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.)


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.