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.