with both West Triplet and Rift both in eruption. Oh, well.

The other middle of the night eruption, just before midnight, delayed just long enough to not only miss out on a four Grand day, but erupted about ten minutes after the crescent moon set.

One of the examples of who atrocious yesterday was that I forgot to mention was that when Daisy erupted, the steam cloud was horizontal all the way to Oblong.

Other Geyser Times

18 Jun 2007
  • Giant hot periods
    • 05:24 d≈5m30s

Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks

During this morning's Giant hot period radio wake-up call, one of the usual annoyances, Mr. Radio-Voice-Of-The-Upper-Geyser-Basin, had to interrupt to first inform everyone that he was arriving at Daisy (I assume he meant at Black Sand by car as he has been staying at West Yellowstone), then asking if Castle was erupting. Some people just can't seem to shut up and listen.

And nothing to do with geysers

In the Lodge cabin area, the ravens have figured out that on the housekeeping carts, there are goodies in the form of bags of trash. When housekeeping takes their lunch breaks, they leave the carts, and the ravens move in, ripping them open for the goodies inside. On windy days, this also means that trash gets scattered everywhere. I would assume that eventually housekeeping will figure out that they need to put the trash in the "bear-proof" dumpsters, especially if they have to keep cleaning up enough times. But in this particular "intellectual arms-race", I would bet that currently the ravens have the upper hand.

June 18, 2007

Observations for 17 June

There was nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about the middle of the night Grand eruption, other than it had two bursts, which I think was a first for my nighttimes, and it seemed like the wind picked up about the time of the eruption. By the time of the next eruption, it was an ugly, windy day that threatened to turn atrocious.. While we had to endure an endless wind mixed with sleet and rain, Grand did pick a time when things were a bit nicer to give us the usual one burst.

The afternoon wasn't so fortunate, as atrocious moved in and stayed. The wait for the afternoon Grand was miserable, not because of percipitation, but the winds that kept shifting directions. Things finally calmed down by sunset, when reasons for being out and about were few.

Grotto started sometime during the night, and by that time it appeared to be headed to a marathon. But around 11:30, it shut off. So instead of the full Giant-free day, it shaped up to be trying to have another event about 24 hours after the big attempt last night. Except the event seemed to come early. At 16:07, after only 4-1/2 hours,we got an 8m25s hot period which seemed to not really want to initiate an eruption.

Other Geyser Times

17 June 2007
  • Giant Hot Periods
    • 16:07 d=8m25s
    • 18:57 d=3m16s
    • 20:49 d=4m55s>/li>

June 17, 2007

Observations for 16 June

Grotto continued through the night. I was pretty sure it was still active for the middle of the night Grand, and the way the Amfac louts illuminated it seemed to confirm that. It was seen to send around 06:15, meaning that it had been erupting for at least 25 hours.

In the dark of the night, one can't observe Grand's pools or much of anything that's going on. Instead, one must rely on hearing. One thing that I've noticed is how many of the Turban eruptions on which Grand starts sound decidedly different. More vigorous, noisier and not as slow starting as other Turban eruptions. This applies even to those eruptions where there's a considerable lag time between Turban's start and Grand's. I would supposed this isn't as noticeable during the day because of all the background noise, but if you listen for it, you'll hear it.

The morning Grand gave us the last three burst eruption Grand will ever have (the last was back in May.) Instead of quitting, Vent and Turban continued, but there was no attempt by Grand to have afterplay until much to late for a fourth burst.

Giant Hot Period 1
Giant Hot Period 1
Giant Hot Period 16 Jun 2007
So the afternoon and early evening were spent at Giant, to see what the post-marathon hot period would be like. There were about a dozen people in the monkey cage, and late in the evening we had to endure a series of small showers and hailstorms. But Giant cooperated and the hot period took place after the weather had passed.

This hot period seemed a daylight version of the one I saw earlier this week in the middle of the night, 24 hours before the actual eruption. It lasted even longer, 16m50s, and the late surging from Giant seemed even stronger. (My photos didn't capture any of the big surges.) But like then, things just sort of died down. Now the hope is that it'll take Giant about eighteen to twenty-four hours to try again, and get out of this nighttime eruption mode.

Thanks to the person who made a donation. Much appreciated, including the fact that I know now that that button really works! But when I saw the confirmation email, I almost tossed it because I thought it was another one of those scams to try and get my passwords.

Other Geyser Times

16 June 2007
  • Giant hot period 19:26 d=16m50s

June 16, 2007

Observations for 15 June

Another night to get some sleep, but this time Grand decides to toss in a long interval, so when I get out there, I get to see first overflow. And, of course, Grand lets West Triplet have the first eruption opportunity so it can use the second eruption window.

The late day Grand seemed to be determined to ignore my recipe for when eruptions occur. Not only was it between the two windows, but Rift was still erupting. Not sure why I try any more.

Grotto, meanwhile, was in eruption when I first saw it in the morning, and was still erupting 5-1/2 hours later. It was still going when the late day Grand had finished, 12 hours after I'd first observed it. Might try to catch the post-marathon Giant event, if it's in daylight, just to see my Guru Geyser Gazing proven wrong.

June 15, 2007

Observations for 14 June

So to catch up on sleep, I decide to skip the overnight Grand. I figure a 13 hour double interval is more than enough time, and besides, in the morning, it gives me time to get a Lower Ham's breakfast before the inevitable three hour wait. So I'm sitting at the counter, and my order is about to arrive, and I hear that the monitor shows that Grand has an interval just a bit over 6 hours. Which means right now I'm pushing 7, which is just too long for comfort.

Fortunately, Grand cooperated and let me finish my breakfast and get out there. We had a less than eight minute first burst, but yet another long second burst, but this one was so weak that calling the activity "Big Sawmill" was to exaggerate. More like "Big Tardy".

The afternoon Grand also had a long second burst. It's starting to be a trend, and a good one. While they used to be considered bad, because all that power and activity could have been used in a third or fourth burst, these seem to be acting as an alternative to a single burst eruption.

In the Sawmill Group a deep drain resulting in several Penta steam phase eruptions, one so wet it resembled a true, major eruption. This was accompanied by bursting from Oval up to 5 ft above the rim, and a clogged 6th Vent trying to join in on the fun.

Paul Strasser has pointed out that Mastiff function eruptions seem to be associated with Grotto marathons, while Giant only starts are during that time from the first pos-marathon Grotto until the next marathon. The four eruptions I've seen this trip do follow that pattern. (And like all geysers, there are known exceptions to the pattern.) But this is something to keep in mind while watching hot periods in the prime Giant window. If Mastiff is not surging in the post-marathon ones, or Mastiff is surging heavily between marathons, that might be a sign you aren't going to see an eruption. This bit of Guru Geyser Gazing is sure to be proved wrong in a few days. Then again, this is probably well known.

And nothing to do with geysers

That railing and concrete walkway in front of the Lodge may have been there for years, but it's new to me. I've found that navigating it on a bike can be a bit tricky when the crowds gather to see Old Faithful. The gravel is at least a half inch below the concrete, and it slopes downward, toward the building. I've come close to several spill thanks to inattentive tourons .

So today I had my first dive. All my own fault, No one anywhere in sight, not even a Nelson Muntz to laugh at my misfortune. I just mis-navigated the turn onto it from the cabin area and went off the edge and dropped to the side. Would have been fine, just a little scraped up, except that railing is solid, and got in the way of my chest. Which still hurts. I may have to sue Xanterra and the NPS for pain and mental anguish from this.

June 14, 2007

Observations for 13 June

After the morning, you really expect there to be a lot here? Once daylight arrived, it was a dull day, useful to catch up on things like eating and sleeping and getting cleaned up.

Other Geyser Times

13 Jun 2007
  • Grotto 15:07
  • Rift 17:36ie

And nothing to do with geysers

The maintenance crews were out in the basin today, painting the old wooden benches from Grand to Grotto. We joked about how, despite the barriers and streamers and "Wet Paint" signs, there would be people coming up to touch it. On my way back from Grand, I noticed they'd also painted the railing between the Inn and Old Faithful along the bike trail. And sure enough, there were two older women at one, sampling the paint.

I guess I've been away from industrial tourism too long, because I just do not understand the infatuation with striking a stupid pose in front of a geyser or bison or some other piece of scenery. Used to be cameras just made photographers stupid, the new phone-cameras must make emit some sort of signal affecting the subjects, too.

June 13, 2007

Guru Geyser Gazing Rewards

I try to write up a day's posting at the end, even though it may not get posting until midday the next day. I also then not change it even if subsequent events make some of my speculations or information out of date.

So as I'm trudging over the bridge and up the slope to Sawmill, I decide to take my own guru geyser gazing advice from the previous posting. If Grand appears that it's in for a long, then go check on Giant and Grotto. Usually it seems I end up waiting for Grand for hours, then go down and check Grotto. If I go there now, I can head in right after the eruption and the three hour wait preceding it.

So I get to Grand, and Percolator is quiet, West Triplet is empty. Turban starts almost immediately. I know from past experience that I can do the round trip to Grotto in just about one Turban interval, so at worst, I get to see a Grand start from Economic or Chromatic. Besides, the steam down there looks odd. I've been fooled in the past by Grotto, so even though I think it's on, I can't be be sure. Plus I need to go down and see if Giant has erupted already, as if it has,it makes a difference in my plans for what to do for the next Grand. Off I go.

I cross the bridge at Oblong, and by then am sure that Grotto is erupting. But is it a new eruption, or a marathon? Gotta get closer. At this point I vaguely notice that the Giant platform seems awfully steamy, too, just as Giant takes off. (At 02:16) Now that's a cheap thrill and an instant wake-up call.

It turns out I was perhaps in the best position to see the start, with what little breeze was blowing toward the platform. I couldn't see anything out there until minutes later. The platform itself was soaked in a torrential rainfall, quite impressive considering how close the source, but even the main walkway was in the rain. So I can't claim to have really "seen" the start, only experienced it. I do know my outer jacket got soaked by the time I was done.

Grotto was erupting, but it quit about a half hour later. And the Variable Pool showed no drop in water level. So no marathon, just a short Grotto interval. Based on the times, it would appear the hot period started as I was still at Grand, and there was no Mastiff function, as the amount of steam and noise coming from Giant before the start wasn't great enough. (I wasn't that out of it to not notice that much commotion.)

Eventually the steam and wind started cooperating, so I could MagLite the watercolumn from various locations. It was okay, but nothing like daylight. But I must admit, just being there and hearing all the noise was worth the experience. (And the selfishness of knowing that no one else was out there made a difference, too.)

No nighttime in the Upper Basin is complete without its little bizarre moment, and this night had one. I can't claim to have been the only person to have seen Giant, only that I was the only person who cared. Because about 45 minutes into the eruption, I noticed a light that seemed to be well north of Grotto. Now I'd been illuminating Giant off and on all eruption, so expected that I'd attracted attention. But that was an odd place, as how did they get there? I could hear voices, so there must have been at least two people. The light moved on south, passed on by Grotto, and kept going up the trail. Now Giant was still putting out a lot of steam and noise, but the light never seemed to take notice of all the commotion but once. I was relieved, as the last thing I wanted to deal with at that time was a bunch of drunken insomniac Amfac louts.

I guess I should say that I'm a little disappointed that I didn't get my wish of seeing a start from Grand, as this would have been the perfect opportunity. Perhaps, but I'd much rather see it in daylight, and this way I didn't have to make a mad dash down basin. Maybe next time.

So what about the guru geyser gazing that got me down there? Grand erupted on the next Turban. I think I'm going to amend my formula to say that Percolator is not quite so important, as that was what made me decide in the first place. I did catch the very end of a West Triplet eruption on my way back, which was obviously triggered by Grand's eruption.

Think this afternoon I'll visit Geyser Hill for the first time and see if I can get Beehive up close.

Update 14:00

Went out in the morning and took some photos of the sign locations. Also, the walkway was still wet, especially back in the trees between Grotto and Giant, where it wasn't ice.

And I wonder if the illlumination of these past two eruptions appeared on the webcam, or are MagLites just not that bright?

Observations for 12 June

So I waited for the post-marathon hot period. Much longer than I'd hoped or really intended, but it was a fairly pleasant wait. Because of the cloud cover, it never really got frigid like the wait last Thursday, but by the end, there were several short sprinkles that seemed to come from nowhere. The wind was not as cooperative either, coming from the usual southerly direction, obscuring the platform.

The hot period itself was ridiculously long. By about 10 minutes, Mastiff had dropped below overflow, and so the steam on the platform decreased making seeing possible again. That's when Giant started major surging, and Feather never shut off the whole time. The surging in Giant never reached the " filling the cone" stage, but for a while it seemed like one more little push would be all it would take to get the eruption started. Instead, I packed up and headed back in. Didn't even need to check on Grand, as I could see it's steam cloud quite clearly.

After an event of that size, I figured that I could sleep until the next Grand time and not worry (too much) about missing anything. And once it got light, the geyser groupies should be able to handle keeping an eye on things. As I expected, we got a series of almost hourly events, most of them weak, some only observed from a distance (Grand, where else?). The intervals then lengthened out as the afternoon progressed.

Also got, as the first post-marathon activity, a solo Grotto Fountain (if you don't count a couple of splashes from Grotto). The next Grotto eruption lasted for three hours. Then things got weird, at least for those of us who don't know Giant well. The whole platform began to look like it does during a marathon, with Bijou dead most of all. But the hot periods, weak though they were, continued. I got this funny feeling that tomorrow morning the signs will have been moved.

After today's long Grand interval, I've come to the conclusion that there is a pattern here. Either West Triplet or Grand is going to erupt between 6 and 7 hours after the previous eruption. If it's West Triplet, the next window is 8.5 to 10. If neither erupts, then the second window applies. You can tell that West Triplet is not going to erupt in the early window if Percolator is quiet. A West Triplet eruption before that window opens is the same as if it doesn't erupt, in that Grand will wait for the second window. This bit of guru geyser gazing will be obsolete by the end of the week.

In all the going back and forth for Giant on the bike trail, I noticed that Round Spring was down, and it was exposing some sort of animal bones.I'll leave it up to someone else to figure what kind of animal, and what part that is. Today the spring was back up and full. But, for me, a bigger question is how long, had the water stayed low and the bones exposed, would they stay there? I expect that they would find a magical ability to move out of the spring and into a waiting RV.

Other Geyser Times

12 June 2007
  • Grotto Ftn. 07:00, 09:13, 19:55
  • Grotto 09:24, 20:02
  • Rift 17:39 d=10m39s
  • Giant hot periods
    • 01:48 d=15m43s
    • 07:00 d≈5m
    • 08:03 d≈4m
    • 09:13 d≈6m
    • 10:06 weak, Bijou off 3m
    • 11:29 bathtub
    • 12:57 d=5m18s
    • 14:35 bathtub
    • 16:26 d=2m50s
    • 17:51 d≈4m30s
    • 21:09 d≈2m

June 12, 2007

Observations for 11 June

Well, good news was that Grotto was still in eruption when I went out in the morning. The bad news was that the weather was finaly going to get ugly. As it turned out, it only got as far as unkempt, with a short sprinkle and, once again, too much wind. But it passed through before Grand erupted. A two burst eruption with the second lasting 2m12s. The evening (which should have been afternoon if not for the unnecessarily long interval) had an even longer second burst, at 2m30s. Well, I guess if that's what it takes to have a second burst, it's better than nothing.

Penta erupted again, barely. It started normally, but by the time Mary Beth and I could get moving in that direction to watch it, Sawmill started, causing an immediate shutdown in Penta.

And with Grotto active, that meant a free day to do other things. It finally quit after a duration of almost exactly a day, so middle of the night would be the time of the next major event.

Here's the view, not from my cabin, but from the walk between it and the indoor plumbing. This is only the second time I've seen an eruption,

Other Geyser Times

11 Jun 2007
  • Rift 16:03

And nothing to do with geysers

Based on how much I've seen of geyser gazers who work for that company, I'm assuming "Xanterra" means, "never seen in the basin."

I've battled squirrels in every cabin in which I've stayed, and even had the occasional bison rub against a cabin or block the door, but today was the first time I had a marmot attempt to invade.

June 11, 2007

Observations for 10 June

:Looks like there still might be something happening with Grand. I've seen another interval without Percolator, followed by a short West Triplet eruption. (This one lasted 5 minutes, and did overflow momentarily.) For the afternoon eruption, Percolator was again quiet, and for the first time during my visit, I got to see a D2 Turban delay.

Unrelated is that the nighttime eruption lasted 12m37s. At least that eruption has an excuse for having Vent and Turban take 20 minutes to restart.

But what I really don't understand is how the electronic monitor could come up with a time six minutes before the actual eruption time. There wasn't any sort of heavy overflow or other unusual activity, and you'd think that a sensor based on runoff temperature would run late. Which is why I never trust electronic times when they aren't backed up with an effort to confirm them by other means.

This evening, I noticed something at Grotto. There were a number of large rocks lying in the runoff and on the formations that I just don't remember seeing before. They look like they could have been spalled off of the rim of the formations above one of the openings, but I can't be sure. In any case, it's a strange place to see so many large rocks in such a tight group. Or, maybe, I'm just not as observant as I think I am.

During the afternoon I watched Giant have couple of hot periods and a bathtub spaced about an hour apart. Again, there was lots of heavy "depth charge" surging. At Grand it appeared that the hourly events continued. When I went in, Grotto had been active for 3h30m and Spa was showing signs of life. Hoping for a marathon.

And finally, a little something from the past...

Other Geyser Times

10 Jun 2007
  • Rift 04:02, 18:46ns
  • Grotto Ftn. 07:09, 14:47
  • Grotto 07:10, 14:51

"Stupid Geyser Groupie Tricks"

It was suggested that I might want to do a category on the things tourons do. Not really interested, as there's so much to choose from and its all so transient. But I think I will do this sub-category, which currently seems to star one person in particular. His latest stunt, earlier today, was to threaten some inadvertent cross-talk that "we have a direction finder and will use it to find you." Quite rich, considering the amount of noise he alone contributes.

June 10, 2007

Observations for 09 June

Of course I spoke too soon and Grand had a 6-1/2 hr with West Triplet and Rift following. But the mid-day did fit the pattern. I didn't stick around to see if Rift started as I'd had enough of Mr. Look-At-Me-I'm-Standing-On-The-Bench-For-Two-Hours when he yelled out, over a minute after the end of the first burst, "the pool's refilling" when it obviously wasn't. (I realize now that I prefer tourons over geyser groupies.) The evening wasn't much better, because West Triplet and Rift erupted too early for Grand to join in, but at least Percolator never stopped. Oh, well. So much for speculating.

Finally got to see both Uncertain and Penta up close, although didn't see the start of the latter, and it was getting dark.

Observed several Giant hot periods up close, all short and weak. But one interval was less than 50 minutes. I don't know exactly because I was returning to wait for it only to find it in progress.

Castle seems to be having a number of "split major" eruptions, where there's a significant pause (up to 15 minutes) during the water phase, and it's confusing all the geyser groupies and NPS types who've never encountered it before.

Other Geyser Times

09 Jun 2007
  • Grotto Ftn. 09:00ie, 12:46ie, 18:43ns
  • Grotto 09:02, 12:46, 16:45
  • Uncertain 11:32
  • Rift 18:59 d=51m33s

June 09, 2007

Observations for 08 June

Friday was a wasted day, and pretty much covered in an earlier posting, except for one thing.

In years past, Grand would often undergo an interval mode shift sometimes between late April and early June. Just this time of year, actually. These mode shifts would mean that intervals would suddenly increase or decrease by a sizable amount, and often accompanied by dormancy or reactivation of Rift and West Triplet. In the last few days, I've noticed that Grand has stopped having short eruptiion intervals, even when all the signs say it should and could. Also, with last night's eruption, I've now seen in the past few days several eruptions where West Triplet did not erupt with Grand, and Percolator was quiet, too. (Actually, last night West Triplet came up to about a foot below overflow, blipped for less than a minute, then dropped.) This may be a simple fluctuation in behavior, or signal a shift in activity.

Unfortunately, in all those mode shifts, the burst count never seemed to be affected, good or bad.And just having mentioned out-loud the possibility means things are going to revert.

And nothing to do with geysers

At the bottom of one of the boxes of Yellowstone stuff that sat in the closet the last few years was something that I'm going to have to list on eBay under "Paper Memorabilia & Ephemera"

June 08, 2007

Observations for 07 June

Once daylight arrived, it became obvious how close we came to getting snow. All the ridges and slopes around the Upper Basin down to Observation Point were dusted white.

One thing I left out of the Giant report is that I'm almost certain there wasn't an Oblong the whole time I was there. In those conditions it's possible to miss it, but I'd like to think I wasn't that out of it. I did notice Riverside and Daisy,for example.

So after this morning, the rest of the day was boring. Went out to see Grand do it's West Triplet-delay/Big Sawmill thing a couple of times, but otherwise it was catch up day. The wind at the morning's Grand made me appreciate how nice 37° can be when it's dead calm. The evening's eruption was just as bad.

June 07, 2007

Thursday is Giant Day

It may have been really stupid, but it was worth it.

So the evening Grand had to be a long interval in the cold and snow, one I should have bailed out on. But it finally did just about the time the sun set somewhere behind all the gray. With the exact time of Grotto shutting down not known, only the report of it off at 17:40, I was estimating that the window would be opening around 23:00, and I wanted to be there. So after Grand finally got around to its one burst eruption, I headed in and quickly dressed in just about anything I've got to keep me warm and dry.

It turns out I had plenty of time. Spent the next 4+ hours waiting for nothing to happen. At least it was calm and only occasional snow sprinkles to keep things damp. It was only towards the end, when it was time for the next Grand, that I considered bailing out. And even then, I've said I want to see a start from Grand.

The hot period finally started at 03:23. I'd call it "ns", because, magically, Feather was suddenly erupting to full height. In the dark, you realize that hot periods are really pretty quiet, and not all that steamy, either. But this time Mastiff almost immediately began surging in the 5 foot range. Over the course of the next few minutes, it would surge up and then die down, with each iteration a bit stronger than before. With the help of our strong lights (I think my MagLite's battery needs replacement), and the slight breeze from the north, it was easy to see what was going on on the platform most of the time.

By 03:31, Mastiff was in eruption, continuously throwing water higher than Giant's cone. This continued to build and quite suddenly it was noisily throwing water to about 50 feet. Visibility was finally deteriorating because were also getting some good strong action from Catfish. (And maybe Bijou, It was getting hard to see, and too much going on.) All the while, Giant was completely dead. At the time, it seemed like much, much longer, but just 2m30s later Giant finally surged a couple of times and then took off, and up.

Not much to say about the start of the eruption, other than shining our lights straight up we could see the entire water column. At the same time, Catfish went into a powerful steam phase, becoming the loudest performer on the platform for the next several minutes.

My digital kitchen thermometer said that the air temperature at that time was 37°, which was much warmer than I expected, since that was the temperature when I was out at Grand.

After about a half hour, I'd had enough. I'd been a long night, and besides, I wanted to see what a nighttime Giant steamcloud looked like from other parts of the basin. From Grand, there's no mistaking it for a measly Grotto or Oblong, and even at Crested Pool I thought I could hear Giant.

And this makes the third Thursday eruption in a row. I sense a guru geyser gazing pattern developing.

Observations for 06 June

Getting out to Grand and seeing what appeared to be a still erupting Grotto was not what I was expecting. On the other hand, based on the weather forecasts, I was expecting rain or even snow, and instead the moon was visible. It was still erupting after the latest one-burst Big Sawmill eruption, when I last saw it at 05:00.

Seeing Grotto still erupting when time for the next Grand was both annoying and a relief. A relief because that storm was finally coming in, and it was wet, but not cold enough to snow. Annoying because when it does finally end, I know I'll be out in the snow phase of the storm.

Finally, at 17:40, there's a report that Grotto is off. But for how long? I last saw it at 13:00, so it could be as much as 4 hours, or as little as 1/2. Split the difference, and it appears I'll be headed there after Grand for a long night of nothing happening.

That also means that the duration was around 40-42 hours, giver or take a lot because no one saw the start or end.

Other Geyser Times

06 June 2007
  • Rift 10:09ie d>46m10s, 22:32ie

June 06, 2007

Observations for 05 June

It appears that Grotto went back into another marathon before midnight. From 02:30 to 04:30 the platform at Giant was chaotic and week, and there was no sign of any hot periods in the hours before I got there, either.

Shortly before midnight Castle had one of its interrupted majors. After about 6 minutes of water, it shut down for about 5 minutes before resuming activity.

F&M-1 05Jun2007
F&M-2 05Jun2007
Fan & Mortar, 13:00 05 Jun 2007
While I was semi-comatose from the night's activity, Scott Bryan saw a large steam-cloud down basin that turned out to be the first eruption of Fan & Mortar in nearly two years. He got down there in time to see the end of the water and noted that the splash zone extended well beyond the walkway.

As the day progressed, the weirdness continued. Dome became active. Little Squirt was also observed earlier in the day. Beehive had a one day interval, and I saw two indicators during the eruption. (No photo, unfortunately.) At least the afternoon Grand got in before the thunderstorms hit.

Grotto was in marathon all day, from when I first saw it at 00:00 to 22:00 when leaving the fourth Grand of the day (a whole 5 bursts).

Other Geyser Times

  • Dome 11:33ns

June 05, 2007

Observations for 04 June

Having Grotto shut off around 07:30 meant an afternoon of waiting for Giant Hot Periods in between showers. Only in the last observed one did Mastiff show any potential. As of 19:15, Grotto had yet to start, but Grotto Fountain appeared to be getting close.

Other Geyser Times

  • Rift 23:46 d=57m13s
  • Giant hot periods
    • 13:06 d=8m46s
    • 16:19 d=3m32s
    • 18:57 d=6m20s

And nothing to do with geysers

The trees between Oblong and Giant perfectly block the view of Grotto and Giant from the whole distance from Grand to Oblong. It's too bad that someone didn't take the opportunity of the fires in 1988 to do, what's euphemistically called, "scenic vista enhancement".

June 04, 2007

Observations for 03 June

The middle of the night Grand eruption ended up being the early morning eruption, thanks to Rift and West Triplet. As expected, all the clouds were gone by midnight, and with the almost full moon, there was no excuse to not go out. The wait and eruption were saved from becoming a total fiasco by the eruption being extremely unusual. The time between the start of Turban and the start of Grand was 2m56s. This is longest such interval that I've witnessed since the early 1980s. Turban started out sounding vigorous, and stayed that way the whole time. Due to the fog and low light, it wasn't possible to see either Vent or Grand's pool. But despite poor seeing, it seemed like the pool's fog was not thinning as usual.

With such a delayed start, it's not surprising that Vent started only 47s later. It appears that although Vent's start is keyed off the initiating geyser, it'll take an even greater interval to get a "Vent before Grand" start. In 1983, Mary Ann Moss witnessed one such, but Grand took over 7 minutes to start. In the past I've noticed that these extreme starts result in shorter Grand eruptions (total water and duration), but that may be the case here as a 10m10s single burst resulted in Vent and Turban quitting.

The mid-day Grand gave us the second unusual eruption in a row. First, it was only the second heavy overflow type delay that I've seen this trip. Grand finally boiled up a meter or so, then went calm again. It looked like we might actually get a "boop", which I haven't see since the mid-90s. But about 10 seconds later Grand started for real.

Where this morning's eruption featured a long time between the start of Turban and the start of Grand, this featured the reverse. It took Turban a minute to start, no where near a record, but Vent's vent didn't overflow until 17 seconds after that. Vent itself didn't start erupting until 3m12s, which is the opposite extreme from this morning.

Stopped by the Giant group in preparation for the start of a new Giant Deathwatch, and caught a weak bathtub (water visible only if you looked for it) and then a Grotto start. It took so long from the start of Grotto Fountain that I thought this might e one of those Grotto Ftn. only eruptions. And when Grotto did start, it seemed weak.

The afternoon/evening/twilight Grand eruption was notable only for the lack of any reason there was almost a nine hour interval, and two deer that wandered through. Earlier Grotto started what appears to be a maratthon, at least it was still going 3-1/2 hours later.

It was pointed out to me that some information in my description of the 31 May eruption of Giant was in error. It's quite normal, post-marathon, for Bijou to be dead even hours later, and only reactivate after the first hot period. And even then, it may not be continuous.

Other Geyser Times

  • Rift 02:20 d=37m53s, 12:17
  • Grotto Fountain 13:10ie d>21m26s, 17:39
  • Grotto 13:33, 17:50 (still ie 21:20)
  • Giant Hot Periods (not complete)
    • 10:19 d=6m16s
    • 15:49
    • 17:21, d=2m02s
    • 18:45, d≈5m30s

And nothing to do with geysers

Behind the Inn, parked in a "handicapped only" space was a van with several bikes on the back and a kayak on top.

June 03, 2007

Observations for 02 June

Having a one Turban wait at 03:00 is nice. It's just enough time to settle in and appreciate the cold, but not long enough to get cold.

A 9m10s one burst eruption of Grand, on the other hand, isn't nice, especially on a full moon night when the slight breeze is blowing the steam to the north and West Triplet hasn't started erupting yet. The only excuse Big Sawmill has is that it took 1m25s from the start of Turban to get going. I really do miss the good ol' days when a first burst of that length was disappointing because it meant you probably were only got to get a second.

So of course the next eruption interval from Grand has to be a long. A long that doesn't fit any pattern, that erupts over half an hour after West Triplet ends, and that has no Rift. The pattern of Turban eruptions was chaotic up to the point where it had what I call a Type 3 delay (I think that's what I called it. Ishould've checked my notes back home better): On a fairly short interval, Turban has a strong, short eruption (around 3m30s) without any indication that Grand wants to erupt. That is followed by an even shorter interval (around 16m30s) and Grand usually erupts on one of the next two Turban intervals. This time it took four.

As if in compensation, the first burst was less than 8 minutes long. And as if to compensate for for that, the second burst lasted 2m20s, negating any chance of a third. Then, despite Vent and Turban quitting, the afterplay was fairly strong for a few minutes.

Giant is back to having hourly weak to medium strength hot periods, but as this is only at two days since the previous eruption, I'm not going to get excited until Monday morning.

Beehive erupted, not-unexpectedly to anyone who's paying attention, in the afternoon before the thunderclouds rolled in. I heard Beehive from within my Lodge Cabin for almost two minutes before someone gave out a radio call. And even then, they backdated the "ie" time by a minute.

The transition from early Spring to early Summer sure was quick. A suddenly noisy and gray sky is something I associate with July and August.

Another summer characteristic of the thunderstorms was their persistence. When it came time for Grand, they started up again. Out at Grand, the sky to the north was partly blue, and to the west it looked like the current shower would be the last. Except this continued for well over an hour. IT was as if the storm was just sitting directly overhead. That the lightening all seemed to be between one and two miles away seemed to confirm this. At least it was a short wait at Grand, and it even gave a bonus burst after a first lasting over ten minutes.

June 02, 2007

Observations for 01 June

After Giant and three hours waiting in the wind for Grand, I decided a full night's sleep was in order. despite the full moon. A midnight run to the plumbing facilities confirmed that decision, as it had clouded up (or never really cleared.

I arrived at Grand at 06:25 to find Vent and Turban restarting along with an empty Grand crater. Back to pick up on sleep.

But before that I noticed that the Penta runoff channel was wet. Yesterday while waiting for Grand, we had a complete Tardy-only cycle, and were well into a second. I couldn't stick around, so my time estimate could be eight hours off.

Mid day proved to finally be a nice day where no jacket was needed, at least until the winds kicked up later in the day. But before that it was so calm that I could easily hear Oblong erupting while waiting at Grand.

The evening eruption took place minutes before sunset. It would have been even better if there'd been a second burst.

Other Geyser Times

01 Jun 2007
  • Rift 18:44 d=40m00s

And nothing to do with geysers

A lone bicycle can trigger the outbound exit road's radar speed limit sign. I was doing 14mph.

June 01, 2007

Observations for 31 May (Afternoon)

Coming back from adding the postings on Giant, while I was biking between the Inn and the VC, I hear a call that Beehive's Indicator is erupting. The day just gets better. So I went down to the river overlook to enjoy the first Beehive eruption I've seen this trip.

The Grand eruption that afternoon was a bit of a disappointment. Not only did we get a Rift delay, but the one burst eruption lasted 12m25s, which while extremely long, I believe is not a record.

Other Geyser Times

31 May 2007
  • Rift 13:54

And nothing to do with geysers

A few days ago the bison was below my cabin. Today, coming back, it was standing next to cabin #235, looking about as animated as the taxidermic specimen in the Upper Store.


Some additions to the posting on Giant, also added inline to that posting:

Before the hot period, as I sat down for breakfast, I noticed no activity from Bijou. Now I wasn't there that long, and it may have already gone into the shutdown, but the lack of activity wasn't attracting any notice.

Well into the eruption one of the NPS Naturalists announced that there was a peregrine falcon down toward Morning Glory. Someone needs to take her aside and get her priorities straight. Or at least to recognize the priorities of many of those people milling about.

May 31, 2007

Observations for 31 May — Giant

Like today (see previous posting.)

There was a small shower between the time I went to sleep and midnight, when I got up. Just enough to wet things down, and make sure they stayed wet all night. When I got out to Grand, it was still above freezing, and dead calm. Usually there's a slight, imperceptible movement of air down-valley, most noticible by the way all the steam clouds tilt slightly in that direction. Tonight, it was straight up. Comet and the sputs of the Daisy group were putting a steamcloud hundreds of feet in the air.

At Grand, this presents a problem. The runoff is all between you and the geysers, and so end up blocking your view. Being back-lit by the moon would make things visible, but that not an option (at least a legal one).. As seen from the northern end of the line of benches, I saw a solid wall of steam that was sharply deliniiated by Vent, extending all the way to the right along the runoff channel. All other views were worse. Oh, well.

Got back out into the basin around 05:30, light enough that it was obvious that today was, at least in terms of weather, going to be the best day of my visit. Out at Giant, though, the platform was dead. An hour sitting resulting in seeing nothing, and it was on to Grand.

I got there on what appeared to be a delay type overflow, and even Percolator quiet, so I was expecting a bit of a wait. Grand had other ideas, and instead erupted over a minute after Turban started. And the second burst missed being a "long" by 8 seconds.

After that, the choices were between the Monkey Cage at Giant or Daisy. So I got to see Splendid's "Side Boiler" for the first time. It was active most of the time during my 20 minute wait, and even started up about 8 minutes after Daisy, along with some weak side vent activity.

Now there was no choice, it was off to Giant. I plopped down back about halfway between the Indicator Pool and the junction to the platform, with a decent view of Mastiff and co., and decided it was time for breakfast (Cheerios mixed with left over trail mix). I noticed no activity from Bijou. Now I wasn't there that long, and it may have already gone into the shutdown, but the lack of activity wasn't attracting any notice. No sooner than I started to feed than I heard comments from the Cage about how it looked like Mastiff was rising.

I stood up, and it was. (Here I've got a minor quibble: I had to give the announcement about rising Mastiff because despite there being over a dozen people in the Cage, all with a better view, no one else did. Every second counts.)

At that point, the hot period preceded fairly normally for the first four or five minutes, giving me plenty of time to put away the food, rearrange the pack and dig out items I expected to need, like the umbrella. But by then, one thing was obvious: Mastiff was not going to wimp out after a couple of small boils. While it stopped a few times, every time it came back stronger.

Around the 9 minute mark, Mastiff was in eruption on its own, with continuous water from both vents well above the cone of Giant. Giant, however, seemed like it didn't want to start, with splashes not much bigger than those I saw last week 24 hours before it finally erupted. Mastiff continued, with Catfish joining in. Somewhere in that direction one of the vents was jetting loud steam, but I couldn't tell which. Finally, after 11m20s, Giant had a splash big enough to set it off.

I'd stationed myself at the front right corner, as close as you can get. (If no one else is gonna take that spot, I sure will.) The wind was almost perpendicular to my line of sight, but still expected that I might need the umbrella. Even though for a few moments, the tip of the water column was directly at my zenith, and I could see the water slowly droping straight for me, the wind eventually moved the water just a few feet over. Tall?yes. How tall? No idea.

Only one marker sign moved, the "Giant" one, and even it moved only a few feet and landed upright. The wind was just enough to push the steam away, so we never didn't have a bad view of Giant once it started. I wanted to take some pictures, but my ancient camera decided that it was time to go from yesterday's "full charge" to "empty".

Well into the eruption one of the NPS Naturalists announced that there was a peregrine falcon down toward Morning Glory. Someone needs to take her aside and get her priorities straight. Or at least to recognize the priorities of many of those people milling about.

Now that I've had my platform start for this trip, I can try other places, if the mood suits. I still want to try to measure the height of the first minute's water, and wouldn't mind seeing a start from Grand.

I expect the rest of the day to be pretty dull, so don't expect more than the briefest of a posting tomorrow

Other Geyser Times

31 May 2007
  • Rift 01:17
  • Giant hot period 09:28 d=11m20s, eruption

Observations for 30 May (Evening)

First, a slight change of format. Up until now, I've been trying to make these postings "up-to-date",. But that makes it hard sometimes to keep straight what happened on what date. So from now on, and definitely until the posting situation gets a bit easier, I'll have a single day (or less) per report. Of course, should something interesting happen, like an eruption of Giant or an eight Burst Grand or Economic activity, it'll add an extra posting. The geyser log times will be up to date, of course.

So that makes this report pretty short. With Grotto in a marathon, the rest of my day was spent on errands which I'd expect to do the day before. The weather was cool and partly cloudy with a sprinkle or two. Radio chatter was down, too, it seemed. As of 19:00, Grotto was still active. It was my hope that come the mid-night Grand, it'd still be going, but stop while I'm out there.

I've found that my recent changes to entering geyser times wasn't working properly with Grand burst info and Castle minors. I think I've fixed that. If you see any other problems, let me know. Even though it might take a day or two to fix it.

May 30, 2007

Observations for 30 May

Yesterday afternoon was another Rift delayed Grand interval in cold and wind. At least the last snow shower was a few hours earlier while waiting for Giant.

Note how yesterday's Giant hot period's alternated durations between long and medium.

Overnight was clear and calm and cold. The moon set just as the east was starting to show some light, so it never got totally dark. The Grand eruption was with the moon only a few degrees above the horizon, and a moonbow/fogbow in the steam over the main runoff channel. Like yesterday, the eruption appears to have been delayed by Rift, or perhaps more accurately, West Triplet. And I've never heard of a Rift interval of less than 10 hours before.

This morning there was only a single hot period, at 05:56, lasting 4m46s, as it appears that Grotto is having another marathon (starting around 02:57). As of the mid-day Grand eruption, it's still erupting.

Other Geyser Times

29 May 2007
  • Penta 19:07ie, steam phase
  • Grotto Ftn 19:02
  • Giant hot periods
    • 11:18 d=8m25s
    • 14:39 d=3m36s
    • 16:36 d=6m06s
    • 17:59 d=3m15s
    • 19:13 d=6m45s
    • 21:02 d=2m20s
  • Rift 16:21 d=43m05s
30 May 2007
  • Grotto 02:57
  • Giant hot period
    • 05:56 d=4m46s
  • Rift 01:59 d=38m39s
  • Uncertain 08:49

And nothing to do with geysers

Yesterday afternoon when I left my cabin to head out into the basin, I heard a noise to the left. Down the slope, about 20ft away, was a bison grazing away on the hillside.

While waiting at Grand, I thought I saw motion on the top of the hill. It turned out to be a coyote who ducked back into the trees.

May 29, 2007

Observations for 29 May

For the wait for yesterday (28 May) evening's eruption of Grand, the sky was dark and overcast to the west, while clear to the east. The wind was still as blustery and annoying as earlier in the day. As I waited, the gray got darker, and eventually, it started to snow wet, fat flakes. But at the same time, it began to lighten to the west, so that the disk of the sun could be made out. The shower was colored pink by this low lighting. By the time the shower ended, the sun would have been visible if it hadn't just set. That's when Grand erupted. It would have been a very pretty eruption if it hadn't been so steamy and windy.

The overnight Grand was in completely different circumstances. There was still some clouds obscuring a setting moon, but it was dead calm. The boardwalks were still covered with ice from the previous evening's snow. The eruption itself was unremarkable except for the fact that Percolator was dead and there were two bursts.

On to Giant afterwards, where it was obvious from the platform that there hadn't been a hot period in a few hours. Also, it appeared that Grotto was once again going into a marathon eruption. The platform also reflected this, as Bijou was chaotic in its behavior, and all the features seemed weak.

I placed my thermometer outside the cabin when I came back in at 06:15, and just a few minutes later, it read 29°F. Which means it was much colder out in the basin itself.

Of course, the problem with making plans based on what you think the geysers are going to do is that the geysers might have other plans. When I got out for the late morning Grand eruption, it was obvious that Grotto had quit. So no marathon, and it appears I'm going to have to drop some of the errands I'd planned for today.

So just as I'm about to post the above, the call goes out that "there's water rising in Mastiff". So at 11:18 we get an 8m25s hot period, and I get to add some exercise I hadn't intended.

Other Geyser Times

28 May 2007
  • Grotto Fountain 18:57 w/o Grotto
  • Rift 21:07ns
29 May 2007
  • Penta 06:31ie, steam phase

May 28, 2007

Observations for 28 May

Went up to Daisy and Splendid again on Sunday afternoon, early enough that I could watch the activity prior to Daisy's eruption. I was there for half an hour, and during that time, saw exactly one boil from Splendid's main vent, about a half meter high and lasting only a few seconds. Disappointing.

Later Sunday evening, Grand finally made up for all the nice short intervals it's had by tossing in a long interval, which these days is a measly 8h13m. (Ahh, for the good ol' days when a "long" was over 16 hours, and a short just 10.) I never really had a delay overflow, just alternated good looking overflows with ones that were obviously not going to result in an eruption. At the same time, the weather deterorated. It got cloudy and gray, and eventually we started getting sprinkles. FInally, at 20:03, it had what was a "Classic Two Turban Delay" — heavy overflow with waves, a drop as Turban starts and a short eruption of Turban (2m59s). That was followed by a short Turban interval (17m08s)and finally on the second Turban, the eruption. The eruption itself presented a nice contrast between the white watercolumn from Grand with the gray clouds as a backdrop.

This Monay morning was mixed. The weather was clear and could have been warm if the wind wasn't gusting up to about 40mph, or so it seemed. Grotto's marathon ended somewhere around 03:00-04:00 (best guess), and Grand went at 03:10, according to the monitor. So instead of spreading things about, Grand decided that it was time to experience a Rift delay. This resulted in everything interesting happening in a little over a half-hour span. First, this time someone saw the Indicator in eruption, which resulted in a stampede to the south. They returned in time for Grand to finally erupt. While it was a two burst eruption, it took Grand a full minute after the start of Turban to begin, and the total duration was only 9m29s, yet Vent and Turban quit afterwards

Within ten minutes of the end of Grand's eruption, Giant had its post-marathon hot period. The hot period was fairly strong, with Mastiff boiling mostly to one or two feet, with a max around four,but for almost the entire duration.It lasted 9m52s, then was followed by about 3m30s of a Feather restart but with weak Giant surging.

Other Geyser Times

28 May
  • Rift 10:09, d≈50m

And nothing to do with geysers

On my way to Grand last night, I saw a duck floating on the Firehole River, then shooting the rapids below the Sawmill bridge and drifting off downstream.

May 27, 2007

Observations for 27 May

One of the reasons I like the early morning is because its a time unlike the rest of the day. Unlike early evening, road and people noise is non-existent. (People who like noisy machinery never seen to be early risers for some reason...) Also, it's the one time of day when the wind is truly calm. Usually on nice days, as the air rapidly warms, the winds start around 09:00 or so.

I like seeing the steam from an eruption of Grotto climbing hundreds of feet into the air, like something important is erupting. But even large pools can have their subtleties. This morning, for example, as Grand was having the heavy overflow before its eruption, there was absolutely no wind. It was so calm that the convection from Grand's pool's steam column was actually creating its own micro-wind, drawing in the steam coming from the runoff channels. These plumes weren't vertical, but all tilted toward Grand. Then a ever so slight breeze came up, and destroyed the effect.

Grand itself had four eruptions yesterday, and five in about a 28 hour period. For a day now, I've arrived at Grand and it will erupt on one of the next two Turban eruptions. I think several of these have been delay-type starts, but can't be sure because it's usually too dark (or steamy) to see clearly, and haven't seen a full Turban interval on those that I suspect.

Yesterday, coming out of a Grotto marathon, it took Giant about 13 hours to finally have a hot period for the crowd who spent a day there. At 19:58, it lasted 5m28s. There was another, weaker one at 21:50. By this morning, Grotto was back into what appears to be another marathon, with Giant's platform dead around 06:00. When this marathon ends, that's when the fun will begin.

Because of the marathon, it also appears to be no reason be hanging around down there, as I'm hearing more Geyser Hill radio reports than yesterday.

Saw an eruption of Daisy up close, started as I arrived, so I didn't see the preliminaries. But the sputs between Splendid and Comet looked little changed from what I remember seeing in years past. But Splendid was dead. It did nothing during Daisy's eruption, other than draining. Even after the eruption ended, nothing happened. There's only a narrow, barely wet algae filled runoff channel off to the north, and it appears that even that is due to Daisy's runoff.

Other Geyser Times

  • Uncertain 05:40
  • Grotto 05:30ie (marathon, still ie @14:00)

And nothing to do with geysers

From the NPS radios, a Sunday morning report of "two people skateboarding down from Craig Pass."

Why do new hiking boots always come with laces that refuse to hold a knot?

Somebody locked their doglet inside the car at the Lower Ham's. You could still hear the ankle-biter yelping down at Crested Pool.

At 10:30, as I'm headed down-basin, there's a bison in the Lodge cabin area blocking my way.

May 26, 2007

Observations for 26 May (Afternoon)

One of the things I like about a Grand start on a delayed Turban interval is the explosive start. For the last 10 minutes or so all there is to see is a full, heavily overflowing pool that fluctuates slightly. Then suddenly, with only a couple of large pulsations, Grand suddenly rockets up to 10 meters high. It's as if Grand has been fighting for all that time to erupt, and had finally figured out how to unleash itself, and is going to make sure it keeps erupting.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to guarantee against a one burst eruption.

(Years ago Grand would have "boops", where it would have several boils to 3 or 4 meters, as if the eruption was starting, only to suddenly subside. It was amusing to see people who knew enough to be dangerous suddenly taken aback when the pools dropped instead of erupted.)

For the last few days, in what had to have been not the greatest of conditions, we kept getting eruption times on every feature on Geyser Hill (especially Plume) from dawn until dusk. Or so it seemed. So today, it what started out as a beautiful day, a day in which we've yet to have any precipitation from the thunderclouds, and on a day when there's a large influx of observers for the Memorial Day weekend, Beehive erupts in the middle of the afternoon. No one saw the Indicator, the only radio call was at least two minutes into the eruption. Webcam observers probably got a better start time.

And I saw my first mosquito today, a sure sign that Spring really has started.

Other geysers:

  • Rift 11:03
  • Fountain 12:23
  • Great Fountain 13:50

Observations for 26 May (Morning)

As yesterday afternoon progressed, the temperature rose,the sky cleared and the wind died down (or at least wasn't as obnoxious) so that by the evening One-Burst Grand, the weather cold almost qualify as nice. Otherwise a dull, uneventful afternoon, and one to use to settle into a routine.

Today has been nice. Still cool, and with the midday breeze, but clear and in the sunshine, a jacket isn't really needed. Grand had, if the electronic monitor is to be believed, a little over 6 hour interval this morning. Castle must've had a minor overnight, too.

In any case, it was a nice day to stick around and watch a full West Triplet (and Rift start at 11:03). I see from the weather forecast that it'll turn wet again just as it's time to start spending time at Giant.

In other notes, when zips by you on a bike and says that dogs aren't permitted in thermal areas, don't whine back, "well, I didn't see a sign". You are just admitting that you know that you aren't supposed to dragging your little darling out there, but also didn't think anyone would care. Just don't say anything would be better thing to do.

May 25, 2007

Observations for 25 May

Tilt does erupt! On my way out to Grand last evening, once again while tying up my bike, I saw a geyser erupt. This time, at least, it wasn't Grand.

The activity I saw lasted about a minute from when I first noticed it. It was throwing jets of water away from the boardwalk about one meter high from the northern opening in the vent. Nothing impressive, but nice to know it's not dead. (I should probably write up a few Tilt related memories for posting later this summer.

Otherwise another long one burst Grand (d=11m31s). At least it went early, so I didn't have to wait in the cold, windy and dark. Just the cold and windy.

Today Grand decided to have a longer interval for no apparent reason, and Rift had a duration which for me seemed a more normal length. Midway through that eruption, West Triplet decided to throw in one of its empty vent steam minors.

Sawmill Group had a deep drain with a couple of Sawmill restarts, followed by an eruption of Uncertain.

Other Geysers:

  • Rift 10:47 d=1h19m
  • Uncertain 10:57

May 24, 2007

Observations for 24 May (Afternoon)

After the excitement of the morning, time to catch up on a variety of things that have been put off due to a combination of Giant, weather and lack of transport. All that done, it was time to head back out to Grand. The weather had changed back to windy, cool, and overcast with occasional snow showers.

In just the few days I've been here, I've seen a couple of Rifts that in my previous visits would be worthy of note, because of the shortness of their durations.

On 21 May, one lasted ≈34m. Today the eruption at 13:01 lasted only 28m21s. It was the second of the day, the first being early in the morning around 01:15. And neither eruption seems to have had any detrimental effect on Rift.

Meanwhile Grand continues to annoy. At least the afternoon's one burst eruption lasted 11m20s, and was followed by a Vent & Turban pause of 19m14s.

Observations for 24 May — Giant Geyser

Graham Meech stayed out all night as Giant continued to have hourly hot periods during the night, none of them as strong as the one that occurred the previous night while I was making these postings.

The hot period at 05:22 had little Mastiff surging, and initially seemed to last 7m20s. Until Feather restarted and Giant almost immediately began strong vertical surging. Within three minutes, Giant began to erupt, at 05:32. (I was in my Lodge cabin getting ready to come out when Graham's call went out. When I heard him announce the restart, I knew I wouldn't be seeing this eruption start from up close. I was in front of the Lodge instead.)

The lighting was good, for at least my human eyes, and the wind direction such that the spray and steam was carried northward, making Giant's water column easily visible from a distance. It was too early for good backlighting.

As Giant died down, I rode my bike down to see Grand. Once again, it started as I was locking my bike at Castle. It was a 8m43s long single burst eruption. The only other thing of interest were the bison cow and calf who were, according to a visitor, standing in the runoff channel at the start, and finally realized that that was not a good place to be standing and took off running.

Other geysers of interest:

  • Oblong 05:27 ie
  • Daisy 05:07
  • Riverside 01:44, 08:23ie
  • Grotto 03:53

May 23, 2007

Observations for 23 May

This will be pretty short, since I spent the day between Giant and Grand. At least the latter was fairly cooperative. The weather was cool (cold when breezy) but no rain or snow.

Giant hot periiods:

  • 06:28 d=4m40s
  • 07:27 d=1m40s
  • 08:57 d=4m00s
  • 09:57 d=2m10s
  • 12:01 d=1m39s
  • 13:00 bathtub
  • 14:16 d=6m37s
  • 16:28 d=1m30s
  • 17:37 d≈3m20s
  • 18:35 d=2m10s
  • 19:35 d=1m42s
  • 20:39 d≈5m

Other geysers:

  • Grotto Ftn 09:07, 13:49
  • Grotto 09:12, 13:54
  • Penta 13:17ie
  • Grand 09:18 T2C, 17:21 T3Q
  • Oblong 04:31, 07:33, 12:46, 15:55ns
  • Riverside 05:46, 12:28, 19:06
  • Daisy 06:04, 09:39, 12:53, 15:57, 18:51

May 22, 2007

Observations for 22 May (Evening)

In the Grand Group it was a cold, miserable day. By afternoon,m temperature was just above freezing, so the windswept snow melted where it landed. When I arrived, Rift had just started, and we were in a delay overflow. With a short Rift duration, I was hoping for a short delay. No such luck. The second Turban was a short but strong eruption, followed by a 16m11s interval. So no surprise the total delay was D9.

Following a short Grotto marathon overnight, there was a Giant hot period at 14:33, d≈5m. A second hot period occurred 16 17:14, slighly longer d≈6m, and then at 19:29, d=5m50s. Grotto still had not restarted as of the last hot period (at least I never heard a report of that.).

  • West Triplet 12:25
  • Rift 12:57 d≈34m
  • Grand 16:07 T1C
  • Daisy 12:31, 15:50
  • Oblong 14:40, 18:54
  • Riverside 16:17
  • Castle 18:51

Observations for 22 May (Morning)

Having been gone a long time, some of the things I'm noticing are probably well known and obvious to those who' ve been here more recently. But I'm still going to comment on them.

Tilt Geyser is completely different. The original Tilt, which had functioned as a noisy steamvent in the 1980s and 1990s, has been completely filled in by algae and debris carried along by Crested's runoff channel. In the several minutes that I stood there, I noticed that the blowout vents were fluctuating between overflow and down about 1.5cm. The changes in level was also accompanied by ripples and palpitations. That, I assume, is the sum total of Tilt's present activity, which I guess would still qualify it as an intermittent spring.

The Sawmill Group appeared almost as I remembered it, with one minor and one major exception. Tardy has developed a new runoff channel which heads northeast and under the boardwalk, which would have been useful when I wanted to put electronic monitors around the group.

The big exception was the new hole (or holes) that have developed beside or even under the bend of the boardwalk at Scalloped Spring. Thanks to the snow showers, it was easy to see the long stretch of warm walkway. The between the walkway and the old collapse feature actually had water sloshing around about a half meter down. I'm surprised the NPS hasn't panicked and closed the trail. If the do, let them wait until July.