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September 19, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 18

This morning there was the thickest fog I've seen in years. It was still forming as we went out before dawn for a Grand eruption. Were surprised to see a large tour on the boardwalk at Castle. Must've been a photo tour, as everyone had their camera on a tripod pointed to the east. Castle had erupted several hours earlier, so assumed they weren't there for that. Over at Grand, the steam looked like Rift was erupting, but had to get to Old Tardy to confirm.

The fog actually cooperated with the Grand eruption. It was fairly clear to the north. Although it was raining enough that umbrellas were needed, we could see the jets of water and Vent easily. The photo tour, for some reason, decided to stay shrouded in the thick fog generated by the runoff channels.

As we left the area, Bulger started erupting. About three minutes later Bulger's Hole suddenly filled with clear water that started surging and got murky. Bulger's Hole was strong and continued about a minute after Bulger ended.

After the One Burst Grand eruption, headed over to Geyser Hil just to check things out, and enjoy the thick fog. It appeared we had missed Aurum and not by much. Over at Beehive, it was totally dead. From there we heard a radio call of Lion erupting. We couldn't see or hear it until we were past Arrowhead Spring. Shortly afterward, noticed a rising steam column over the general fog to the northwest. Had to be Castle, so walked over there and again didn't see anything until up close. The view was interesting, as the sun was visible, but not bright enough for a true backlit steam column. Also noted, as we walked by, that Rift was still erupting two hours after we had seen it earlier.

The fog cleared out, so that for the next eruption, it was clear and a bit breezy. Shortly before noon arrived back out at the Grand Group to find Sput D erupting weakly, while Rift was off but steaming heavily. That ended a few minutes later, and was the last activity seen from that end of the group. Saw several eruptions of Turban, and the last two intervals were well over 24 minutes long, but not long enough to be a Delay by definition.

Grand finally erupted one second after 13:00. The wind and steam cooperated so that it was easy to see the starting events. At around the seven minute mark it looked like Grand was trying to transition into Big Sawmill mode, when instead it quit. The pause was short, and so was the second bursts. The total eruption at that point was just over 8-1/2 minutes. There have been eruptions that short, but this wasn't one of them. The water in the pool was hard to see, but it was there, and it didn't drain. The total duration was just over ten minutes, so we had greedy hopes for a fourth, but Grand didn't even try.

It also didn't try to have an afterburst, even though Vent & Turban continued. It was about 15 minutes before the first splashes were observed, and they weren't all that strong.

Went out before sunset for one final Grand eruption. About 15 minutes after we arrived, was surprised by a West Triplet start. Almost immediately Sput D joined in, and eventually Percolator filled and added to the noise. But as with the other day, all this activity acted more like an indicator, and despite the steamy low light conditions, we could see the pool filling nicely and then Vent overflowing.

Grand started almost immediately, and the burst lasted about 9-1/2 minutes. This seems to be about the upper limit for any chance of a second burst, and fortunately, we got one. When Grand ended, I noticed that West Triplet was also quiet. So it appears that things are changing in the area again.

September 18, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 17

It was a gray, cold dreary morning. Went out to Grand a bit early because the weather forecast said the rain was about to start. Instead it was blustery with only the occasional sprinkling that was just enough to need the umbrella, but it never lasted long.

Arrived to find West Triplet drained. It was even rumbling down deep a bit. The area with the sputs looked totally dead, with little steam. No change in Belgian or Crystal, but it seemed fairly obvious that there had been a Rift eruption. The longer double interval from Grand overnight tended to confirm this. I suspect it was after midnight, and lengthened the second interval.

Ended up waiting an hour through several Turban eruption intervals. Finally we got a Delay, which never looked like it wanted to erupt. The following Turban interval was promising, with Grand's pool quickly refilling. With the steam and wind, it was hard to see any waves, but when Grand had a couple of large boops similar to the other day, but not as tall, it was obvious it was going to erupt.

The first burst started to go into Big Sawmill mode, then quit with a duration of 8m45s. Have seen One Burst Grand eruptions that short in the past, but not this time. The water column easily outraced the steam column in the cold air.

Went back out in the late afternoon. Again, the forecast rain really hadn't materialized, but the wind and cold did. While waiting at Grand, the wind was usually to toward the north, but every so often the pool would become visible as the wind shifted to the south. Arrived to find West Triplet back to its normal water level, but there was no evidence of recent runoff as the channel was dry.

Shortly after arrival, West Triplet started to erupt. About 5 minutes later, Sput D joined in and both were erupting when Grand started about 16 minutes after West Triplet. This was another shorter first burst that stopped instead of going into Big Sawmill mode. And again the height of the second burst was well above the steam clouds, easily visible.

I don't know when Sput D ended, but West Triplet's last splash was seen late in the first burst. Percolator joined in during Grand's second burst, and quit shortly thereafter.

This behavior doesn't exactly fit what I was expecting. Previously, once the area recovered from Rift, the area would go into having frequent Sput D eruptions and West Triplet overflows. When West Triplet started, I was wondering if we were about to get another Rift eruption. The area is in flux, here at the end of the summer season when observers are few.

September 17, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 16

The previous night had high cloudiness, enough that I decided I'd rather get some sleep. But this night was clear. Got out to Grand in time to catch a full Turban eruption interval before the main event, and as I noted yesterday, there was an eruption of Sput D a few mnutes before Grand started. There was also a loud eruption of Old Faithful, almost as loud as the eruption of Daisy a few minutes later. The boardwalk north of Grand was starting to ice up after the One Burst Eruption.

The sky was clear and the moon was obviously less than full. As we were untying our bikes, realized that it was time for an eruption of Castle. So waited a bit in the cold, with an elk bugling somewhere for at least 1/2 hour. There were a few splashes, and I was feeling the cold and had decided to head in when the eruption started. For the first eight minutes or so there were lots of short pauses as if it was trying to stop. Then the water play became continuous. When the steam phase started, a low moonbow was visible at the top of the cone if you stood directly between the geyser and the moon.

The morning warmed up nicely, considering how cold it had been a few hours earlier. As I walked toward Crested Pool, it had one of its huge boils, easily 3-4 meters high, lasting only a few seconds. I was wondering if I should get out my camera, but it ended before I could move.

I got to the Grand Group just I received a radio call that Beehive's Indicator was showing water. I decided to stay put, and was rewarded a few minutes later with an eruption of Oblong. Apparently it has been seen via the webcam just after midnight, so this was around an eight hour interval. It was still pretty steamy, but I could see bursts in there, but none of them were particularly big. The duration seemed normal, too.

Grand was again preceeded by Sput D, and it had a fairly long burst, about 9m45s. So it was a pleasant surprise to see water in the pool. Was to the north of the geyser, where the eruption had been backlit,and it was easy to see the sun's reflection on the swelling water. Was quiet strong burst with the small breeze pushing the steam toward the west. As I was leaving the area, the breeze turned into wind.

At the five hour mark, I wasn't thinking about going out to Grand because it had started raining, with lightning and dark skies. A half hour later, the rain had stopped and there was even some sunshine between the clouds. So I headed out, since waiting in the rain is much easier than heading out in it.

The rain never returned, and it was another One Burst Grand eruption, but still nice to see. Was a bit of a surprise, as the Turban interval was exactly 20 minutes, which is short for this year. But a couple of boops got my attention just before the start.

September 16, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 15

Was mostly a day of One Burst Grand eruptions. The first one took its time, and we may have walked up on a Delay Turban interval, based on the long Turban eruption duration,

Stopped by down at Grotto to catch a start. Grotto Fountain went about 3-5 meters high, and preceeded Grotto by about two minutes, so nothing out of the ordinary there. At Giant, nothing happened much there either, other than for a moment I thought I was actually seeing a Bijou pause.

While waiting in the early afternoon, we were treated to having an eagle flying low over the river, then perching on a dead tree. After a while, it took off and slowly circled its way higher and off to the north.

The eruption itself was preceeded by an eruption of Sput D, which did not erupt during the previous Turban eruption interval. I've been seeing a number of cases like this, where Sput D acts almost like a sort of indicator or pressure guage to the system. Also, the new normal seems to be that West Triplet overflows heavily for several minutes after Grand erupts.

The last Grand eruption of the day was the had two bursts, with the second lasting well over two minutes. Fortunately, much of the eruption was through a hole in the high, thin cloudiness .

September 15, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 14

With a full moon and no clouds, it was time to catch Grand again. Only had to wait a couple of Turban intervals before Grand erupted. While waiting, could hear an elk bugling off in the distance.

We had just gotten back to the cabin, and hadn't even started to strip off the layers, when there was a call of "Beehive's Indicator" over the radio. So there no reason not to go over there for the eruption. Just barely made it, but the lighting was excellent with the moon behind the water column.

The next Grand eruption was interesting. It looked like we had arrived in the middle of a delay overflow, one of those early in the interval that lead to a Delay of more than just two Turban intervals. So it was a pleasant surprise when we heard an explosive start from Grand. Except that was it, no followup. It was perhaps the highest (two to three meters) and loudest boop I've seen. The pool then dropped, and three minutes later, Turban started. Again, this was early in the interval, so expecting to wait. So it was a bit of a surprise when the pool rose back up, and within a minute the real eruption started.

In the afternoon, it was back out for a third Grand eruption for the day. This time also it felt like we'd walked upon a Delay, but nothing happened this time. Two Turban intervals later we got the Grand eruption, so it was still a nice short interval. And we got a second burst. It was long, but not long enough to be noted. Most of that burst consisted of Big Sawmill activity, too.

Decided after that to do another bicycle visit, this time to Black Sand Basin. Well, we biked as far as Punch Bowl, and then went on foot past Black Sand Pool. It was pretty quiet, with only one large boil, and minutes between the superheated sizzles. At the basin proper, things seemed pretty normal. We arrived to an empty Cliff Geyser, which started erupting for real as we crossed the bridge over the creek. That eruption lasted long enough that we were able to walk back to the overlook there. There was also continuous play from what I believe was Handkerchief Pool, and from Spouter Geyser. On the way back we arrived at Daisy just as it was starting.

Finally went out one last time for another Grand in the dark. There were several groups of people already waiting, but fortunately, when Grand did erupt, it wasn't until well into the eruption that anyone tried to illuminate it. This was despite the fact that the moon had disappeared behind some thick clouds, and it wasn't that bright out. Of course as we were walking away, the clouds parted enough that we could get a backlit Old Tardy eruption.

September 14, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 13

With a full moon and clear skies, it was time to head out to Grand in the dark. Castle was slopping gently, and the walkway wasn't very wet, so it looked like there had been a minor eruption. At Grand, things were pretty normal. Heard an eruption of Sput D, but there was no overflow from West Triplet to accompany it. It was humid enough that everything was steaming heavily. I thought at one point Oblong was starting to erupt, but after a couple of minutes, no increase and no noise meant I was wrong.

It was only two Turban intervals before Grand started to erupt. The first burst lasted almost nine minutes, so wasn't surprised that there was a second burst, and that everything was quiet after that.

It was foggy for the next Grand eruption, which came after a couple of Turban eruptions. By that time the fog had cleared enough that it was possible to see the water column backlit.

With the day clear and warming, it was time to do something a little different. Did a bicycle ride down to Biscuit Basin. Was surprised when we arrived to find that there was actually a bike rack there. Getting across the bridge was a bit fun, because instead of a shoulder, there's a raised walkway, so a bike as to ride along the white stripe.

Did the Biscuit Basin loop, and got to see several eruptions of both Mustard Spring and Jewel Geyser. Not much else going on during the time we were there.

In the early after noon spent a couple of hours watching Turban. For the second hour, Turban and Sput D alternated, and the latter started just before the Grand eruption. This eruption had a long second burst, over two minutes long, with much of that time in Big Sawmill mode where it looks like it's stopping, only to have a jet rocket out. It's the kind of behavior the crowd loves, not knowing that it's keeping them from seeing another burst start.

There was one more eruption to attend after dark. The moon was out, but unforunately, there were clouds coming in, so that by the time Grand started, the lighting was subdued. The first eruption of Turban I saw while waiting lasted seven minutes, which was a pretty good indication that I was seeing the end of a Turban Delay. So I wasn't surprised to have Grand erupt two Turban intervals later. Again we got two bursts, the third such eruption of the day.

Also, for all four eruptions of Grand, it was followed by heavy overflow from West Triplet. It's beginning to appear that this is the normal mode, except when recovering from the weekly Rift eruption.

September 13, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 12

Because Grand had some long overnight intervals, didn't get out and about until almost noon. Arrived at the Grand Group to find Belgian and Crystal back to normal. Ended up waiting for quite a while, with occasional activity from Sput D, but not every Turban interval. Then there was a Turban Delay, and we had to wait three more Turban intervals before we finally got the eruption.

It turned out to be a nice three burst eruption. It started out nicely, with the wind pushing the steam toward the south, giving us a clear view of the eruption. The first burst ended at about eight minutes, which was so sort we were almost guaranteed a second burst. But when that one ended just a minute later, the question of getting a third became obvious. Because of the breeze, we could see the pool fill and slosh about. Based on past experience, that doesn't mean anything until the bursting started. Even then, it took several large surges to get the burst started. There was no attempt to fill following that.

The long interval and Delay ended up pushing the next eruption into the dark, which was actually good. It's full moon time, and the moon had cleared the trees by the time we got the eruption. Best of all, the crowd of a couple of dozen people behaved themselves, and no one tried to light it up. It was only one burst, but the breeze again cooperated to make the water column visible the whole time. Even the arm-carried doglet seemed to enjoy it.

September 12, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 11

Decided I'd had enought of Norris, and needed a break. The weather was supposed to be cold and wet, so I decided if I'm going to get soaked, I'd rather do it where I can easily get inside and warm up and dry out.

Based on the weather forecast and maps, I went out to Grand a bit early to get ahead of any rain. Turns out it didn't rain. Instead I arrived to see West Triplet, Sput D, and Percolator all in vigorous eruption. Sputnik was also steaming heavily, but there wasn't any visible water.

About 8 minutes later, Rift started. West Triplet continued for another twenty minutes, and when it quit, the other active features quit too. So for nearly two more hours, it was Rift sputtering away with nondescript Turban eruptions. The first Turban eruption I saw was probably a Delay Interval, as it started almost twenty minutes after I arrived. But with Rift erupting, it really didn't matter.

That situation persisted for over two hours, with occasional weak, independent activity from Sput D and Percolator. The steam from West Triplet seemed to pick up at the same time. Finally Rift quit, but it took two Turban eruptions before Grand was ready. When Turban started the second time, it took Grand nearly a minute to build up and finally start another One Burst Eruption.

I hadn't noticed anything when I left the area, but when I got out ahead of the rain for the next One Burst Grand Eruption, I noticed something I haven't seen since the early 1990s. (I'll have to consult my old notebooks to be sure.) Both Belgian Pool and Crystal Spring were down about 3-4cm. This was in response to the Rift eruption earlier. Back in the 1990s, they'd also get murky, especially Belgian. Also back then Belgian could drop as much as 15cm, completely emptying the non-vent lobe. They may have been lower earlier, before I got there.

The Grand eruption itself was pretty ordinary. It was an interval less than six hours, but erupted on a Turban Delay. If the previous Turban interval had been four seconds longer, it would have been back-to-back Delays. The rain had quit, but it was still steamy, and the prevaling wind was toward where I usually sit. Which meant that by moving north, I had a clear view of Turban and Vent. Which was good, because Turban took nearly a minute to start. Then the One Burst Eruption lasted 12m25s, so it was well short of any record.

September 11, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 10

Another day at Norris watching minor activity that led nowhere. We get strong play from the vents, and the wall of water would start to form, only to have the North Vent stop and the South take over. This would happen every hour or less for most of the day.

The runoff was turning white all day. By late afternoon this had extended all the way down to the bridge over the runoff, and even a couple of areas beyond in the outwash.

Also yesterday we noticed that during the morning rains, it appeared that the dead trees behind the vents looked more green and brown than gray. Wondered if these rains, the first strong and persistent ones in several weeks, had washed some of the silica and minerals off. But in the afternoon, when the rains had stopped, they were back to gray. Also the trees along the walkway have lost a lot of needles, so that only near the ends are there green ones. The ground is covered with a pretty thick coating of these needles. A few of the trees near the runoff are also full of pinecones, but these look old and dried out.

September 10, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 09

Another day spent at Norris. Started out overcast, and there were some showers during the morning but by afternoon in was clear but cool. At around 11:00 there was a strong minor eruption of New Crater/Steamboat that could/should have resulted in an eruption. Unlike yesterday, there was some followup activity, with weak minors every our or so until around 18:00. Then nothing as of 20:30 when we gave up and left.

September 09, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 08

A day at Norris. It started out cold and damp and foggy. That persisted until 09:00, well into the morning. Then it cleared a bit, but above the fog were clouds. Those started to precipitate a couple of hours later, with each shower getting stronger and wetter. The last shower around 17:00 as still going when we finally had enough at around 18:30.

Since we stayed all day, that means that New Crater/Steamboat didn't erupt. It did have frequent strong activity, but only once, in the early afternoon, did it look like it tried to get started. And then there was no followup activity, and a longer period of quiet.

September 08, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 07

Grand had some longer intervals overnight, so it was late morning before heading out. A cool morning, but with little chance of any wet coming from the sky. Got out in time to see the full Turban Delay interval of 31m15s. Grand had a nice explosive start, but the breeze cooperated so it was possible to see Turban start, too.

It was another two burst eruption, and this time the second burst wasn't that long. But the crater showed no attempt to refill for a third eruption, and Vent and Turban actually quit afterwards.

From there it was down basin for a look at Giant & co. Spent an hour watching Bijou splash away, with only one slowdown during that time. The platform was dry, despite yesterday's rains. I did see some splashes from Mastiff's front vent, and the back vent was sending low water horizontally about a couple of meters. Giant's water level also appeared high, so that there was some nice vertical surging on occasion. But on the whole, there was nothing much going on, despite the decrease in Grotto marathon eruptions.

For the afternoon eruption of Grand, during the hour wait there wasn't any activity from Sput D until moments before Grand started. This one was explosive, with an initial burst rocketing up about seven or eight meters. It was just one burst, but at least Vent & Turban continued afterwards.

September 07, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 06

After a summer of mostly nice weather, woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, and a weather forecast of showers for at least the next five days.

It wasn't raining much, so no excuse to not go out to Grand and get reacquainted with what it's like to see geysers in the rain. But was able to head on before the showers started, and there wasn't much wind when it was precipitating. We also got two bursts, the first ending at 7-1/2 minutes, with the second consisting of well over two minutes of Big Sawmill. The only remarkable thing about it was that Vent & Turban didn't quit.

Before heading out for the afternoon Grand, I discovered that the ravens had attacked by bike and ripped up one of the handlebar grips. The one I'd fixed just a few weeks ago, not the one I will probably have to fix before next season. Maybe it was ravens responsible for the bike rack pileup the other morning.

Got out there during a gap in the rain, but we never really got wet during the wait. The first Turban interval I saw was six seconds short of an official Delay, so no surprise that Grand erupted two Turban intervals later. It wasn't that cold, but really steamy, so couldn't tell if I saw the start of Turban or not. The Vent start time in relation to Grand says that I didn't.

September 06, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 05

The observations were a bit less today because it was time to take care of things in West Yellowstone. But just getting there was full of surprises. First it was the RV that tried to go beneath the Upper Gas Station canopy. At least the driver only knocked loose the first vent cover, and not the air conditioning unit.

Then it was the injured bison walking down the middle of the road at the Thud Group. It was covered with pine needles, too, so I would think it had had an automotive encounter. Just west of the Madison Campground was another bison on the north side of the road. The time of day was when everyone heads in from West Yellowstone, and I was wondering why I wasn't seeing any oncoming traffic. That was because there was a 1.5 mile long backup due to people stopping to see this one, lone bison.

Before we headed out, did go out for a One Burst Grand eruption. Nothing much to report there, other than it looks like the behavior of Sput D might be decoupling from Turban. There were a couple of times where there were two small eruptions of the sput between eruptions of Turban. Also, two Turban intervals before the Grand eruption the Turban interval was six seconds under 25 minutes. So officially it wasn't a delay, but Turban seems to have thought it was. The duration was almost 6-1/2 minutes, and Grand finally did erupt two Turban intervals later.

We got back in time for the next Grand. This turned out to be a two burst eruption, but unfortunately, the second burst lased almost 2-1/2 minutes. Sput D was active both before and after, with heavy overflow from West Triplet after. This seems to be the latest norm. I expect there to be another Rift in a few days, too.

With reports of a long Fountain duration, we went out there on the off chance of seeing a geyser eruption worth seeing. Instead Fountain started just before it got too dark to seen, but too light to justify the bright lights. With the huge crowd there, we left getting the duration to someone who likes watch the surf crashing against the rocks at high tide.

And between the time we drove over the overpass and parked at the Lower Ham's store, Grand started, so instead we headed in for the night.

September 05, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 04

Decided to go out in the morning even though the Grand interval was well over six hours. Got to Castle where I saw Vent jetting away, so I headed back in for breakfast.

Went out early for the next Grand eruption, and got to see that yesterday's Rift eruption didn't mean a shift back to West Triplet erupting. Instead we got an active Sput D along with frying pan activity from Sputnik and heavy steaming from back in the rocks from Sput F2. The Turban intervals were fairly long, one just 20 seconds short of a Delay. During the wait the wind picked up quite a bit. But the eruption had a second burst, so there was no reason to complain. Except maybe because the people down by Rift didn't get soaked, as was expected.

Afterwards, because we were taking our time walking back to the bikes, we heard the "water in Beehive's Indicator" call just after crossing the bridge. I would have liked to have stayed longer at the bridge, as there were two otters in the Firehole downstream. But needed to get to Geyser Hill in case the indicator was short. As it turned out, it was a long indicator and had to wait a bit. The eruption itself, unlike Grand, got people wet down by Plume.

The day ended with an evening wait. Turban had a Delay that never looked it Grand was going to erupt, and then took four more intervals before Grand finally showed signs of life. The pool filled early, but the runoff was at the expected time. With the pool having strong waves, Vent started overflowing and Grand followed immediately after. Turban joined in about 10 seconds later. This was another One Burst Grand, and unfortunately, the sun had already dropped below the ridgeline, so the lighting wasn't as good as it had been all wait.

September 04, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 03

So the second geyser of the day I see in eruption is Churn, from over by the bike rack at Castle. It was a normal eruption, lasting about a minute and about 2-3 meters high. I was over at Grand twenty minutes later when there was a second eruption, just like the first, except maybe even taller. Or it maybe the first looked shorter because I was farther away.

The first geyser I saw erupting was Rift. It continued for several more hours, and during that time there were frequent small, short eruptions by Sput D. Sput F2 was steaming heavily, but I didn't see any indication of steam from Sputnik. There was even a short low-pool eruption of Percolator.

Arrived at Grand Group with Turban in a delay that eventually lasted over 30 minutes. This was followed by a second Turban Delay, this one about 33 minutes long. In both cases the Turban eruption duration was long, 6-1/2 and then seven minutes. The following Turban eruptions were much shorter, with poor overflow and little sign that Grand was trying to erupt. Rift ended three Turban eruptions after that. Finally, six Turban eruptions later, we finally got our eruption, an interval of about 8h18m, which is probably the longest interval of the year.

This activity was reminiscent of activity that's been seen before, when Rift would matter. Grand would stall out until a couple of Turban intervals after Rift had quit. I haven't seen this sort of behavior for years. It will be interesting to see in what mode the group is in tomorrow. Will West Triplet be active, or just overflowing.

Came out again before sunset, and this time Grand was a bit more cooperative. The first Turban interval seen was another Delay, with Grand having a boop at the 35 minute mark. The lighting was from low, as the sun was near the ridge, which made it easy to see any variation in the pool. There were never any good waves, and immediately after the boop, the pool dropped and it took 4 more minutes before Turban finally erupted. This eruption lasted almost 7-1/2 minutes.

Twenty minutes later, overflow was poor but Grand's pool was high, and rising. Turban started, and Grand kept rising, and the overflow started. Over the next two minutes, the pool kept getting higher and the waves kept getting bigger, until it was pouring water off. I expected an explosive start, but it was a normal build up of boils into bursts and then a full eruption. Vent started only 1-1/2 minutes after Grand, and the whole eruption, like the one earlier, lasted less than ten minutes.

September 03, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 02

Arrived at Norris even earlier than yesterday. The minor activity from New Crater/Steamboat had picked up a little, with notable activity every 20 to 30 minutes. Then starting around 10:00 they started getting big enough to get out the camera in case something happened. Then there was a huge attempted start around 11:07, followed by hours of nothing.

At least it was another nice day, even if the wind picked up in the afternoon and the cover to my truck became a sail.

When we left at sunset, I remarked how the activity of the last few hours looked no better than the day before. I didn't expect another attempt at erupting until around midnight, and dreaded the thought that we would end up coming back for a third day of waiting for nothing.

September 02, 2019

Observations for 2019 September 01

Another of those days wasted at Norris. There was something interesting every hour or so, but it wasn't sustained, and until the last one we saw at 19:15, just before leaving, none had much of a followup.

I also did a walk through the Back Basin and record video of how it looks in the steamy morning.

September 01, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 31

Today was a day to get out and about. Went to Lone Star, where it appears we arrived just after the previous activity had completely finished. So we had a bit of a wait, but there was no hurry to be anywhere else.

Turns out that this time there wasn't a minor eruption prior to the major eruption. Instead we got about an hour and a half of splashing which turned into sloshing which turned into what kept looking like the start of a real eruption. When it finally erupted, it was immediately apparant that we were getting the major eruption.

On the way out, we stopped at the little thermal area just off the biketrail to see the small geyser on the hillside. After the Lone Star eruption, we continued our tour of the thermal features by heading out across the meadow toward the bridge. The area was completely dry, surprising considering how wet the weather has been this summer. But that also meant that we had absolutely no bugs bothering up.

On the south side of the river we did encounter one area where we had to watch our step, but you got into the squish only if you weren't paying attention.

I've never been out to that area, so was impressed by some of the spouters and sputs out there. There area also lots of deathtraps out there, features with large overhangs, or small, hot holes hidden in the grasses.

But most impressive of all was Buried Geyser. It's way up on the hillside, with an impressive, yellowish-tan runoff channel and lots of beading in the formations around the vent. The runoff disappears into a couple of caves, only to reappear farther down.

After we got back, it was time for a Grand eruption. Got out in time for a Turban Delay that had several minutes of Grand booping. It then took two Turban eruption intervals before we finally got a nice two burst eruption.

August 31, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 30

The string of Turban Delays before Grand eruptions continued. At least in the morning, Grand ended up erupting on the Delay, so it didn't matter much. We're also back into the mode where Sput D is frequent and West Triplet is only overflowing.

Mid afternoon the delay did matter. There was a storm to the north, but it looked like it was going to miss us, and it did. Then we had the Turban Delay, and it took three intervals before Grand felt like giving us a One Burst Eruption. Meanwhile a new storm developed, and by the start of the second Turban eruption after the Delay, the rain, along with a strong wind, had started. This weather continued until the end of the One Burst Grand eruption. So of course we got to return without having to deal with getting any wetter. The eruption itself was short, only ten minutes, and there was a distinctive slowdown at around the eight minute mark where Grand went into Big Sawmill mode. But the weather did clear out the benches. They were full as it started, and there may have been about a dozen people there for the end.

Went out for the early night eruption, as hadn't done that this trip. This time, finally, while the Turban intervals were long, there wasn't a Delay. There were quite a few people out for this eruption, as the cloudiness kept the air warmer. It felt more like mid-July, and I didn't need the cold weather gear. But as we were walking back past Castle, it started to sprinkle. This continued during the bike ride back to the cabin, by which time it had stopped.

August 30, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 29

After a single long Rift eruption, it appears we are back to Sput D in control again. At the same time, it's beginning to seem like having a Turban Delay is a requirement before Grand can erupt.

The morning's eruption had two Delays, and Grand at least erupted on the second one. For the afternoon, there was only one Delay, and Grand erupted on the next Turban eruption. In that case, the interval after the Delay had a normal fill and Turban initiated the eruption.

The second eruption of the day also had a second burst. The first lasted about eight minutes, and the total duration was just over ten. A little disappointing, actually, as the pool drained almost immediately afterwards.

Spent a few hours at Fan & Mortar. While there were definite cycles in activity, they were weak. In both cases, River Vent came on, followed by some splashing in High an Gold Vents. Then everything shut off for several minutes, to be followed by a more progressive start. Angle Vent did shut down without a lot of blipping around at the end, so the cycles themselves didn't last that long.

Didn't make an attempt to go out for the early night Grand eruption, which turned out to be a good move. There was a thunderstorm with hail about then.

August 29, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 28

It was a day to see One Burst Grand eruptions.

The first was at dawn. Castle was in late steam as I tied down my bike,. The wait started out foggy and the walkway slippery, and for the next hour it got progressively foggier and slipperier. I sort of saw Daisy erupt by seeing a column of steam in that general direction, above the fog. But the little breeze there was pushed the steam away from my view, so I was actually able to see Vent overflow before Turban initiated the eruption.

During the wait, there wasn't much activity from Sput D, only one eruption (and overflow from West Triplet) about an hour before Grand erupted. During and after Grand there was the usual heavy West Triplet overflow and weak Sput D eruption. But the West Triplet also had areas of roiling, as if it was trying to start bursting. I also saw a couple of quick, 30cm high boils on Churn as I was walking by.

So it didn't surprise me to find that a few hours later Rift was erupting. This was the first eruption of Rift since we arrived five days ago. At the same time, Sput D was continuously spitting away. I stuck around to catch the first Grand overflow, at a little over four hours after the previous eruption. From there it was a quick visit to Geyser Hill to check on Aurum and Beehive. I waited maybe a couple of minutes for Aurum, and then since Beehive was being watched, I headed back to Grand.

Rift was still erupting, but Sput D was a lot quieter. As the Rift eruption progressed, it eventually stopped completely. About an hour later, I noticed splashes from Percolator, the first activity there I've seen in quite a while. Normally Percolator is full and overflowing when it erupts, but this time it was empty, and the jets had that thin appearance as if they were coming from down deep. Over at West Triplet, it seemed steamier too, as if it was having one of its deep drain eruptions. (The crowd was too thick to attempt taking a look.)

Meanwhile, Turban had consecutive Delay intervals, with the One Burst Grand eruption one interval after the second Delay. It was about ten minutes after Grand ended that Rift finally quit, too, for a duration of well over three hours.

Came out for the sunset Grand to find West Triplet still drained. Nothing happened down there the whole time I waited for Grand to erupt. This time, at least, Grand erupted on the second Delay. That mean the crowd was still able to see the eruption. Another Turban interval and it would have been dark. The start itself was explosive, maybe 5 meters high, with no preliminary boops or boiling or other warning.

August 28, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 27

As yesterday, we arrived at Norris at dawn. From early on it appeared that the activity in New Crater/Steamboat had picked up a little. As the morning progressed, there were surges about an hour apart. Finally, at around 10:40, there was a surge that couldn't be ignored, and it was followed up within moments by another, just as large. As in the other eruptions I've seen this year, there was an obvious change in behavior. There was activity stronger than anything seen up to that point, and it didn't diminish.

As soon as the eruption started I moved quickly up the mostly empty walkway to the bench. I wanted to get a height measurement, and this was the perfect time to do it. The only problem was that I had to look into the sun to get the readings, and a third hand to help shield the glare would have helped. In any case, the best measurements I got were 95% of the distance, which I measured on a satellite map as being 130 meters. That comes out to 123.5 meters, or 405ft. I'm pretty sure I saw some higher jets before I got out the clinometer. Even factoring in the uncertainties in my measurements, that eruption was well over 350 feet, and could have been as much as 450ft.

I took a video of my walk back, and the height was still obvious as I went back. It was only a few minutes later that north vent turned a dirty brown, and started chugging away like it was going to choke. This lasted quite a while, with water pouring off the hillside behind the vent into the vent and then down the runoff channel. It looked like we were going get a choke, but it never quite made it. But the behavior tended to confirm my contention that they are because of the water running back into the vent off the hillside.

This time the transition from water to steam was fairly easy to see and feel, at least from the vantage point of the lower platform.

I also went down to the bridge over the runoff, just to see how it compared to the last time I was there during an eruption. This time the boards were wet. I stood there, to take a video of the eruption looking up when I noticed that I was standing in water. I moved over to the side, and a small flood washed a bunch of peachpit sized rocks onto the walkway.

It wasn't until much later in the eruption that the wind shifted and we got a soaking. Got wetter trying to get into raingear which wasn't really needed after about five minutes. On the whole, this was one of the more powerful eruptions I've experienced. The pounding feeling against my body was especially strong around the time of the transition to steam.

Decided to take the opportunity to visit Porcelain Basin for the first time this century. It was as I remembered, and in other way completely different. There seems to be no mention of Ebony or Bear Den Geysers, while the flat on the east side and many more geysers and eruptive features than I remember. Took the trail to the Back Basin, and don't remember Minute Geyser looking like that.

When we arrived at Cistern, it was already below overflow, and there was a five dollar bill lying on the boardwalk. So I actually made a profit today.

From there it was back to the lower platform one last time. Where we saw three people making there way down through the trees behind the eruption. I made a radio report of this, then noticed a naturalist at the upper platform with his NPS radio out, and figured they were already repoerted. The three then cut over to get closer to the geyser at about then, when the naturalist yelled at them, then ran down the walkway to intercept them.

Of course I had to revisit the bridge at bottom again, where we found three people dejectely standing next to the naturalist. A bit later, as we were loading the truck and as I was taking the following photo, I noticed them being escorted out of the basin by a ranger with a gun. I sure do hope they got more than a reprimand.

As we were leaving the basin, I noticed a sign that hadn't been there when we arrived or when we made a plumbing run about an hour before the eruption. While it intention seems to be good, perhaps it would be better to have this up before the eruption? After all, the most likely time to get slimed in the parking lot is during the water phase.

So after our return to the Old Faithful area, there was time to unload (and dry out) all the stuff from the back of the truck. I headed out to Grand at about the five hour mark, only to see from the boardwalk by Castle that Beehive's Indicator was in eruption. With no radio call. So I had to make one. I also had to make some calls at the five and ten minute mark, as the indicator was a fairly long one. I waited around in the Sawmill Group for the eruption to finally start.

I finally made it to Grand just as Daisy erupted Grand was not particularly cooperative, at least until the end. I arrived to a series of Turban eruption intervals with short eruption durations. There was some activity from Sput D, but not with every interval, and it seemed not accompanied by any West Triplet overflow. So Grand was kind of stalled out, and the 7-1/2 hour interval was not because of any sort of delay. But when Grand finally did erupt, the first burst quit well before 8 minutes. Then Grand reverted to form, with a second burst lasted well over 2-1/2 minutes. It went into full "Big Sawmill" mode about a minute into the burst, with what seemed like pauses only to have a tall jet rocket out of the vent. But it was probably the last Turban eruption before sunset, so the lighting was ideal, especially for the start of the second burst.

August 27, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 26

It was a day spent a Norris watching New Crater/Steamboat do little to nothing. Arrived at 06:30 and left at 19:20, and during that time I never saw anything I would consider as an impending eruption. The best we saw was near the end of the wait when I finally felt the need to at least pull the camera tripod out of the bag and attach the phone mount. Otherwise there was a good, strong minor every few hours, but none of them had any sort of vertical component. Also missing was the low rumbling, huffing and thumping that seems to be coming from the North Vent area.

The one amusing part of the day was right as we were leaving, when a couple of surfer dudes, wearing nothing but shorts and sandals, with a towel draped over the shoulders, asked where they could go swimming. The answer they got didn't thrill them, as they were told to try either Boiling River or the Firehole Canyon areas. Someone should have also pointed out to them that the last time someone tried to go "swimming" at Norris, they didn't make it out of the pool at all.

August 26, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 25

Since I forget to take a look yesterday, this morning I stopped in to take a look at Giant's Platform. Nothing much changed there. I did seem some spits out of the frying pan behind the Southwest Vents, which themselves were noisy. But the water in front of Giant was probably from overnight sloshing in the vent, and Bijou tried but failed to have a pause.

At Grand, the Group is definitely in a mode where West Triplet is dormant. Before the morning's eruption, there was an eruption of Sput D, along with activity in Sputnik, Sput A, and Sput F2 shortly before the Turban eruption. Only the last time did West Triplet overflow, and that was with weak activity from Sput D. Then just before Grand's start, Sput D started again, strongly, along with West Triplet overflow, only to be drowned by Grand itself.

This was a nice two burst eruption, and was followed by the typical weak Sput D activity and strong West Triplet overflow. So it looks like the Grand Group has shifted to a mode it had for a during my previous visit back in July.

The afternoon eruption was similar. Sput D was active once a Turban interval, but it did skip one interval right after I arrived. The Grand eruption was a Turban Delay, and Sput D also delayed such that it started just before Turban finally started. Grand's pool looked poor at the start, but over the next one hundred seconds, it rose up and started having good waves. Sput D ended just as Grand started.

That eruption lasted less than ten minutes, and for about the last three really did live up to the "Big Sawmill" label. There was a strong wind at the time, but that shouldn't have been the reason for the small bursts and periods of not much more than boiling. Also, because it took so long for Grand to start after Turban, Vent started only one hundred seconds after Grand, which was to be expected. After the eruption, there was a weak eruption of Sput D, and strong overflow from West Triplet.

August 25, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 24

A dull way to start another visit.

Started out with a One Burst Grand eruption. The weather kept changing from sort of warm and sunny to breezy and cool and overcast. At one point there was a full 22 degree parhelic arc circling the sun. It looks like Grand itself may have returned to the mode where Sput D is frequently active and West Triplet quiet. Did see one strong eruption of of the sput just before Grand erupted, and evidence of West Triplet overflowing without erupting during the Grand eruption. The eruption itself was on a delay, and the preceeding Turban interval was well over 22 minutes.

From there it was over to Grotto, where Spa was full and starting to boil. But got interrupted by Beehive's Indicator as we walked up on Crested Pool. Surprised there was no one over there waiting for it, so had to give out a radio call. The eruption itself was the first one I'd seen this year from the overlook across the river.

And so then finally made it to Spa. Over the next hour or so there were numerous bursts, some as high as 10 meters and lasting 10 seconds or so.

Finally, since the reports from Fountain were sparse, went out to see what would happen next. It turned out the interval was well over eight hours, but the duration was well under 32 minutes. While waiting for an hour for Fountain, did see lots of other activity, including Jet, Super Frying Pan, Twig, Kaleidoscope and some pool out there that had at least 6 vents erupting up to a couple of meters high.

August 09, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 08

Usually on the day I leave, Grand likes to toss in a long interval to make me regret that decision.

After another short interval after my fifth Grand yesterday, and five days of intervals well shorter than that of Riverside's, we decided that we should try and provoke that longer interval. But Grand refused to cooperate, and instead had another One Burst Grand with an interval just over five hours. And nothing from West Triplet. Things have, or are, changing there, so it should be interesting when we return in a few weeks.

August 08, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 07

It's been a while since I went out to Grand at night. With the shortened intervals of the last few days, decided to tempt fate until the next long delayed interval.

When I walked past Churn, I noticed that it was below overflow with a bit of a rim. I assume it erupted, but I didn't really miss it.

Arrived with Turban in eruption. There wasn't any overflow that I could hear before the next Turban eruption, about 15 minutes later. Grand erupted before the next Turban, and that interval was also short, about 17 minutes. Otherwise it was a normal One Burst Grand eruption, with an interval around 5-1/2 hours.

'Came out for the next eruption, and was amused to consider that I was arriving at around the 5h10m mark, and that I could be missing the eruption. But the pool was full. Again, there was a Turban eruption that was not preceeded by any audible or visible overflow. The next Turban eruption was less thatn 20 minutes later, and lasted less than four minutes. When Grand started, Turban preceeded it and the interval there was only about 17 minutes, and maybe a minute after I first heard the overflow.

The eruption itself was annoying in it's own way. The first burst ended abruptly at the 7-1/2 minute mark. When the second burst also ended in a reasonable amount of time, instead of lasting several minutes, I was sure I was about to see my first three (or more) burst Grand eruption in years. Instead, nothing happened. The total duration, including the pause, was just under nine minutes. Which in its way was probably close to a record for the least amount of water in a Grand eruption.

Midday I came out to find West Triplet in eruption, along with Sput D. This continued for thirty minutes, so the duration was even longer, and of course, that meant we got to see the start of Rift just as West Triplet ended.

The Turban intervals and durations were unremarkable until then. Then we got a couple of short Turban eruption durations (4m08s and 5m11s) and shorter intervals. Grand itself went only 17-1/2 minutes after Turban, but the overflow had started around the 15 minute mark. The One Burst Grand lasted just over ten minutes, and to play with us, had over a minute of the crater full and sloshing around. (There was a small contingent who were positioned to run to Beehive, ahead of the post Grand crowd, who had to wait this out.) When Vent & Turban did quit, the pause was only 8-1/2 minutes long.

Since Beehive was showing signs of being near erupting (the primary one being it was afternoon), I walked over to Geyser Hill. The Indicator started as I passed Liberty Pool, and this time it was so long that I was able to get there with plenty of time.

The fourth Grand of the day was preceeded by a Turban eruption with no overflow from Grand. That was followed by a delay. Unlike the night before, Grand went from heavy boil into a blue bubble to start the eruption. This time there wasn't any West Triplet activity while I was out there.

That left 6h10m for Grand to have a fifth eruption for the day. Based on recent intervals, that should be plenty of time. But based on past experience, I wouldn't count on it, as Grand does seem to have a tendency to toss in a long (in this case, about seven hour long interval) when you really want a short. (Like when you are packed and leaving, and want to get in that "one last Grand".)

The eruption this morning was in the dark, but this time the clouds parted and there was a nice first quarter moon illuminating the basin. I arrived in time for more anomalous Turban behavior. In this case, the strong overflow decreased as I waited, and was almost non-existent when Turban finally erupted 11 minutes later. I would guess that this was probably a delay, well before the five hour mark. But it wasn't much of a surprise to have Grand erupt on the next Turban, twenty minutes later. A pretty undistinguished One Burst Grand, with nothing from West Triplet again. The main negative is that it was too early, so there was some jerk with a bright light out there illuminating the eruption.

So I did see five eruptions of Grand in one day. In about a 22 hour period, with an hour padding on each side of the period of eruptions. I get the feeling, based on the behavior lately that there will be many more such opportunities in the next few weeks.

August 07, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 06

This morning's One Burst Grand was actually a little different. First, it took Vent about a minute longer than expected to start. Then, despite the One Burst Grand lasting just over eleven minutes, Vent & Turban continued. This was also a double interval of almost exactly eleven hours.

But while waiting for that eruption, Churn erupted. This was another full height play, lasting about a minute and about ten minutes before Grand. Immediately after I checked, and Churn was down below overflow with a 30cm rim. Sawmill was also low, at least 30cm and exposing some of the orange slime lining the vent. During the Grand eruption there was a second Churn eruption, again full height and duration. This activity is consistent with that of years past, where Churn would erupt in a short series about twenty minutes apart, when Sawmill was in a drain. Waited for a third eruption, but nothing happened.

The next One Burst Grand was fairly undistinguished, although it did continue the trend of intervals of under six hours. West Triplet did erupt during that eruption, but it lasted a little under nine minutes.

It was the next eruption of the day where things got interesting. I saw Turban in eruption as I was tying down my bike at Castle. When I got over to the area, I found that it looked like West Triplet was much higher than normal, just below overflow. About ten minutes later it overflowed weakly for about two minutes, with no activity from any of the sputs. After that, the water level in Grand rose to a good, strong overflow, and then showed waves.

At the 4h56m mark in the Grand interval, there was a strong boop from Grand. Over the next three minutes there were more of these boils. Finally the 5h01m mark, and at least 36 minutes after Turban last started, a boop turned into an actual eruption. This is the shortest interval I have ever seen out of Grand. Late in the One Burst Eruption West Triplet started to overflow. This continued after Grand and Vent and Turban quit. Finally after about eight minutes, West Triplet started splashing. This eruption of West Triplet was accompanied by some weak spitting from Sput D and Percolator, and lasted about 21 minutes. Vent & Turban quit when West Triplet did.

August 06, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 05

Not a lot of excitement the last few days, and today continued that trend.

Stopped by the Giant platform for a bit. While it's pretty dead, Giant was a bit amusing. It appears the water level in the cone is high. Not only were there a number of angled surges well above the "bite" and over the side of the cone, but a number of times where there was vertial jetting, too. Often I saw what appeared to be the top of a heavy boil taking place just out of site. But Bijou never stopped in a half hour, and only once did I see any water jetting from Masttif

Having seen the end of a Grotto eruption around 09:00, decided that I could/should be there for the next start. I've seen several Grotto Fountain eruptions from Grand, but it's been years since I've seen it up close.

Wasn't disappointed. In the hour I waited, there was an episode of Grotto huffing with a splash or two early on, then quiet. When Grotto Fountain started, it was sudden, going from a strong boil to full eruption in a minute or two. The height itself was impressive. I remember higher, but this was still in the 15 meter range. South Grotto Fountain joined in midway throught, with intermittent splashing, and after ten minutes, Grotto finally joined in. That didn't seem to be all that strong. The Grotto eruption was still going on three hours later.

There were a couple of One Burst Grand eruptions. What distinguishes them is that that in both cases there was a delay. Three Turban intervals in the morning, but Grand did manage to erupt on the delay in the afternoon. But before that last eruption there was a Turban interval of 24m54s, which was really close. In general, I've noticed that most Turban intervals are well over 21 minutes, and as much as 24 is not unusual. What is unusual are the ones below 20 minutes, and those only after a delay it seems.

I've come to the conclusion that the most obnoxious groups are not the Asian flag tours, but family reunions. These are large groups of people in their own little world, oblivious to the fact that they aren't the center of attention. They are loud and obnoxious and try to take over areas, and they are having such a good time that everyone else is a killjoy if they object to their noise and rudeness. At least the Asian tours seem to keep moving.

August 05, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 04

Grand is slowly getting later each day. I expect it soon to suddenly be back to its old habit of erupting just before dawn.

But this morning it did provide us with two bursts. The first burst was only 8m30s, while the total eruption duration was less than 10 minutes. It made no attempt to try for a third burst, but at least Vent and Turban continued,

As I was getting on the bike, Castle started. It was a surprse to me, and it was preceeded by a couple of large surges that looked more like the aftermath of a minor.

Down at Fan & Mortar there was a cycle of activity, but it was weak. When the River Vent started, almost immediately the High and Gold Vents started, too. Then they looked really strong for a minute or so, before dying down. So again, looks like not much going on there.

In the afternoon, we could have had a second burst from Grand, but despite the One Burst being only nine minutes long, there was no attempt at refilling the pool. West Triplet started during that time, and continued for 33 minutes, but there was no Rift eruption with it. Sput D and Percolator started up about halfway through, and then quit when West Triplet quit. That was also the time when Vent & Turban also quit.

Was considering going out to the early nighttime Grand, but we had the first strong thunderstorm of the trip, and decided I didn't like the idea of sitting in the cold and damp.

If the purpose of geyser predictions is to help visitors see geyser eruptions, then the ones for Grand couldn't be better for having the opposite effect.

The window the NPS is using is an hour and a half long, from five hours to six and one half. Not only is this too short, but it is centered wrong. Worse, they round down, so there are times with the window starts as soon as 4h50m. So the NPS is getting people out to Grand too early, making them wait the better part of an hour when there is little to no chance of anyone seeing an eruption. Then they end the window early, when there is still an excellent chance that Grand will erupt. This is especially important when there's a long Turban interval delay.

The benches go from near empty to full within ten or so minutes of the opening of the window. If Grand hasn't erupted when the NPS window closes, gaps form in the fomerly full benches.

From what I've seen, the range for Grand eruptions is 5h45m to 7h15m. (I have seen a 5h36m) This could be easily adjusted to 5h30m and 7h30m. The problem is that I don't know of any way to communicate this information to anyone in the NPS who is in a position to fix the problem, or who even cares. It just reinforces the impression that the NPS really doesn't care about visitor services, or even wants to try to provide decent information to those who have no idea what is going on.

August 04, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 03

After yesterday's adventures it was time to get back to normal.

Grand has finally shifted enough that there was no reason to not be out for the early morning eruption. I like that time of day, so it was disappointing for it to be going when it was just dark enough to not be seen well.

While waiting, I did get to see a minor Churn eruption in progress. What I saw was some boiling to about 1/2 meter for about 5-10 seconds. About 20 minutes later, after the One Burst Grand eruption, I got over there to find that Churn was just below overflow, and that Sawmill was high, but nowhere near overflow.

Decided to spend some time down basin, just because there's so little going on down there that it's hard to get motivated to make a bike ride specifially to watch nothing.

At Fan & Mortar, I didn't see much organized activity. When Angle finally died down, River Vent came on almost immediately. The runoff from Bottom Vent was dry.

But I did see the otters, a blue heron and an osprey which was perching on trees and seemed to be letting the otters do its fishing.

From there I rode up on Spa just starting to overflow. There was increased overflow and boiling while was there, but I didn't stick around. Grotto had quit about an hour earlier, so not sure what this means.

After another One Burst Grand it was off to Aurum to take advantage of the shorter intervals. Didn't take long to get an up close recording of the full eruption.

In the evening, arrived to see Rift sputtering away. It was accompanied by Sput D and Percolator, but eventually both of those quieted down. Grand itself had a Delay, and then Rift finally quit about an hour after I'd arrived. So instead of a nice sunset eruption, instead we got a One Burst Grand as it was slowly getting dark.

August 03, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 02

On Wednesday we drove out to Cody. I know that I haven't driven to there from Fishing Bridge since the late 1980s, so it was almost a new experience.

We were in Cody because the next morning we had been invited to join a photographic survey of thermal areas in the park. Which we did. The original plan was to leave at around 07:00, but that got pushed back after we experienced the thick fog for the last New Crater/Steamboat eruption.

We left from the Cody airport in a 4-seater Cessna 182 plane. It was a beautiful day. It was completely clear and while a bit windy on the ground, nothing much higher up. We were supposed to be up at 09:00 for a two hour flight, but there wasn't a reason to hurry, so did get off the ground until 09:30. There was little to no turbulance during the 15 minutes it took to get to Sylvan Pass and our first view of Yellowstone Lake. From there is was only five minutes or so to get to West Thumb, our first destination.

At each destination we circled a couple of time about 2000 feet up. It's quick and fast, but still fun to recognize landmarks and features from up there.

We visited, in turn, West Thumb, Heart Lake, Shoshone, the Upper Basin, Midway and the Lower Basin, Gibbon and Geyser Creek, Norris, the Canyon (there are geysers in there...) Crater Hills and Mud Volcano.

There wasn't much geyser activity to be seen. Did see a large puff from the location of Minute Man in Shoshone. Then saw some nice, huge bursts from Imperial as we flew past. Also think I saw steam from Avalanche in Geyser Creek.

It's much easier to see pools from the air than the cones. The pool color (black, brown, green or blue) offers a constrast to the slightly gray white of the geyser areas. If something was steaming, we could pick out the cone or feature. Most striking are the deep blue of deep pools like Giantess or Columbia at Heart Lake.

And yes, Grand Prismatic does look like the calendar pictures. By the time we passed over, around 11:00, it was warm and clear and there wasn't much steam to obscure the brilliant colors. While the calendars may be enchanced and Photoshopped, it really doesn't need much. The primary way the calendars are exagerating is that even as large as it is, from our height it wasn't any bigger than the full moon.

At Norris we could seen the steam coming from New Crater/Steamboat from miles away despite ground reports saying it was dry. The huge grayish brown area of dead and dying trees surrounding the vent (mostly to the northeast and the parking lot) just can't be appreciated from the ground in the same way.

After all that, we headed back to Cody via the pass north of Sylvan. (I need to find the name). From there you can see a large arch in the Absaroka Mountains. (Again, I need to find the name). We arrived back at about noon, so we got in (and paid for) an extra half hour.

Eventually, after we get home, I'm going to try to take our videos and post some of the better parts.

If there were disappointments, it was that it's just too fast. You only spend a few minutes at most at each area, and from the air, each area is only a minute of so from the next one. Our biggest gap was going from Heart Lake to Shoshone. Also, photography is hard and can be disappointing. Suzanne was on the photographer's side, so she was able to get some good shots and video, but often I was looking over her shoulder and trying to position the camera so it was recording something, which can be distracting.

If given the chance again, I'll take it.

After we got back to our cabin, we did go out for the evening One Burst Grand. While tying up the bikes at Castle, we did see an eruption of Tilt, which lasted long enough for us to walk up on the end.

August 02, 2019

Observations for 2019 August 01

The Grand intervals lengthened out a bit, so that the morning eruption occurred in daylight, but that also meant the first eruption I would see would be around noon. So rode down basin just to check things out. I stopped at the bike-rack at Castle and the geyser started almost immediately. It was a nice backlit full steam eruption.

From there I rode down basin to find not only Grotto, but Spa in eruption. Grotto was well into a Marathon eruption, as Bijou was only splashing weakly, and the Marathon Pool was down.

While watching Spa, Riverside started, so I watched it for a while from the bridge, where Fan & Mortar wasn't doing much.

Solstice was still in eruption, too.

At Grand, things were quiet except for Turban. Finally had something other than a One Burst Grand, as there was tall second burst. West Triplet also erupted starting shortly after Grand, and quit sometime after the end. I didn't observe any activity from Sput D or from Percolator.

Walking away saw Bulger start, but no activity from Bulger's Hole, and Old Tardy started during that eruption, too. From the bike rack, I also saw a nice eruption of Tilt.

August 01, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 31

While walking out to the One Burst Grand, as I passed by Crested Pool I saw my first Churn eruption of the year. While there have been reports of Churn erupting this year, from what I'd head it was only a big boil a meter or so high. This looked like those of previous years. It lasted about a minute, and several of the shots were easily to four meters, if not more. When I walked up, Churn was just below overflow, with a 30cm wide white rim around the pool. The Churn eruption was also during an eruption of Oblong.

At Grand West Triplet erupted, along with Sput D and Percolator. The sput eruptions were longer than when West Triplet was just overflowing. And then soon we got Rift to erupt.

After Grand I waited for the end of Rift for a while, but it just kept on going. But as I left, I noticed Bulger starting an eruption, and as I rounded the trees next to the walkway, I saw Bulger's Hole in full eruption. It was full of milky water about 10cm below the rim. It was throwing burst of water at the back several meters high. It continued for over five minutes, even after Bulger itself had stopped. Then it slowly drained down, making some gurgling sounds.

After a report of Fountain having a 36 minute duration, went out to see what it might do next. Other than a tall eruption of Morning's Thief, not much. It really does sound (and look) a lot like high tide crashing against a rocky shore.

For the evening Grand, we didn't get a delay, but the Turban durations were short, and it wasn't until they got longer that Grand showed any signs of activity. During the wait nothing other than Turban erupted, another sign that the West Triplet Overflow mode was over.

July 31, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 30

Arrived at Norris at 05:30. it was foggy the whole way, as it had rained during the night, and there was still some lightning visible to the north.

An hour and a half later it was still overcast and foggy, and I hadn't yet gotten around to digging something to eat out of the pack. It was at 07:12 that we got a long, strong and sustained minor. That got me to put away things and wrap up the pack in its rain cover. The heavy surging continued, so next it was time to get the chair and pack out of the way.

The activity continued, and based on our experiences of the past year or so, it quickly became obvious that this was what we'd been waiting for. In the next few minutes we got stronger and longer play than all day yesterday (or the day we waited last week, or the three days Memorial Day weekend). Finally there was a surge that kept building and climbing, until it became obvious that each burst was higher than the last.

It quickly became apparent that there wasn't going to be a chance to see much of the water phase. I'd would have liked to try for a height measurement, but after about a minute realized that there was something else I could do. I moved quickly (more of a trot than a run) down the switchback and past Cistern and over to the runoff bridge, with the video recording the whole way.

If any water washed over the bridge, it was brief and didn't leave much dampness. Otherwise the two main runoffs were pretty impressive, more than I'd seen before. (Those times were well into the steam-phase, too.) Coming back I saw the start of water coming down all the runoff channels that run under the switchback walkway.

The water coming from North Vent seemed gray, but not reddish or brown.

Standing on the upper platform, I realized that it would make a lot more sense to get the tripod and the other phone and set it all up to try and record any chokes from before the start, rather than trying to react to what the geyser was doing. Sof went back down to where my pack was, and of course the first choke happened as I was trying to dig everything out. But I did manage to catch the next three, as well as another one on my regular phone. There were a total of eight, and I'd have gotten some more if somehow the phone hadn't gotten into "slo-mo" mode. A rant on how phone camera interfaces are overloaded with useless gimicks and poorly designed for use outside in bright light might be appropriate. (For most people, it appears a button labeled "Selfie! Me!" would suffice.)

Telling when there was going to be a choke seems to depend on noting the activity of the wall of rock north of the North Vent. If there is heavy water landing there and running over the edge creating waterfalls, North Vent will start chugging, and eventually choke. If the wind is shifted, say toward a platform, then the steam coming from North Vent is continuous, and there won't be a choke.

The corridoned off area of the platform only appeared to have one or two small rocks on it that weren't there when we arrived in the morning. (I was tempted yesterday to put a huge rock or two in that area, just to get a reaction...) A small rock did land next to me there, but it someone made it back onto the ground.

By the time we left, at around 10:10, Cistern had dropped below overflow, but because none of the runoff made it into the feature, it was still clear blue.

Out to Grand for the afternoon One Burst Eruption. Arrived to find Rift marker gone and West Triplet down much more than during the past week. An hour later I saw the first eruption of West Triplet I was aware of since 22 July. The only eruption of Sput D I saw was during West Triplet, and it was accompanied by Percolator, another geyser not seen in a week.

Grand itself had to have a two Turban interval delay, followed by a Turban start. The eruption was a little over ten minutes long and Vent & Turban continued. While waiting a dark, ominous storm cell passed north, through the Lower Basin, but was never really a threat here.

July 30, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 29

A day spent at Norris, where New Crater/Steamboat didn't do much. Will find out tomorrow (or later) if all that time was wasted.

July 29, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 28

Got out to Grand at the four hour mark since the early morning 5:15 am eruption, and it was already in overflow. An hour later, there was a Turban interval that lasted 38m39s, one of the longer. At around the 30 minute mark, I was considering making a radio call, as the pool looked that good, and it was only 4h55m since the previous eruption.

Two Turban intervals later, there was another good fill, and even a short overflow from Vent. But no eruption. It wasn't until two Turban intervals after that that Grand finally erupted. This was another long One Burst Grand where Vent & Turban quit almost immediately.

What was interesting was the Sput D was erupting with Turban until the Delay. It shared the long interval, and again erupted as Turban was ending, and along with Turban for the next eruptions until the Grand eruption. After Grand it behaved as previously, with a heavy West Triplet overflow that had some weak eruptions from Sput D.

After that it was out to Fountain after the report of the previous eruption duration being about 35 minutes long. We arrived at the seven hour mark to find a high Morning Pool with some nice convecting. For the first time this trip, we had to wait for a solo Fountain eruption, which came over an hour later. With no Morning start, we left the duration for someone else to figure out. (It was about 31 minutes).

July 28, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 27

Looks like the Grand Group has settled into a routine. No real change from the last few days, where we have Sput D erupting before and after Grand, but taking a bit of a pause in the middle of the interval. Grand itself has some shorter intervals, but then tosses in a longer one so that it is erupting at the same time of day every day.

But we did get some interesting One Burst Grand eruptions. The first one, in the morning, had Grand lasting 9m33s, followed by 1m45s until it drained. Unusual to wait that long, and Vent & Turban quit almost immediately.

But the afternoon eruption was probably a record setter. I cannot remember a One Burst Grand eruption that lasted longer than about 13m30s, and this one had a duration of 14m21s. For the last few minutes it really did go into Big Sawmill mode, where most of the activity consisted of low surging and boiling punctuated by the occasion sharp, high rocket. When it finally quit, it wasn't all that sudden, it just sort of died down. Turban finished moments before Grand did.

July 27, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 26

Another pretty dull day.

Another day where I spent a bit of time out at Grand to see if the newest changes in activity are changing further, or going to stabilize for a while. It appears that it's the latter. Sput D (Delta Geyser?) still seems to erupt at about twenty minute intervals, but otherwise is independent of Turban. Sometimes I was seeing it in the middle of the Turban interval, other times at the end of Turban's eruption.

After Grand West Triplet will flow heavily for about four minutes, without any activity in the sputs. That's the last time it overflows, even as Sput D continues to erupt after Vent and Turban continue.

Other good new of the day were the two Two Burst Grand eruptions. There was also a delayed eruption that was preceeded by about a minute of Grand booping, including one that had to be well over two meters high.

Also got to see two Oblong eruptions from Grand. Didn't notice the first one in the morning until it was underway, but in the afternoon I noticed that the steam was more than a wisp from down there, and over the next minute or so it built in volume until I finally got a small surge. That eruption had at least one burst well above the top of the dead tree.

Also down basin it looked like Grotto had a Marathon eruption. Bijou was quiet most of the day. Watching the Grand Group changes is cutting into opportunities to check on Grotto and Giant.

July 26, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 25

Went out to Grand a little early, and almost immediately caught a full range of the new sput activity. Not only was there a nice eruption of Sput D, but the feature back in the rocks, Sput F2 was splashing, while Sputnik was sizzling and Sput A was also bubbling. The only thing missing was that West Triplet was low.

Caught a couple more eruptions of Sput D, and these camein the middle of the Turban eruption intervals. These eruptions were not accompanied by the other sputs. Based on the way the sunlight was hitting the runoff channel and not sparkling, I'm assuming that West Triplet still didn't overflow.

We finally got a Grand eruption after a delay that included well over a minute of Grand having heavy boils and small boops. When it finally started, it took Turban over a minute to start. It turned out to be a two-burst eruption, nicely against the clear sky of a warm morning. Even more interesting was that unlike most two burst eruptions I've seen the last few years, Vent and Turban didn't quit.

Waited around afterwards to see what the sputs and West Triplet would do. Activity was pretty much the same as the day before. There was a strong West Triplet overflow following Grand, with only some small splashing from Sput D. About 15 minutes later, as Vent and Turban quit, there was another bit of activity from Sput D, with West Triplet overflow. After that, there were a few more periods of activity about every 15 minutes.

The first post eruption Turban was almost exactly an hour after Grand's eruption, and wasn't accompanied by Vent. It was about that time that the Sput D/West Triplet activity quit. At the time of the next Turban eruption, West Triplet rose a bit, then dropped, and that was it.

I came out a bit early for the next Grand eruption, and saw Sput D in action without any overflow from West Triplet. But the runoff was wet, so it had done something recently. It appears that Sput D is in sync with Turban, as it was erupting about midway between Turban eruptions. It didn't look like there was any West Triplet overflow these times, but hard to tell as once the NPS eruption window for Grand opened, the benches almost immediately became full.

Grand itself waited just long enough to make in an official Delayed eruption. Afterwards again there was heavy overflow from West Triplet and a short period of Sput D sputtering.

Went out for one final One Burst Grand eruption before midnight. Didn't have to wait a Turban interval, so not sure what happened prior to the eruption, but West Triplet's runoff was dry. After the eruption West Triplet overflowed heavily for about 6 minutes. Only a few times did it look like the upwelling might result in water actually being thrown.

July 25, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 24

Since there was no reason to make the trek to Norris, slept in. Out to Grand for a steamy One Burst Eruption.

Then stayed around for a couple of hours to see what would happen next. Just before Grand's eruption Sput D erupted, and West Triplet overflowed. This happened about every twenty minutes until Vent and Turban finally quit. The overflows lasted about four minutes, and the activity from Sput D was at or just before it started, and then about the time it ended. On one of the overflows, Sput A was seen bubbling, along with frying pan activity in Sputnik (Sput B) and a new (or at least a hole I don't remember) bubbling about two meters from Sput D and to the right of A.

When Vent and Turban finally quit, West Triplet came up one last time, but not close to overflow, then dropped down into its tube. I left about 40 minutes after the last overflow.

Returned about an hour and a half later to catch the first overflow. Has been years since I did that, and in previous times it was always about 4h20m except back when Rift had an effect on Grand. Then it could be six to seven hours. Arrived to find West Triplet's runoff dry, which would be a good indication there hadn't been any more overflows since I left.

The activity from the sput seemed to be synchronized with Turban at first, but after about an hour it was out of phase, then it quit entirely. It was next seen right before the time Turban would have erupted if it hadn't been having a Delay. When Turban finally did erupt, it was followed by more activity from Sput D, as well as another eruption after the next Turban. I wasn't in a position at that point to see what West Triplet was doing, but it didn't look like there was any runoff at any of these times.

So we got a One Burst Grand, and afterwards as I was leaving, saw West Triplet have a short, heavy overflow without any activity from the Sputs.

July 24, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 23

Spent the day at Norris. Wasn't a total waste.

There was a nice large minor as we arrived at 05:55, then another at about 09:00. Then nothing until 14:00, when they started coming about once an hour or so. We left unimpressed at 18:15.

Got back to the Old Faithful area to learn that Fountain had had an eruption duration over 38 minutes. So it was out to there to see what happened.

For the first time this visit, we had to wait for Fountain. About an hour after arrival, it finally started, to be joined 54 seconds later by Morning.

The eruption lasted well over 28 minutes, for probably the longest duration of this period of activity. While there were only a few tall bursts, there were lots of loud pops and wide explosive bursts. The three bright flashlights allowed us to easily see all the activity. We even attracted a couple of people who were driing by and had to come out to investigate the bright lights. (I noticed the previous night, when we left during Fountain's eruption, that the activity was bright from the parking lot.)

Speaking of the parking lot, we could hear what sounded like powerful steam coming from Clepsydra as we left.

July 23, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 22

Went out for the One Burst Grand eruption, but what was interesting was the other activity. Again West Triplet started, and within a few minutes, Sput D started, soon to be joined by Percolator I went down to take a closer look, and found that the filled in area of Sputnik (Sput B) was a bubbling frying pan. Also, higher up behind it in the rocks was another small sput. I don't remember seeing this one in a long time, if ever, and can't remember how I referred to it if I did. Waited for the end of West Triplet, and everything back there quit within a minute or two.

The rest of the day consisted of two trips out to Fountain. The first was late afternoon, and resulted in an eruption lasting 36m01s. That was long enought that felt obligated to come out to the next one. That was just before midnight, and a disappointment. In both cases, we didn't have much of a wait, but the second time we'd literally walked up and it started to erupt. Also, both times, there was a period of heavy boiling from Morning's Thief, but no real eruption. We left the midnight eruption before it ended.

July 22, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 21

A dawn drive to Fountain resulted in getting as far as Silex before we were informed that it had erupted and quit already. Not observed, so it could've been over an hour earlier.

So it was back to the cabin and then out to see another One Burst Grand weruption, backlit by the rising sun.

From there it was down basin for the first time this trip. I passed by Solstice, still in eruption. Grotto was active, and I saw some splashing from South Grotto Fountain.

Waited through the better part of a cycle at Fan & Mortar. It was well defined. For example, when the vents shut down, they stayed off. None of that blipping from Angle Vent that never seems to stop. Bottom Vent started splashing heavily, and Lower Mortar was so full the water level could be seen at about the time a new cycle start was expected. When High and Gold did start,they were powerful. But during the quiet time, and during the Bottom splashing I saw nothing from Main Vent. It was cool, and there was very little steam.

By then it was time for Daisy, and to take a look at Splendid. The latter didn't look any different from the way it did back in May. A few minutes after the refill start there was boiling from Main Vent which ususally shifted to Side Boiler. The first few boils were about a meter high.

As I left, I check on Grotto, and it had quit while I was up at Daisy.

By the time I returned to the cabin, Beehive had still not erupted. The Indicator was behaving the same way as yesterday according to radio reports. When it finally came up, I almost didn't have time to get over there from the cabin. I left as it started, and was passing the Observation Point junction when Beehive started. Fortunately, the wind was blowing the spray parallel to the walkway, so no one got wet. I also noticed when I got close that the Close-to-Cone Indicator was bubble as the main Indicator was quitting. It continued during the rest of Beehive's eruption.

Went out to Grand a bit early to try to beat the crowds, so of course it not only has a delay, but take three Turban intervals to finally erupt. But I did get to see the activity I saw the other night in the daylight.

It started almost immediately after West Triplet started. I will have to check my old maps, but I think it is actually what I called "Sput D". It was to the left of Sputnik. Sput A was a small hole in the flat runoff channel area, and this is farther back. Percolator also started with West Triplet, and both stopped when West Triplet ended shortly after the One Burst Grand eruption.

Made another trip out to see what Morning might do. There was boiling at the back, but nothing came of it when Fountain started. There were also two periods of heavy boils from Morning's Thief, but again, that was all that happened. The eruption itself was shorter than the previous, only 32m10s this time.

July 21, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 20

The moon was past full, but at 01:30 it was high up in the sky. As expected, the wind had died down and it hadn't gotten really cold yet so we headed out to Grand. It was also late enough (or early enough) that no one would be out there with a light.

Rift and Turban were both erupting as we approached. From the usual spot over Grand's main runoff I noticed a lot of steam back in the Sputnik area, and went down to investigate. Back there Sput A, the one in the runoff to the left of Sputnik at the site of North Triplet was erupting a thick plume of water about 1/2 meter high every few minutes. This is new activity to me. It and Rift quit about fifteen minutes after we arrived. Just four minutes later, Grand erupted,

It was so calm that the steam was making it hard to see at times. This One Burst Eruption at least lasted well over 11 minutes.

On our way back, while walking past Castle, it sounded like there were voices nearby. Over in the trees across the trail from Castle there was also a bright spot that didn't look like moonlight through the trees. I illuminated the area and saw at least a couple of people about 25 yards off the trail back there. I think they were trying to camp. In hindsight, I shouldn't have done that. Because it probably warned them to clear out.

Then I called the Comm Center, and for once they were able to dispatch someone to check things out. We talked for a bit, and I described what we'd seen. A companion arrived and then went on to check the area out, but didn't find anyone. At a minimum, I hope that somebody's night was ruined, and word got around that if you are going to camp in the thermal areas, you need to be more discrete.

Went out for the next Grand eruption. The boardwalks down from Crested were frosty, and there was the usual nasty slickness on the walkways past Rift. There was a Castle minor during our wait, which this time was for two Turban intervals. It was another One Burst Grand, but the backlighting, especially at the start, was quite nice.

It seemed like a good idea to head over to Beehive. Ended up seeing a couple of Old Faithful eruptions during the 2-1/2 hour wait. The South Bubbler was erupting about 15 minutes, and it looked a lot like what I'd seen from Sput A earlier in the dark. Then water was visible in the Indicator. This lasted for almost an hour until the indicator finally started.

But the eruption was quite nice. By then the breeze had picked up, and it had warmed up. I was standing on the northern side, and quite often the falling water looked like it was coming right at me, only to veer off to the south. It wasn't until near the end that the crowd at my end had to panic because they were getting wet.

For the noon-time Grand wait, it was standing room only because there was a terrible prediction on the board. Someone had calculated it an hour early, and the windows are already skewed too early. So a lot of people wasted a lot of time there.

It was another One Burst Grand, lasting a little under 10 minutes. But after draining, Grand's vent refilled and pulsed and acted like it was trying for a second burst for about 75 seconds. Vent started blasting away at about the minute mark. Then there was a sudden drain and Vent and Turban went silent.

Went out to see what Morning might be doing. Arrived in the parking lot in time for Fountain, but since we got a parking spot almost immediately, walked out to see the rest of the eruption. The conditions were ideal-- warm and dry and sunny blue sky and just enough breeze to move the steam away from the walkway.

The evening brought a Turban delay at Grand, which probably made the eruption better, as it allowed the sun to drop closer to the horizon. Another Turban interval and the sun would have been below the ridge. This time when Grand's vent refilled, it managed to give a second burst.

After dark headed back out to Fountain, and this time we had to wait a few minutes for the start. The duration was 34m30s, which means that we need to be back out for the next eruption, as things are looking good for Morning.

July 20, 2019

Observations for 2019 July 19

Of course was greeted by a 9m11 One Burst Grand eruption, after a wait of only one Turban interval. That was the only geyser activity we saw. The walk out was unusual in that I don't assocate a strong wind with the time of day (just before sunset). Was told that that it was actually much nicer than earlier in the day, when Beehive looked more like Daisy.

For us, wind started as we crossed north on US-287 into Wyoming at around 09:00. It was a headwind, and we had it the entire drive to Old Faithful.

Also of interest was the drive from the South Entrance. The line there wasn't that short, but it seems like every vehicle ahead of us was paying in cash, so we waited at least a quarter of an hour to finally show our pass. But once we were back moving, we made it to Old Faithul with the cruise control set at the speed limit almost the whole way. I did have to pass one car north of Lewis Falls, and was briefly behind a Jeep that turned into Isa Lake. For late afternoon, this felt more like early morning. I also noticed not a single bus headed south or away from Old Faithful.

And I'll hold my rant on the latest stupidity from the NPS until I get to partipate in a wait at Norris.

June 04, 2019

Observations for 2019 June 03

Since is was the day to leave, there wasn't much time spent in the thermal areas. Set a deadline for Beehive though, and it cooperated.

There was a report of the South Bubblers, so we went out to wait until the deadline. Then nothing happened for quite a while, maybe half an hour. At about 15 minutes before the deadline, there was a huge surge from Beehive, as if it was about to start, but nothing came of it.

But when the indicator did start, it was only 1m02s before Beehive itself started. Of course the wind shifted, so we had to dodge the water or start the drive home wet. And the duration of Beehive was much longer than I've seen recently, 5m17s, when most are well under five minutes.

June 03, 2019

Observations for 2019 June 02

Yet another nice day which started with a Grand eruption. But before that, I found the Sawmill Group with water levels high enough that Sawmill was within millimeters of overflow. But about ten minutes later it was obvious that it was dropping.

Also of note is that during an eruption of West Triplet I saw Sputnik (or one of its associated vents) bubbling. At the same time Rift was steaming heavily, but it never did erupt, with the steam dying down after West Triplet quit. West Triplet erupted again after the One Burst Grand eruption, for an interval of about 2-1/4 hours.

After that, made one last visit to the Lower Geyser Basin. Arrived at Fountain about half an hour after Fountain had completed an eruption on a four hour interval. So went over to Great Fountain, where the water in the crater was at least 25cm below overflow. So that was a complete waste of time.

The next Grand eruption was another One Burst Grand, with nothing much to distinguish it other than all of the afternoon eruptions have had sunlight on them, enhancing the contrast with the gray clouds forming the background.

Down at Grotto waited for a start, and saw first a powerful Central Vent delay, and then a small Grotto Fountain which preceeded Grotto. Also this was the first time this year that the mosquito repellent became necessary, as I killed several of the little monsters while waiting there.

June 02, 2019

Observations for 2019 June 01

Going out to Grand in the morning and we got Castle starting right as we walked past Crested. Stopped to enjoy a major eruption under excellent conditions. Over in the Sawmill Group, there were eruptions of Bulger and Old Tardy before we continued on in that direction.

Rift started just as we walked up, so spent a little time watching the water creep down the runoff channel and under the walkway. After several decades, that runoff channel looks the same despite every eruption moving a bit of gravel closer to the river.

Waited for a couple of non-descript Turban eruptions then got a strong Grand start. It also gave us a sudden stop at a little over nine minutes. Perfect duration for a possible second burst, or long enough for one burst. But over the next minute the pool did fill and we got a sun-lit second burst. That lasted nearly three minutes, turning a short eruption into a long eruption.

For the first time in quite a while, stuck around to see the restart of Vent and Turban, which took nearly 22 minutes. From there, did a quick survey of the northern end of the basin, noting that Solstice was still in eruption.

In the afternoon, we got a Turban Delay that included a half-meter Grand Boop about four minutes before the Turban start, It took two Turban interval to recover from that, and this time the burst lasted over 11 minutes, so there was no chance of a second burst.

The day ended with it getting cloudy, but still fairly comfortable. Went out at sunset and caught West Triplet and then Castle. Stopped paying attention, so it was about twelve minutes later that we all noticed it was far too quiet, that Castle had had a minor and we missed the end. During part of that time, there were quite a few flashes of lightning, and some thunder, but nothing came of it.

It started to sprinkle a bit just around the time Grand started. The wind also did its shift so that the central part of the benches got a spray soaking too. Another one burst eruption, illuminated by several bright lights.

June 01, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 31

The day pretty much started out the same as yesterday. Nice and sunny, so went out to Grand where it started to cloud up. After the One Burst Grand, went to the Lower Basin to see what might be going on at Fountain.

Unlike yesterday, we got there after Fountain had a short interval, and with a short duration of 29m, there was no reason to stick around, or even head back later in the day. The only noteworthy thing is that there was a bison blocking the boardwald between Silex and the Paint Pots, and the warmer weather is bringing out the aroma of the buildings next to the parking lot.

Back in the Upper Basin, at least, we arrived just in time to head for Geyser Hill for a Beehive eruption. Nothing out of the ordinary there, either.

Later in the afternoon went out to Grand for another One Burst Eruption. Nice conditions, but the wind shifted at the last moment to obscure Turban and Vent when before the wind was headed toward Rift.

After that, realized that a Daisy eruption had probably been missed, and we were about an hour or so from an eruption. Which was good, because I wanted to see what Splendid might do (if anything) well before an eruption. There was water coming out a lobe to the north, enought to support orange slime, which was an improvement over previous years, when the water didn't even exit the rim.

What it did was nothing, until after Daisy. Around the eight minute mark or so, the Side Boiler did make an appearance, and a few minutes later we saw the Main Vent. The latter reached perhaps a meter high boil, which was actually about the best I've seen from it in years. At about the twenty minute mark, Main Vent died down and all we saw for a few minutes was the Side Boiler, getting a bit less vigorout. So Splendid is a long way from being active again, but at least it's slowed it's evolution into a hot spring.

May 31, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 30

The weather was finally nice all day. Went out to see the One BurstGrand for the morning eruption, and had to wait for an interval of over six hours. But by then had learned about the early morning Morning eruptions, so that was our next destination.

Arrived around 11:35 and ended up spending about ten hours sitting at the overlook. By sunset, Morning was nice and high, but we also started getting Morning's Thief boiling. Not a good sign.

Then we got a series of huge Thief eruptions about 12 minutes apart. This continued for about 45 minutes until Fountain finally started. Even then the Thief wasn't finished, as there were three more eruptions over the next seven minutes.

May 30, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 29

It was head out first thing in the morning for Fountain Paint Pots. It was also clear overnight, so I had to scrape the frost off the windows of the truck, and then drive in the fog to get there. Fortunately, that mostly cleared out north of Biscuit Basin, and there were no bison on the road.

But there were bison in the parking lot. We were the third behicle there, and I didn't see them until I had packed up and was about to head out. Suzanne never saw them. They were right in front of the vehicles, maybe ten feet from the walkway. Just settled down there, comping away, and they ignored me.

The interval for Fountain wasn't unreasonably long, and we got a couple of Morning's Thief eruptions before it started. It lasted about 35 minutes, so we knew we were not going to be coming out for the next one.

So a few hours later we arrived at Grand with West Triplet and Percolator erupting. Which led to a Rift eruption. Which didn't really seem to matter. Although Grand did have a delay, and several large boops as much as 1/2 minute before the One Burst Grand eruption finally started.

After, I went down basin for really the first time this trip to see a Grotto and Grotto Fountain start. I got both, but was a bit disappointed that Grotto Fountain got to about three meters at most, and Grotto started within a couple of minutes.

From there I noticed that Link was having a minor eruptions, so I stopped by to watch it. It wasn't long before I felt and heard a thump. That was interesting, because I've never had that happen before during a minor, only during those major eruptions I saw in 1983. Then it happened again. For the third time I finally figured out what was happening. It was from the people slaming the door of the Riverside Pit Stop.

And here's what the new view of an eruption of Riverside. It belongs on a calendar sold by "Yellowstone Forever".

Arrived for the afternoon Grand just in time to see Turban have an eruption lasting 7m30s. This was undoubtely caused by a delay. It was three Turban eruptions later when the One Burst Grand eruption finally occurred. The only different thing about this eruption was that the restart was quick, about 8-1/2 minutes.

Later went over to Black Sand Pool for some more thumps, this time from a real geyser. There were some good, strong ones, and they didn't ever seem to correlate with the heavy boils the pool was having.

Went out for one more Grand eruption after it got dark. This too was one burst, with nothing to distinguish it.

May 29, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 28

After last night's long duration Fountain eruption, it had an even longer eruption before dawn-- about 39 minutes long. That meant that we would be going out to the Lower Basin around noon today, to see what would happen.

First we went out to Grand, where we got a pretty non-descript one burst eruption. The it was out to the Fountain Paint Pots.

Waited about an hour, with nothing much happening, and definitely nothing out of the ordinary. But when Fountain finally started, the boiling in Morning increased almost immediately, It took a little over a minute for that to go from heavy boiling to surging to erupting. This was my first Morning eruption in several years, and the conditions were excellent. There were frequent breaks in the clouds, allowing the sun through. The wind was such that the steam from Morning went behind (as seen from the overlook) Fountain, which in turn was easily visible.

The eruption looked as I remembered them-- the pool lifting up several times a minute with plenty of noise in each explosion. Several times there were vertical shots well over 40 meters. At around 14 minutes, the surging died down, and the total eruption duration was 14m38.

Fountain continued to erupt, but we didn't stick around as there were enough of the more dedicated people there who like seeing it.

After a meal back at the cabin, it was again out to Grand. This time we got a Vent overflow delay. Two Turban intervals later West Triplet started, then shortly after Turban preceeded Grand by about a second. It was partly sunny, but the wind was aimed right at the boardwalks. From my usual spot to beyond West Triplet , the umbrella was needed. But when Grand ended, the wind cooperated, pushing the steam away so that we could see Grand's crater, and that it still had water in it. It took overa minute, the crater filled and we finally got our second burst. The water column was completely visible, despite the earlier wind directions.

Again, we then headed to the Lower Basin. In years past, there were cases of a second Morning eruption about five or six hours after a dual eruption, and we wanted to be there for that.

That time period came and went, and we ended up at sunset waiting for Fountain. After a couple of Morning's Thief eruptions, it was near dark and we left the area. There were a considerable number of people there, and we figured there were more than enough get the Fountain info.

May 28, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 27

I think I now have a better understanding of how the Elusive Vachuda felt back in August 1982.

Got back even earlier than the previous days. Not much had changed overnight. We were getting a nice strong surge every hour or so, otherwise it was just lots of strong South Vent, with some North Vent that wasn't being affected by South as much.

The weather was fine up until around noon, when it started to deteriorate. There was a rain shower around 13:00, and then about an hour later it started coming down hard and continuous. The surges kept coming at about the same rate, so we stuck things out as long as we could, but by 16:00 we gave up. There was a social gathering over in the government area, and by then it seemed a reasonable alternative to four more hours of rain. We were pretty well bundled up and warm and dry, but knew that as soon as we started to leave and pack up, everything was going to get soaked. And it did.

So an hour and a half later, at 17:32, an obvious roar coming from the east was noticed. There was never a radio call about any increased activity, or even the start of the eruption, despite people with radios seeing the start. Rushed on over to the area to see what we could, but it was steam by the time I parked in the lot. Another short water phase.

The wind direction was the same as last time, with the platforms, especially the lower one, getting soaked. The walk down to the bridge was in a downpour, but at the bridge itself it was just the slowing decreasing rain. Cistern was flooded and brown from all the debris washing in.

Unfortunately, no one at that gathering in the government area saw "an eruption of Steamboat". Yes, we all saw a powerful steamphase right after the transisition. But what we saw was also to the equivalent to seeing 99% partial solar eclipse. It's close, but it's not seeing totality itself. What happens is impressive and unusual, but it is nothing compared to what we could have seen. In that regard, I felt cheated by what I saw. I waited three days, in far less than ideal conditions, to pretty much see what I'd seen way back in the 1990s.

After we got back to the Old Faithful area, discovered that Fountain had been observed during the day, and we were approaching the eight hour mark. So we took a quick trip back out, and caught an eruption soon enough after the start that we got to see an eruption of Morning's Thief. The lenght was fairly long, but not long enought to make us want to go out for the next eruption.

May 27, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 26

Today was more of the same. Arrived at the same time as yesterday, but this time we weren't the first in the area. New Crater/Steamboat was a little improved from yesterday, but not by much. North Vent was holding its own against the stronger South, but most of the time wasn't very thick or tall. Every hour or so there's be an attempt at a surge, with a little bit of vertical in North Vent, but it rarely followed through.

During the afternoon there was some sun, and it got warm enough that I actually thought about shedding a layer. But then the sun would disappear behind a cloud, and I got to feel the real air temperature, which wasn't great. Around 18:30 the thunderstorms came in. The first wave was cloud-to-cloud, but not the second. We had a number of nearby strikes. One was of the flash-boom variety, and some were claiming they saw the strike over in the farther Back Basin. Then again, after the storm, some claimed to smell smoke, and the wind was coming from the parking lot then.

Finally gave up around 20:30 and headed back to old Faithful.

May 26, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 25

Since the other choice was some One Burst Grand eruptions and maybe a short Beehive interval, instead decided that watching nothing happen at Norris was a valid alternative.

Arrived at the platform around 06:45 to a lot of strong South Vent minors and weak to no activity from the North Vent. That was pretty much the case the whole day. There were a few good surges where North did join in, and South put out a heavy stream of water, but they were isolated and infrequent. Around 18:00, the situation did change a little bit, in that North was now initiating some of the activity, and not stopping when South began. There were even a couple of surges where the North Vent showed signs of going vertical. But no eruption by the time we left at 19:45.

What was noteworthy was the lineup to get out of the park. We came to a halt well before Terrace Spring, and over the next 20 minutes slowly crept toward the junction. No one was making the turn, because it was brake lights all the way toward the campground entrance. I sure hope there was an animal jam just down the road, as the idea of being that sort of mess for the next 14 miles makes me glad I never have to go to West Yellowstone.

What was also interesting was that the lineup was devoid of busses and campers and RVs. On the drive from the junction to Old Faithful I counted only 5 of them. It was almost all small passenger vehicles. I guess it was everyone headed back to their hotel lodgings.

May 25, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 24

No one knew when the dawn Grand eruption happened, so extrapolated from the previous evening's time. Also, someone reported an empty crater, which at least gave a maximum time. Turns out I guessed about right, as when the electronic times finally appeared, it was only about ten minutes from my estimate.

The weather looked wet when we left to go out, but while cold and a bit windy, was never actually raining. Took a quick look at Economic and vicinity, where I noticed that Wave was down a bit, and Economic is actually hot not just around the vent, but has a well defined runoff area in the middle of the orange to the south.

Was one of those Turban starts where Grand waits well over a minute to join in. The burst ended at around 8-1/2 minutes, which should mean another burst, but I have seen a One Burst Grand that short. But the pause was quick, and we got our second. Just that while the total duration was less than ten minutes, Grand made no attempt to even try for a third.

Considered going out to see activity in the Lower Basin again, but timing (Great Fountain erupted as we were eating the meal of the day) and weather (heavy rain) pursuaded us to stay behind. We also missed Beehive, seeing it from our cabin after we heard the roar of the eruption.

Got to see Grand start from behind Castle, because we weren't out there in time for the 5h32m interval. But there was a nice second burst. The rains had also died down, and the breeze was blowing to the east for once, so it was again easy to see the water column.

May 24, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 23

The day started out sunny, windy and cold. Spent some time on Geyser Hill since it was approaching 24 hours since the previous Beehive eruption, but it wasn't going to cooperate.

After that, went out for another wet eruption of Grand. One where there wasn't much to see after the start again, because of the wind direction. The wind and rain starting didn't help, either.

The the eruption of Morning the day before, and a report of Fountain in eruption in the morning, it seemed like a good idea to go out there and see what would happen next. Turns out, not much.

Didn't know it at the time, but got there only 3-1/2 hours after a second Fountain eruption. That Clepsydra was shutting down should have been a good clue that we'd missed an eruption, but the whole area was wet because of the rain and snow, and nothing was steaming. It was also confusing as the water level in both Fountain and Morning were high. Water was visible in Fountain from the overlook.

During the next couple hours, Clepsydra kept shutting down, and the geysers kept rising. But the weather turned acceptible, if a bit windy. Eventually, by 15:30, Fountain had water visible well into the neck. That's when things stalled out. Jet was acting like it was erupting, but there was only noise, no water. Clepsydra came on and stayed on. A few hours later, approaching what we thought was well over ten hours, the water level in Fountain began to drop. There was increased boiling in Morning's Thief, which is supposed to be a sure sign of Fountain erupting eventually. By the time we left, around 19:30, Fountain was almost out of sight, and back to about where it was when we arrived.

So we got to see what happens between Fountain eruptions, without actually seeing any Fountain eruptions.

May 23, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 22

It took the webcam noticing Beehive's Indicator to roust us out of our nice warm cabin and go out into the cold air. Arrived at Beehive just in time to see the Bubblers erupting just before Beehive's explosive start. The bubblers came back 2m50s into Beehive's eruption, and lasted about 50 seconds, reaching a height of about 1/2 meter during much of that time.

Later it was finally out to Grand to see it erupt. Got out in time for a long, over six minute duration Turban eruption, which was followed by a just barely Delay. Of course that resulted in a long One Burst Grand eruption, white steam on a gray background with the wind casuing the spray to land around West Triplet and Rift.

A quick check down basin showed nothing much of interest, other than Solstice was again, or still, in eruption.

Later went out for the evening Grand. The cold and wind wasn't too unpleasant, but the wind shifted just before the Grand eruption, and kept shifting during the eruption, so that all the walkway got wet at some point, and the steam made it difficult to actually see the eruption.

The first burst lasted a bit over 9-1/2 minutes, so the expectation was for a one burst with Vent and Turban continuing. But about a minute later, those two became quite vigorous, and then the steam parted enough to see the start of a second burst. That burst lasted 2m15s, so what was a short eruption became a long one.

I see that "vista enhancement" is possible in some areas of the partk. Over a dozen large trees that were blocking the view of the Inn from Old Faithful have been replaced by fresh stumps.

May 22, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 21

It was a day to finally get out into the Upper Basin and see what was different from last October. It was also gray and breezy and not warm.

The bike rack placement is interesting. There's one as you approach Castle, down in the primary spray zone from the geyser and in prime selfie territory. It's also butted up against the curbing, so that one side is useless. It's about as far from the boardwalk as possible and still be "at Castle." There's a small one across from the southern Daisy trail. I guess it's purpose is to encourage people to not ride directly up to the benches at Daisy. There's a small one at Grotto, which will be inadequate should Giant reactivate. The final bikerack was dumped next to Backwater Spring, on the trail to the now closed Pit Of Eternal Stench.

The replacement Pit is interesting too. Gonna appear in more than a few Riverside eruption photos and videos, I would guess. (Which is somehow appropriate for Riverside.) Next to it is a big spoil pile of sinter dug out to make room for the vault below. That tends to offend me, as there is no reason for the NPS to be digging in thermal areas. Especially when that digging is done with active, flowing springs uphill from the hole. The overflow from Victory hasn't reached that far yet, but you can see the swath of dead trees from its previous activity pointed right at this new building.

Grotto was having a marathon eruption, but down by Oblong we saw Solstice in eruption. It's a feature I've never seen before, so I could be wrong, It's east of Oblong on the other side of the river, and the eruption looked a lot like Old Tardy or Terra Cotta A (the big one).

With nothing much else going on, and Fountain having long durations, we went out there for the early afternoon eruption. The weather forecast said that there could be showers in the early afternoon, and that's what we got. We waited an hour or so, and the rain finally came just when Morning's Thief had its first eruption. Previously I've seen that feature erupt to maybe 3 or 4 meters, but this was between 10 and 15, and quite impressive. There was a second one, just as large, before Fountain finally started.

We got one more Thief eruption, and that seemed even more massive and taller than the previous activity. Then it was wating out the Fountain eruption to get the duration. The wind and rain both picked up during this time, and unfortunately that was coming in the same direction as the view we needed. Fountain's steam made it impossible to see the eruption, and the boardwalk.

What got our attention, and the reason we were there was that Fountain durations were well over the magic 38m mark that said Morning might do something. This eruption lasted about 39m12, which made it shorter than the previous know durations for the week. With the weather the way it was, it was a relief to go back to a dry vehicle and head in.

One thing I noticed today, something which may have been there for years. It's that under the first 45mph sign as you head out of the Old Faithful area has a smaller sign posted below it. In tiny print, it says "Slower Traffic Use Turnouts". Over the next few weeks, will report any other, similar sightings.

May 21, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 20

It was back to Norris. We left Old Faithful with it snowing, and it continued all through the drive. We arrived on the platform at 07:15, where the wait began.

For the next eight hours, it was pretty quiet. There were occasions where the strength of a surge was worthy of noting. There were a couple at 08:03 and 09:35, but no followups. That was it until couple more at 13:42 and 14:21. Again, it briefly looked good to a number of us, but nothing else happened.

The conditions were for the wait were poor. The snow continued off and on for the first few hours. Finally the clouds broke and there was even some warmth from the sun which dried things out. But sleet started around 13:00, and that turned into rain, which persisted for about an hour. The little wind we had was blowing toward the platforms, which made observations difficult, especially for the south vent.

So by 15:13, it was pretty damp, and cloudy, but no precipitation. There were a couple of quick surges that got my atttention, so much so that after a third one, I dug out the camera to start recording.

I got two minutes leading up to the start of the eruption. The surges were coming several a minute by then, and there were two huge ones in the seconds before the start. As the water climbed, rocks could be seen falling next to the column. The column itself was lost against the gray sky backdrop. But the upper platform was pelted by what seemed at first to be hail. It turned out it was gravel ejected by the eruption.

Because of the wind direction, none of the water fell upslope from the north vent. That's probably why the water columns never turned brown, and also probably why the water phase lasted at most three minutes. I noticed the vents in loud, strong steam at the 3m45s mark, although the north vent would could occasionally be seen throwing water later on.

Also because of the wind direction, there are new runoff channels being developed all down the slope between the main runoff and Cistern. I got down to the bridge before any footprints appeared in the mud washed over the walkway, and there was rocks all over the bridge, and some fairly big ones (cherry tomato sized) too.

The wind kept shifting, but the rain was localized, so at times one or the other platform, or part of the walkway, was being drenched, while the rest of the area was not. At one point, as I was moving stuff back to the parking lot, I even got rained on near Emerald. Even so, everything got drenced, and the blankets we were using to keep warm can hold a lot of water in them. The parking lot, however, never seems to have been a target, so this eruption was a lot like the first one seen last May.

Later that evening, Suzanne noted that Grand had been having a long series of sub-five hour intervals, and we were approaching the five hour mark. So we went out at sunset to see a couple of Turban intervals. The second one didn't officially qualify as a Delay, but was close enough. And since it was after sunset, we didn't stick around in the windy cold. Turns out it was a Two Turban Delay, and we made the right decision.

May 20, 2019

Observations for 2019 May 19

We arrived at the Lower Ham's Store at 14:05, a little over 9.5 hours after leaving home. All during the drive we expected to see a notice that someone had noticed a New Crater/Steamboat eruption on the seismograph trace. the last two intervals had been less than six days, and we were well over five days when we left. But nothing. So we were there long enough to drop off the bikes from the back of the truck and then head to Norris.

An hour later we were on the platform, joining the small group who reported seeing nothing much that was encouraging. We spent four hours there, and except for a twenty minute period midway through our wait, we saw nothing encouraging too. Most of the play was either by one or the other vent, but not together. The exception was several sustained, concerted surges aroun 17:10 . We weren't really prepared for an extended wait in temperatures in the upper 30s, either.

It didn't erupt on our drive back to check in to our Old Faithful Lodge cabin, so the plan is to get up at dawn and head north again. This time properly prepared for a day long wait.

January 27, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 27

We had another chance today to stop at Tokaanu and try and see Taumatapuhipuhi. The geyser itself has been heavily altered, with a channel around 40cm deep cut through the side of the vent, through a sinter platform and leading to a couple of hot-pot bathtubs about 20 meters away. It is on private property, and is posted, so we kept discreet while waiting.

When we arrived, the water was slowly flowing down the channel, and there was near continuous bubbling from one side of the vent. About ten minutes after we arrived, suddenly the water rose up, and started splashing well above the rim. Some splashes were about 1.5 meters high, and the eruption lasted maybe 30 seconds.

After that, the water level dropped well below overflow, but after about twenty minutes, was back to about where we found it. So not surprised to see another eruption, almost identical to the first, with an interval of 28 minutes.

That was our last opportunity to see New Zealand geysers, at least for this trip. I think we saw about 15 total in five different thermal areas. All of them were different and unlike geysers we've seen before, the same way the thermal areas were unique.

Posting of videos will have to wait until we get back, when I can finally edit and then upload them. I took a lot, along with GPX recordings of our walks and hikes. Those will help locate the features and maybe make corrections as to what we actually saw in the case of Orakeikorako.

January 26, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 26

Sort of encountered some thermal features today.

On the Mt.Tangariro Alpine Crossing, one comes across the Ketehani Hot Springs off to the side. This area, which is a privately owned inholding in the national park, has been closed for the last decade or so. It was getting too much abuse by hot potters and other Nature Lovers that the owning Maori tribe said "no more." Now there are barriers on the former trails to the site.

Over the years there have been reports of at least one geyser there, if not several. Now all you can see is thick steam coming up from behind the ridge hiding the hot springs gully.

January 25, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 25

The day started with a little side trip to the mudpots at Te Kopia. Just a small turnout along a side road (which eventually is not paved) featuring some large mudpots.

We arrived at Orakeikorako at opening. Took the ferry across to the thermal area with little knowledge of what to expect. What we found was a series of terraces connected by boardwalks. The formations have been heavily altered, especially for the walkways, with deep gutters keeping the water from flooding them. There's also a loop, beyond the terraces, to the "thermal cave" and to some mudpots. These are worth a visit, but I doubt I'd go there again unless I had plenty of time there.

The first geyser we saw was Cascade. This feature erupts from a cavern in the Rainbow Fault, the wall the ends the first terrace. There's new, pink sinter being deposed by a geyser, that on the day we were there, erupted out of the crater to a couple of meters high every 6 minutes or so, lasting about 30 seconds. We saw lots of eruptions, because we spent a fair amount of time trying to see nearby Sapphire Geyser.

This appears to be a small gray vent on the flat at the base of the wall of the fault. Right after our first Cascade eruption, we saw steam come out of the area, and got in position to see the end of the water splashing. Reports we had said "hours" between eruptions, so we were a bit disappointed. We watched a few more Cascade eruptions, then move on up to the next terrace.

There wasn't much going on there. At the far end is the Golden Fleece fault, which was damp from water flowing over the edge, and on the extreme southern end, what appeared to be a runoff waterfall that suddenly picked up while we were looking at the area. Up there we found the Artists Palette. There's a great overlook at the eastern end, when most of the features can be seen, except for those directly below the overlook and hidden by the plant life.

During an hour or so there, we saw several erupting features. Based on Lloyd's map of the area from 1960, we saw activity in #742, #761, #764, and #760. There was also a perpetual spouter at the base of the Pyramid of Geysers throwing water from a pool to a height of about 3 meters. We also saw increased variations in activity from Psyche's Bath (#704) and #782. #764 erupted once, early in our visit. It's a large pool whose splashes reached two or thee meters, and it lasted about 3m30s minutes.

There were a lot of large, empty holes out there, Palette Pool and #742 being the most notable. We don't know if that is normal, or a variation in the activity. #742 erupted to about a meter high farily often from the empty crater, throwing water from one side across the crater.

Turns out that it was probably #764 that was putting out the water cascading over the fault scarp. It appears to be an intermittent spring that would frequently rise up a few centimeters and send out pulses of water. On the whole though, the Artist's Palette was a bit of a disappointment, as it didn't change much.

We decided to complete the loop, and then see if we could catch another Sapphire eruption. When we got back to the second terrace, we noticed some holes between the walkway and the rock wall behind it. This location is west of Wairiri Geyser. It was obvious that these three holes had broken out under the walkway, as the gutter cut into the sinter was clearly visible. They are large, each several meters across, and the one on the left had two vent craters. There was also a sheet of plywood nailed the the railing facing the holes.

Right after we arrived, suddenly the middle hole welled up and splashed for several second to about a meter. At the same time, the back right vent showed water. Afther this activity, the water dropped. There was some bubbling in the main vent, but no other changes. It didn't appear that any water had been discharged recently, as there were no damp catch pools.

We continued on, and saw the Soda Fountain. It appears to be perpetual, or at least has a long duration. It has a broad, several meter in diameter pool with considerable discharge.

Back at Sapphire and Cascade, we noticed that Sapphire would have a brief splash every 5 or 6 minutes. These splashes were coming closer together, so that after about 45 minutes, they were about two minutes apart. We then caught a real eruption. It build up from the splashes into spray of water to about three meters, and lasted about a minute.

After that, it was back to Artist's Palette, where there really wasn't much change. We decided that we wanted to try again for Sapphire, and so came back about an hour later and within ten minutes got another eruption. Again, the splashes were closely spaced.

It was time for some guru geyser gazing. The interval between the first and the second eruptions we observed was almost exactly three times the length of this interval. So we knew we wanted to be back in about an hour.

We'd heard report from some gazers who'd been to Orakekorako the week before of new activity, "at the end of Golden Fleece Terrace and next to the trees". We were able to determine that this indeed was the features that caused the walkway to be relocated. So it was back to Sapphire, where we got an eruption with about a 65 minute interval. For guru geyser gazing, not too bad.

We wanted to catch one last Sapphire before leaving (there's no facilities in the thermal area, and they said there's no return once you leave.) And still curious about the new features. This time we were rewarded. This time, without much warning, the left vents started splashing several meters high for nearly three minutes. There was no discharge. Then, about a minute after that, the middle vent filled and blipped water. It did this several times over the next five minutes, with the longest and biggest being the last one. But none of these matched what we had seen earlier in the day. It does appear that this feature had been undermining the walkway for quite a while, sort of like what Bulger's Hole had been doing.

Our final Sapphire interval was 60 minutes. On the whole, our guru geyser gazing worked out. The decreasing interval lengths might mean something, but we'll never know.And with that, it was time to leave.

Did visit one other thermal area. Next to the Tokaanu Spa is a thermal area with a free walkway. Along it were some soupy mudpots and hot pools, all surrounded by thick plant life. At the end of the walk loop was a fence with a sign saying "Private property" Beyond it is what is supposed to be a geyser. This feature has been heavily modified, with a deep trench cut into the formations to lead away the water. Reports I had were that it was erupting every few minutes for about 30 second. While the formations were wet with puddles, we saw nothing happen, not even steam, during the ten minutes or so that we were there. (Would have stayed longer, but needed to get to that night's lodging.)

January 24, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 24

Today we had to take a boat ride to see the geyser activity.

Arrived at Waimangu as they were opening. The area takes its name from the ex-geyser. It's a several mile long hike down a series of volcanic explosion craters from the 1886 Tarawera eruptions to the shore of Lake Rotomahana. It was raining off an on for the first few hours, and we had two hours to get to the lakeshore for our boat ride. Fortunately, there is an infrequent shuttle bus, and we were able to take advantge of it several times.

At first we encountered several deep craters with weak thermal activity whose bottoms had pools mostly filled by rainwater.

The site of Waimangu Geyser is now a relatively flat area at the bottom of a crater with a stream around one side and lots of fumaroles and sputs along the stream banks. The first time we were there we didn't realize what it was.

From there the trail follows the stream, which has cut a deep gully in places, and the banks were lined with more activity. Some of the springs have already built up nice rims around them, and there could have been a geyser or two among all the sputs we saw there.

Just downstream from a bridge, there's a perpetual spouter putting up a thin, continuous stream of water to a height of two to three meters. Just before it was a mostly dry, large runoff channel. We climbed the steps the were beside it to the overlook for Inferno Crater.

Inferno Crater is a "crypto-geyser". It doesn't throw water into the air, but shows all the other behaviors associated with geysers-- primarily periodic discharge of water. In this case, the interval runs from days to weeks. The water level varies from heavy overflow to down several meters, We were there when it was low, but this was good, because that seems to be when it has the best color. In the morning, it looked a bit gray, thanks to the clouds and rain. But when we visited it a second time, in the sunny afternoon, it was a deep, bright blue.

We also visited Warbrick Terrace where there's a large apron of runoff punctuated by numerous small sputs.

The boatride was well worth it. The activity of the geyser we saw, "Pink Terrace Geyser", is dependent on the lake level. When we were there, the level was high. So high that some of the walkway by the shore was closed due to flooding. The higher the lake, the more vigorous the activity. What we saw lasted about 90 seconds or so and reached a height of around eight to ten meters. The boat operator said that the intervals were around seven minutes. Also along the shore were a number of other spouters, and some features drowned by the high lake levels.

Turns out we missed the Iodine Spring, which sometimes acts as a geyser. It's along the bus road, while we went by on the trail on the other side of the stream. From our vantage point, we did see what looked like another perpetual spouter over there.

January 23, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 23

The day started with a visit to the huge mudpots at the north end of the Waiotapu area. These are free to the public, and are impressive.

The area is a small pond with mud islands scattered through much of it. Mud bursts out of the center, or from below the surface, to keep the island from disappearing. Not sure if this is a wet season, but everything looked like the groundwater level was high. There weren't any fumaroles surrounded by old, cracked mud.

After that, we went to the Waiotapu area proper to get our passes. With a little time to kill, we went through one of the loops. That part of the area consists of multiple, huge collapse pits. There's nothing in Yellowstone like them. Calthos and Pucher, north of Morning Glory, are tiny in comparison. They are formed by acid water creating voids in the ground, which at some point are complete undermined and then drop down. At the bottom of most of there there was a small acidic pool.

There was also the Devil's Bath, which is a huge pool filled with runoff from nearby springs. The color was a bright green normally only seen on safety vests. It was florescently bright, especially in the clear, hot sunlight.

Normally, I'd have wanted to investigate the area before the crowds showed up, but this day we needed to join the crowds. So we headed down the road to the site of Lady Knox Geyser.

Lady Knox Geyser is a heavily altered pool, with a man-made cone, which is induced to erupt at a daily spectacle. We arrived well beforehand, and picked out some seats upwind right at the railing. The benches were full when the show began at 10:15. After a short speech, a small quantity of soap was dumped into the vent. It took only a couple of minutes for suds to appear in the vent, and for that to quickly turn into a full eruption.

Within about a minute, people in the crowd started heading for the exit. Over the next few minutes the water column became less soapy and reach heights of around 10 meters. It looked a lot like White Dome in both style of play and the formation. Then the activity began to cycle. It would drop down to about two or three meters for a minute or so, then climb back up to full height. The full height was still around five or six meters when we left about 40 minutes later.

Back at Waiotapu, we were in the thick of the crowd. All those people who had left before us, and that most everyone, was in and around the area. We quickly got through the crowds to pickup from where we left off.

From Champaign Terrace, the next stop was an overlook over the Artist's Palette. This was a large flat with a number of multicolored pools. From there, the trail drops down to to follow a stream coming from Lake Whangerarangi. Further on, there's the Frying Pan Lake, Oyster Pool and lots of acid sulphate features.

We passed by Waiotapu Geyser when we went through the area where its located. It was so busy I was concentrating on making videos and avoiding the people. When we returned to the Champaign Pool, looked at one of the geothermal maps I had and figured out where we went wrong. Part of the problem is that they've renumbered the guideposts, and the old info I had was wrong. Another problem is that they've upgraded the walkways near the geyser, so the descriptions we got from other gazers was no longer valid.

In any case, it worked out, because when we found the geyser, over in the Alum Cliffs area, it was sitting there quietly full of water. Every minute or so, it would release a bubble from depth.

Intervals are reported to be several hours, so the fact that the formations around the vent were completely dry were a good sign. At least we didn't just miss an eruption, or have it erupt between the time we blindly walked by and the time we found it.

Over the next hour, the bubbling became more frequent, with more bubbles at once, and the bubbling lasting longer. By then it was almost continuous, and it appeared that the runoff was getting stronger. About twenty minutes later it looked like an eruption was about to start, as water flooded over the rim.

This lasted for maybe a minute, then the water level in the vent dropped lower than we'd seen it any time in our wait. It was really disappointing, thinking that that was the entire eruption. But the level quickly rose, and about ten minutes later, it again surged and overflowed.

This time there was actual bursting from vent, maybe 0.5 meter high. It lasted just over two minutes, then again the pool dropped. Based on the descriptions I've read, hoped that this was some sort of minor and not the actual eruption.

And we were right. Ten minutes later, there was another surge, and this developed into a full scale eruption just like ones in videos that are on-line.

The eruption lasted exactly 13 minutes, and at times reached four meters in height. Some of the later splashes were intermixed with steam, and hit the boardwalk and us, too. As the eruption progressed, the water level dropped, so that the last few minutes were huffing and the occasional wet steam from down deep. Finally there were no splashes, and the activity died down. A very nice, small geyser.

That evening, after a snack and restocking of groceries, we went for a walk into the forest south of Te Puia in search of an overlook. We found it, and it's quite nice. The entire area is easily visible, and while we were there Pohutu was erupting. The only drawback is that Kereru really isn't visible, although an observer from there could see the huge steam cloud of an eruption.

January 22, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 22

Wasn't sure what to expect today. The amount of information about New Zealand thermal activity is minuscule compared to Yellowstone, and usually out of date or of historic interest only.

Our accommodations in the Holiday Park are within walking distance of Te Puia at Whakarewarewa, so we headed over about 30 minutes before opening. It was easy crossing, since the new traffic circle features some pedestrian overpasses.

But first we investigated the steam coming from the other side of the fence, within the golf course. There we found a pair of large, wet, but noisy mudpots. That was a nice start.

Over at Te Puia we could see areas of steam as we walked up to the entrance station. We waited a bit, but were the first on the grounds as the gates opened at 07:58. We quickly made our way past the "cultural exhibits" to are real target-- the thermal activity.

When the Geyser Flat became visible, we could see Te Tohu erupting, and what looked like Pohutu slopping. Down the ramp and moments later we came across Pohutu in full eruption.

Here's where our ignorance came into play. We didn't really know what to expect next. The signs said that there were one to two eruptions per hour, but this one kept on going. After reaching full height, it seemed to die down after about 15 minutes, only to pick back up and rise back up to a full 17-20 meters. After twenty minutes of video recording, I gave up.

This eruption lasted about 53 minutes. About five minutes before the end, it became obvious that things were dying down as the activity of both geysers slowed. They finally stopped together, or within seconds of each other.

Since we didn't know what the intervals might be, we explored the area in the vicinity where we could come back quickly if things started happening there. The immediate vicinity reminds me of Geyser Creek. Lots of hot ground with steaming cracks and openings. A number of what look like decrepit features that might once have been springs and geysers, but are now just another fumarole. There are lots of areas of sulphur being deposited, bright yellow covering the formations of what used to be geysers.

One feature we knew about was Kereru. Unlike the other nearby features, which are depositing standard gray sinter, it is surrounded by black sinter. The vent is in an alcove below the platform of Pohutu and company. We finally figured out where it was located, and that it wasn't doing anything but steaming gently. Our information from last week said that it seemed to start overflowing giving a few minutes warning.

When we returned to Pohutu, Te Tohu was again in eruption, so we waited for Pohutu. About seven minutes later, Pohutu started splashing, and the eruption began about six minutes after that. This eruption also seemed to have periods of alternating between full height and something about half. It lasted about ten minutes less than the previous one. During this eruption Kereru did nothing, as before.

So again we took advantage of the gap to investigate the area further away. There we found lots of steam vents and mudpots surrounded and obscured by lush green plant-life. We walked up to Te Waikite, which used to be the largest geyser in the area, located at the top of a huge mound of old sinter. We returned at about noon to wait for Te Tehu's start.

During that wait, Kereru still did nothing that we could see, and once Te Tohu started, we decided to find a different place to see the start. From this vantage point, Kereru was not visible.

About ten minutes after we left, Suzanne saw the sudden appearance of a huge steam cloud from down there. We both ran down in time to see the tail end of the eruption. These eruptions last only about 30 seconds, but can easily reach 20 meters. Needless to say, we were a bit disappointed, as from what we knew, that was our one and only chance to see a geyser that reports said erupted a few times a week to maybe a few times a day.

The reports we had said that after an eruption, there was a series of minors, some which could be fairly strong, and as high as the platform above it where Pohutu is located. We saw some minor splashes, but they were at best only a few meters high, and were anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes apart during the next half hour.

Pohutu started during this time, so we watched it while keeping an eye out on Kereru. Then we noticed that the splashes seemed to be getting bigger and more frequent. Not only that, but it seemed like the water was pooling in the vent. In anticipation of the next minor, I started the video recording. Almost immediately I was rewarded with a minor that kept building while water started to flood out the vent. The interval between two major eruptions, and this was no minor, was 49 minutes.

The water floods out over the sinter shield between the vent and the river in one big, sustained wave while the height was comparable to that of the still erupting Pohutu, even though the vent is about five or six meters lower.

Following this eruption, we started getting minor play every two or three minutes. These were much stronger than the splashes we'd seen earlier. Pohutu ended about ten minutes later, with a duration almost identical to the previous eruption. There was no way we were going to be leaving this area this time.

This splashing continued for about the next 90 minutes. Pohutu started another eruption about an hour into this wait. Then Kereru was mostly quiet for about twenty minutes. Unlike previously, the splashes were strong from the beginning, and coming so frequently that I stopped recording individual spurts.

Twenty minutes later, the splashes had turned into full minors less than a minute apart, and Pohutu was still erupting, about 70 minutes after it had started. That's when Kereru started looking so good that I had to start recording. Within a minute, it erupted for the third time that day, with this interval about 2h12m. The length and height were no different from the second eruption.

And, as after the previous eruption, minor play every two to three minutes started again. Pohutu's eruption continued with it finally ending with a duration of 1h34m.

We took the opportunity to explore the last of the areas we hadn't visited, over by Papakera Geyser. We observed the wash zone around it, and that it was gently overflowing. By the time we returned, Te Tohu was again in eruption. Kereru was still having minors. We decided to get the start of Pohutu, and then leave. We figured that the area would close by the time Pohutu's next eruption ended, and Kereru wouldn't have had enought time for a fourth eruption, so no point in sticking around further. It had been a long, eventful and wonderful day.

But it turns out we got one last surprise. Looking back on the area, we discovered Pohutu off, a mere twenty minutes after the start. This short eruption followed a long duration and interval. It would have been interesting to know what that meant, but maybe for the best that we were about to be forced to leave.

A few other observations. The crowds would come and go. Unlike at Old Faithful, where the time of the next eruption governed the size, here it seemed to be based on how many bus tours there were. At times we had the area around Pohutu to ourselves. There were three other people besides us who witnessed the last eruption we saw of Kereru.

The Asian Invasion is not unique to Yellowstone. If anything, we are pretty lucky in that most gazers don't have to interact with these people except when they tromp down to Morning Glory or elbow their way to the railing during a New Crater/Steamboat eruption. On too many occasions these people would block my view to get their perfect picture, when I was already trying to stay to the side and out of the way. I had one woman, oblivious to her surroundings shove her umbrella in my face as she fumbled with her camera.

It was also disappointing how little information there was about the geysers. There are not guidebooks in the souvenier store. The closest I could find was a "thermal history" of the Maori. I heard several of the guides mention things that weren't true. They were still telling people Pohutu was erupting once or twice an hour, for example.There is nothing like geyser gazing, at least at Te Puia (we'll learn if that it also true at Orakeikorako in a few days.) A few gazers spending all day here over the period of a week would probably do more to pin down what sort of activity is going on than has been done in the last few years. (For example, is there really no connection between Kereru and Pohutu? I wonder, based on some things I saw about the minors.)

Tomorrow will be less intense, as it's mostly driving between several places that probably don't have natural geysers. But I should get to see my first induced eruption since 1986.

January 21, 2019

Observations for 2019 Jan 21

After four days in New Zealand, finally got to see something erupt.

It is located at Te Aroha. Mokena Geyser is a bicarbonate drilled well which erupts periodically from a small hole, maybe 1cm across, at the top of a cylinder in a large concrete basin.

When we arrived, it was quiet. Off on the side was a locked metal cover. As I was standing there, I heard rumbiling start from beneath it. In a minute or so, steam was starting to quietly come out of the vent. The noise increased and small spits started from the vent. Over the next few minutes, the spitting increased in duration and size as the sound increased. At some point the activity would last for several seconds before having sort pauses, and the water was thrown about about a meter high.

This lasted for about ten minutes, and at times the water was thrown about four meters high. There never was much volume to the play. Eventually, the activity began to subside. It slowly reversed just the way it started. Every time I thought it was about to end, it would give a quick spit. Overall, the duration of activity was about 20 minutes.

After that, we headed for Rotorua. After checking in and buying some groceries, we went to Kuirau Park.

This is a bizarre place for someone used to Yellowstone. It's a city park. It's bounded by busy city streets, and where there's no thermal activity, there's a lawn, including several athletic fields.

There's no geyser activity there. Mostly it's scummy holes or watery mud pots. But there were a couple of clear, boils sputterers next to a large pile of cemented boulders that steamed near the top. These sputs were surrounded by a large flat area that appeared to have been wet at one time, but was drained. Most of the features there had the same look as if they had been higher not to long ago.

In addition, there was Kuirau Lake. This a a large boiling pool at the north end of the park. At one point, there's considerable overlow under the walkway and down a well-defined, wide shallow runoff channel. After about 40 meters or so, this flows into a hot pool which seems to act as a sink, as there was no other discharge anywhere in the area.

The lake as a nice overlook directly over the pool, and a boardwalk that cuts over one end of it. It reminded me a lot of Hot Lake in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Tomorrow the real fun begins, as we have reservations to visit some real, large geysers.

October 17, 2018

Observations for 16 October 2018

After checkiing out, stopped in the store parking lot. Realized that Grand hadn't erupted, just as we saw the steamcloud rising from its location. Went out anyhow since it was a cold, dead calm morning. Got to Sawmill Group in time to see the end of the long second burst, and to see Vent and Turban quit.

Also saw that there were frozen puddles in some of Sawmill's runoff channel. Not sure what to make of it. Perhaps the water nearer the vent was too warm to pool and freeze, or maybe something else is going on there.

October 16, 2018

Observations for 15 October 2018

Today started like yesterday. Temperature was in single digits when we arrived at Norris, and there were a couple of tour buses in the parking lot. Unlike yesterday, the tours were visiting the Back Basin instead of Porcelain Basin.

Set up on the upper platform again in anticipation of it eventually getting sunny, although that turned out to be several hours away. New Crater/Steamboat was more active than yesterday, but during those cloudy hours, it never had a good minor. (A good minor is one where it's time to use the camera.) Eventually clouds and fog broke and it started to warm up. Around noontime, moved down to the lower platform, as I can't tell what the South Vent is doing from the upper.

The activity did pick up a little, but it wasn't until 13:27 that it had a minor that showed that there was eruptive potential. That was followed four minutes later by another one, and then they started coming about ten to twelve minutes apart. All during this time the activity of the minors was concentrated in the North Vent, with the South not quite as strong as before other eruption. But at 14:11, a minor started and built, and at 14:12, we got the eruption.

Both vents climbed slowly to full height, and were clean for the first minute or so. Then the fun began. North turned reddish-brown, and began spewing out rocks. Large rocks thrown to great heights. More rocks than I've seen in all of the five previous eruptions. After a few minutes, the water there seemed so thick that the North Vent was only erupting 10 or 20 feet high.

When I was down at the runoff, I saw (and recorded) a large chunk of reddish mud plopping onto walkway. Surprised me, because I didn't think rocks would be flying that far, so it was probably thrown there by the torrent of water coming down the channel.

There was very little wind, and what little there was had the steam column drifting away from us. Because of this, later in the eruption the condensing steam made for nice rainbows which seemed to appear on either side depending on where the wind was drifting.

Ended the day by going out at sunset for one last One Burst Grand. Got there in time to see a Turban delay, so it was a Two-Turban Delayed One Burst Grand eruption that we eventually saw. The temperature was about 26°F, which was about the same temperature at which we saw New Crater/Steamboat last week.

October 15, 2018

Observations for 14 October 2018

Left the Old Faithful area where the temperature was 8°F and arrived at Norris at sunrise. Was probably even colder there. Turns out it is possible to sit and wait for a geyser at such temperatures, if you have a couple of blankets and are wearing lots of layers. The day never really got above freezing, although some places in sunlight did dry out a bit.

New Crater had some good surges early in our wait, then nothing much happened until a hour before we planned to leave. Even this activity wasn't encouraging, as I only got the phone out just in case, but never started recording. So it was mostly 9 hours of killing time.

Years ago I came across an interesting phenomena of hot ground, and encountered it again today. When warm, damp ground encounters frigid air, frost develops underneath pebbles and particles lying on that ground. That ice in turn causes the frost to grow, from the bottom, slowly pushing the top of the frost column up. I found large patches of this frost over by Echinus, on both sides of the boardwalk.

October 14, 2018

Observations for 13 October 2018

Nothing much happening with New Crater. Spent an hour and a half there and did see some strong surges, but they were separated by minutes of nothing happening.

It was after we left that things got fun. It was snowing heavily, but I thought things were okay until we got to the cutoff that rises up on the hillside where Tanker Curve used to be. There was a line of cars stuck there, unable to get up the slope. It was a mess, and we ended up spending an hour waiting because we had no idea if this was a local problem, or the end of a long line.

Tried to get past once, and some foreign idiot in a rental cut in front of us and immediately lost traction. Once we got past, it was clear all the way to Madison. There we talked our way past the barricade crew by saying that we had a cabin at Old Faithful and all our stuff was there. I think they were there more to keep the idiots from getting in deeper, and by the way I was dressed, and the vehicle I was driving, I showed that I might know what I was doing.

So it took the better part of two hours to get back. By then it was time for Grand.

Unlike the rest of the week, it was windy. Which, despite the temperature being just at freezing, made it the most unpleasant time we've had this trip. And the wind kept shifting during the One Burst Grand eruption. Often we could see the tops of the jets above the mass off steam coming off the runoff and Vent, other times it was just a mass of steam.

Again it appears that there are changes in the Sawmill Group. For the first time in two years that I can remember, I saw Churn below overflow. Again there appeared to be gaps in the snowcover where Sawmill's runoff channels used to be.

Despite it being mid-afternoon on what was now a sunny day, we just weren't in the mood to be out in the weather any more. So tomorrow it's back to Norris, unless something happens overnight there.

October 13, 2018

Observations for 12 October 2018

Knew that today was going to be fairly uneventful, a good day to catch up on other things besides Giant. It was cloudy at first, but cleared and when the sun was out, felt warm, especially when the wind died down.

Got up early again to catch the morning One Burst Grand eruption. From there, it was down to Fan & Mortar to see if it had erupted, and wait around a while since it hadn't.

From there it was on to Fountain, where it was obvious nothing was going to happen any time soon. So we looped around past Great Fountain, where we had to stop because it was in overflow. There were some nice sized bursts, so it wasn't totally a Flounder.

Back in the Upper Basin it was time for both Grand and Beehive. But first, saw Aurum from the parking lot. Then went over to Geyser Hill and ended up seeing Castle instead. Over at Grand we heard someone call Beehive during the One Burst Grand eruption. Sounds like either no one saw the Indicator, or there wasn't one.

The One Burst Grand was a bit of a weird eruption. It was obvious that we were having a delay, and it was so steamy it was hard to see the pool. Then I saw a nice boop boil over the vent, but nothing much happened after that for about half a minute. Then, in quick succession, there were several more boops, one maybe two meters high. Then the pool was quiet. It was another minute before Turban finally started, and it didn't sound all that vigorous. But it got stronger, and it looked like Grand's pool was getting steamier. Finally it became obvious that we were getting waves, and about to get a delayed eruption start.

Finally went back to Fan & Mortar where nothing much happened, again.

Over the last few days, it seems to me that there's been evidence of some sort of over-trickle from Sawmill. The way the snow was melted was one sign. Another was that today there were wet spots and pools in the runoff channel, long after the snow had melted. The photo is an attempt to show this. Unfortunately, this is about as high a water level as I've seen, but this past summer, I never saw any evidence of any water down those channels. (Maybe it's just wishful thinking...)

October 12, 2018

Observations for 11 October 2018

The snow picked back up in the morning as we were loading up to head out. We were the first to head down basin. It was time for Grand, and the snow was deep enough that we decided to walk and not use the bikes. The boardwalks were really slick, especially on the older, polished plastic boards. But the view was wonderful, because it was dead calm and the clouds were actually starting to break, despite the snow.

The One Burst Grand didn't make us wait, and then it was time to head on toward Giant. That's when we noticed that not only was Bijou off, but there appeared to be a surge from Mastiff. Getting down there was slow going, thanks to the slippery walkways, but when we arrived it seemed obvious that there was some sort of medium to weak hot period activity. While there was a bit of water running down on the far left, that could have been from Feather and not Mastiff. In any case, it gave us a time to return for the next activity.

So there was time to check out Fan & Mortar, which did nothing while we were there, and see an eruption of Riverside. We trudged back to my truck at the Lower Ham's by the biketrail, not wanting to deal with the slippery walkways a second time.

Returned to the Giant platform by bike about 2-1/2 hours after the activity we saw, and then waited. It was pretty nice by then. Some sun, and absolutely no wind, which after this past summer, was quite a relief and made the cold easy to take. Grotto was in eruption, and there had't been sort of activity from the Southwest Vents recently.

It was the third pause after we arrived that things got interesting. It was only a minute from when we saw water in Mastiff until the start of Feather. Within a minute Mastiff was overflowing, and unlike the last few days, was surging and boiling up nicely. Saw at least one that was about 2 meters high, It took a while, but eventually Cave started to erupt, the first real activity we'd seen from it. There was no wind, so other than the steam coming from Mastiff's overflow, there wasn't any obscuring of the activity.

When Mastiff finally dropped, it took a minute for Bijou to finally restart. Feather never really calmed down, and with Bijou back on, Posthole started up too. Giant began surging, with long, sustained boil-ups from what seemed like a high water level. There were distinct pauses between the surges, but each on was little bigger then the previous, and they were putting out more and more water.

We finally got the eruption on a surge that was well above the cone, one that put out enough water to roll the log signs. There was still no wind, so the steamcloud rose straight up from the water column. The water discharge was not being pushed to the north, so Feather & co. weren't being inundated, but instead were actually erupting fairly strong steam.

Because of the conditions, there were very few people out and about the whole duration. At the start, a group of a half-dozen tourists were there to join us.

Grotto quit during Giant's eruption, but started again shortly before that last water from Giant was visible. The duration was long because everytime it looked like Giant had finished, it would put a spray of water out of the cone and on the platform.

After Giant, of course the thing to do is go and catch the next One Burst Grand eruption.

At Sawmill, I noticed what were either some changes, or the way the snow behaves in old runoff channels. In the morning, I could definitely see gaps along the runoff channels, as if the snow had been melted there. The water level in Sawmill was low, but it looked like there was a high water mark high enough for runoff. In the afternoon, all the snow had melted from the area, and there was water running down those same channels, with the water level in Sawmill high, almost at overflow. Will keep a watch on it for the few days we have left here.

October 11, 2018

Observations for 10 October 2018

Today looked like it was going to be a repeat of yesterday, and it was and it wasn't.

It wasn't because the weather was different. The snow last night was over quickly, so there wasn't much accumulation. But it did mask a bit of ice, which made the boardwalks interesting in areas. The day started clear, became partly cloudy, and then warmed up as the sun came out. Warmed up enough for much of the ice and snow to melt, or turn to slush.

But Giant was a repeat of yesterday. We got out to find something probably happened shortly before we got there, then had to wait several hours for the next attempt at a hot period. In this case, it was Grotto, which was off for over four hours before it started at noon. For over an hour, Bijou looked like it was off all the time, with an occasion splash or two to let us know that it wasn't paused. It was like in years past when Grotto had just had a marathon eruption. Finally, there was some sort of real pause, with a lot of steam from Mastiff, and then Bijou started jetting heavily. Twenty minutes later was when Grotto started, followed at almost the same time by one of those long Feather eruptions where nothing much else happened. Pretty much a duplicate of yesterday's first hot period.

At least we got to see a couple of Grand eruptions with almost no wait. The first started as we were picking our way through the ice near Economic. (There were also coyote and goose tracks that preceeded us.) That eruption had a long second burst, which in the steamy cold was nicely backlit. It was impossible to see anything from most of the benches, though, especially near West Triplet. Then the second One Burst Grand eruption started before we even had a chance to get settled onto the benched. The snow was just starting up, so again it was a lot like a nighttime eruption, in that it was easier to tell what was going on by sound than by seeing anything.

Back at Giant, waited in the increasinly heavy snow showers. After about an hour, it was starting to stick to the boardwalk. Four hours almost exactly after the previous hot period, we got a repeat of yesterday's second hot period. The only real difference was Cave did erupt for a while. There was a feeble attempt at a restart, with Posthole and Feather blipping along for a few minutes, but Giant never had any surging during that time.

It's beginning to look like Giant has changed since the last eruption. I've yet to see any hot period that had any activity that looked encouraging, oras if Giant was trying to erupt but just not quite there. There's been little to no surging from Mastiff, even when it overflows heavily. Cave has been seen only once, and the restarts look like the first couple of minutes are missing, and are going directly to the after-effects where all the vents are splashing around.

Between hot periods Giant just looks quieter. The water level seems lower and there doesn't appear to be as much of the angled jetting as before.


The last couple of days there's been a crew putting together the edge logs along the new pavement. At first it looked like there were going to be buried in the dirt along the pavement edge, but as the photo shows, they are going be the low barriers like they have in places where parking is being discouraged.

I think this is a mistake. All these barriers are going to be used as seats, especially when they face a geyser like here at Grotto. People are going then be scuffing the ground in front of those logs. And then stand up and walk around, "off-trail". A better arrangement would have those barriers on the pavement, so that people seated on them would still have their feet on pavement. But, we'll see how things work out next year.

October 10, 2018

Observations for 09 October 2018

So after yesterday's excitement, today wasn't much.

The day started at dawn with a trip down basin to see what had happened at Giant. Seeing Bijou active meant no eruption, and the depth charging without a wet, steaming platform implied that we had just missed a bathtub. Ended up waiting several hours in light, windless snow for a strangely weak hot period. Feather was on for a bit over 8 minutes, yet there was no overflow from Mastiff, and none of the other vents joined in. This activity also came well after Rocket and Grotto had finished.

Came back a couple of hours later. There was still intermittent snow, but the wind had picked up, making observations a bit more difficult and the wait much more uncomfortable. Again, probably arrived just after some sort of long pause from Bijou, as it didn't stop for the next hour. Grotto had close to a six hour interval, and it was an hour into that eruption when we finally got the hot period. (At the same time as Grand.) Mastiff flooded the area, and did have some meter high surging, But the restart was weak, with no activity from Posthole, and no surging from Giant. At that point, it was time to go in.

With the cold and with the Lodge closed, have reverted to driving to the Lower Ham's parking lot and biking from there. So it was right after we'd loaded up the bikes for a trip back to our Snowlodge cabin that Beehive's indicator started. We learned the hard way that a five minute indicator is not enough time to drive over to the Lodge cabins and go to Geyser Hill. Saw the start of Beehive just as we parked.

And that was it for the day. The expected snow, the kind that sticks and accumulates, started about then, and continued on until it got dark.

October 09, 2018

Observations for 08 October 2018

Had to choose, so went to Norris. New Crater/Steamboat's interval was slightly long, but it sounded like it could erupt soon. Giant was way too long, and acting like it could still be a while.

We arrived a little after sunrise, to find not one, but two Asian Invasion tour buses in the parking lot. But it seemed that they had gotten their selfies overlooking Porcelain Basin and were heading out.

The walk out to the platform wasn't too bad, despite the heavy frost. At Old Faithful, when we left at dawn, the temperature was about 25°F. Only when we got to the platform itself did it become icy, and that was because of the mist coming from New Crater/Steamboat having frozen during the night. Settled in for a bit of a wait. The chair was on thin layer of ice, but the board cracks kept it from slipping around. It was about an hour later that the ice really started to form, as it warmed up enough so that instead of ice crystals, it was water droplets coming down.

For that first hour, nothing much happened. There was a surge around 09:36 that caused me to get my phone/camera out and recording, but that was it. It was pretty quiet, and I realized that this might be a good opportunity to do some video recording from places besides the platform. It should be easy to move around.

At around 10:05, an loud, obnoxious student tour group showed up. They seemed more interested in the icy platform that the geyser. About five minutes later, there was a large surge, one that stopped just as I was about to start the camera. I was actually a bit relieved that the eruption didn't start then.

Just before they arrived, I was cold enough that I decided to put on the rain pants as an extra layer of warmth. The wind had started up, and it was occasionally in my direction. Also got out the extra blanket and wrapped it around myself. But after they left, I decided that a quick walk around might help warm up. So I went up to the upper platform and then headed back. Just about as I reached the junction, another surge started. It was sudden, and it was big. I managed to get my camera started seconds before the water column started climbing.

First instinct was to head back to the lower platform to continue recording. I didn't get far, as the platform was being drenched. The wind and spray from the eruption was forceful enough that I did get to see my chair, sitting on the ice sheet, start sliding across the empty platform, all the way to the far railing.

I did stop recording and quickly moved our packs up out of the wet area. Then I rushed, as much as the slippery boardwalks would allow, back to take a height measurement. I got 60% at 130 meters, which comes to 78 meters or 256ft. This eruption did look a bit smaller than the previous one I measured. Still, that's still the second highest measurement I've ever made.

And as planned, I did do a grand tour. I continuously recorded the eruption from there to the upper platform, to the lower, down to the runoff channel (where it was raining heavily) then back to the lower platform, where a crowd had finally gathered. All that video will have to wait for our return before it gets posted.

I retrieved my umbrella and went back to record the runoff at the bottom. Turns out there were some really nice, bright rainbows in all that rain, especially once you got past Echinus, or on the far side.

Unlike previous eruptions, the water columns never turned brown. Because of the wind direction, the hillside above the North Vent was dry. It was also a short water phase. At some point in my recording, I realized that I was no longer seeing water, just hearing the powerful steam roaring out. This also confirms my previous observations that the brown columns are due to the surface runoff back into the vents (especially the North Vent.) The choking we saw previous was probably due to excess water stopping up the system at the surface, nothing deep.

When it came time to pack up the folding chairs, I discovered something else about the start. Both chairs had blankets (now thoroughly soaked) in them. Both blankets had various rocky debris on them, ranging in size for flecks and flakes, to a couple of chunks about the size of x. There were a number of the larger chunks scatter along the boardwalk edges and under the benches, too.

After about an hour of the steam phase, we decided it was time to head back and see what Giant had done. Still, the best part of the wind direction is that the parking lot never got hit. For all the eruptions we've seen this summer, we've never had to pack up in the rain. But we still had quite a bit of wet gear in the back, our chairs and blankets and umbrellas and outer coats.

And the lot had empty parking spots, despite it being the middle of the day. Quite a change from just a few weeks ago.

We returned to the Upper Basin at about 13:00. Last night we'd left our bikes in the Lower Store racks figuring we might want them today. Had just finished rearranging the packs to head down to Giant, with the expectation that we could dry a few things out down there, when got the call that there was a hot period starting. Is an nice, easy ride from that point, especially when you don't have to thread through the people wandering around Old Faithful. I got to the area while the Giant Indicator Pool was still full because Mastiff had not yet dropped.

This hot period seemed similar to the one we had seen the night before. Again, Feather didn't quit, and Giant had some surging, but never looked like it really wanted to erupt. Left the area with the expectation that there wouldn't be much happening out there until after dark.

So the rest of the day was pretty quiet. Finally got around to seeing a One Burst Grand. This one featured a wind direction that was constantly shifting, but getting wet some portion of the benches. Definitely something that doesn't happen there much.

Also paid a quick visit to Geyser Hill, just to see what it looks like. Disappointing the way the NPS has overreacted to the breakout under the boardwalk. Disappointed, but not expected. They always overreact. In this case, they could just close things from Pump to Doublet, and enforce it by pulling up the boardwalk over the outbreak.

Noticed that there are minor changes to the Sawmill Group. The runoff from Crystal and Old Tardy is diverting itself at the boardwalk to flood the grass on both sides of the walkway. I even starting to use the Penta runoff channel. Spasmodic was down well below overflow, while at the same time Sawmill seemed as high as I've seen it all summer. There's also steam visible in the little crack feather to the northeast of Spasmodic, something I cannot remember ever seeing before.

When we got to Norris, I wanted to visiting the indoor plumbing, but the door was locked. I had to visit again later, and it was unlocked. (And the parking lot almost empty. Definitely a high percentage of vehicles for people out to see one geyser in particular.) I noticed on the first visit that the cleaning crew truck was parked nearby, so I assume they locked them until the buses left, so they could stay clean for bit longer.

October 08, 2018

Observations for 07 October 2018

In October, you are pretty much on your own. We arrived at the Lower Ham's empty parking lot at 16:45, and all we knew is that there wasn't any report of any activity down by Giant for the day. So despite the weather, and not yet having checked in, we went down to check things out.

Arrived at the tail end of some sort of long Bijou pause at 17:00. Probably just a bathtub, as while the platform was wet, the water wasn't moving, and areas near the Southwest Vents were drying out. Grotto started at about 17:09, so it was definitely worth waiting around until it ended, or there was a Rocket eruption.

The next pause was almost an hour later, and Bijou was quite strong. Giant seemed quieter than I remembered from a few weeks ago. there was very little splashing and surging in the conem and what there was, was barely visible. It just sounded like the water level in Giant was low, as if it was a day or so after an eruption.

After the first short pause, there were a couple more at 10 and 19 minute intervals. Then we got a pause with water in Mastiff, just as Rocket started. This hot period was pretty strong, with Feather never shutting down, and lasting exactly 14 minutes. But the Giant surging was never all that strong, There was a good, sustained push at one point that filled the cone, but otherwise it just seemed that the water level wasn't there.

By then, the sun had set and it was time to head in, warm up, check in and unpack.

September 19, 2018

Observations for 18 September 2018

After yesterday's activity, it was definitely a good time to leave. But first there was an interval of over 6 hours, so we got to see one final One Burst Grand, steamy and backlit.

Then off to Geyser Hill for a quick visit.

The sputtering under the boardwalk between Pump and Doublet was stronger than when I was there last, and there was steam coming out from both sides. I expect that walkway to close before my return. (And I was right, as we learned on the drive home that much of the area was now off limits. Gotta love the usual NPS overreaction.)

Pendant was drained, and what Micah wants to call Grove Geyser were both erupting to a few feet high. There still hadn't been a Lion eruption, although North Goggles was slowing down.

Ear seemed to have, at least for the short time we were there, settled into some strong heavy boiling. Several of the loose sinter sheet sections had dislodged and that seemed to help lower Ear's water level a bit.

Over by the boardwalk to Solitary was a strange little feature putting brownish, murky water up a foot and onto the trail occasionally.

Will be interesting to see what long-terms changes are visible here when we next visit, and what happens over the winter and into next spring.

On the drive back, did almost encounter a deer running across the road just as we were approaching Owl Canyon Road. Also saw a lot of antelope along the roads between Jeffrey City and Laramie. It must be fall.

September 18, 2018

Observations for 17 September 2018

Arrived back in the cage at midnight. It wasn't quite as cold as we'd expected, but still down near freezing. After an hour and a half we got the hot period we'd been expecting. It was a strong one, that did not include a Feather restart, instead Feather stayed on for 14m23s. But no Giant eruption. More than a little disappointing.

We'd already planned on getting up at 03:00 to leave for Norris and New Crater/Steamboat. But there wasn't much point in trying to get another nap, so instead we loaded up the truck and hit the road. Driving at that time of night can be interesting, as we found out when we came across a bison jogging north just inside the right late line, just south of the exit from the Firehole Lake Drive. Really glad I was doing Pacman and not strictly staying in my lane. (I figure if I don't see the center line when I should, it's because there's something there.)

Arrived at Norris at 04:00, and learned that a set of strong minors was in progress. It turned out that we witnessed the last of that series. By then it was really cold, but we settled in to wait for dawn and a day of waiting. Some folks who arrived later said that their vehicle thermometers were in the mid to upper 20s.

At around 06:30, suddenly the four of us had a large number of companions, all there to see New Crater/Steamboat. Most of whom I had never seen before, and from the way they were talking, they were there to add another checkmark to their personal lists. The noise level got pretty intense for that time of day.

All this time, there was nothing happening other than a lot of slopping around. It wasn't until 09:30, about 5 hours after we arrived, that we saw the next minor eruption. This was followed almost immediately but several more in quick succession, culminating with an eruption of New Crater/Steamboat at 09:36. That sudden onset was just like the previous eruption we'd seen 10 days ago.

This was a powerful eruption, but what was most notable was how it was still in water phase an hour into the eruption. That's when the North Vent shut down, followed within moments by the South vent. It was absolutely quite out there. Then just as sudden, both vents exploded upward. The North Vent looked almost as tall as the start of an eruption. South Vent was as brown as North for a few seconds,

We got 4 of these shutdowns. Then, finally, the transition to pure steam started. The water columns cleared up, but every time it looked like it was pure steam, they'd throw out some spray.

The drive back was uneventful until we got to the Mary Mountain trailhead. There traffic came to a complete stop for the better part of an hour because of a bison herd near the Kaleidoscope Group. It was really frustrating because we wanted to get back to see what had happened with Giant.

Turns out, not much. A couple of weak hot periods were inferred from the resulting puddles and pools on the platform, or from dry areas. This was interesting news. As the afternoon went on, and there wasn't any event there, it started to look like we might have a chance for an eruption.

After a bathtub, I decided that we probably had at least a couple of hours until the next event. Time to head in and start packing up to leave tomorrow. But as I was riding in, it occurred to me that if Giant was setting up to erupt, it might shorten things up. So decided I should be heading back out in about one and a quarter hours. Besides, I've been consistently overestimating how much time is available between hot periods.

The call that water was rising in Mastiff came in just as I was about to head out. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I packed for a long wait, including light and multiple layers. I quickly lightened my load and headed out. I got to the Cage in plenty of time to see the start of Giant.

The conditions were almost perfect. It was a little windy, but it was in the right direction, away from the platform, and not enough to really to chop off any height. With the low sun, there was a rainbow that was a full arc, and here the wind helped by moving spray well to the north of Bijou.

Again I tried to measure the height. This time I was back on the boardwalk, but not at the marker. That meant, at least, I didn't have to force my way to far to get there (and the decreased crowds helped.) And again I got a disappointing reading: 65%, which translates into about 130feet. The scary thing is, from that perspective, I tried to compare the height to what I remember of big (150+ ft) Grand eruptions from the same distance, and it did look comparable. Not sure what to think about this. Ideally I will try next time (and I do expect a next time or two) to be exactly at the marker and try and catch the maximum starting surge.

And Fan & Mortar erupted in the morning. No one saw it, and we probably wouldn't even have known about it if Suzanne hadn't gone down there to check on it before going to Giant. She noticed that the activity there was even worse than the last few days.

September 17, 2018

Observations for 16 September 2018

Another day of Giant hot periods about 6 hours apart. With a deadline approaching, it's not welcome.

After leaving Geyser Hill, the night before, it started to rain, and the rain continued for several hours, up until midnight and time to go back out to Giant. But when it quit, the clouds quickly cleared and the sky was bright with stars. This also meant that as we left the hot period a few hours later, it was quite foggy for the entire route.

Next morning got out to Geyser Hill. The debris and wash around Ear was impressive, although for once the NPS was quick to clean up the area, so I didn't get to see al the unnatural debris that was coughed up.

Saw a number of North Goggle minor eruptions, and the grassy areas north of the boardwalk there, as well as the new runoff from Doublet are already developing that Low-Tide Smell as the grasses are being killed. Just north of Doublet itself there was a new, small murky geyser. I confirmed the activity under the boardwalk, which also included a crack to the southwest where a frying pan was breaking out.

Sponge no longer seems to erupt. Pump seemed weak, and the slime mats around it were already drying up. Pendant and Geyser Hill #5 (the feature off in the trees north of Pendant) were both erupting, as well as the slit that broke out after the 1983 earthquake under the boardwalk. Next to the Solitary trail a formerly scummy hole was erupting, too.

Lion is also not been seen since yesterday, but Little Cub seems unchanged.

When out to Giant at 21:00 with the expectation of waiting for several hours for the next hot period. Instead, arrive with Bijou already paused, which lead into a weak 4-1/2 minute Feather and Feather Satellite eruption. This was interesting, as it was starting to fit the pattern that lead up to the last Giant eruption. So went back in to get a nap and return at midnight.

September 16, 2018

Observations for 15 September 2018

Ended up waiting for four hours, until 02:00, for the next Giant hot period. This was a pretty strong one, where Feather did not have to restart, and Giant did have some, but not a lot, of surging at the right time. Because of the cold, it was impossible to see much on the platform once things got started, especially back through the Mastiff runoff. But with several of the bright lights, we could see Feather and Giant itself.

Because the duration of the previous Fountain Geyser eruption had been reported as 36 minutes, we then went out to check on Fountain and Morning. That longer duration is one of the few signs that Morning might erupt soon.

It was a slow drive because we didn't want to have any close bison encounters. Got there to find that we'd missed Fountain by at least an hour, but at least we confirmed that Morning probably didn't do anything.

It appears Giant has settled into a mode it displayed last interval-- for several days we get a moderatly strong hot period every 6 to 7 hours. In between there may be a bathtub or weak Feather-only hot period. If this is the case, then any hope for a short interval (and for an eruption before we leave) is gone.

But the big news were the massive changes to the northern third of Geyser Hill, which started with a huge eruption of Ear Spring. I was hanging around waiting for the latest Giant hot period, so I didn't get over there until dark. But it was still obvious that things were different. I saw the murky mess in and around Ear. Both vents of Doublet were erupting to several feet. There was an Aurum eruption only a few hours after the previous. And under the boardwalk between Doublet and Pump there was the sound of either a frying pan or a drain hole (hard to tell in the windy conditions). Pump itself seemed weaker.

In any case, will have to visit again in the morning when can actually see things.

September 15, 2018

Observations for 14 September 2018

After last night's strong hot period, decided that getting some sleep would be a good idea. Got back out about seven hours later and it seemed pretty clear that nothing much had happened. At best, there's been some Southwest Vents activity hours earlier. So it was just a matter of waiting.

Almost immediately we got a Bijou pause lasting about 4 minutes. Since it was time for Grand, and nothing was going to happen for about a hour, it was a good time to go there. I saw the start from near Wave Spring, very nicely backlit from that vantage point. Unfortunately, it was a short One Burst Grand.

Back at Giant, waited through a series of pauses, including one that lasted about 3-1/2 minutes. An hour later, we got what we'd been waiting for. This hot period did not have a restart. While there was some nice surging in Giant, far too much of it was just bigger versions of the normal surging, and that generally doesn't lead into an eruption.

The afternoon Grand did have a second burst. It was only a little over ten minutes long, so years ago a third burst could've been expected. Instead, Vent and Turban quit as if it had been a much longer interval.

Up to this point, about 5 hours after the hot period, it had been fairly calm. Now the winds picked up, despite the warming day. But didn't spend much time in it since the next weak hot period was right afterwards, and then missed the a stronger one a few hours later.

Coming back from the missed hot period was something different. After getting past a bison moving fairly rapidly (for a bison) from the Inn parking lot toward the Lower Store, I heard a commotion over in the Old Faithful circle. There was someone standing right out on the cone, oblivious to people, including NPS personnel, yelling at him to get back. At one point he lay down with his upper torso over the rim, and tried to climb in. Finally he wandered slowly back toward the Lodge.

I bicycled over there and caught a glimpse of him as Law Enforcement tried to make contact. He seemed in a different reality, and the facial tattoos gave the message that he'd had earlier encounters with the law. He never did cooperate, and was arrested in the Lodge parking lot. I'm sure he enjoyed coming down in the Mammoth jail.

Did a repeat at sunset, with a Grand eruption followed by a weak hot period. So went in to wait for a few hours before heading out to wait. Ended up being out there until well after midnight.

September 14, 2018

Observations for 13 September 2018

One thing we've noticed over the past few days is that Grand seems to be having more two burst eruptions. Thanks to Giant hot periods, I've missed a few of these. But a number of them have also been of the Long Second variety. The pause comes fairly early, before the 9 minute mark. But once the height of the second drops, Grand seems to go almost immediately into Big Sawmill mode.

I've thought that all the one bursts are because Grand is too strong to quit, so we never get the pauses as before. The Big Sawmill mode fits in, in that the eruption is wasting energy and water so when it does stop, it can't restart. The Long Second mode fits, as it's just weak enough to pause, but still stronger than it used to be and goes back into splashing around.

It was a day of watching Giant. The hot periods became stronger as the day progressed, with one that could've resulted in an eruption shortly after midnight. But it didn't, and we still haven't had one where there wasn't a restart.

In the cabin area the last couple of nights I've heard either an elk or a very squeaky door hinge.

September 13, 2018

Observations for 12 September 2018

Another time that we'd planned for an early trip to Norris, only to wake up and discover there's no need to go. In this case, the eruption of New Crater/Steamboat was either too late or too early. Too late in that there's no way we'd have spent over eight hours in the dark waiting for it. Too early because it erupted before we even had a chance to hit the road.

So it was a day to start watching Giant, even though the four day mark wasn't until near sunset. Got to see a fairly strong hot period around 10:30, then over seven hours later there was a fairly weak one with only Feather and its Satellite.

After dark, four hours later, we pretty much got the same hot period. With it supposed to be wet, I wasn't going to be out in the dark.

September 12, 2018

Observations for 11 September 2018

With it being really too early for both Giant and New Crater/Steamboat to erupt, it was a day to do other things. In this case, do the northern loop and visit Canyon and Mammoth. At the latter, also got a tour of the Reamer House in addition to walking the Lower Terrace loop.

Did get out for the early night One Burst Grand, just because it was fairly warm and Grand has been so predictable when it comes to intervals.

September 11, 2018

Observations for 10 September 2018

Beehive had a reasonable 15 hour interval, but a one minute indicator was enough time for me to grab what I needed and start to shut the cabin door. I just went back to what I was doing. Probably a good thing, as it was so windy that I couldn't have gotten closer than Sulphide Spring without getting drenched.

Saw two Grand eruptions. The later one was a One Burst Grand, but the first was more interesting. The first burst lasted a bit over ten minutes, which usually means that that's it. But this time the water stayed up, and even though it took a while to get going, we got a second. Then it turned into a long second, with a total duration of almost 13-1/4 minutes. It looked like Turban had quit before Grand did, and during the last minute of the eruption Vent was nothing but steam.

Spent some time watching weak activity at Fan & Mortar. It looked a lot like when it is dormant and you know the cycles aren't going to be strong and there's not going to be an eruption, no matter how good they look when Gold comes on. But during that sort time, there was quite a bit of stupidity.

First there was the European couple who not once, but twice had to get pictures of Norris Pool from beyond the railings.

Then there was the guy who sat down next to me and saw a "frog" in the formations around Mortar. He was going to show his family where it was by bending over and picking up a rock and throwing it. I stopped him before the rock flew. He insisted he wasn't going to do that, but he never once looked at the rock he did pick up and let the rock fall out of his hand.

Then there were the Earth Units (probably American) who first had to get a picture of one of their group straddling Link's runoff at the bridge during a minor eruption. They then went on down south, near to where the runoff first enters the gutter and one of the group jumped across the runoff. That finally got a reaction, and he immediately leaped back over the runoff.

Then there were the two Chinese women who thought it would be a great idea to do a stupid pose using the bikes in the bike rack. I heard a lot of rattling noise back there, and in no uncertain terms told them leave my stuff alone. Instead of the usual Asian giggle, one of them actually tried to excuse their behavior with "it's not hurting anyone." Yeah, right, you let people mess with your stuff all the time.

They got down to Norris pool, and the objector immediately heads off around the railing. That got them even more berating. How much stupidity did those two engage in while getting that far down basin? I don't wanna know...

It's almost like there is a constant number of stupid people visiting the area, and now that most of those who can behave themselves are gone for the season, the stupidity become even more intrusive.

Later on, decided that it would be a good night to see Grand, which haven't done in a while. It was actually a fairly warm night, with no wind. The lack of wind meant that the two bursts were pretty much obscured by their steam and that from the runoff.

September 10, 2018

Observations for 09 September 2018

Another quiet day. Saw a couple of Grand eruptions, even got a second burst for one of them. Spent time at Fan & Mortar mostly to kill time.

After the second Grand, headed out to Imperial Geyser at 17:00. The parking lot was crowded, but all those people were on a quest to fill one more item on their bucket list. Beyond the overlook we met a few people coming back. Beyond Fairy Falls we encountered three employees who were at the top of the butte when we arrived at Imperial. (How do I know they were employees? They were hitchhiking back from the parking lot as we left.)

This is the first time I haven't gone out there in the morning, so was a different experience. The lighting and lack of steam made Imperial's activity even more impressive. The runoff channel, based on the dead trees that aren't being flooded, has shifted a few times lately. Only watched Spray for a bit, but did see both vents active (the one on the right doing most of the work, but on the left splashing to a foot or so.)

We were the last out of the area, and there was only one other vehicle in the parking lot when we left.

September 09, 2018

Observations for 08 September 2018

After the midnight hot period, I decided that I needed to be out at least 4 hours later for the next activity. So I ended up waiting in the dark, with approaching lightning and rain for what turned out to be a bathtub. Quite disappointing, especially since the rain started as I untied my bike at Grotto. I went in for a couple hours of warming up, drying off, and maybe getting some sleep.

So it was a bit annoying to be waiting for the alarm to go off only to hear that another hot period had started about two hours later. Rushed out to see the end of a moderately strong hot period, and to get rained on again on the way back in.

So now it's time to not make any assumptions, unless willing to miss another hot period start. An hour later there was a long, 6min pause, which confirmed that suspicion. Going to wait until the next big hot period, then figure out how to get a break.

Four hours after that strong hot period, we got another long Bijou pause with visible Mastiff water. It barely qualified as a bathtub. A bit after five hours, we got a weak, Feather-only hot period. The only anomaly was that we did get Cave erupting weakly for a short time, despite none of the other vents, especially Feather's Satellite, doing much. But it was a sign I could head in for a bit.

Two hours later, having eaten and gotten cleaned up, I got back just in time for another long Bijou Pause. Forty-five minutes later, Bijou started having slowdowns, but nothing close to a real pause. Then, around the 70 minute mark, which seems common, a pause started,

This pause was slow to build. It seemed like all the other features were taking their time in getting started. It was four minutes before Feather finally started, and another twenty seconds before Mastiff started to overflow. It took Feather's satellite almost 2-1/2 minutes to get to overflow, a minute after Cave started. Mastiff didn't boil all that high, either. But that's when the fun began.

When Mastiff dropped, and Bijou came on, Feather didn't quit. When Posthole came on, Giant started surging. The surging was small at first, but the water level was high. Often we could see the boil up in the vent before and after a surge. Over the next few minutes, they just kept getting better. I commented that if it didn't erupt this time, it was going to be a while until the next attempt at erupting.

Then we got a massive surge well above the cone, one pouring out water. Two more even larger surges and Giant was in full eruption. It was windy, but the direction of the wind was away from us. It pushed the water column to the northwest, such that those of us standing at the northern corner of the Cage had to look straight up to see the tops of the jets. It was also mostly sunny, so back a ways, on the boardwalk, there were rainbows stretching from Giant northward.

After the first minute or so, I rushed back to the baseline to get a height. I got 85% of 60meters, which comes out to 51meters, or only 167 feet. Like the pervious eruption, even with the wind pushing the top of the column away, that seems way too short. It sure felt much higher than that.

As I went to get the height measurements, I also noticed that Grand had just started erupting. I don't think many people cared about it. But because a lot of people had headed up there for that eruption before the hot period started, there were a lot of gazers on the boardwalk back there instead of being in the cage.

The end of the eruption seemed to drag out, making it hard to tell when the end finally came, and making it one of the longer ones in a while. It was a great eruption under excellent conditions.

While waiting in the morning, I got to see a private tour-group get part of their talk in the cage. There were two guides, and instead fo talking about Giant, the subjects were The Gumper (over at Mud Volcano) and how to properly visit a backcountry thermal area. The first guid made it sound like The Gumper is way off and inacessible. Back in 1983, when I went there a few times, the hardest part of getting there was not being seen when you left the established trails at Mud Volcano.

The second complained how he was no longer able to take people to see Tomato Soup Spring up Rabbit Creek as a group, but people were able to go up by themselves. That got me to thinking...

I disagree with the NPS closures of all these areas, but I also thought that it was people like him who caused a lot of the problems. Most of those people wouldn't be hiring him if they were willing or able to visit the thermal areas on their own. Most of those people probably had never see a geyser or mud pot or large hot spring before. Why do they need to see some obscure feature like Tomato Soup Spring? (One I've never visited, either). Because, thanks to things like "social media", people have gotten the idea that they don't need to spend any time to become familiar with the common features and activities, but must jump straight into the rare and unusual and "unique". Gotta fill in that bucket list, even if you have no idea why those features are on the bucket list you are required to fill in "before you die."

Besides, what good is a guide if all it can show you is what you'd find on your own, or could read in a book? The guide needs to be able to take people back to rare and unusual areas (and help ruin them in the process) in order to justify getting paid. (The same goes for the "Secrets of..." type books.)

(As for the closures and what to do about them, I have some ideas based on my experiences in NPS units in Utah. They could work, but I don't know if the NPS here could be trusted to do it right.)

September 08, 2018

Observations for 07 September 2018

Left a half hour later today so we would not be driving to Norris in the dark. Arrived in the parking lot there to discover that, not surprisingly, there were already quite a few gazer vehicles there.

The day was cloudy and didn't warm up as fast as yesterday. So by 10:15, I had not shed any coats, and didn't really feel the need to. That was when the fun began.

There had been some gazers at the platform during the night, and they reported a series of strong minor play around 05:00 or so. So it wasn't too surprising that New Crater wasn't showing much activity for the first few hours. That changed shortly after 10:15, when it began having a quick series of strong minors. I hadn't set up my tripod, and half-way through trying to do that, realized I should just forget it and start recording.

So I caught another minor, and it dying down. Almost immediately, another one started. Then it became obvious that the North Vent was building and climbing, and we were getting our eruption. The water briefly hit the platform, but that was the only time during the eruption that there was any threat of getting wet.

Since it was early, I decided that it was the time to try for a height measurement. I'd already determined that the bench on the boardwalk leading to the platforms would be a good place to work from, so I quickly moved there. Unfortunately, the sun and the top of the North Vent water column were close together, making it hard to get a reading at first until I could work out a way to shade the clinometer. About 4 minutes into the eruption, at 130 meters, I got a reading of 80%. That works out to 104meters, or about 340 feet. I haven't yet determined the altitude difference between that location and the vent, and need to confirm the distance, but that value sounds about right.

After that, I took advantage of the lack of crowds to head down to the runoff. The amount of water coming down both of them was impressive, The main one had obviously flowed over the walkway for a while, but was back below the bridge when I got there.

I returned to the platform, and now things were getting crowded. It gets really annoying when tourists who spent no time waiting try to elbow their way to the railing in order to get their precious selfies. I wasn't the only gazer who wasn't helpful in their trying to acheive that goal.

The North Vent column was reddish brown again, while the South was a clean white. Because of the wind direction, there was considerable wash from the hillside behind the North Vent, and I am sure that's where the color comes from. The water phase lasted about 43m, and it wasn't until then that the North Vent finally lost the brownish color.

There was only a light coating of the parking area, and despite the mid-day gridlock, were able to get out of there reasonably fast.

On the drive back, in the Fountain Flats we got to see the first bison herd of the autumn make its appearance. He had to see it, because the traffic was backed up to the Nez Perce bridge. Must have been about 100 of them out there.

No Giant eruption while we were gone, was a bit of a relief, but would have accepted it, considering. Got back in time for a weak, Feather-only Giant Hot Period. Figured that meant there was time to see Grand. Which had its first long (7 hours) interval in quite a while. So a bunch of people all abandoned Grand when a Bijou pause turned into a Feather eruption.

That one was strong enough to have a restart, but no eruption. Not trusting it, I came out at night at the four hour mark, expecting to see that I just missed another, but instead waited until almost midnight for another, similar hot period. Things there are starting to look like last interval, where we had several days of medium to strong hot periods every 6 hours or so.

September 07, 2018

Observations for 06 September 2018

Spent 10 hours at Norris. It's early, but worth checking out since it has had a couple of short intervals. The prognosis was "good but not great". It wouldn't surprise me if it went during the night, or took the better part of a week.

At around 15:00, we could smell smoke, and by the time we left two hours later, it was almost overpowering.

Shortly after arriving, we learned that Giant had had a nice strong hot period in the morning. We arrived back in time to head down at around the 11 hour mark. Didn't have long to wait before a moderately strong one occurred. There was plenty of Mastiff overflow during the 8min eruption of Feather, and a quick restart (1m09s pause) that lasted 4m19s and had about 15 seconds of what looked like Giant surging from a high water level. Like New Crater/Steamboat, I could see Giant erupting tomorrow or next week.

After that, got sucked into waiting at Fan & Mortar. Not sure if we saw a Gold Pause, or two very weak cycles. Sometimes I wonder if we are all watching the wrong things, and that a lot of "event cycles" are just weak cycles that have Main Vent acting up. Sometimes hard to tell the difference.

September 06, 2018

Observations for 05 September 2018

Looks like we are settling in to having regular Giant hot periods. Saw a strong bathtub in the morning, then mid-day it was a medium strength hot period with a weak restart and not much Giant surging.

I did go up to Daisy to see an eruption upclose, and to see what Splendid is doing. The answer is not well. Daisy was 3m26s, which would be short back when Splendid was active. Splendid itself did nothing prior to Daisy's eruption. Afterwards, there was some weak Side-Boiler action to maybe 25cm for a few minutes before the boiling shifted to the Main Vent area. There are two small areas of orange near Splendid where the runoff channels used to start.

Right now, if you didn't know that Splendid was a large geyser, you'd just assume it's a fairly quiet hot spring with a few sputs along the northwestern edge.

September 05, 2018

Observations for 04 September 2018

Another day like the last couple, but this one did start getting different.

Giant started showing signs of life. I saw a couple of 6 minute pauses/bathtubs, and there was a short Feather-only hot period observed. Not sure what it means.

Also got an entertaining One Burst Grand in the middle of the day. The first Turban interval was well over 30 minutes, and for some reason, all those gathered around got all excited by a call of waves on the radio. I sure didn't see any. That resulted in a long, 7m duration Turban eruption and a thoroughly drained Grand. But the water level slowly rose over the next twenty minutes, despite there not being much overflow.

When Turban started, Grand wasn't abnormally low, and as the eruption progressed, so did Grand's water level. But no one seemed to notice or care, as the socializing continued. After a minute, Vent started overflowing, and still no one noticed. Finally, as water started pouring off in waves, the assembled group quieted down and concentrated on the geyser. Grand erupted 1m45s after Turban started.

Also wasted some time at Fan & Mortar again. There never was any real attempt at an eruption.

I also went out for the nighttime Grand. With the regular 6 hour intervals, it's nice knowing that I'll have to only wait a Turban interval or so.

September 04, 2018

Observations for 03 September 2018

Another quiet day with great weather. Three One Burst Grands and too much hanging around Fan & Mortar.

September 03, 2018

Observations for 02 September 2018

News in the morning that New Crater/Steamboat had erupted shortly before midnight was a bit of a relief. After days of trying to get out to Giant for every hot period, and succeeding most of the time, a day off was nice.

So I saw a couple of Grand eruptions, both in good conditions, and one actually had a second burst. I also went up to watch Daisy, and during the wait, Splendid was a calm hot spring. After Daisy I saw a bit of Side Boiler activity followed by some surges in the Main Vent, but nothing even close to what it looked like when active.

Otherwise the rest of the day was wasted at Fan & Mortar, which is typical for those sputs.

September 01, 2018

Observations for 01 September 2018

Got out to Bijou Cage about 3h45m after the midnight hot period. Turned the corner and noted that Riverside was in eruption, which I hadn't noticed while tying the bike at Grotto. Dropped the pack and was fishing for my notebook when I realized that the noise on the platform didn't seem right, too noisy, and one of them sounded like Feather. Got the spotlight out of the pack to discover that Feather was not only in eruption, but Giant was surging. It was a restart. But after a couple of strong Giant surges, things died down.

Just as the alarm went off, Mike Keller started to announce a fill in Mastiff. This turned out to be a strong bathtub with Southwest Vents, but it was still just 2-1/2 hours since the last activity. This gave us the chance to take some time in getting ready to head out.

Arrived at the Cage just before 07:00. Grotto was active, but nothing much else was going on. Rocket finally erupted about an hour and a quarter later. There was a series of pauses lasting from 45s to 1m20s until we finally got a long, 3 min. pause at 10:30. I used that as the opportunity to make a quick run to the cabin to remove some clothing layers and get ready for a longer wait. As I arrived at the cabin, I heard that Grotto had started another eruption.

That eruption of Grotto was short, with Rocket just 26 minutes later. The series of Bijou pauses continued for several hours more, with another Grotto eruption with an interval of about 3-3/4 hours, one that had no Rocket eruption at the end.

Finally, 13-1/2 hours after the previous hot period, we finally got a long pause and Feather. The water rising in Mastiff took its time, about three minutes, to make itself visible. It was another two minutes before Feather started. Then things started happening. Mastiff overflow was strong, and kept getting stronger. The surging was as high as any of the good hot periods. After about 5 minutes, the surging turned into an actual Mastiff eruption.

Over the next couple of minutes Mastiff kept getting higher, with some bursts at least three times the height of Giant's 10 foot high cone. At that point, Giant, whose water level had been high for quite a while, joined in and within two minutes we had the first Mastiff function eruption since late April.

At the platform, I had set up a camera on a tripod to record the hot period, while near the end I started recording the hot period with my phone. As the eruption started, the water was thrown our way, soaking the north end of the cage where I was. The water was still warm, and I quickly shoved both cameras into pockets to protect them. (Videos will be posted when I get back home).

Then I rushed, as much as I could, to get to the 60 meter baseline marker. The boardwalks were crowded with people, but I was there within the first few minutes of the eruption. The best height measurement I got was 74% of 60 meters, which works out to about 150 feet.

The eruption didn't look that short, it looked huge. But I also know that the angle to the top of the spikes was less that 45°. I reviewed my procedures, and confirmed that the baseline I was using appeared to be the 60 meter one (unless the baseline got moved by a repair). The only thing I can conclude is that Giant must've put up some massive spikes at the beginning, but quickly settles down to something not as high. (Much like what Grand does.) Or all those heights of 200+ feet were not based on measurements, but were optimistic estimates.

I do know that years ago I measured a height, well into an eruption, at 72 meters from that point. That eruption was definitely more than 45°. Not sure to make of all this.

The weather conditions were almost perfect. There was a bit of wind, but after the intial surge, the cage didn't get wet again, and the wind pushed the steam away to the north. It was late afternoon, so there was a full double rainbow seen from my vantage point in the cage.

Two signs, the Giant sign and the "Danger" sign rolled from their locations down in front of the cage platform.

Observations for 31 August 2018

The next hot period was just under 6 hours after the previous. It had a restart, but that pause was long, the restart was short, and there wasn't much going on besides Feather. It was perhaps the weakest of this series over the past few days.

Since Grand and Giant were not in sync, waited less than a Turban interval for a One Burst Grand eruption, then headed back to the cage.

Almost immediately, there was a long Bijou Pause. Even though 4m22s long, Mastiff never had water. This seemed a good sign, that there might finally be a longer interval. Which is what happened. Three hours later, we finally got the hotperiod, with an interval of 8-1/2 hours. The surging in Giant was great, but not enough to result in an eruption.

After that, had another opportunity for a One Burst Grand eruption. Which is what it did.

At sunset we had yet another hot period with an interval of 5-1/2 hours. It wasn't as weak as the early morning, but was pretty obvious that it wasn't going to result in an eruption. It took a long time (2m34s) for Feather to restart, and when it did, it was the only vent erupting and it lasted only 3 minutes.

Based on this, I figured that I next needed to be out in the cage after midnight. So it was quite a surprise to be awakened well before the time my alarm was set by Tara reporting a hot period in progress. One with an interval of a little over 4 hours. Started the mad dash to get dressed and ready enough to head out. Didn't get very far when she announced that things were winding down. Was a relief, but now I wasn't sure when to head back out. Decided that I should be there in time for another four hour interval.

August 31, 2018

Observations for 30 August 2018

As I commented yesterday, the sameness of the hot periods continued. Went out in the dark and at a little over 7 hours got another in what would be a series of increasingly disappointing hot periods.

They were coming more frequently, with the one before midnight having an interval of about 5-3/4 hours. The surging in Mastiff seemed similar, but it was when Feather quit that things worsened most. Giant was showing less surging each time, and the pause before the restart was getting longer and then the restart itself was getting shorter. Not sure what it all means, but it's becoming disappointing.

The weather was much improved. Which the first hot period in the morning was in the freezing dark, for the daylight ones it was bright and sunny and almost hot. Except when there were clouds, and then the cool air temperature became obvious. The wait for the one before midnight was actually more pleasant because there was a layer of clouds obscuring the rising half moon.

Because my priority has been to wait for Giant, I've not seen many One Burst Grand eruptions this trip. And lately the intervals between the two have been about the same. So the nice thing about the day was that they were so out of phase that I finally got to see a couple. One of them was even a two burst eruption.

August 30, 2018

Observations for 29 August 2018

After last night, I decided that six hours was the magic interval. The temperature was well below freezing (the weather site said 29°F, but because it was a dry night, there wasn't much frost. I arrived at the cage at 04:30, and I timed it pretty well. At 05:04 there was a fairly strong hot period, with feather restarting, but again, not much surging in Giant. It was just starting to get light, but I could still go back in and get a couple more hours sleep.

Four hours seemed a good bet for the next opportunity, so was out there well in advance. Bijou was having short pauses about a minute long every 20 minutes or so. Nothing changed when Grotto started, but within seconds of the start of Rocket, Bijou paused and within a minute water was visible in Mastiff. This was another one of those weaker hot periods, where we got Feather's Satellite, but no overflow or surging in Mastiff.

The hot period was quite strong, until it was time for Giant to start surging. Despite what appeared to be a high water level, it never seemed to try to start erupting. It was amusing after the hot period was over because there were several vertical surges that were probably higher than anything during the hot period.

After the hot period, about 70 minutes later, activity from the Southwest vents was observed. Don't know if this was unusual, or normal. No one really hangs around Giant for several hours after a hot period, so this might be normal. In any case, I waited around a bit, and about an hour later there was a normal 1m39s Bijou pause. About the same time interval after that was a report of water in Mastiff. So not sure what was going on there.

Did get a real strong hotperiod about when expected, at 23:04 for a little under 7 hour interval. It looked like the last few hot periods, and we are starting to get a sameness to all of them. The most telling part is how Giant just does not seem to do any strong surging, and what surges it does have are later, after a lot of wasted effort.

The last couple of nights I've heard an owl off in the trees across the river from the cabins. I've heard another one over north of Castle on occasion, too.

August 29, 2018

Observations for 28 August 2018

This day started overcast, foggy, cold, and damp. But it was still more pleasant than the previous day.

Got to the cage in time for another Southwest Vents Bathtub. But I never did see the water level in Mastiff, I only inferred it from the fact that I couldn't hear Bijou and the vents were erupting. It was that foggy.

Then, like the previous day, it was a four hour wait for the hot period. This one was even weaker than before. Feather really tried hard to not restart, but eventually it did. During that Giant made a few half-hearted attempts at surging, but never anything to get excited about.

By that time, the day had warmed up to would be nice in October. Later in the afternoon there was time to catch a One Burst Grand, from where I saw a long Bijou pause. So it wasn't surprising that when I was in the cage an hour later, there was a minor, Feather-only hot period.

I had to figure out when to head out during the night. I decided that the second Grotto eruption would be the best time, and set my alarm for 01:00 in order to be out there in plenty of time. So had just turned out the lights in the cabin when we heard Tara start announcing a hot period. Lost that bet, but kinda glad since I would've been sitting in the cold and dark for several hours when nothing would be happening.

The hot period, despite the sort interval, turned out to be pretty strong. We got there just as the surging in Giant started. Unfortunately, the surging wasn't very strong. On the way back, Castle was in eruption, to did stick around to enjoy the moonlight illumination until the steam phase started.

August 28, 2018

Observations for 27 August 2018

The day was cold and miserable, with occasional clearing up so that it was only unpleasant.

About a half hour after arriving in the cage there was a Mastiff bathtub with Southwest vent activity. After the usual hour long activity, Bijou started having short (45s-1m20s) pauses every 12 to 14 minutes or so. This continued for the next four hours, with a single longer pause (2m08s) about halfways through.

We finally got our strong hot period, probably the first since the previous day, at 13:18. This wasn't as strong as the previous, and featured a restart that didn't have much in the way of Giant surging. Never thought that it would result in an eruption.

The rest of the day was devoted to indoor activities knowing that there wouldn't be any geyser-related interruptions, like preparing a decent meal. Didn't try for the evening Grand eruption because it was pouring rain about then.

August 27, 2018

Observations for 26 August 2018

Day started out poorly with rain and a call that Fan & Mortare were erupting.

The rain quit within an hour, but that mean the wind was picking up. And ended up being worse that the last few days. At times, on the bike trail, it was like going uphill even when it was actually downhill.

Got out to Giant just as a Feather-only hot period started. So it looked like there was no reason to be out in the basin for several hours. A good time to fix breakfast and get some other defered tasks done. I planned to get back in about 5 hours or so, based on previous hot period intervals.

As it turned out, that was a bit optimistic. Someone saw another weak hot period about 3-1/2 hours later. (And not only never made a radio announcement, but logged it in a way as to obscure that fact.)

So instead of heading back to the platform, went to Grand instead. RIght after sitting down in the usual area, I saw a badger approaching the boardwalk from the west. It got nearer, then suddenly changed direction and headed south, toward Bulger. Eventually it crossed the boardwalks near Bulger, where there weren't people, and headed off into the trees behind Rift. That was the first badger I've ever seen there.

Also while waiting for Grand, someone lost a dollar bill to the wind and it ended up in the runoff channel. It went unclaimed when it was finally rescued during the eruption.

The One Burst Grand eruption lasted 13m14s, following false pause at around the 11 minute mark. Afterwards, I finally got to see Old Tardy in eruption. It looks like it's trying to make a new runoff east of the walkway, killing some grass. Probably the buildup from the slime due to Crystal being in near constant overflow allows this.

Back at Giant where we spend three hours in the wind, with Bijou stopping from 45 to 65 seconds every 11 to 13 minutes. It really did seem like it was waiting for the next Grotto eruption.

Finally about 6 hours after the previous Grotto, we got a pause that lasted longer. Almost immediately water was visible in Mastiff. Feather came on about 3 minutes into the pause, which was much quicker that all the weak hot periods I've seen the past few days. A minute and a half later, Mastiff started to overflow, and Cave began erupting.

This was a strong hot period, one in which Giant could've erupted. Feather never quit. Mastiff was boiling up to 1.5 meters at times. The water level in Giant was high, and there were several surges higher than the cone, pouring out water. But when that surging continued without an eruption, it became obvious that we weren't going to get an eruption. Feather itself finally died out about 16 minutes after it started.

After that, it was time for Grand again. It was a long interval, finally erupting in the dark. This was due to a Turban interval where Grand booped about a meter high and delayed the eruption for two Turban intervals.

Just before the Grand boop, I looked down basin and saw a huge amount of steam at Oblong. This increased and the we saw water surging. With the wind and cold, it was hard to tell if that was really the start, but in any case, I did manage to see several large surges, and the whole eruption lasted several minutes. Earlier this summer there have been eruptions of Oblong after Giant, so this was acting like the strong hot period we'd seen 3-1/2 hours earlier was an eruption. Or else Oblong wants to become Giant's indicator.

There's a cold storm coming in during the night, so made no plans to go out and try to catch the next hot period. Expect that will probably be the one that leads to an eruption. On the other hand, earlier this season it's been about 16 to 20 hours between strong ones, so maybe will get to see Giant in the rain tomorrow mid-day.

August 26, 2018

Observations for 25 August 2018

Went out to put the full moon to good use, and shortly after midnight got another One Burst Grand, with Rift erupting, after a 30 minute delay.

The rest of the day was spent watching disappointing activity at Giant. Got out to the cage after seeing the morning Beehive, and it appeared that nothing much had happened overnight. At best, there may have been another Feather-only hot period about the time we were out at Grand. After several bathtub pauses from Bijou, finally got a Feather plus Feather Satellite hot period at 14:30.

Then it was bathtubs every few hours. Finally gave up at midnight after the second pause that lasted over 6 minutes.

Another cool, windy day, which can be quite tiring even though not doing much.

August 25, 2018

Observations for 24 August 2018

It's early, but I want to keep an eye on Giant in case it shortens up. But first I went down to take a look at the damage around the Riverside trail. They've torn up the old asphalt and are carting it away. I assume it will be replaced by a new and improved boardwalk which will keep people (especially the "Asian Invasion") on trail, or at least not provide excuses for wandering around loose.

At Fan & Mortar, I would have gotten excited if it were not just a day and a half since the last eruption. Fan was completely quiet, except for frequent splashing from Main Vent. Not just little spits, but thick, miniaturized versions of what people like to see at New Crater/Steamboat. And Bottom Vent was erupting enough to put out a little trickle down its runoff. I left, knowing better.

Spent several hours at Giant, interrupted by a nice One Burst Grand. Finally left Giant when I got a Feather-only hot period. Since it was less than three days since the eruption, would be nice to think that this is an indication of a short interval...

The evening was another One Burst Grand eruption, followed by another Feather-only hot period, about six hours after the previous hot period.

August 24, 2018

Observations for 23 August 2018

It was like we never left.

Two hours after checking in, we had the same cabin set up the same way as when we were here last. As just like when we left, the three major geysers had all just erupted.

But this time there was a bonus-- an eruption of Morning. So after a quick meal, we headed out to Fountain Paintpots for a wait. Finally got an eruption of Fountain in the dark that got illuminated by a couple of spotlights.

One of the reasons we returned now is so we can take advantage of the full moon. Did just that by heading out to Grand. Got a bonus as Castle was going into steamphase as we arrived, and that's one of the better times for moonbows. They were there, but a bit faint as the moon was low and a bit yellowish from the smoke haze.

August 07, 2018

Observations for 06 August 2018

It was packing to leave day. Did see Beehive in the morning (an over 18 hour interval), then a One Burst Grand. In the afternoon walked up on an eruption of Castle.

That was folllowed by a 9-1/2 minute One Burst Grand, but at least it was a Turban start where it took Grand 1m12s to finally get going.

August 06, 2018

Observations for 05 August 2018

After all the excitement of the past few days, nothing much happened.

Went out to see a One Burst Grand where lightning started shortly before the eruption, then rain started as we were bicycling in. Went up to Beehive and waited for about an hour. Decided to leave and had just got to Bronze and Silver Springs when the Indicator was called. Later was about to head out to Grand when the rain started again. By the time it ended, Grand had erupted. A good day to rest up and get ready to head home,

August 05, 2018

Observations for 04 August 2018

Updated: 2018 Aug 11: Uploaded video at New Crater/Steamboat Eruption 2018 Aug 04.


After Giant, there was no reason to not got to Norris this morning, other than I was getting short on sleep. Left in the dark at 05:00, only saw two elk along the way, and arrived at Norris at 06:00.

We'd packed up and covered the truck and were just heading to the entrance trail when we heard Kit yelling on the radio. Seems Steamboat was having one of its huge minor eruptions, and she thought it was starting. As it turned out, it came close, but no eruption. Good thing too.

For the next eight hours, there were a few minors, but nothing to get too excited about. It was a cool, windy day, with occasional clouds. Then, after a lull of several hours, at 14:10, there was a sudden surge in activity, and within moments, we had an eruption.

It was a bit windy, but blowing away from us. Toward the parking lot. The north then climbed quickly, while the south never came close to matching it. Comparing this eruption to the one on 27 May, this one didn't seem as tall, but was definitely more powerful. We had to shout at each other. The water column of the north vent also never turned reddish brown. It did look dirty at times. With the wind, I would suppose that much of the water was carried beyond the local watershed which feeds back into the north vent.

Another difference was that it was harder to tell when the water phase ended. An hour later there was still a small stream of water coming out of the southernmost part of the south vent. It was my impression that within 15 minutes the columns had lost all their height and were mostly steam.

The platforms were packed almost from the start. That there was a ranger talk being given at the top platform contributed to that, too.

Later on finally got down to take a look at the runoff. It was a lot less than the previous eruption I've seen, which supports the contention that there wasn't as much water. (Or that a lot more of it was being tossed onto the trees and parking.)

The car cover I bought specifically for use at Norris worked perfectly. We got back to a dry lot, but there were lots of vehicles covered with white residue. I saw one Ford F150 pickup that used to be black, but now was a sort of matte-finished gray. Including the windows.

Did go out for the last Grand eruption of the day. It was a nice two burst, but the wind picked up just before the eruption started, so impossible to see the start of Turban or Vent.

On the way out, heard the screech of an owl that was sitting in one of the dead trees in the Castle runoff. Could hear it over at Grand, too.

August 04, 2018

Observations for 03 August 2018

Updated: 2018 Aug 08: Uploaded video at Giant Eruption 2018 Aug 03.


After another hot period around midnight, at dawn it was again time to head back out to the Bijou Cage. There were frequent pauses lasting about a minute every 12 to 15 minutes until about a half hour after Grotto started. Then we got another moderately strong hot period, but once again, there wasn't much surging after the restart. Shortly after, we had another Rocket major eruption.

About seven hours later we had a similiar buildup, but this time the hot period consisted of just Feather and Feather's Satellite. At three minutes in duration, this was one step above the solo Feather hot periods. But it seemed to be a good sign, because the past few days we'd have gotten one of the medium strength hot periods at this point.

A few hours later, shortly before time to head back out, it was really disappointing to hear on the radio that Fan & Mortar were in eruption. Annoying because was lounging around the cabin waiting to head out to Giant. Didn't want to go too early, as was going with full nighttime gear, which would be bulky, heavy and warm.

Again came out to an eruption of Rocket followed by a series of short, half-minute long pauses every 12 to 15 minutes or so. After two hours of this, and six hours after the previous hot period, we finally got a longer pause.

This hot period started out slow, but as it built, it just seemed stronger than all the others had been seeing the past week. Mastiff's surging was taller and wider. There wasn't a restart, and when Giant started surging, the water level seemed higher.

The wind, so annoying during the day, was now perfect. It moved all the steam out of view, yet didn't seem to limit the height of Giant's water column. I wasn't able to measure the height, but it seemed much higher than the previous, day-time eruption I saw a week ago.

The use of two high-power flashlights made the eruption easily visible. And because it was at night, it was easy to move around and enjoy the eruption both close up and well back on the walkway. The light reflected from the water column was illuminating the ground as far back as the bike trail. It also attracted a family who saw the light show and joined the six of us on the platform for that latter half of the eruption.

Grotto finally started erupting right after Giant ended.

This morning I saw something new and different. An RV that had parked in the red "no parking" zone by the Lodge, and in front of a hydrant, was being ticketed.

August 03, 2018

Observations for 02 August 2018

Updated: 2018 Aug 09: Uploaded video at Fan Minor 2018 Aug 02.


Went out after midnight for the next hot period and managed to miss all sorts of geysers.

Didn't know it at the time, but Oblong erupted just before we arrived at the Bijou Cage. In the short while we were there, Grand and Beehive erupted (we did see the first), then shortly after we left, it was Castle's turn.

One piece of entertainment was finding a rental car parked next to the bike trail in front of the Inn. I contacted the NPS to report it, but it was still there when we returned to the Cage in daylight.

In the morning, was surprised to get a second minor Feather-only hot period. The timing fit, but the type of eruption didn't. That again reset things for a while.

Just before time to head back again, at Fan & Mortar, we saw something I have never seen before-- a Fan minor eruption. The buildup was identical to a full Fan & Mortar eruption, but once we got to the stage where High vent was erupting continuously to 15 feet or more, it just stayed that way for about 10 minutes. The end came suddenly, and within a minute, the vents looked the way it does as a cycle is dying down. Once again, will post some video once I leave the land of the cloud.

Then it was back to the Cage, where, instead of a long wait, almost immediately there was a medium-strong hot period. This time, there was some strong surging in Giant, and the water level looked to be better than previous times, but that activity came late in the restart, and obviously didn't result in the desired eruption. This was the shortest interval between hot periods I've seen this trip, 3h20m. Makes estimating the time to return even harder.

Turns out the Grotto eruption that started before this last hot period was still going, 5-1/2 hours later. The first mini-Marathon of the interval, and again, of my stay. When I arrived back around 18:30, Bijou looked a lot like it used to look after a marathon. It was in a perpetual slowdown punctuated by occasional short pauses. This activity continued for about three hours until there was a 2m50 second pause. It was shortly before that that Bijou regained its strength. In the dark, it made pauses easier to notice.

Pauses now came about every 12 minutes. Shortly before midnight, Grotto started. At 55 minutes into that eruption, at 00:51, well after midnight, we finally got the expected hot period. At 00:55, it was ten minutes over twelve from the previous one. This one looked a lot like the previous ones, the major difference being that Feather never quit. Once again, only once or twice did the surging in Giant look anything like it was trying to start, and these surges came after a lot of splashing.

August 02, 2018

Observations for 01 August 2018

Came out before midnight for the next expected hot period. This one began a half hour after midnight, and about ten minutes after a Grotto start. And it was another 7-1/2 hour interval. The strength was comparable to the previous day's events, including the lack of any strong Giant surging. The one surprising thing was that shortly after the end, Rocket erupted. So in this case, the hot period was associated with both the start and end of a Grotto eruptions.

In the morning, I finally did witness a long, 6 minute pause in Bijou. About three hours later, there was another one. In both cases, there was nothing else happening other than water visible low in Mastiff. Between the two, starting about an hour after the first pause, were a series of short pauses and slowdowns again.

An hour after the second long pause we got a hot period, one that appaeared much like all the other medium strength we'd see. The interval here was 10 hours.

I went back out at the 6 hour mark. (In part, because there wasn't an available table in Lower Ham's, which cause me to have to delay my first burger of the trip.) For almost three hours there was a series of short pauses and slowdowns. The hot period took place at the 7-1/2 hour mark, and if anything, was weaker than the previous two of the day.

August 01, 2018

Observations for 31 July 2018

Another morning arriving at the Giant platform to find that nothing had happened there overnight. After an hour's worth of regular short Bijou pauses, we got the expected hot period. This was another medium of the restart variety. Medium because while most of the vents were active, Giant just didn't seem to show any evidence that it could erupt. There wasn't much surging, and what there was came from down deep. There was even some strong surges that were left to right, pouring out water and meaning nothing.

Another feature of this hot period was that it wasn't related to the start or end of Grotto, but came an hour and a quarter before Grotto started.

Four hours later, from Grand I saw a long Bijou pause, which it turns out did have some Southwest Vent activity. After that, the Bijou again had a series of short pauses and slowdowns until a hot period started at the same time that Rocket began. It too was "medium".

WIth this hot period, it appeared that Giant was shifting modes. Instead of a strong one followed 6 hours later by a weak Feather-only and then 10 or so hours later by another strong, we were starting to get these medium ones about 6-1/2 to 8-1/2 hours apart.

July 31, 2018

Observations for 30 July 2018

After last evening's hot period, I was wondering what I would find on the platform. As far as I could tell, nothing had happened overnight. The platform was still wet, but the pools were separate, especially around the Southwest Vents. That indicated that there hadn't even been a long Bijou pause/Bathtub overnight.

About an hour and a half after I arrived, there was a radio call of splashes in Fan's Main Vent. Shortly after, Bijou had a long 5m30s pause. So for a short period of time, there was radio traffic concerning both of the major geysers. For me, the end of the pause meant nothing would be happening there and I was free to go down to Fan & Mortar on the off chance that it would finally erupt.

It took its time, but it did. The activity in High and Gold would build and then die down, then repeat. It did this over a period of about ten minutes. Finally, one of the surges got so strong that East Vent had to erupt. That was quickly followed by starts in Upper and Lower Mortar and in Main Vent. Because of the wind direction, I stationed myself beside the trees to the north, where I could record the preliminary activity and the start.

The wind direction wasn't too bad, as there wasn't really any wind. The drifting steam did provide bright rainbows in the morning sun, and at one point I got to see a full circle, and recorded some of it.

Afterwards, it was back to the Bijou Cage. About an hour and a half after the previous activity there was another long Bijou Pause, this time with some Southwest Vents activity. This took place shortly after Grotto had started. The end of Grotto (via Rocket) came and went, and there was no hot period, not even a long pause.

It was an hour later that Bijou finally slowed down and paused, and show went into a hot period. This one was strange. It was stronger that the simple Feather only ones, but definitely weaker than what we'd like to see. Mastiff never did any surging, and there wasn't as much overflow as it usually puts out. Feather's Satellite was never seen, but Cave was active. Feather's duration seemed shorter too.

After that, it was time to see Grand, and it did reward us by quickly having a two burst eruption.

About 4 hours after the hot period, back in the cabin, was surprised by someone announcing water in Mastiff. That was it, but it still said that it was time to get back out. Once again, there was a long pause at about the time Grotto started. An hour later there was another one. Rocket came and went, and all Bijou was doing was having one minute or so long minors.

It was about an hour and a quarter after Grotto ended that a pause slowly built into a hot period. It took about three minutes before the Southwest Vents came on. This time there was strong activity. When full, Mastiff was pouring out water, and surging to 4 or 5 feet at times. With the restart, Giant showed several cone filling surges, but the water level between surges was never at the bottom of the rim as it was during the eruption the other day. And with that, it was time to head back in.

July 30, 2018

Observations for 29 July 2018

Today I almost had the chance to see, by myself, an eruption of Giant in daylight in July. Well, sorta.

After yesterday, I figured something might happen at Giant overnight, and the platform looked more than wet enough for at least a minor hot period. The morning was also quite foggy. Unlike yesterday, the smoke did not reappear, although we did get some showers in the afternoon.

Not knowing when or how large it had been, I waited for the next activity. That turned out to be a 49s long Feather-only hot period at 13:59. That was 22 hours after the previously observed hot period, which sorta fits the pattern I've been using to make decisions. This hot period came just 15 minutes after the start of a Grotto eruption.

I returned in time for the next Grotto start, at 17:59, but other than a long pause (2m34s), there wasn't any activity on the platform. I wanted to see what happened at the end, so I quickly went back to the cabin to prepare for a wait in the dark.

As I returned, Rocket started erupting. That was good timing. I also noticed that Spa was starting to erupt. No water in the runoff when I saw a burst, and a few minutes later, there was water well down it.

Within minutes of the end of Grotto following that Rocket eruption, Bijou paused. Feather came on 6 minutes into the pause. It was still pretty light, so I was able to record the major part of the hot period when Feather's Satellite started. Feather was only on for a little over 3 minutes. Then the platform was quiet for the better part of a minute when suddenly Feather and several other vents, including Post Hole, all started splashing.

The surging in Giant started about then, and while it looked nice, it never built up into something that looked like there could be an eruption. It was obvious that the water level was well down in the vent, unlike the last eruption hot period when it seemed like the level was above the vent rim.

This activity, at least, gives me an idea as to what tommorrow will be like-- up early to check on the platform and confirm that it probably had some sort of minor hot period. Then wait for the next hot period. If no minor, then that could be in mid-morning, otherwise I'd expect it mid-afternoon. Could be an interesting day.

July 28, 2018

Observations for 28 July 2018

The basin was vacated for Norris. Started the morning down at the Bijou Cage, where I saw an eruption of Giant. Nothing much happened at the start or end, but a couple of hours later there was a Bathtub with Feather overdrooling.

The One Burst Grand eruption was nicely backlit, but came three seconds under ten minutes.

The rest of the day was devoted to trying to catch the first hot period of the current interval. The platform in the morning did not look like there had been anything from the vents by Feather than a bit of overflow. Finally succeeded in the early afternoon, when we got to see a 1m30s Feather only hot period. The only problem with this activity is that it didn't seem to be related to the start or stop from Grotto.

The afternoon the smoke suddenly reappeared. It tinged the clouds a reddish-brown. It got blustery and it rained a couple of times, which didn't seem to clear away the smoke.

After the minor hot period, waited quite a bit at Giant, but nothing much else happened. So went over to Grand for an early evening eruption. Unfortunately, the moon was completely obscured by a cloud bank to the south.

Radio Rant:
For the third time, the NPS was talking over the announcments of events down at Giant. This time it was for a possibly injured coyote across the river from Liberty Pool. The previous time was for something that Law Enforcement should have been handling (one that was interfering with announcents leading up to the last Giant eruption). I can't remember what was the first time anymore, other than it could've waited.

Observations for 27 July 2018

Another day started with a wait at Norris. After seven hours we left having seen one event worth getting the least excited about.

Back in the Upper Basin, went out to Grand. Earlier, while we were at Norris, it had the first three burst eruption since we got here. The eruption we saw was the first sub-nine minute eruption since we got here.

Then spent some time down in the Bijou Cage. Saw a couple of Grotto starts, but nothing much else happened. Never saw water in Mastiff, and never saw the Southwest Vents even try to start. While waiting, suddenly smelled smoke, and could see the plumes to the west.

Finally it was time for Grand. Originally was hoping for a nice moonlight eruption, but thanks to the smoke, the moon was a dark red ball on the horizon shedding no light. Had just walked up, after seeing Bulger's Hole fill but not erupt, when Grand started explosively. This interval was 5h34m, which is the shortest interval since we got here. It also lasted less than ten minutes, so not having to wait was nice.

July 27, 2018

Observations for 26 July 2018

The day started at Norris. Spent about seven hours watching nothing much happen. We were intending to leave at noon, but that's when something finally did happen. It was the first and only time during the day, it turns out, that New Crater/Steamboat gave any sign of an impending eruption. As it was, we waited an additional hour and a half.

Back in the Upper Basin, did get a two burst Grand eruption right after we got back. Later went down to Bijou Cage and saw a 4-1/2 minute Bijou pause where nothing else happened. The day ended with the rising full moon illuminating a One Burst Grand eruption.

I also did discover that the phone in the Norris parking lot works. There is a dial tone, and I was able to make an 800 call. This means that someone could buy a calling card can be able to call someone somewhere else who could rely information.

July 26, 2018

Observations for 25 July 2018

With all the charismatic megafeatures not due for attention for a couple of days, was another opportune time to leave the basin. Rode out to Lone Star in the morning, after catching another One Burst Grand.

Arrive with Lone Pine quiet. According to the log book, we had at least two hours to kill, but that was okay. We'd brought things to do. The mosquitoes weren't too bad, compared to what I've experience there in other years. Black Hole was active for the first half hour or so, with frequent, short eruptions. At some point before the overflow from Lone Start started, it quit.

The minor was earlier than we expected. After the minor, I noticed that the Perforated Cone was making lots of noise, and even showing a droplet or two every so often.

If the time of the previous major in the log book is to be believed, the interval between major eruptions was about 2-1/2 hours.

We got back in time for the next One Burst Grand eruption. After that, there wasn't really anything to do. Decided to forego the next, post-sunset Grand as it was cloudy and there was no moonlight.

July 25, 2018

Observations for 24 July 2018

Updated: 2018 Aug 08: Uploaded video at Giant Eruption 2018 Jul 24.


This is the time of the month to go out for moonlight Grand eruptions. So we were out for a steamy one burst that really didn't have much to recommend it. Then Beehive erupted without an indicator, so we didn't even get to see that.

Today's plan was to wait in the Bijou Cage for a hot period, probably the first since the previous Giant eruption. I arrived around 08:30 after a steamy Grand eruption. The platform looked much like it did yesterday morning. There was obvious runoff down from Mastiff. All the catch pools by the Southwest Vents were wet, which implied that there had at least been a long Bijou pause. The only anomaly was there was quite a bit of wetness around Feather and friends, implying, perhaps, a weak hot period.

The weather was mostly cloudy, and felt a bit humid. When the sun showed through gaps in the clouds, it felt hot and uncomfortable. I deployed an umbrella to make it easier to read a book on the iPad screen and to keep the sun off of me.

Grotto started right after Grand, before I could get to the cage. Within twenty minutes of arriving, there was a four minute pause that turned into a bathtub with some Southwest vent activity. Like yesterday, Bijou went into a noisy steam-phase, but it wasn't as powerful as the one yesterday.

After Rocket and Grotto shutting down, the next Bijou was at 10:07. This started a series of short pauses, durations about a minute every fifteen minutes or so.

Then, at 11:42, we had a nice 6 minute bathtub pause where Feather overflowed but didn't try to erupt. That was my cue to take a break, as previous experience said that it would probably be about an hour before the next platform event.

I took longer than that to get back, so I missed the Grotto start and the subsequent medium length (3 minute) Bijou pause at 12:41. I chose to skip the Grand eruption, which meant I missed a two burst eruption at 13:51. Rocket had a major eruption just before Grand, and Grotto was off by 14:01.

It was about this time that Mastiff's south vent (the one in the back) had one of its massive jetting surges. The kind of activity that seems to keep the water flowing all the way to the front of the platform.

The cloudiness had mostly disappeared by then, but the wind had picked up.

I've got to the point were I expect good things to happen soon after Grotto quits, and this was no exception. Bijou paused at 14:21, and water finally appeared in Mastiff about two minutes later. About 30 seconds later the Southwest Vents started to put out water. This was a slow start, and I was assuming (hoping) that we'd get Feather so we could finally have our first hot period.

It wasn't until 14:26 that Feather, which had been overflowing and burbling for several minutes, finally started up. Almost immediately, the Satellite and Cave started erupting. Mastiff was surging to several feet, wide thick boils like the ones before an eruption. Bijou turned back on at 14:28, which seemed a bit early. It was about that point that I realized that I might want to start recording the hot period, as it seemed like it was going to be a good one, perhaps similar to the one a week ago that should've started an eruption.

Even with all that activity, it was hard to believe that this was going to be more than just the first hot period in the series leading up to an eruption. I was already trying to figure out how much time I would have before getting back out-- would it be 6 hours for a minor, or could I risk waiting until tomorrow morning?

At this point I can refer to the video for events. (Posting will have to wait until I get home for the proper bandwidth.) As Mastiff dropped, Giant started to surge. The first couple of surges were angled, then the activity died down. Giant started surging again when Feather's Satellite shut down and Feather tried to stop. But then switched to vertical as Feather built up again. At times it looked like the entire contents of Giant's vent were lifting as a unit.

By this point, many of the vents on the platform had restarted, and Mastiff was having powerful "depth-charging" bursts. The entire platform was active again.

Then the cone filled with water several times, each time a bit higher. The surges started shooting the subsiding previous surge, with each surge higher. It was a surge that was at least twice as high as the cone that appeared to start the eruption, and even that had another, higher jet come through it to finally start the continuous activity.

After a couple of minutes, I went back to the 60 meter baseline marker to take a height measurement. It was quite windy, so the tops of jets were being pushed away from me. Because of all that, the best reading I got was 60%, which translates into 36 meters or about 120 feet. It was probably higher, maybe 150 feet, about as tall as a good start of a Grand eruption.

There was quite a crowd gathered there. Since the activity proceeded slowly, it allowed a number of gazers to join us for the start, or at least to be within sight of the start. The only problem was that once again, the NPS personnel kept breaking in and making it difficult for those in the cabin area to hear what was going on.

None of the signs moved. Obviously a few of them are too well situated.

After we return home, I should be able to make video of this start available.

The rest of the day was kinda anti-climatic. Did go out for the sunset Grand, but while the clouds to the west were pretty colors from an incoming thunderstorm, the one burst Grand itself was gray on gray.

July 24, 2018

Observations for 23 July 2018

Spent four hours, up 'til noon, in the Bijou Cage. Bijou paused twice, both times for about 4 minutes. Water rose in Mastiff, but not even enough to be considered a bathtub. (My definition of a bathtub is when there is water visible in Mastiff while seated at the bench. It's a lot more objective since eye level for most people is within a inches of the same height back there.) The second long pause happened just about the time Grotto quit, without having an eruption of Rocket.

During all that time Mastiff was surging nicely from the southern/back vent. Enough to keep a trickle of water running down the front of the platform. On several occasions, it looked like Posthole and Feather had water visible in them. I'm taking all this, especially the lack of frequent one minute long Bijou pauses, as a sign Giant is several days away from the first hot period this interval.

July 23, 2018

Observations for 22 July 2018

It was such a dull day that the mornings thermal activity consisted of doing laundry and a walk through the West Thumb Geyser Basin. The only geyser we saw was a small one when we stopped at the Potts overlook.

Other than that, there was a couple of Grand eruptions, one in the evening and another just after midnight. Now is the quiet time to enjoy a few moonlight Grand (or Beehive) eruptions before the waits for New Crater/Steamboat and Giant begin.

July 22, 2018

Observations for 21 July 2018

Since there was no reason to go to Norris, and we were wide awake, decided to go out into the basin and check a few things out.

Biking in front of the Inn I encountered a coyote on the biketrail. It skittered off toward Old Faithful. Castle was in eruption, and defintely a major. We stayed there for a while, as even though the moon was only a quarter, there were nice moonbows in the steam.

Down at Fan & Mortar, we found that it still hadn't erupted. Riverside was also in eruption, so we briefly illuminated it from the bridge.

Then off to Grand. Where it had a delay that insured that the eruption would be after the moon set. So we provided our own illumination for a nice two burst eruption.

The next morning we overslept a bit, waking up when Grand was almost in the eruption window. It was a cool, overcast morning, and we didn't miss the eruption which went on the first Turban eruption after we arrived. On the Fan & Mortar where it still hadn't erupted. The sky threatened to rain, but never did more than a few drops.

The day at Fan & Mortar was the same as the previous few days-- no events, nothing to get excited about. It's almost like the geyser has gone dormant, or the next event is going to be the eruption event.

I'd already decided that tomorrow was going to be the day where I was going to start spending time in the Bijou Cage. None too soon, as there was some sort of minor hot period mid-afternoon. Probably just an eruption of Feather, as the runoff areas of both Mastiff and the Southwest Vents were mostly dry where there were definite puddles on the platform

Out for Grand at sunset for a moonlight eruption. That's when get yet another delay for the day. This time, the Turban interval was over 40 minutes, with audible boops from Grand around the 37 minute mark. Around the same time, the call came from Fan & Mortar that it was finally having some sort of event. As the delay wait continued, the event to the north kept getting better.

Grand erupted on the second Turban and I cleared out right as the eruption ended. I'd just gotten onto my bike at Castle when the call that "Upper Mortar is erupting" came through. So I missed the start, but did get down for most of the eruption. The moon was high and just past quarter, so it was well illuminated even when the spotlights were off.

This means that for the first two weeks we've been here, there have been five eruptions of the big geysers we wanted to see. All have been in the dark.

July 21, 2018

Observations for 20 July 2018

Another dull day where nothing much happened. Fan & Mortar didn't erupt overnight, and never made any attempt to erupt the rest of the day. While I'd like to see it, it appears there's not much reason to over-invest time in it. A couple of One Burst Grand eruptions and a nice Beehive eruption completed the day.

It also appears that the Giant signs still haven't been put back.

Then, late in the day, it was discovered that those waiting at Norris were seeing really good activity. The previous plan was to go there on Sunday, but with this new, we intended to get there before dawn on Saturday.

Unfortunately, New Crater/Steamboat had other ideas, and erupted a bit before midnight.

Observations for 20 July 2018

Another dull day where nothing much happened. Fan & Mortar didn't erupt overnight, and never made any attempt to erupt the rest of the day. While I'd like to see it, it appears there's not much reason to over-invest time in it. A couple of One Burst Grand eruptions and a nice Beehive eruption completed the day.

It also appears that the Giant signs still haven't been put back.

Then, late in the day, it was discovered that those waiting at Norris were seeing really good activity. The previous plan was to go there on Sunday, but with this new, we intended to get there before dawn on Saturday.

Unfortunately, New Crater/Steamboat had other ideas, and erupted a bit before midnight.

July 20, 2018

Observations for 19 July 2018

Today was a day to ignore New Crater/Steamboat. I gave it yesterday, but after several days of spending all day in the Bijou Cage, I needed a break. So it was personal matters and a couple of one burst Grand eruptions.

Did spend some time at Fan & Mortar, but they never looked good. With the lengthening interval, I did get sucked down into some extremely minor activity that I would normally ignore, but didn't want to miss it.

With most the geyser gazers gone to Norris, the Upper Basin is a very different place. The radio is mostly silent. There wasn't much of a crowd at either a late morning Grand or, as the photo shows, a mid-afternoon Beehive. The smaller crowds seems to indicate that it's gazers who cause the crowds at both places. Which is a bit ironic since there's a group of gazers who go out of there way to encourage visitors to gather at both geysers, while others (and sometimes the same people) complain about the crowding.

The time for moonlight Grand eruptions has begun, so we went out for the midnight Grand. Only one burst, as usual, but even with a quarter moon, we could see faint moonbows in the runoff channel steam.

I've updated the posting for 17 July 2018 to include a couple of photos of where two of the Giant Platform signs ended up. During the previous Giant activity, the signs used to get put back the same day, if not at the end of the eruption itself.

July 19, 2018

Observations for 18 July 2018

So after about 2-1/2 hours sleep, we headed to Norris. It was light, but because of the rains the previous day, the route was foggy the whole way there. At Norris, we learned that the activity for New Crater/Steamboat had improved since the previous day, but still wasn't up to the standard of the June eruption preliminaries.

There was a lot of water being put out by the South vent, reminding me of the floods we had seen back in May. After a couple of hours, it even that had regressed. Where we had been seeing some moderate concerted activity, by about 10:00 it seemed like either north or south, but not both, at least at the start. And the flood wasn't happening any more.

Things stayed that way until about 15:30, when the minor play started to pick up again. We left around 17:00. While we were getting floods down the runoff, the activity of the North vent seemed to be mostly unchanged.

After getting back to the Upper Basin, we got sucked into a weak Fan & Mortar event.

July 18, 2018

Observations for 17 July 2018

Updated: 2018 Jul 19: Added photos of where the signs ended up.


It's been a decade since I last spent time in the Bijou Cage in the dark. With all the noise coming from Giant, it can be hard to tell what Bijou is doing. But after a while, I got used to catching the faint sound of Bijou stopping. Caught the end of a Grotto eruption (no Rocket) and then had to wait out the interval until the next Grotto start. Right after that happened, I got the expected weak Feather-only Hot Period. Then it was back in to get some sleep.

Woke up to the sound of rain. Looked at a weather map and it showed that the main band was an hour away. This was all well before I had planned to be out again for the next hot period, one I expected to be really good. So waited where it was dry before heading out. The weather map said that there was another band coming in the next hour, but it never materialized.

Up at Norris, New Crater/Steamboat was starting to look good, so most of the basin was deserted.

At Giant Bijou had a fairly long pause of about 3 minutes just before Grotto started. During that eruption, there were frequent short pauses and slowdowns. After the hour and a half Grotto, which ended with a Rocket eruption, the slowdowns continued for the next hour, until 10:19, when we finally got a true pause. Water appeared in Mastiff within a couple of minutes, but it wasn't until five minutes into the pause before Feather started. The hot period then progressed fairly rapidly, with all the platform vents in action at some point. (At least it seemed that way.) Feather never quit, but did drop as Bijou restarted.

At that point, Giant started surging and Feather rose back to full height. There were several heavy surges in Giant, at least one that looked like it should have been the start of the eruption. But after a couple of minutes, the activity died down. By that time the Bijou cage was full of everyone who hadn't (or couldn't) go to Norris, there was a lot of disappointment. It was the best hot period up to that point, though. So good that Norris gained more gazers willing to make the drive there.

The past few days we have been having alternating hot periods. A good one, like the one we had just witnessed. Then about 6 to 8 hours later there would be a short eruption of just Feather, with none of the other vents in action. The major hot periods were coming about 16 to 22 hours apart. (I'd noticed this sort of pattern during the previous leadup to the 05 July eruption). So my plan was to return to the cage in about 5 hours and wait for the next weak one, then come out in the early morning hours the next day for the hot period that could result in an eruption.

I returned to the cage around 14:00. At 15:38 Grotto erupted. About 20 minutes in, Bijou had a long pause (5m52) where water was visible in Mastiff, but nothing much else happened. Grotto lasted a little over an hour, ending with Rocket. There were no more pauses until almost an hour after Grotto ended, when a similar 6 minute pause happened.

By then, had experienced a short rain shower, for which I wasn't totally prepared. So far, these long pauses were followed by at least an hour of Bijou splashing, so I decided to take advantage and go back to the cabin and be prepared for the next shower.

I arrived back to alternating short pauses and slowdowns until a third long pause two hours after the previous. By now I realized I needed to change plans. It had been nine hours since the hot period, and no minor. No idea how long it might be, or if it would even happen. So I returned one more time to change into my nighttime cold clothes.

About an hour after the previous long pause, Bijou had a sort of intermediate one, lasting 3m40s. With the Southwest Vents active, this was the first activity of the afternoon meriting a radio call. Shortly afterward, Grotto started again.

Then nothing. The first slowdown may have happened about 2-1/2 hours later, but it was hard to tell in the dark. Grotto was still active. At this point I was not about to leave. In years past, this sort of behavior-- Bijou continuously erupting for hours -- was a really good sign of an imminent eruption. (Or at least a major hot period). Grotto not wanting to stop (or be stopped by Rocket) also seemed good.

Suzanne had been at Norris all day, and arrived back at the cabin just as I made the radio call for the pause. Because she had gotten ready for going out in the dark, she decided to continue on to Grand on the chance that I would have gone there for a few Turbans. But I wasn't there, so eventually she bailed out on a long interval and joined me in the Cage. Upon hearing about the Bijou/Grotto behavior, despite the coldness, she didn't want to leave either.

Five minutes before midnight, Bijou finally paused. Grotto was still active. Even with the bright flashlight, we couldn't determine if Mastiff was showing water. After a couple of minutes, the Southwest Vents finally started erupting, and that was good enough to start sending out another radio call. By then it looked like Mastiff was near overflow.

Things started getting a little hectic when Feather started at midnight. Almost immediately its satellite began. Then several of the other platform vents. We could tell that Mastiff was pouring off water, even though we couldn't see what it was doing through the fog. Feather never really tried to stop. Finally, only 6 minutes into the hot period, Giant had a huge surge. Moments later, it had another one, this one up to the top of the cone. The third surge was higher, and didn't stop. Suddenly Giant began to climb, and the eruption started. And the wind direction was toward the cage.

And that's when the real fun began. Because I was trying to take notes and talk into the radio, I was juggling too many different things (radio, phone, notebook, pen, red flashlight). I shoved things into pockets without thinking, then tried to move to a location where I might see something illuminated by the super-powerful flashlight. That's when I remember that we still had our packs and blankets and other stuff still on the benches in the cage. Too late, they were soaked. We moved them well back on the boardwalk, getting drenched in the process, and that when the real horror hit. I couldn't find my phone.

It's hard to enjoy a nighttime eruption when you can only hear it and when you think you have done something incredibly stupid. Instead of trying to watch the eruption, we repeatedly scanned the area looking for the phone without success for far too long. Finally I realized that my watch, tied to the phone, was still working, no matter where I was. That mean I had to be carrying it. I finally realized that it was in a pocket that I have never, ever used for any geyser gazing instrument (just my wallet). My relief finally allowed me to enjoy what was left of the eruption.

The radio call, at least, wasn't a waste of time. Several people heard it and got out to see the start, or got there early in the eruption. Maybe ten or a dozen in all.

The eruption was noisy and wet. The boardwalk as far as Grotto was soaked, as were our bikes tied up on the recently appearing bike rack. The bright flashlight, thanks to an extra battery pack, was the one thing that worked right, as it never dimmed. We were able to see the ending of the eruption pretty well because of it. The Giant sign had rolled well down the runoff, on the far side near to Turtle. The highly reflective "Keep Off" also rolled down several terraces. There was also a bit of the "catfish" or "low tide" smell as more plantlife got cooked.

Grotto quit sometime during the eruption.

For most of the eruption, we didn't feel the cold (and wet). The excitement, despite my problems, took care of that. But we still had to bike back to the cabin. I found that my bike light needed a recharge, so I had to rely on Suzanne's on the way back. In the cabin, we spent the better part of an hour taking apart our packs to dry things out.

That's when the horrible night hit Suzanne. She discovered that her needlepoint instructions (something she hadn't worked on since the previous Giant activity in 2007) had become wet. And so did her phone. It would no longer charge up. (That problem is going to last for a while, as so far all our attempts to fix it haven't worked.)

So while we did see another eruption of Giant, our first in 11 years, it is a bit hard to be happy about the experience. I think it's going to take a daylight eruption, with lots of gazers present, to make this one a bit more bearable, and turn it into something to laugh about.

July 17, 2018

Observations for 16 July 2018

Another day of getting up early in order to spend the day in the Bijou Cage. It was an overcast day, with lightning in the clouds to the north. Turns out not quite early enough, as the call that a hot period was starting was made as I passed the Inn. It ended up being another of those short, weak ones with only Feather active. So after a while, I headed back in to get a bite to eat and prepare for a long wait.

Which it was. I did manage to fit in a Grand eruption, but otherwise is was a long day of long pauses and Bijou slowdowns. Finally, a bit over twelve hours after the previous hot period, there was another long, vigorous one. It seemed like Giant never really tried hard to erupt, unfortunately, as there were only a few surges that looked like they could sustain and build.

That activity did come at the right time, as a band of thunderstorms was building to the west. Headed back in expecting rain, but we never got any. Just lots of lightning and thunder.

July 16, 2018

Observations for 15 July 2018

Got out to Giant at 03:15. Grotto was in eruption, and there had been some long Bijou pauses, but no Feather activity. The weak hot period the previous evening may have had an effect, in that the interval here between Giant eruption attempts was almost 22 hours, putting it after dawn. This hot period was even stronger that the one the previous day. This time feature never quit, so there wasn't a really a restart. Cave Vent and a lot of the other sputs were stronger than before, too. But once again, while the surging in Giant was nice, it didn't result in an eruption.

The hot period came at the right time, too. Had come out dressed for the cold and dark, but by then it was clear and rapidly getting warmer. Stripped down as much as possible, but still a bit overdressed for the occasion. The back going back to the cabin was stuffed full of all the nighttime gear, including flashlights. Also, hadn't brought any food, so was really getting hungry.

After another one burst Grand eruption, and lunch, went back to the Bijou Cage. Was thinking that there might be an interesting followup to the hot period. And there was. Wanted to get there for the start of Grotto, but it was already in eruption. But about an hour and a half after I arrived, there was a weak, Feather-only hot period that lasted 1m22s. By that time Grotto had been in eruption about 1h40m, so I went over to see if I could catch the end.

While sitting there, suddenly there was a puff of steam from behind the trees to the north. Not Riverside, but it was Spa. Got down there in time to see that the water was just starting to head down the runoff channel, so what we saw was probably the first burst. Watched the activity there for about an hour. Finally there was a Rocket major eruption, and Grotto shut down. The duration was nearly three hours.

The last activity of the day was supposed to be Grand. It had a short 7m20s first burst, but of course followed that up with a long second burst. Of interest was that Vent and Turban didn't even quit after that. So time to get some sleep.

Wanted to get out in the dark well before dawn to try and catch the next hot period. Didn't work out that way. Instead had just fallen asleep when hear the call that Feather had just started. There wasn't any call about Mastiff being full, so that meant little time to get down basin. I had arranged my gear just in case there was such a call, so was able to quickly get ready and head out. Hearing that Feather was restarted as I passed by the Inn got me moving just a little faster. Got down to the curve by Oblong when I heard that Feather had quit again. So I didn't see anything, but was able to learn that it was possible for me to get from the cabin to a point where I could see the start. (And I learned that I was really overdressed for such concentrated exertion.

July 15, 2018

Observations for 14 July 2018

Out at dawn to wait for the next Giant Hot Period. I expected it to be late in the morning, but wasn't about to take chances when there was no good reason to not be there. As it turned out, I was pretty much right, as we got the expected hot period at 11:55. As far as I could tell, the only difference from last night was it started a little slower, with Mastiff taking its usual two minutes to rise.

I also skipped the Grand eruption at 10:15. Turns out it had two bursts, which was a bit annoying. I played the odds and lost. But still the right decision, as there no point in seeing yet another one burst Grand in the middle of the day in the middle of a crowd.

Later in the day did go to the Grand eruption. It didn't have an official delay, but the one burst eruption was preceeded by a good 15 to 20 seconds of booping. I really thought that it would fail to erupt, and we'd have to wait several more Turban intervals.

While having dinner, there was a short, weak hot period that wasn't quite expected. Not sure what to make of it, other than a guess that it might delay the next, strong one.

That was about it for the day. Did go to Grotto a little later, trying to see Rocket, but it turned into a long eruption instead, and finally gave up to prepare for tomorrow's Giant wait.

July 14, 2018

Observations for 13 July 2018

Having Fan & Mortar erupt during the night was disappointing. But the intervals have shortened nicely, and that means several more opportuities this month.

But the day was spent waiting at Giant. There was a weak hot period in the middle of the day, and then a strong one in the early evening. That one was a classic Feather Restart, with lots of nice surging from Giant at that point, some filling the cone. But nothing came of it.

At sunset, Grand had an extremely long Turban interval. It was at least 25 minutes from the time we arrived. During that time Grand booped, and the duration for the Turban eruption was well over 7 minutes. That was right at sunset, and it would have been an eruption with nice rainbows. But Grand managed to delay only one interval, while it was still light.

And then we returned to the cabin just in time for a radio announcement that Beehive's Indicator was in eruption. Turns out no one was out on Geyser Hill, so it was up to the webcam viewers and operators to let people know to get out there. We headed right out, but Beehive was already erupting as we crossed the bridge

July 13, 2018

Observations for 12 July 2018

Today Grand decided that it needed to put in some longer intervals. Had no intention of going out in the middle of the night, so relieved to discover that would have had to wait a couple of extra hours, until dawn. In the middle of the day the interval was almost as long, which allowed a huge accumulation of people.

Again, another day of waiting for Giant. At least there was a hot period during the night, and then another one near sunset. I didn't see that one, but nice to know that they can happen more than once a day. In this case, appeared to be about 16 to 18 hours between them, which seems to fit the pattern established during the buildup to the last eruption.

July 12, 2018

Observations for 11 July 2018

Got to see a complete Bulger's Hole eruption and record the whole thing. I'd like to upload the video, but I don't want to use of all my allocation, and the service here is so slow it might take way too long. It'll just have to wait until I get home.

Otherwise, it was another day waiting down by Giant. No hot periods or even bathtubs, just a 6 minute long pause about an hour after the start of Grotto.

July 11, 2018

Observations for 10 July 2018

The morning had several bits of weirdness while waiting for the dawn Grand eruption. First there was the coyote that wandered past west of the boardwalk at Grand heading for Churn. Then a bit later it was a woman and two young boys visible from Grand on the other bank of the Firehole River. They were investigating one of the warm seeps next to the river, before they headed back to the trail. Mama and her cubs.

Almost immediately there were tourists reporting a real grizzly bear and cub next to the trail just north of Lion. Fortunately, they were not seen again. Do wish they would go elsewhere.

Spent more time down at Giant during the morning, and was rewarded with a long series of Bijou slowdowns every 15 minutes. In the afternoon, it was a long Grotto eruption with more slowdowns

Today had the potential for being a Five Grand Day. It started out nicely with a two burst eruption only 23 minutes after midnight. But the chance slipped away when the second eruption of the day had a two-Turban delay. The third had the type of interval needed. Despite a long delay, Grand erupted on the next Turban for an interval just under six hours.

So we didn't get 5 Grand eruptions, but the eruptions we did get were a nice representation of the good conditions for viewing Grand. The dark nighttime eruption, the dawn eruption, the warm middle of the day eruption, and finally the sunset eruption.

July 10, 2018

Observations for 09 Jul 2018

Time to get reacquainted with Giant. Spent a few hours in the Monkey Cage. After a few quick, short pauses, there was 5-1/2 minute bathtub as Grotto started. Then after that, nothing. I was expecting the pause to resume after Grotto ended less than an hour later, but all I got for the next hour were Bijou slowdowns.

July 09, 2018

Observations for 08 Jul 2018

First up was Bulger's Hole. It was observed to fill and bubble a bit well into a major eruption of Bulger. After the morning Grand eruption, about 40 minutes later, I saw Bulger erupting again. I got down there and saw that it looked like another major. As we were standing there, the Hole filled with water to about 1 foot below the rim, then started splashing well above the rim. The duration was only a few seconds, and then the hole drained. But Suzanne, Ben Hoppe and I got to see the first activity there since 2011.

I liked to think that this activity is related to the deeper fluctuations in Sawmill Group. A little bit laterI noticed that the water level had dropped such that a bank about 10cm wide of the orange slime lining the vent was exposed. This is much more fluctuation than last year, based on how that orange band wouldn't be exposed otherwise. I would hope that this, along with Bulger's Hole, are signs that changes in the Group, and reactivation, are possible this summer.

Then it was the Suicide Bride's turn. Down by South Scalloped a woman in a wedding dress decided to get up close to that spring. I yelled down, and she did get back on the trail. An Asian couple (of course). Turns out I wasn't there first encounter with getting caught. During the wait for Beehive I was told that they'd also been seen wandering loose between Morning and Fountain, and off trail at Midway. If I'd have known, I would've tried to get Law Enforcement involved.

I also need to remember that I do have a camera, and to record stupid incidents like this.

The evening Grand could've gone while it was still light, but it had to have a two Turban delay, resulting in the longest interval in about 10 days. At least there were two bursts, breaking a long string on one burst eruptions.

July 08, 2018

Observations for 07 July 2018

Arrived for an extended stay during the afternoon after an uneventful drive. It's so much nicer to be able to avoid evening traffic leaving Denver and not having to drive from Moran Jct in the dark. This time that part of the drive was in the early afternoon, and at both checkpoints into Grand Teton and Yellowstone, I managed to get into the fasted moving lanes.

After decompressing the contents of the truck, went out to see Fan & Mortar let us know that it was ready to erupt in the dark, and then a one-burst Grand. Actually kind of nice knowing that nothing much happening for a few days. One thing I found in years past was that for longer stays, there's not the pressure to see everything. There's going to be lots of down time and periods of boredom.

So while here, I will try to post observations and info as I did in years past. May not be everyday, but should be enough items of interest-- New Crater/Steamboat, Giant, Fan & Mortar, and now Sawmill Group?-- to keep from being too repetitious.

May 29, 2018

Observations for New Crater/Steamboat Geyser 27 May 2018

Update: 2018 May 30 11:00 Added some more observations on the eruption. Will probably add more later, along with fixes for typos and bad grammar.


As we rounded the curve beyond the interchange at about 21:35, Suzanne and I could see Grand erupting. It was almost dark. That would be the last Upper Basin activity we would see until Monday, when we would also finally see the Old Faithful area in daylight.

Over the past few weeks I've been running my AppleTV GeyserLog app in a simulator on my computer's second screen. Mostly as inspiration for the upcoming Yellowstone visits, but also to see how the app is behaving. Got to see the start of a Giant eruption that way earlier this month, and since then all the reports of Giant bathtub events.

So wasn't too surprised to see the YVO report of something happening at Norris a week ago on Friday night. The last few intervals had been around a week, which fit perfectly. Sure there wasn't much data to go on, but this activity, at this distance, reminded us of the activity of 1982-- a sudden winter start, quickly becoming regular about one a week or so.

The problem with that was in 1982 the regularity stopped just as suddenly when there were disturbances in June. The later eruptions in early August and early September required more than looking at the calendar. So as the confirmations came in, it became apparent to Suzanne and I that we were going to be spending a lot of time at Norris during our annual Memorial Day visit. Seize the opportunity to see Steamboat while it was still sorta predictable and regular, as it might not be that way when we will be back in July.

We left Satuirday morning while still dark and arrived at Norris so early that the front rank of the parking lot was completely empty. Arrived at the lower platform at 05:30 and began my first Steamboat wait since 1982. That was over 4 continuous days of waiting for nothing to happen. I finally gave up two days before my vacation ended and headed back to the Upper Basin so I could see something erupt. Steamboat erupted two days after I left for home.

According to my notebook, I left the platform twice over the next 15-1/2 hours. Since Steamboat has no known precursors or indicators, it's hard to leave, especially if seeing the start from the parking lot isn't good enough. The weather forecast said cloudy and cool, but it turned out to be mostly sunny. There was one minor rain-shower scare in the evening, but we didn't encounter any real rain until the drive south of Madison Jct.

I tried setting up an old phone as a camera on a tripod and just letting it run, but after 40 minutes, I'd exhausted half the battery. That wasn't going to work, so I just left the camera pointed at the feature and tried to quickly start it when something interesting happened. That had mixed results, because between the reaction time and the number of button presses need to start recording, I often missed the best part.

As evening approached, we had to start making decisions. We almost left before sunset because of a rain shower. By then the activity had been pretty calm for hours, and based on what we'd seen in previous 1980s sits, we weren't encouraged. An hour after a small surge we decided that we'd had enough and needed to risk heading back to Old Faithful for a few hours of sleep.

Fortunately, we avoided all the traffic problems. During the day a herd of bison were migrating up along the Madison and that was causing mile long backups. As it was, when we arrived at Madison Jct. around 2130, the backup to make the left turn from Old Faithful to West Yellowstone was to the big curve above Firehole Canyon Drive entrance.

The next morning it was a relief to look at GeyserTimes and see no reports, and then to not see a huge steam-cloud as we exited the Gibbon Canyon. We arrived back at Norris at about the same time as the previous day, to the same conditions. The minor play from Steamboat seemed more vigorous, but also knew by then that that was subjective.

The day pretty much proceeded like the previous one. It was actually much nicer than we'd expected, as the weather forecast was calling for showers in the morning, which never occurred. The wind was blowing the steam and spray right toward our platform most of the day. But in the afternoon, the clouds built up, and by 18:00 it was starting to rain. I was in the parking lot at the time, and had to quickly get back to the platform where my rain-gear was still in the pack.

That's when the fun began. Around 19:00 we had another nice, large surge. I'd been noting these on Saturday, but not on Sunday. I wanted to read instead. When the next surge came quickly, I was at least able to record it. As the video shows, these subsequent ones came at around 19:06, 19:08, and 19:12 according to my phone's clock. This was the first time they'd come that close together, and so many of them, too.

But not only that, the activity between the surges seemed stronger. A totally subjective observation, but it really did seem like the geyser had tired of jerking us around and was now going to reward us.

After the third surge, I realized that it might be useful to alert those in the parking lot that something different was happening. My radio was buried, but Linda Strasser was able to make a quick report that enabled a few people to at least be headed back when the eruption began. In future waits, I think it important to announce these surges. It may be Guru Geyser Gazing to think they matter, but we haven't much else to go on. If nothing else, it will give people a heads up and that it's time to at least pay attention to that direction and maybe start getting ready to run.

As the video shows, the fifth surge got big fast, and stayed that way. Unlike the previous ones, I didn't catch the dying moments, but instead it was continuing to build. It seemed obvious that this was different, and the video shows that. With 15 or 20 seconds, there was no doubt that we were at least going to see one of the USGS's "minor major" eruptions. (More on that later.)

The first minute or so the water columns for both vents were white, but then the North Vent turned a rusty brown and started throwing rocks. I'm assuming that's how long it takes for the runoff on the slope to turn into a flood and start getting kicked back up. I think the buzzword is "sustainable." It took about a minute for the dry runoff channel in front of the platform to fill with water the color of glacial runoff.

The water phase lasted much longer than I expected, and was much louder, too. On the platform shouting was required if you wanted to say anything. When the steam phase transition began, it got even louder. I could feel the platform vibrating through my feet. The North Vent water steam column was white again.

Around this time, the wind finally shifted so that the platforms were getting doused by the condensation from the stem plumes. This rainfall was gritty and milky. It would be interesting to find out if that is because of the chemistry of the water, or because of fine particles being washed into the vent and ejected up with the steam cloud.

The colors and heights of the water column also kept changing. In the early part of the water phase it seemed that the South Vent was the one more likely to be brown, while later it was the North Vent that was a rich brown. Approaching the time of the transition to steam, it also seemed like the North Vent was no longer a continuous jetting to great height, but was bursting as if the water was trying to force its way through a pool of water. (To use the obvious cliché, think Grand.)

I suspect all this is not due to any deep activity, but because of water washing back into the vents. Behavior which is dependent on the amount of water and the wind direction, As the transition begins, the water supply decreases and stops blocking the vents. The same for the start, at first there's little to no water washing downhill from the north and east, so both columns are tall, continuous and clean.

What I wonder about is the source of all the grit we experienced during the steam phase. Is it from down deep, or more of the stuff washing in? I want to suspect it's the latter. Note that the mound between the vents and the platform is eroding away, exposing small bounders cemented in place by white material. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that this cement is the grit. (Suzanne has some thoughts about the changes in the formations since the 1980s that she plans to publish soon.)

The eruption came at a perfect time, considering the other possibilities. Because it was shortly after a rain, most people were fairly well waterproofed, more than if it had erupted a few hours earlier. Once the eruption started, I would not have wanted to be digging around in my pack for what I needed. (Or frantically shoving things into the pack to keep them dry.) It wasn't that cold or damp either, so most of the time the eruption wasn't obscured behind fog and mist. It was long enough before sunset so that the entire water phase and the first hour of steam were easily visible. We left as it started getting dark, and didn't feel like we were being cheated.

After we returned to the Old Faithful area, it was time for a celebration and to view our videos. The Bear Pit was an ideal location, as our noisy videos wouldn't disturb our cabin neighbors. As we returned from there, just after midnight, Old Faithful erupted. We gave it the attention we normally do, and kept on walking, despite it being the only other geyser we'd seen since we woke up.

The next day I did a quick run down the basin to take a look at the Giant platform. I got a three minute Bijou pause for my efforts. Grand did not erupt before the time we'd decided to leave, but it did manage to erupt as we were about to leave the parking lot.


There were some differences between the activity during the wait and what I saw 36 years ago. Most notable was the amount of water being put out. Back then, the only time we saw any discharge down the runoff channel was after a superburst or similar large surges. This time the flow down was continuous, with frequent surges from even minor South Vent activity.

There never really was any progression of function as we saw back then. In the half hour leading up to the eruption, I was watching the activity, which as almost entirely South Vent surging. Even between the big surges, which were the only Combined function I remember seeing. (And the first surge may even been a South function.)

Even so, there were times when it could be felt that the activity was higher or lower than normal. We managed to escape several times for food and pit breaks and only once did we miss any sort of surge event.


When does an eruption of Steamboat start? As the video shows, there's not a point where it suddenly bursts up and you can say, "this is it". It just keeps climbing. Suzanne and I agreed that it's the start of the surging. Use the same procedure as used for timing Old Faithful. If the surging doesn't turn into an eruption, you just click the stopwatch. If it does, then you have your start time. The video clip of the eruption starts at 19:15:57, after the surging had started.


One thing that really bothered me is hearing about the attitude of the YVO professionals concerning Steamboat. It appears that they are either not doing a good job of explaining what is going on, or they are passing around bad information. They are also basing way to much of what they say on instrument readings. Readings they have never seen before, and therefor have no idea what they actually mean, other than, "something different" happened. The proper interpretation would be "we don't know, yet,", instead we were getting talk like "minor major event" and water phases that only lated a minute or two.

I pointed out on several occasions that there was no way that statement could be made. Until the start of an eruption, and the subsequent start of water phase were witnessed, they just didn't know what happened. You can't interpret the size of the activity based on erosion or runoff because that is weather and wind dependent. (For example, the parking lot didn't get drenched.)

I also see that they put out info that the eruption started at 19:33. From direct observation we know that's when the transition to steam started. Now that they have some information they can use to interpret their seismograph traces they need to correct that start time, and add disclaimers to the other start times. (Like adding "ie" to them.) I will be pleasantly surprised if they do that any time soon.


Update: 2018 Jun 01 I noticed that the video has been linked by at least one non-gazer site. Those people seem put off by the screaming, and have the need to display their feeble wit in action. So on the hosting site I added, for me, a polite response:

I've noticed that some people linking to this feel a need to comment on the screaming. Let me put it mildly-- Those weren't tourists screaming. You commenters are the tourists. I didn't post this video for you. I posted it for those people who did the screaming (and there were quite a few) and for those people who wanted to be there adding to the screaming. If you don't understand why those people couldn't contain their enthusiasm, then please, stay away and leave the place for people who do.

September 02, 2014

Observations for 01 September 2014

It seemed like a good idea to come out to Grand at the six hour mark. So far this weekend, except for the single long interval of over nine hours, I’d yet to have to wait more than one Turban eruption interval, and in most cases, I didn’t see Turban erupt at all. The night was more overcast than had been expected, so not quite as cold as expected, either. But it was also just a bit breezy, which compensated for that. On the walk out, the coyotes were set off by someone over by Liberty Pool.

West Triplet was in eruption when arrived, and followed shortly by Rift. The Turban activity was strange. Unlike the previous long wait, this time all the Turban durations were short, less than four minutes. The intervals were also short, between 16 and 18 minutes. Every other eruption of Turban was preceded by Grand overflow, while the others had none. So it appeared that this was a variation on the waits where Turban alternates between long and short eruption duration.

The hope was that Grand could go with Rift, but that didn’t happen. Rift ended and the pattern continued. At one point, the power in the Old Faithful area went out, and so we got to experience real darkness out at Grand, at least until the emergency generators kicked in. It was also around that time that we heard an elk bugleing somewhere in the direction of Daisy.

After waiting two hours, finally decided after one of the heavy overflow Turban eruptions that had had enough, and time to go in. The reasoning was that it was going to be at least two more intervals, forty minutes, before Grand would erupt. Needed to get some sleep. That it sprinkled a bit as walked away reinforced that this was the right decision to make.

Turns out the decision was even better. The electronic monitor showed that Grand erupted about eighty minutes after we’d left. In other words, it had two cycles before it erupted on an interval close to 9-1/2 hours long.

So was able to leisurely pack up for the return trip home, and then go out to Grand one last time. The day was sunny, but cold and windy. It was comfortable sitting in the sun, but as soon as a cloud (and there were many) covered the sun, you could feel the coolness. But Grand did revert to short intervals, and with the sun out, the eruption was quite nice. It was the only eruption I saw during the weekend that was in sunlight, and not in the dark, or in the rain, or while I was in the cabin.

Also of interest is that Beehive did not erupt overnight. It wasn’t seen the night before, so it wasn’t known how long the interval was at that point, but definitely well over 24 hours.

September 01, 2014

Observations for 31 August 2014

Decided after the previous wet Grand that I would skip the next one. Woke up around the start of the eruption window, and hearing the raindrops on the cabin roof, I knew I made the right decision.

So I figured that a 12h30m double interval would probably be safe. I didn’t expect, at the 11h50m mark to hear a radio call that Grand was in eruption. The only problem with the call was that it was based on a distant observation, and in the past there’ve been false alarms. I didn’t want to just accept this and then have a second call, for the real eruption, a few hours later. So I went down and checked, and confirmed that it really did erupt. On the way back, the rain started up again, and proceeded to last all the rest of the morning.

Thanks to the rain, didn’t get out into the basin until well after noon. Got out to Grand with West Triplet erupting, and Rift starting a few minutes after I arrived. Around the same time it became obvious that Grand was pouring out water. That’s when the fun began. With small waves coming off of a full pool, Grand boiled up about a foot. This was the first “boop” I’ve seen in years. This was followed by several more boops over a period of close to four minutes. During this time the pool dropped at least once, then came back. Finally, a boil turned into the actual eruption.

The eruption was another one burst, and Rift ended shortly after Grand. But one thing it does show is that there is a good chance that those who want to make a radio call when Grand starts to boil are going be making corrections.

With the wet weather, Aurum’s intervals dropped down into the springtime range of around four to five hours. For those who don’t visit during that time, but who want to see Aurum, this presented an opportunity to forego the usual interminable long waits of summer. So after Grand I joined them. The railing was packed, but I decided that with the sunlight and wind direction, sitting to the north was just as good an option. Turned out only had to wait about ten minutes, and then got an eruption with a full rainbow anchored on the right by Aurum itself.

In the evening, went out for a post-sunset eruption of Grand. Nothing much out of the ordinary, but once again it was a short interval and didn’t even need to wait a full Turban interval.

August 31, 2014

Observations for 30 August 2014

After last night’s short wait, the hope was to have another one. So arrived in the dark. There’s been a shower earlier, based on the wet areas in the cabin area, but it was also relatively warm for the time of day. Got out to the Grand area to find West Triplet in eruption. Which was followed by an eruption of Rift which lasted about 40 minutes. During this time, the clouds built up, and as dawn started, we got some quick showers.

The Turban durations were all pretty short, as were the intervals. But there was no real pattern to what was going on that I could see. As the wait progressed, the showers turned into pretty steady rain, the wind picked up, and seemed to get a lot colder. Finally, after over nine hours Grand couldn’t hold off any more. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by then, and while it was way too steamy, the wind from the north helped make some of the one burst eruption visible.

About a Turban interval before Grand’s eruption I did see a couple of elk wandering past Churn. That was about the time that there came an announcement of activity in Fan’s Main Vent. There hadn’t been anything from those geysers since yesterday afternoon, so this could be promising. So headed down that way for what never really developed into anything of interest.

Later that morning the weather turned nasty. First there was a hailstorm followed by heavy rain. But all that let up, so that when the second announcement of event activity at Fan & Mortar was made, it was possible to ride the bike down the basin without getting wet.

But as soon as I arrived, that changed. The rain started, and never let up, getting really heavy at times. During this, the activity from Fan’s vents slowly progressed towards an eruption. Over at Mortar, the activity of Lower and Bottom Mortar fluctuated between the latter pouring out water to being quiet. There was also steaming in the frying pans. It seemed like it was going to be hard to see the eruption, but the wind helped here again. When it became obvious that we could really get an eruption, I headed from the front of the geysers to well north of Spiteful. From there there was an excellent view of the activity, as well as the start of the eruption.

Because of the wind, it seems that Fan never really drenched the walkway, but it was still powerful and high. Saw several rocks thrown from the Main Vent, while the activity from East Vent came and went. I don’t remember that much variability in it’s activity in previous years.

The Fan & Mortar eruption came just as the Grand eruption window opened. Once the second period of activity wained, I decided to head in that direction. Biking in a driving rain was getting me soaked, and everything was steaming. Almost immediately I noticed too much steam in the Grand area. Thought I saw Vent in action, but hard to tell. Then, behind Oblong, I saw a nice spike from Grand itself.

And that was the total of what I saw of that eruption. By the time I got to the Castle bike rack, things there had quieted down, so I just kept on getting wet and heading back to the cabin.

As the time for the next Grand eruption approached, the rains restarted. First it was hail, then a heavy rain. I was able to get most of the animated radar map for the previous hour, and it showed that we were on the southern edge of a cell system that extended to the west into central Idaho. If the system were a few miles farther to the north, we’d probably not get any rain at all. So I prepared to get cold and wet. I figured the odds were that I wouldn’t have a long wait, and this way I could easily skip the middle of the night eruption, especially if it was also raining then.

Headed out while it was light. Got to Grand where Rift was erupting. Only had to wait ten minutes for a one burst eruption which was actually visible in the gray and dimming light. By the time the eruption ended, it was dark enough I needed light to unlock the bike. Of course it was the trip out and back where I got wet. Waiting was no problem at all.

August 30, 2014

Observations for 29 August 2014

I realized just in time that I’d miscalculated when to go out to Grand. So I arrived in the dark just in time to catch a long Turban eruption. That was followed by a long interval, and an explosive Grand start. If I’d kept with the earlier estimate, I’d definitely have missed it.

At around the 8-1/2 minute point Grand slowed down and for about 15 seconds just played around. Usually it seems that it picks back up after one of those slowdowns, but this time it did quit. A car in the Inn parking lot illuminated the area nicely during the pause, but you could see someones shadow pass in front of the lights before it went off. Then Grand’s second burst started. And kept on going for almost 2-1/2 minutes. So it was nice to have the second burst, but it would have been even nicer to have gotten a third.

August 11, 2014

Observations for 10 August 2014

Went out at dawn with the hope that Grand would have a really short interval this time.The full moon was low in the west, and about an hour from setting. Cold and clear, and fog forming at the north end and over Geyser Hill. Unfortunately, Grand wasn’t quite ready. Turban had a couple of very long eruptions(over six minute duration) with long intervals (around 23 minutes), so the eruption finally came about ten minutes after the moon had set, and the sky was starting to brighten with the dawn. But the slight breeze was from the north for once, so watched the one burst eruption from the Vent side.

All this trip I did not see any bison, and just the one elk when I was driving in. I did finally see a couple of elk on the drive out— Just before the last curve before the entrance station becomes visible there were two elk, one with a nice rack of antlers, standing in the middle of the road as I approached.

August 10, 2014

Observations for 09 August 2014

Earlier in the evening, for the Beehive eruption, the sky was clear. By the time it was time to go out for the middle of the night Grand, there was a high, thin layer of clouds. The moon was still quite visible and bright, but it wasn’t casting shadows and the lighting was indistinct. But it was good enough to clearly see the two burst Grand we were treated to after less than an hour of waiting.

The morning was foggy. There was a dense bank at the north end of the basin, starting around Grotto or so, while the area around Grand and Geyser Hill was fairly clear. The sky was completely clear of clouds, but they did start forming as we waited for Grand. It was a short wait, and Grand was nicely backlit by the rising sun.

Afterwards, there wasn’t much to do, so I was persuaded to go to Artemisia for a while. Had been there for a while when a figure appeared. The illegal camper was shaking out his wet tent and rearranging his pack. He made no attempt to hide what he was or what he was doing. Then again, why should he? Nothing would have happened if we had tried to report him, so why bother?

After a couple of hours of nothing happening, I finally went in. Artemisia did erupt after another hour.

The afternoon Grand was a pleasant wait. After the week of steady to intermittent rain (usually at the wrong time), it was nice to experience what seemed more like a typical August afternoon. Waited through a short Rift eruption, one that lasted about 25 minutes. Then we had the call for Beehive's Indicator. When Grand erupted, there was a low rainbow at the base of the water columns. Of course a cloud appeared during the eruption to block that out.

It was a bit of a surprise when the first burst ended. At first it behaved like the usual slowdown, where Grand looks more like a really big Tardy erupting. But it was so early in the eruption that we knew there had to be a second. What was a surprise was that the second was short, and instead of draining, Grand’s pool slowly refilled. At times it looked like it might drop again, but by then the sun was back out, and we got a wonderful third burst.

It was dark and the nearly full moon was high for the next Grand eruption. It was warm, with people wandering all over the place, or so it seemed. But during the entire two burst eruption, no one tried to illuminate the water column, which I didn’t expect. After the rains of the previous week, it was a nice ending for the trip.

August 09, 2014

Observations for 08 August 2014

Came out to Grand just before midnight. The clouds were gone, and it wasn’t too cold or damp. We had the place to ourselves for an hour when, as in the morning, we heard Beehive. Distinctively loud.

At the same time, Grand was approaching an opportunity for an eruption. It had had a short, vigorous eruption, then a short interval with a weaker, but longer eruption, so it should try to erupt. Which it did, but only after waiting over a minute after the start of Turban. The second burst was shrouded in steam, but the top was visible above all that.

In the morning, the basin was pretty much fogbound to the north. If Oblong had erupted, we probably wouldn’t have seen it. We only had a Turban interval wait, but during that time a coyote passed us on the boardwalk, and continued on to Spasmodic. I don’t know if it actually went behind us on the walkway, or got on by the prediction sign.

The eruption itself was almost impossible to see in all the fog and steam, with no air movement at all to help visibility. It was easier to see Vent backlit by the sun, and Vent was nice and high.

What started as a nice clear, foggy day turned into a cool clear day, and then the thunderstorms came in.

The rest of the day consisted of a couple of unmemorable eruptions of Grand. Both were one burst. The day ended with a post-sunset eruption of Beehive, which was quite nice as by then the weather had cleared and the column was straight up.

August 08, 2014

Observations for 07 August 2014

For the morning eruption, Grand reverted to type, giving us a long one burst eruption just before sunrise. During the eruption, Suzanne remarked that she thought she was also hearing Beehive. The interval would fit. So I went down toward the Sawmill Group and confirmed that Beehive was just finishing its eruption.

The weather was gray, but the forecast said it would be nice until noontime. So took advantage of the situation and headed out to see Imperial Geyser. Haven’t been there this century. One reason we left early was to avoid the parking fiasco at the trail head. Got there and found “Road Closed” signs across the entrance. Even though someone had move some of them, and there were cars back in the parking area proper, decided to go on to Ojo Caliente and bike in from there. This added about 10 minutes of driving, and 15 minutes of biking.

Trail out is easy, with only a couple of muddy spots. The bridge at the falls is out, and will be pleasantly surprised if the NPS replaces it any time soon. But there are several ways across the creek coming down from the plunge pool, so crossing wasn’t an issue.

The activity from Imperial is impressive. The side vent would have eruptions of varying length, then short pauses. When coming-out of the pause it seemed like some of the biggest burst occurred. I would guess a few were over 30 feet. The flow coming out, and the mud pot activity at the west end of the crater were as I remember them.

Didn’t cross the runoff to get to Spray. There seems to be one place a person could jump across, but didn’t want to risk it, and from there I couldn’t see any trail through the thick trees between that location and Spray itself. It seems that Imperial’s runoff where it joins Spray’s is much wider, as I remember crossing around there.

All this time we were the only people out in that area. On our way back, we finally met an huge tour group between Imperial and Fairy Falls. From the falls, there seemed at times to be a continuous stream of people walking towards the falls. By this time, also, the sky was starting to look nasty and about to rain. And few of these people were carrying anything, let alone rain gear.

At one point we saw another deer a few yards off the trail in the thick, young trees. Finally, as we approached the bike rack, the rain started. Despite all the people we’d passed, there was only one family group of bikes besides our own. The ride back was moderately unpleasant with a steady rain the whole three miles.

Also unpleasant was the parking situation at the other trail head. Not only were the signs gone and the lot full, but there were dozens of vehicles parked along the road. On the Till Geyser side many were parked perpendicular to the road, down into the ditch and runoff channel. An ugly sight, but one I’ve come to expect these days.

Got back to the Upper Basin to learn that Grand had erupted about 30 minutes earlier. If we hadn’t had to detour to Ojo Caliente, and take all the extra time that took, probably could have gotten back for the eruption. On the other hand, it was in the rain, and getting soaked for Imperial made a bit more sense.

In the evening, walked up on Grand. Was looking at Rift, which was just starting, when suddenly Grand started. Just the latest of a series of short intervals of the last few days.

August 07, 2014

Observations for 06 August 2014

Missed another nighttime Grand due to the weather, so got an early start on Grand based on that double interval. It was one of those starts were Turban goes on for well over a minute before Grand joins in.

During that eruption got an announcement that there was an even at Fan & Mortar. Not just the usual single blip from the Main Vent, but frequent splashing in Main along with high surging Lower Mortar and small, short eruptions from Bottom Vent. When the Fan vents did turn on, for a couple of minutes it looked like we might get an eruption, but then Gold turned steamy and the wheezing, knocking sound started. One that, to me, signifies nothing is about to happen.

In the early afternoon got a short Rift, followed by a wait of several hours for Grand. Nothing much to get excited about, other than it was adding to my new one burst streak.

The early night eruption of Grand, however, was different. The sky finally cleared out and the moon was bright and low to the west. Didn’t have to wait one Turban eruption interval before Grand started almost immediately after Turban did. The first burst lasted only 8m10s, which would probably have been a record for short one burst eruption. So fairly confident that there’d be a second burst. It was a long one, 70 seconds long, so figured that we’d seen the eruption. So the third burst was a distinct surprise following a pause that lasted almost a minute. For this eruption, Grand had reverted in behavior by about twenty years.

August 06, 2014

Observations for 05 August 2014

Another wet night. I could have gone out to Grand in the night. I set the alarm to get up for it, but I looked at the weather map and decided not to go. Waiting out in the rain in the dark is not any fun. I can’t see and I can’t really hear. Taking notes without getting the notebook soaked is a chore. Once you settle into a location and position, you don’t want to move for any reason, as that will get you wet. So you end up cold and damp and tired.

So woke up to another gray wet day. Was hoping that unlike the other day, the NPS might provide the overnight Grand time, but they didn’t. So figured the fourteen hour mark was good enough. Got out to Grand and the area was quiet, as if Rift had gone a few hours ago and put all the rest of the spurs to sleep. The Grand prediction board was completely erased, with nothing written on it. I was not surprised that the NPS would live down to my expectations.

The Turban intervals were all long, well into the twenties, with the first one being over 24 minutes. The durations were also long, and got shorter as the wait length increased. The same thing happened with the Turban eruption durations. They started out well over six minutes, while the one that preceded the Grand eruption was less than four. I suspect we got out to Grand not long after the first overflow, which would make the previous Grand interval something at or over nine hours long. Really glad I didn’t go out at night if that’s true.

We ended up with a seventeen hour double interval, which fits. After the previous short Turban eruption, we got a vigorous Turban start. It was hard to tell through the steam and fog from the occasional showers, but Grand’s pool appeared to stay full with waves. It was nearly two minutes before Grand finally started.

Having the first burst end at 7m49s was a pleasant surprise. This was so short that we were either assured to have another burst, or we’d just witnessed one of the shortest, if not the shortest, Grand eruptions ever. Grand gave us that second burst, and despite the weather, we could see the jets nicely. The second burst was short, less than half a minute, which was another relief, as too often it seems that when there’s a short first burst, the second burst goes on too long. But as far as I could tell, Grand didn’t even attempt to fill for a third. We ended up with a total length of 9m02s.

Walking back from Grand was when Castle started to erupt after having a minor earlier Since by then the rain had stopped, we waited around for the steam phase, or the next minor eruption. The steam was as noisy as always.

After lunch back in the cabin area, the rain had stopped so made a visit to Geyser Hill. Was my first time over by Giantess, where I was surprised to see that Infant was well above its shelf. We’d intended to stick around by Beehive, but by then the rain had returned, and getting wet was a low priority. So we weren’t back in the cabins long before the call of water in the Indicator was heard. The eruption was white on bright gray background, but the jet out of the cone was as impressive as always.

After a wet afternoon, an unwelcome surprise was Grand erupting as we were just leaving the Lodge area. With the rain, didn’t want to get out there any earlier than necessary, and 5h59m seemed way too early to start getting wet. But did get as far as Castle during the eruption, where we could see that it didn’t have a second burst.

August 05, 2014

Observations for 04 August 2014

The night was calm and clear,and not as cold as it could have been. But it was still steamy. We walked up on what appeared to be the start of Turban erupting, although for a moment had the sinking feeling that Vent was in there too. If it really was the start, then we saw a short, vigorous Turban. That the next Turban eruption was long and quieter, and Grand erupted after the second interval does support that. As said before, it was steam, so not much to see of the one burst eruption. That makes nine in a row for me.

Woke up to a surprise. It was cold and gray and damp, and had rained a bit. From that point, it got worse. The weather radar showed a slow moving region of rain, and we were at the leading edge. Rain was going to last for several hours.

Out at Grand, while the rain was steady, there was no wind, so once a person got properly situated, it was possible to stay dry without fighting for it. We went through a short Rift eruption at the end of West Triplet activity, then two cycles of Turban having long then short eruption durations. And then we got my tenth one burst eruption in a row.

Thanks to the rain, stayed indoors most of the day. Did come back out for the evening Grand. Beehive had also not been observed during the night, and so now the Indicator made its appearance. Things worked out much better than they could have. People had the chance to abandon Grand right at the start of a Turban eruption, head over and see Beehive, and then come back and catch Grand two Turban eruptions later. And the sun actually made an appearance for both eruptions. Or at least for the first half of Grand, which had another one burst eruption.

Having Grand erupt when it did also made me feel better. According to both the weather radar (internet access was working by then) and the sky itself, we were about to get dumped on. But the expected downpour never happened.

I went through the little data I have on two burst eruptions, and it appears that first bursts last between 8m30s and 9m40s. There aren’t any longer, and all the longer first bursts are the only bursts. This seems to fit, as in many of the one burst eruptions, there’s usually a slowdown, and an attempt to stop, during that period of time.

August 04, 2014

Observations for 03 August 2014

Last night’s Grand eruption was so early that the odds were that the next eruption would take place before dawn, and I wasn’t looking forward to that. So I decided instead to rest up after yesterday’s hike and get a good night’s sleep. Was not surprised to learn that not only did no one see the early Grand, but the NPS never bothered to announce the time recorded by their monitor. Since it seemed that the interval overnight wasn’t a long one, I decided that 13 hours (two 6h30m intervals) would be a good time to go out.

Got to Grand and found that the prediction sign had nothing on it,other than today’s date. Turban itself was acting a bit different, in that it was having medium length durations, and several cases of low pool waves before obviously dropping. The eruption itself was nice in the sunset, and lasted well over 11 minutes. Surprisingly, Vent and Turban didn’t stop. During the eruption, it took four tries before they finally were able to understand the Grand start time.

Now this leads to another radio rant: Here’s the one time that the NPS can return the favors that everyone else does for it. The one time that the monitor time would have been useful. And they blew it. This is why I want nothing to do with providing them times, because they provide so little in return for all the help gazers have given them. Let ’s not forget the times when Grand has a long interval, and all of us at Grand get to hear, “Has anyone information about Grand?” I really don’t care that they are busy and miss things. There are ways to alleviate that problem, that I’ve detailed in the past, but they’ll never suggest any, and if gazers tried to impose any, the NPS would balk. I just wish more gazers would ignore them, too.

In the evening, walked up onto the end of an eruption of West Triplet, and Rift starting. Wasn’t paying close attention, so didn’t notice that it was a short Rift eruption until well after it had ended. At most, the eruption lasted twenty minutes. But it had its eftects, and Grand waited for two hours before it finally erupted. The series of Turban eruptions was of the variety where the durations keep getting shorter until Grand goes after a very short eruption.

There was just enough light to see the waves on the pool, and to see Vent overflow. Then Grand had a boil, Turban started explosively, and finally Grand jetted to start the first burst. Grand has been having slowdowns between seven and nine minutes into the eruption, and this was no exception. I thought the burst had stopped, but it picked back up. Unlike the old “false pause”, these slowdowns usually don’t even have a sharp jet to conclude them. So we ended up with a one burst eruption lasting less than ten minutes. For me, that’s now seven one burst eruptions in a row.

During the waits for Grand, did get to see something different. The first time there were two deer on the hillside behind Grand, and for the evening there was one. Not sure if it was one of the earlier two or a third. In any case,that’s more deer seen in this one day that I’ll see in several years.

August 03, 2014

Observations for 02 August 2014

The previous report seems to be incomplete because I was joining a small group going to Shoshone the next day. Didn’t want to get trapped out at Grand for a long interval and not get a good night’s sleep. So we took off at dawn for the trailhead, and biked to Lone Star. From there was what seemed like an easy three hours to the basin itself.

The good news is that there has been some trail improvement since my last visit two years ago. Near the approach to where climb to the north side of Grant Pass starts there is now a real walkway over squishy ground where there used to be lots of logs and muck. Deep ruts near there have also been filled in. It also seemed like all downed logs had been removed just recently, as we encountered only one, and saw lots of freshly sawn logs. But the best thing is that now there are stepping stones over at the fords over Shoshone Creek where the NPS never bothered to replace the bridges. Unfortunately, didn’t notice them (or realize their use) until had already taken the shoes off. But didn’t have to get our sandals wet this time, and on the return trip didn’t have that ten minute mosquito infested pause for changing.

Also, just before the climb to the pass, saw a couple of cranes on the ground. They wandered across the trail and then into the trees at the base of the slope.

Arrived to find not just Little Giant inactive, but Double Geyser showing signs that it’s been a long time since it last put out any water. All the activity had transferred to the new feature near Little Giant that broke out a few years ago. That feature was also quiet when I arrived, but a few minutes later started erupting. We saw several later eruptions from a distance during our visit.

Farther down the trail stopped for breakfast at Minute Man Geyser, where it, Shield and Gourd were all active. By the time breakfast was over, it looked like Shield and Gourd were finished, and Minute Man wasn’t going to be active much longer either. The intermittent spring down in Shield and Gourd’s runoff channel is now an orange-brown hole, surrounded by sinter that’s starting to crumble from being dry so long.

Union Geyser hasn’t changed since the last visit. The small tree next to south cone is getting bigger.

The Boiling Cauldron sluiceway actually looks longer than I remember it. It’s like the walls that make it up have gotten longer. The small geysers near it on both sides were not active, with Pectin down about a foot and splashing away.

There’s a set of new features north of the main open area of the West Group. It looks like some older features that have become more active, along with some new hot ground filled with blowouts and collapses. This area is producing quite a bit of water.

Many of the usual geysers on the west side were active. Saw a Bead Geyser eruption early. Lion Geyser was erupting about every 63 minutes, and watched a couple of them. Velvet Geyser was erupting about every 10 to 12 minutes, except when it stalled the start. The berm is not as sharp as it was in my last visit, and the outlet is wider, probably because more gravel is being washed down the runoff and there not much left to replace it. But the west slope is still providing a source.

Downstream from Five Crater and below Shield and Gourd, easily visible from the west side is a feature whose behavior hasn’t been noticed before. It’s an intermittent spring, rising and falling a couple of times a minute. But what makes it interesting is that it’s perched only a few inches above the creek, and has a distinct outlet. So with each surge, there’s a waterfall of water cascading down into the creek.

The bugs weren’t bad at all in the basin. It was on the walk out that they started getting annoying. It seemed that as we walked, the varieties kept changing. For one stretch, we got mosquitoes. Then they’d disappear and be replaced by deer flies. Past those and we’d get these huge buzzing flies which rarely seemed to land. It kept getting worse as the afternoon progressed, and the mosquitoes were really bad as we untied our bikes at Lone Star.

That evening, I did go out for a Grand eruption. A short wait for another one burst eruption, but the start was nicely ghostly in the quarter moon. Looking forward to having the moon more and more each night this week.

August 01, 2014

Observations for 01 August 2014

I like early morning Grand windows. While it is the coldest part of the day, it’s also usually calm, and devoid of people, and the fog makes the place look a bit surreal. This particular morning was typical, and the geyser activity was pretty unremarkable. A West Triplet eruption and a few Turban eruptions (including another case of the short, vigorous Turban eruption) preceded a steamy one burst Grand eruption. A second burst would have been nicely lit at the top, but no such luck.

Since Beehive hadn’t erupted, and several of the Indicators had been really short, and because it was a beautiful clear morning, it made perfect sense to head over to Geyser Hill for Beehive. The wait there wasn’t long, and the Indicator reverted back to the nicer duration of 17 minutes in this case. It was dead calm, so once again there was a downpour just to the left of the cone.

During the Indicator wait there was a radio report on the start of Great Fountain overflow. Since I go out there so rarely, and because it was another hour and a half before there would be any reason to head out to Grand, I was persuaded to go there.

It turned out to be a pleasant trip. There were no problems driving north from the Old Faithful area. We arrived at the parking area moments before the so-called “big boil” and the pause began. The wind was such that anywhere on the benches would be down wind, steam and in the line of fire of any large burst precipitation. So watched the start of the eruption from the road embankment. There were a few good bursts, and the water running over ridges was as entertaining as ever. By the end of the third burst, it was time to head back for Grand.

The drive back went along well. The long line of people we’d followed out of the Firehole Lake Drive pulled off at various turnouts or at Midway so that we had clear road the last few miles. But when we got within radio range, heard a garbled report.It sounded like Fan & Mortar were near an eruption, and we were way out of position to catch it. As it turns out, it was just the start of an event cycle, and that cycle wasn’t very good.

So headed to Grand. Where spent almost three hours watching Turban erupt. West Triplet and Rift did nothing, and gave no sign that they wanted to erupt. Percolator was quiet. Several times the noise from the sky threatened rain, but we never got any. During that time, it was almost cool enough to make me want to put on a jacket. But later, when the sun was back out, it was sweltering enough that I wanted the clouds back. In other words, a typical summertime afternoon Grand wait.

The eruption finally took place after three Turban short-long duration cycles. With the dead calm air and sun shining, the high starting burst was quite pretty. But then the eruption settled into the usual pattern, until it seemed that Grand was going to quit at about 9-1/2 minutes. That false pause lasted a good five seconds or so, ending abruptly with one of those thin, high jets I associate with false pauses. Finally, shortly after the eruption ended, West Triplet was finally observed in eruption.

Observations for 31 July 2014

Arrived out at Grand to find West Triplet erupting. Must have been near start, as it continued for another forty minutes. As it ended, Rift started. I assumed that that meant sputtering for at least the next half hour, so went back to where I was trying to stay warm. Was surprised when the next Turban eruption, about ten minutes later, began abruptly and continued with that vigorous sound that implies an eruption.

Weren’t disappointed, as it was another one of those cases where Grand follows Turban by about a minute. But it was so steamy that even a torchlight couldn’t cut through the steam. So moved down toward West Triplet, only to discover that Rift was no longer erupting. The duration of that eruption had to be only about five or six minutes. Did quickly check to see that there was water still coming down the runoff, then went back to watching Grand. Our coming out at night was rewarded with a second burst, this time clearly visible from our location.

So Rift is starting to get interesting. This was the first eruption where it didn’t seem to function as a delay, and these short eruptions have become quite common. It also seems that Rift’s intervals have also become much shorter. Will have to be careful in that area, as a mode shift may be in progress.

In keeping with the changes at Rift, before the morning Grand I noticed that there was definite steam coming from the location where East Triplet Geyser is buried. There’s now a line from Percolator toward Rift of a series of steaming spots in the ground. The Grand eruption itself took place with Rift in eruption, and Rift quitting during that eruption.

After that, wasted some time down by Fan & Mortar, and then at Grotto in hopes of a Rocket major eruption. But since the weather was looking bad, decided to come in. This resulted almost immediately with the Rocket eruption right after I’d left.

Beehive had another short Indicator eruption, this one about 6 minutes long, which is just enough time to get into the middle of the trees between the bridge and the cabin for the start of Beehive’s eruption.

The next Grand eruption was an adventure. It looked like rain, and I hoped to get there before it hit,but no such luck. The rain started as I crossed the bridge, and quickly turned into a downpour. I finally managed to get into my rain gear on without getting too wet. The storm was heading in from the north,instead of the usual southwest, and that probably didn’t help in my estimation of getting wet.

The storm lasted the usual two Turban intervals. The first Turban eruption seemed powerful, and it would have been a relief if it had gone. But Grand did wait for the rain to end (and people to reappear) before continuing the streak of single burst eruptions.

The option of going out to Fountain for an eruption got scratched due to the sky looking gray and nasty. But it was mostly clear for the next Grand eruption. Rift was in eruption, again, but right after Rift ended Turban had one of its short vigorous eruptions that often indicate a Grand eruption two Turban intervals later. Which is what happened. This night there were only three torchlights used to illuminate the third one burst eruption in a row.

July 31, 2014

Observations for 30 July 2014

After yesterday’s showers, I’d expected the night to be a bit warmer, but there were enough patches of clear sky that it had cooled down enough that fog was starting to develop. Having Rift and West Triplet to pump moisture into the local air wasn’t helping, either.

It appears that for now, Rift activity needs to be factored into Grand’s. Rift’s intervals have gotten much shorter, and in every case I can remember, it has resulted in about a two hour delay before Grand even tries to erupt. This night was no exception. as we arrived to find it in eruption. It was about two hours from the end of Rift until Grand erupted, including a couple of short-long cycles in Turban intervals at the end.

Following the one burst eruption, Castle started its own eruption. Then we were headed back to the cabin when surprised to hear Penta erupting. Based on the width and appearance of the runoff channel, the eruption had started well before Grand. But in the foggy night, we just hadn’t heard it.

While heading out for the next eruption of Grand, were surpassed to see that Artemisia was erupting. The interval was almost exactly 24 hours. If one were superstitious, that person would heard out there tomorrow morning shortly before the same time.

West Triplet started shortly after arrival, and the expected steam from Rift began to appear. The steam increased as West Triplet quit. But instead of a full eruption, Rift only sputtered for about 6 minutes. It didn’t even put out enough water to reach the walkway. But it did seem to have the same effect as a normal length eruption.

Took advantage of the fact that there was little to do, and that Oblong hadn’t been seen all morning to wait down there. First wait there in years. Rewarded with a nice big eruption, but it also reminded me why I’m not big on either it or Fountain. Those big, crashing surf like swells are nice, but in small doses.

But on the way back, we got to see Rift in eruption, for about a 3-1/2 hours interval.

In the evening, got a nice one burst eruption of Grand, with West Triplet starting right after. Didn’t stick around to see if it resulted in a fourth Rift eruption of the day.

Then, to finish the day, well after sunset, got the call that Beehive’s Indicator was in eruption. Mis-interpreted it as being the start, so was in the trees between the cabin and the bridge when the eruption began about 6 minutes later. Got over to a place where it could be seen, and was quite nice. It was rapidly getting dark, but there was no wind and the water column was rising straight up.

July 30, 2014

Observations for 29 July 2014

Awoke to gray sky and wet ground. But it was still warm, and according to the weather radar, the rain should be decreasing. So headed out to Grand.

Out at Grand I checked the weather radar again. In the last twenty minutes, a new cell of rain showers had developed and was headed my way. As rainstorms in the geyser basins go, it wasn’t much, but did require deployment of rain gear and umbrella.

The first Turban eruption after I arrived was another one of those short but vigorous types. After about 30 seconds, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Grand, hidden somewhere in all the steam, had started. Instead, this eruption heralded the eruption of Grand two Turban intervals later.

Without much wind, Grand was shrouded in its own steam, although the occasional spike would climb about the mass of steam. This mass didn’t dissipated quickly, so the second burst out of it. The second burst was long, but not enough to be considered official.

Coming back from Grand, we heard the call for Beehive’s Indicator. Despite the gray skies, it was as nice eruption seen from Geyser Hill. In part that was because the walkways were mostly empty, and I was able to move around a bit. The wind also never shifted the downfall onto the walkway.

After breakfast, the rains had stopped, and it was turning into just a cool gray morning. I haven’t been to Artemisia and wait for an eruption in years. But with no one knowing what it was up to, or when it erupted last,it seems like a good place to waste some time. I figured there were two possibilities— I’d see an eruption, or after a couple of hours, head back. I didn’t consider the possibility that when I got past the trees at Grotto I’d see a huge steam cloud at Artemisia.

Since we were almost there, we went on to Artemisia to at least see the eruption and its end.

For both the mid day, and the early evening Grand eruptions, there was no wait at all. And we even got two bursts with the first eruption. But that also left a lot of free time, which ended up being used with non-geyser activities like playing games.

One item of interest is that Grand has been getting benches wet with daytime eruptions, something I haven’t seen in a while. It doesn’t take much of a wind shift to get the benches down by Rift and West Triplet wet, but today the wind actually caused me to have to use my umbrella in my usual spot. There’ve also been some nice base surges rolling off the starting water column when the wind is right, too.

Updated: 2014 July 31 07:40

July 29, 2014

Observations for 28 July 2014

After last night’s disappointment, and because of the lack of sleep from the long interval in the morning, made the decision to skip the next Grand eruption and get some sleep. Even if I had gone out to Grand, based on when it erupted and my usual behavior, I would not have seen the Fan & Mortar eruption that occurred an hour later.

Woke up in the morning to a different sky. While the previous days had been cold, dry and sunny, this morning was just cool, because it was overcast. The overcast did clear after a while, but later in the day built into clouds which occasionally would emit water droplets.

When finally did get up and about, it was to go over to Geyser Hill. It was over 19 hours since the previous Beehive eruption, and there was nothing better to do. As it turned out, Beehive wasn’t much interested in erupting either. Finally gave up and returned to the cabin to get some things done. The eruption finally took place on a 22 hour interval, but with nice conditions that allowed most of the walkway to remain dry.

By the time I had returned to the cabin from Beehive, it was time to head to Grand. The wait started out hot and humid with a bit of a breeze. By the time the nearly ten hour interval was over, it was cooler and overcast. During the wait we were treated to several short Turban durations, in which Grand never really looked good. Each of those cases It finally erupted on Turban after such an eruption, which does not normally fit the pattern of alternating short and long (and good and bad) eruptions. At least the eruption had two bursts.

After that, there wasn’t much to do, and the weather discouraged any playing around or little side trips. The threatened rain never appeared, but we did get some heavy wind gusts accompanied by sprinkles.

By the evening, the weather the chance of precipitation was certain, but it was warm and there was little to no wind. I got out to Grand in time for an eruption of West Triplet, which lead into an eruption of Rift. A Rift interval of just over 9-1/2 hours. Not what I wanted to see. Fortunately, it was a short eruption of Rift, only about 40 minutes. Shortly after Rift had quit, Turban had a short, vigorous eruption. This time, unlike some recent waits, Grand had a one burst eruption two Turban intervals later.

During the wait for Grand, did get to witness a bit of a miracle. The broken bench was replaced. But as always with the NPS, it seems, when you want to compliment them, there’s always a disclaimer. This time, while they may have replace the bench and removed the orange cones in a timely manner, they didn’t do a good job of cleaning up. That evening there were still piles of rust and plastic shavings under the bench next to the supports.

July 28, 2014

Observations for 27 July 2014

After seeing Grand illuminated, went out in the dark with the hope that the interval would be short and we’d be able to illuminate Grand with one torchlight. But after a couple of Turban eruptions, it became obvious that it was too light for the torchlight to matter. Then it became bright enough to see, but the steam from the runoff started to obscure vision. When arrived at the benches, they were still wet from condensation, but as the day brightened, the walkways and benches were covered in enough frost to make the walks slippery. Finally after a 9-1/2 hour interval (and a three hour wait), Grand erupted as the sun was above the trees behind it.

That the eruption was so late actually made for a nicer eruption. It was dead calm, and the sun was high enough that the entire water column was backlighted. The duration was also 11-1/2 minutes, so if we were going to have to see a one burst eruption, at least it lasted long enough to justify not having a subsequent burst.

For the first three minutes of the Beehive eruption, the breeze was blowing parallel to the walkway, so no one got wet. Then the breeze turned into the wind and it started to shift. First the folks by Plume got soaked. The shift continued, and moments later the downpour was coming directly at the walkway, 90 degrees from its previous direction. Fortunately, that didn’t last long. Because most of the eruption was without wind, the column was nice and tall against the clear, deep blue sky and the falling water to the left of the cone impressive by its closeness to both the walkway and the cone.

Both Rift and West Triplet were in eruption when I arrived for the afternoon Grand wait. West Triplet ended shortly after, and Rift about ten minutes later.

Like yesterday, the Grand wait in the early afternoon was interrupted by another event down at Fan & Mortar. Unlike yesterday, that event wasn’t very good. Just at the time the announcement was heard, Turban had one of its shorter eruptions, indicating Grand might be trying to erupt in about 40 minutes. One thing to consider in the future is that those who left Grand were able to get back to it for the eruption, 37 minutes later.

The plans to illuminate the next eruption didn’t happen. Suzanne and I were walking up to Castle when we saw the start of the eruption. The interval was 5h52m. Other gazers were closer, but no one was there for the start. The eruption then only lasted 9m32s, and we didn’t even get a second burst.

July 27, 2014

Observations for 26 July 2014

After the Beehive eruption, which I heard from my cabin as getting ready to go out to Grand, it was time to actually go out. I went out to with Suzanne. The sky was not dark because of all the stars, and the Milky Way near the horizon looked like the lights of a distant town. It was dead calm, not even the slight breeze going downstream. Because of this, was able to see Grand’s eruption from the northwest. Using Suzanne’s new light, we were able to see all the details of the eruption, including Vent starting. Then the wind shifted and our stuff got a bit wet. Grand lasted almost exactly 10 minutes, and was another one burst eruption.

At dawn, the walkways were frosty, and the ones at Grand were icy with droplets from the previous eruption. We could also see the shadows where our stuff got wet. But we didn’t have to wait more than ten minutes before the eruption. It was one of those where a little breeze would have actually helped. The jets were hidden by all the steam from the various runoff channels. The pause before the second burst was short, and not enough time for the steam to clear and allow us to see much of the actual eruption.

There was an actual wait for the noontime Grand, and it was entertaining in a perverse way. Shortly after most people had arrived and settled in for the wait, it was announced that there was splashing in Fan & Mortar’s main vent during a pause. This situation lasted for quite a while, so when the pause ended most of the people there started abandoning Grand. After another Turban interval, I was the only one of that group left at Grand. It was mildly frustrating, as Grand was obviously in a mode where all the Turban eruptions were the same— about 5-1/2 minutes long with 20 minute intervals. When that changed, we would quickly get the eruption.

As it was, Fan & Mortar looked almost good enough to erupt, but they didn’t, and Turban didn’t change during that time. The allowed all those who had earlier abandoned Grand to return with time to spare. Finally, we got a short, powerful Turban eruption that drained Grand down. Grand followed up with its own eruption two Turban intervals later.

This eruption was against a clear, deep blue sky with a wind that cooperated. So much so that the people down by West Triplet and Rift got a bit of a shower near the start of the eruption. Grand also cooperated by having a short burst. It took Grand what seemed like a long time to bring itself to start the second burst. The pool slowly refilled while sloshing around. Then the burst just kept on going, so we ended up with an eruption that lasted for a bit over 12-1/2 minutes.

I finally got to see Beehive when I heard the radio call while I was in my cabin. Here the wind also cooperated, as for the first three minutes or so, none of the walkways got wet at all. It wasn’t until late before the people who wanted a geyser shower got their wish, and even then they had to be at the corner by Plume.

Since it was also my first visit to Geyser Hill, I got to see the dormant Plume. What surprised me is that the front vent is splashing around at depth, but hight enough that some of the jetting is visible. An interesting switch, since the water jets of the eruptions used to come from the other vents, especially the vent at the other end of Plume’s crater.

Got out for the next Grand eruption around sunset. Based on the window, it was decided that the eruption was going to be illuminated by five very powerful lights. Grand cooperated and it was completely dark by the time it erupted. It was impressive to be able to see Vent overflow and Grand’s waves before the eruption even started. With that many lights, the entire column was illuminated the whole time. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get a second burst.

July 26, 2014

Observations for 25 July 2014

Walked up on West Triplet in eruption. Fortunately, this time I didn’t have to wait. Turban started, and almost immediately it had that sound that said something was happening back there. After a minute, I could hear the boiling and surging from Grand, kicking off the eruption.

The eruption itself lasted almost 11 minutes, and surprising, Vent and Turban did not stop afterwards.

After getting back to the cabin, I spent some time getting caught up on the previous day’s events and other little tasks. So while I was in bed at 05:00, I was still not asleep. It was then that I could hear this vague rumbling coming from outside. It could have been Old Faithful (or a car) but duration and tone said it was Beehive. I noted that time,and then finally fell asleep. Turns out I was right.

Unable to sleep in, so went down to Fan & Mortar, and got fooled by the Bottom Vent splashing. Wasn’t aware that it’s quite common when the Angle Always On mode pauses briefly.

Once again, the wait at Grand consisted of every Turban eruption duration being shorter than the previous, along with longer intervals until Grand finally erupted. Like the previous eruption in the dark, Grand took about a minute of waves and pouring out water before it finally erupted. The duration of the eruption was just under twelve minutes.

During the wait, the wind started up again, but as the day progressed it wasn’t anywhere near as gusty as yesterday, and with the cool temperatures, made for pleasant waits.

The evening Grand eruption was quite similar to the previous two, in terms of eruption behavior. Another one burst eruption that started with Turban and which took Grand almost a minute to join into. West Triplet also started during the one burst Grand eruption.

To bring an end to the day, was awakened by a radio call for Beehive’s Indicator, just before my alarm was set to wake up for Grand’s next eruption. Didn’t go out to Beehive, so I ended up hearing a second consecutive eruption from inside my cabin.

The road crews were busy on the bike trail. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ve done anything lasting. They dumped gravel in along the high edges and tamped it down, but the only place they’ve actually put asphalt was in a hole in the middle of the trail at Castle. In other places, the steep drop-offs are still there, especially up by the Inn.

And the latest bit of weirdness is the missing bench at Grand. Seems a few days ago, one of the new plastic benches on the northwest side fell over. That’s the direction in which most of Grand’s spray is directed, especially at night, and the supports just rusted out. Looking at the other nearby benches, they are probably going to follow it in the near future. So for now there are three orange traffic cones over the places where the base for the supports were attached to the walkway.

July 25, 2014

Observations for 24 July 2014

Coming in during the day wasn’t too bad. Only had to wait about 15 minutes at the West Yellowstone entrance, and the drive was mostly at the speed limit, or close to it. The only problem was about a mile and a half backup starting at the Seven-Mile Bridge, cause by people stopping for a single elk. But by the time I got there a ranger was making sure people weren’t blocking traffic completely.

But what did make the drive in slower than it could have been, especially with the speed limit on I-15 in Idaho being raised to 80mph, were the two construction zones. First I had to wait about 10 minutes at the reconstruction of the Ashton Grade. That I expected. The road was so torn up when I went through there for the 4th of July trip that I figure I’ll still be dealing with it over Labor Day. But they are also repaving the last twelve miles in Idaho up to the Montana border. They will be finished in a few days, but I had to wait about 20 minutes. And of course after these stops the traffic flows at the speed of the slowest (and least considerate) RV in the line.

It was a cool, clear, cloudless day, and incredibly windy. The kind of wind we got back in 1988 on a regular basis, or associated with an incoming thunderstorm. The wait for Grand was interesting, as the Turban intervals were moderately long, and each eruption duration was shorter than the previous. With the start of West Triplet, I figured that it had to go on one of the next two opportunities, or it was going to be a 9 hour wait. As it was, it had a sub-ten minute one burst eruption on the second chance.

I watched West Triplet after Grand, because it seemed like a good time for Rift to start. The activity was weak, with many of the bubbles collapsing as they became visible, and the water just welling up with only occasional splashes. Finally, the upwelling stopped without Rift making an appearance.

For the evening, I walked up on a wet West Triplet runoff channel. A good indication that I’d probably have to wait for the next West Triplet opportunity for Grand to erupt. And as it turned out, Grand did wait long enough for the sun to set and it to start getting dark. At the end, Vent and Turban didn’t just quit, but we were treated to a period of Vent blasting away and Turban even more vigorous than usual. It would be nice if that activity actually meant something interesting might happen, but I’ve never see any indication that it means Grand might try for another burst.

And there are now traffic cones where one of the Grand benches used to be. Seem the support columns on that bench rusted through and it just collapsed one day. Expect to see more of that, and then the question is how long will it take the NPS to replace them? (A little preventive maintenance in the form of paint on those metal parts of the current would help, but I’ll be surprised if that happens.)

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July 07, 2014

Observations for 06 July 2014

It was already light when I came out for the next Grand eruption. Rift was also well into eruption. At the same time, West Triplet was having deep drain steam-type minor activity. The first Turban eruption I saw was short and vigorous, and I wasn’t surprised when next eruption didn’t have as much overflow but was longer and calmer.

It took a little bit for Grand to start following Turban, but. like the night before, the little breeze was helping make it easier to see the pool. The sun was just coming over the ridge, so the tops of the jets of water were nicely illuminated. One of the few times I wish I’d taken some video of the start of the eruption. It would also have been a perfect time for a second burst, but despite the ten minute duration, I finished off my trip with nine Grand eruptions, and ten Grand bursts.

Since Beehive went in the middle of the night, it was time to head on home, as nothing of interest was going to be happening any time soon.

July 06, 2014

Observations for 05 July 2014

It wasn’t necessary for Grand to wait an entire West Triplet interval before erupting. I arrived at midnight, just as the crescent moon was setting. There was a long wait for the first Turban, and then West Triplet started. The next five Turban eruption intervals were undistinguished, and pretty much the same. Finally there was a duration almost a minute shorter than the previous interval, and Grand finally erupted two Turban intervals later. It was during Grand that West Triplet started again. I didn’t stick around to see if we got Rift.

The morning eruption reverted to pattern. I only had to wait one Turban interval. And this, my sixth eruption of the trip, as the first one with more than one burst.

With little to do during the day, I went down basin for the latest Fan & Mortar call. Not just because of boredom, but also because it was the first call in which there was evidence that a single splash from the Main Vent was going to constitute the entirety of the “event”. There were a few times when the activity from Fan’s vents look encouraging, but those lasted for only a minute or so.

Also checked out Daisy and Splendid. The latter shows no change from any visit during the past few years. So if reports of “surging” are accurate, they aren’t resulting in any additional water leaving a mark on the surroundings.

The next Grand wait was a bit different from previous ones. Each of the Turban intervals were well over 21 minutes, but none were coming close to a delay. West Triplet preceded another one burst Grand eruption. At least it was over 10 minutes long.

I wanted to get some bison meat loaf, so went over to the Lodge at the usual time, about an hour after the latest Old Faithful eruption. There was still quite a line, so decided to wait another 15 or 20 minutes. Came back the second time, and while there wasn’t a line, there were at least half a dozen people waiting to complete their order. Seems about a third of the trays at that station were in need of refilling. Quite a contrast to previous years, where at that point in the Old Faithful interval, the trays would be full and I’d be about the only person in the serving area. I gave up and dug into the snacks box.

The quarter moon was high and bright when I went out around 22:00. With two hours to go, I had a good chance of seeing my fourth Grand eruption of the day. First couple of Turban eruptions were long and undistinguished. Then, with an hour to go, got a relatively short and strong Turban eruption. A little calculation showed that there was enough time for at least three more Turban intervals before midnight. It turned out that the next Turban eruption came after very little overflow, and despite the long duration, much of the activity was barely audible splashing.

So Grand went right as expected. At the start, what little wind there was was pushing the steam away. So the initial surges were nice and impressively visible in front of the steam. The moon was still high and bright, and if you knew where to look, it was possible to see a faint moon bow. And it was another one burst eruption.

July 05, 2014

Observations for 04 July 2014

With Grand erupting before midnight, it mean that I’d be heading out for the next eruption before dawn. It was dark when I biked down basin, but when Grand erupted a Turban interval later, it was more that light enough to see the one burst eruption. It was also a fairly warm morning, so the steam and fog wasn’t quite as thick as it usually seams to be.

For the next Grand opportunity, as predicted Beehive’s Indicator started around the same time. And Grand didn’t wait to give people time to get from Geyser Hill. The pool came up quickly and Grand seemed to forego the 30 seconds or so of waving and boiling. The eruption duration was short, less than 10 minutes. Afterwards, waited around for West Triplet, which seemed especially reluctant to get started. Grand also took its time in starting the afterplay.

The final one burst eruption of the day was both a bit more unusual, and a bit more typical. I got out while West Triplet was erupting. I won’t surprised to see Rift start shortly after. But I was surprised when Rift abruptly quit less than 25 minutes from its start. At the same time, Turban had a long interval. Not long enough to be a Delay, but much more than the usual 20 minutes.

On the third Turban interval after the long one, Grand had the first low-pool waves I’d seen this trip. (Not surprising, actually, as all the previous waits had been short, or in the dark.) Instead of dropping, though, the pool kept rising. So it was at this point that the sun disappeared behind a cloud, just as Vent started to overflow. The duration again was less than 10 minutes, and Grand showed no indication of wanting to even try to have a second burst. The water was out of sight within seconds.

July 04, 2014

Observations for 03 July 2014

With Grand most likely erupting well before midnight, there was no reason not to go out.

Headed out a little early before it was completely dark. It was a bit overcast, and breezy. The wind didn’t seem to slow the mosquitoes down, either. But Rift started to erupt, and Grand ignored it and went on the next Turban eruption. The clouds parted and the crescent moon, maybe an hour from setting, was surprisingly bright.

May 27, 2014

Observations for 26 May 2014

It is nice to walk up near the end of a Turban eruption, and have Grand erupt on the next opportunity. Not enough time to get cold. Especially this night, as there was a steady breeze making it feel even colder than it was.

The morning eruption had near perfect conditions. It was dead calm with the low sun nicely backlighting the eruption. Like the one in the night, it was another one burst eruption.

For this visit, I saw nine eruptions of Grand, and seven of them were one burst. In several cases, it seemed like Grand was trying to quit around the nine to ten minute mark, only to resume activity with one of its quick jets. The good news was that for all the waits, Grand followed the same pattern-- the overflows, Turban duration and intervals were quite ordinary for several eruptions. Then there would be something different happening, usually a short but vigorous Turban duration. Then at the end of the second interval following, Grand would erupt.

May 26, 2014

Observations for 25 May 2014

At 02:00 it was mostly clear, and not all that cold, so there wasn't much of an excuse to not go back out to Grand. The two hour wait wasn't too bad, but as the night went on, it was obvious that it was getting hazy and there was probably going to be a morning geyser fog. By 04:00 the sky was already starting to brighten.

As during the previous night's eruption, Grand was well illuminated. Some people appeared at the start of the eruption, but despite the illumination, didn't stick around to see yet another one burst eruption.

The morning alarm went off and I was getting ready to for the day when the call for Beehive's Indicator was made. Walked on over and was able to enjoy a windless eruption featuring a pair of full rainbows. Then it was time for breakfast and another wait for Grand.

Grand followed the same patterns as before, even giving us another one burst eruption. West Triplet started after the end of Grand's eruption, but it wasn't followed by Rift.

Since it had been about four hours since the last Aurum report, decided that should try there again. This time we were finally rewarded with an interval just under five hours. So not sure what was going on the previous day. But at least I did get to see both a Penta and an Aurum this year.

The evening eruption of Grand followed earlier patterns, in that after a couple of nondescript eruptions, we got one that looked different, and after one more Turban eruption, we got the Grand eruption. This time, however, we also got a one burst eruption that lasted less than 10 minutes. Also of interest was that West Triplet started well before Grand, and that led to a Rift eruption immediately after Grand.

So far the weather this weekend has been exceptional. Even the rainstorm we experienced Saturday evening made it all feel like it was more like July than late May. In previous years I've been snowed on this weekend (like the case of 1988). The biggest difference from July is that the air temperature is lower, which becomes obvious when you are in the shade or when a cloud passes overhead or when the breeze picks up.

May 25, 2014

Observations for 24 May 2014

Went out for the dawn eruption. From Sawmill I saw the start of a one burst eruption that lasted a little over 10 minutes. Did get to see West Triplet start. It was a beautiful morning, so instead of heading back in for more sleep, went down basin to look around. Daisy was right in the middle of an interval, and Grotto was supposedly recovering from a marathon eruption the day before. At Fan & Mortar, things looked pretty dull, too.

After some rest and breakfast at the Snowlodge buffet, headed back out to Grand. As the night before, it was a series of nondescript Turban intervals which finally ended when Turban had a short eruption duration. But this time the pool refilled nicely and quickly, and so Grand erupted on the next Turban opportunity. I also got to see my second (and probably last) two burst eruption of the trip.

After Grand, observed a water column much higher than the trees erupting to the right from Grotto. It was Grotto Fountain, post-marathon, and this had to be one of the more impressive eruptions I've seen in the last few years. It also seemed to maintain that height for quite a while and even after Grotto finally started.

Then it was off to Aurum, where the previous eruption had been about four hours earlier. When the wind was right, the nearby carcasses added a certain aroma to the wait. Spent better part of an hour waiting when heard the announcement that Beehive's Indicator was starting. Expected that our leaving the area would be enough to finally trigger an Aurum eruption, but never saw it during the Beehive wait.

At Beehive itself the wind cooperated enough that I was able to stand right at the end of the spray and not have to move. I could look up and see water droplets descending for a couple of seconds and then miss me by a few feet. Afterwards, it was back to Aurum, which obviously had not erupted while everyone was a Beehive.

I waited there for about 15 minutes until I heard an announcement that Penta was in eruption. Decided that even though I had invested quite a bit of time in Aurum, it was also obvious that it was not on the regular 4 to 5 hour interval that seemed to characterize many recent early seasons. Even though I didn't know when Penta had started, this might be my only chance to see it this year. So I left and then spent over half an hour enjoying Penta from several angles. It turned out to be one of those interminable eruptions, as I was told it was still going by other who abandoned Aurum after I'd already left Penta.

As the afternoon and evening progressed, the sky became increasingly cloudy and threatening. By the time to head back to Grand came around, there was a large thunderstorm off to the Northwest. The thunder from all the lightning was nearly continuous at times, but far enough away that it didn't appear too threatening. As we waited for Grand, we could see another such storm building behind it, but again not headed for us.

Turban followed the pattern it had shown during previous waits, so by the time it finally had the different eruption duration and fill behaviors, we had donned our rain gear and were ready for the worst. Fortunately, we didn't get wet. It wasn't until safely back in the Lodge cabin area that the sky opened up and it poured. Since I wasn't out in it, I didn't much care, although the huge puddles a bit later did make navigating to the bathroom a challenge.

May 24, 2014

Observations for 23 May 2014

One advantage to learning that Grand has erupted while you were driving between Idaho Falls and Rexsburg is that you know there is no need to rush to get to the Upper Basin. And once you get there, you don't need to run out into the basin and end up waiting for hours. Instead you can check right in, have a little something to eat and otherwise kill some time.

So finally went out to Grand as the last light was fading. I normally don't use a flashlight while walking, but this time I should have, as we encountered a bison just beyond the lift station. That startled not only it, but two others, who ran across our path off into the flat area next to the road. Time to dig out the MagLite.

Arrived at the Grand Group right after West Triplet had ended. No Rift fortunately. The next few Turban intervals were dull and uninteresting, but then we got a short Turban duration followed by a short interval. I was pleased to see that the patterns of previous years could still hold, as Grand erupted on second Turban eruption after that.

Because there was no moonlight, that provided an excuse for a couple of bright lights to be shown on Grand's eruption. My MagLite may have been the brightest light around 30 years ago, but it was no match for these torches. We could easily see every spike. Grand even cooperated and gave us a second burst.

November 04, 2013

Observations for 03 November 2013

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 2013

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 2013

The last time I was in the Park late in the season was 1995. That year I spent a week here around 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 I've been here in November was in 1983, which was a week after the Borah Peak Earthquake. Was here 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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2013

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 minutes 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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 jet 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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2012

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 2011

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 2011

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 2011

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 2011

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