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October 17, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 16

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

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

October 16, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 15, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 14

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

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

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

October 14, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 13, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 12, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 11, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

October 10, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 09

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

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

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

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

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

October 09, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 08

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 08, 2018

Observations for 2018 October 07

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

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

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

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

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

September 19, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 18

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

Then off to Geyser Hill for a quick visit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 15, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 14, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 13

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

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

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

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

September 13, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 12

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

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

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

September 12, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 11

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

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

September 11, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 10, 2018

Observations for 2018 September 09

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

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

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

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

September 09, 2018

Observations for 08 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 08, 2018

Observations for 07 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 07, 2018

Observations for 06 September 2018

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

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

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

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

September 06, 2018

Observations for 05 September 2018

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

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

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

September 05, 2018

Observations for 04 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 04, 2018

Observations for 03 September 2018

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

September 03, 2018

Observations for 02 September 2018

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

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

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

September 01, 2018

Observations for 01 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Observations for 31 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 31, 2018

Observations for 30 August 2018

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

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

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

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

August 30, 2018

Observations for 29 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 29, 2018

Observations for 28 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 28, 2018

Observations for 27 August 2018

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

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

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

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

August 27, 2018

Observations for 26 August 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 26, 2018

Observations for 25 August 2018

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

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

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

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

August 25, 2018

Observations for 24 August 2018

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

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

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

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

August 24, 2018

Observations for 23 August 2018

It was like we never left.

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

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

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

August 07, 2018

Observations for 06 August 2018

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

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

August 06, 2018

Observations for 05 August 2018

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

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

August 05, 2018

Observations for 04 August 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 04, 2018

Observations for 03 August 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grotto finally started erupting right after Giant ended.

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

August 03, 2018

Observations for 02 August 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 02, 2018

Observations for 01 August 2018

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

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

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

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

August 01, 2018

Observations for 31 July 2018

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

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

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

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

July 31, 2018

Observations for 30 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 30, 2018

Observations for 29 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 28, 2018

Observations for 28 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Observations for 27 July 2018

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

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

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

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

July 27, 2018

Observations for 26 July 2018

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

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

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

July 26, 2018

Observations for 25 July 2018

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

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

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

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

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

July 25, 2018

Observations for 24 July 2018

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of the day was kinda anti-climatic. Did go out for the sunset Grand, but while the clouds to the west were pretty colors from an incoming thunderstorm, the one burst Grand itself was gray on gray.

July 24, 2018

Observations for 23 July 2018

Spent four hours, up 'til noon, in the Bijou Cage. Bijou paused twice, both times for about 4 minutes. Water rose in Mastiff, but not even enough to be considered a bathtub. (My definition of a bathtub is when there is water visible in Mastiff while seated at the bench. It's a lot more objective since eye level for most people is within a inches of the same height back there.) The second long pause happened just about the time Grotto quit, without having an eruption of Rocket.

During all that time Mastiff was surging nicely from the southern/back vent. Enough to keep a trickle of water running down the front of the platform. On several occasions, it looked like Posthole and Feather had water visible in them. I'm taking all this, especially the lack of frequent one minute long Bijou pauses, as a sign Giant is several days away from the first hot period this interval.

July 23, 2018

Observations for 22 July 2018

It was such a dull day that the mornings thermal activity consisted of doing laundry and a walk through the West Thumb Geyser Basin. The only geyser we saw was a small one when we stopped at the Potts overlook.

Other than that, there was a couple of Grand eruptions, one in the evening and another just after midnight. Now is the quiet time to enjoy a few moonlight Grand (or Beehive) eruptions before the waits for New Crater/Steamboat and Giant begin.

July 22, 2018

Observations for 21 July 2018

Since there was no reason to go to Norris, and we were wide awake, decided to go out into the basin and check a few things out.

Biking in front of the Inn I encountered a coyote on the biketrail. It skittered off toward Old Faithful. Castle was in eruption, and defintely a major. We stayed there for a while, as even though the moon was only a quarter, there were nice moonbows in the steam.

Down at Fan & Mortar, we found that it still hadn't erupted. Riverside was also in eruption, so we briefly illuminated it from the bridge.

Then off to Grand. Where it had a delay that insured that the eruption would be after the moon set. So we provided our own illumination for a nice two burst eruption.

The next morning we overslept a bit, waking up when Grand was almost in the eruption window. It was a cool, overcast morning, and we didn't miss the eruption which went on the first Turban eruption after we arrived. On the Fan & Mortar where it still hadn't erupted. The sky threatened to rain, but never did more than a few drops.

The day at Fan & Mortar was the same as the previous few days-- no events, nothing to get excited about. It's almost like the geyser has gone dormant, or the next event is going to be the eruption event.

I'd already decided that tomorrow was going to be the day where I was going to start spending time in the Bijou Cage. None too soon, as there was some sort of minor hot period mid-afternoon. Probably just an eruption of Feather, as the runoff areas of both Mastiff and the Southwest Vents were mostly dry where there were definite puddles on the platform

Out for Grand at sunset for a moonlight eruption. That's when get yet another delay for the day. This time, the Turban interval was over 40 minutes, with audible boops from Grand around the 37 minute mark. Around the same time, the call came from Fan & Mortar that it was finally having some sort of event. As the delay wait continued, the event to the north kept getting better.

Grand erupted on the second Turban and I cleared out right as the eruption ended. I'd just gotten onto my bike at Castle when the call that "Upper Mortar is erupting" came through. So I missed the start, but did get down for most of the eruption. The moon was high and just past quarter, so it was well illuminated even when the spotlights were off.

This means that for the first two weeks we've been here, there have been five eruptions of the big geysers we wanted to see. All have been in the dark.

July 21, 2018

Observations for 20 July 2018

Another dull day where nothing much happened. Fan & Mortar didn't erupt overnight, and never made any attempt to erupt the rest of the day. While I'd like to see it, it appears there's not much reason to over-invest time in it. A couple of One Burst Grand eruptions and a nice Beehive eruption completed the day.

It also appears that the Giant signs still haven't been put back.

Then, late in the day, it was discovered that those waiting at Norris were seeing really good activity. The previous plan was to go there on Sunday, but with this new, we intended to get there before dawn on Saturday.

Unfortunately, New Crater/Steamboat had other ideas, and erupted a bit before midnight.

July 20, 2018

Observations for 19 July 2018

Today was a day to ignore New Crater/Steamboat. I gave it yesterday, but after several days of spending all day in the Bijou Cage, I needed a break. So it was personal matters and a couple of one burst Grand eruptions.

Did spend some time at Fan & Mortar, but they never looked good. With the lengthening interval, I did get sucked down into some extremely minor activity that I would normally ignore, but didn't want to miss it.

With most the geyser gazers gone to Norris, the Upper Basin is a very different place. The radio is mostly silent. There wasn't much of a crowd at either a late morning Grand or, as the photo shows, a mid-afternoon Beehive. The smaller crowds seems to indicate that it's gazers who cause the crowds at both places. Which is a bit ironic since there's a group of gazers who go out of there way to encourage visitors to gather at both geysers, while others (and sometimes the same people) complain about the crowding.

The time for moonlight Grand eruptions has begun, so we went out for the midnight Grand. Only one burst, as usual, but even with a quarter moon, we could see faint moonbows in the runoff channel steam.

I've updated the posting for 17 July 2018 to include a couple of photos of where two of the Giant Platform signs ended up. During the previous Giant activity, the signs used to get put back the same day, if not at the end of the eruption itself.

July 19, 2018

Observations for 18 July 2018

So after about 2-1/2 hours sleep, we headed to Norris. It was light, but because of the rains the previous day, the route was foggy the whole way there. At Norris, we learned that the activity for New Crater/Steamboat had improved since the previous day, but still wasn't up to the standard of the June eruption preliminaries.

There was a lot of water being put out by the South vent, reminding me of the floods we had seen back in May. After a couple of hours, it even that had regressed. Where we had been seeing some moderate concerted activity, by about 10:00 it seemed like either north or south, but not both, at least at the start. And the flood wasn't happening any more.

Things stayed that way until about 15:30, when the minor play started to pick up again. We left around 17:00. While we were getting floods down the runoff, the activity of the North vent seemed to be mostly unchanged.

After getting back to the Upper Basin, we got sucked into a weak Fan & Mortar event.

July 18, 2018

Observations for 17 July 2018

Updated: 2018 Jul 19: Added photos of where the signs ended up.


It's been a decade since I last spent time in the Bijou Cage in the dark. With all the noise coming from Giant, it can be hard to tell what Bijou is doing. But after a while, I got used to catching the faint sound of Bijou stopping. Caught the end of a Grotto eruption (no Rocket) and then had to wait out the interval until the next Grotto start. Right after that happened, I got the expected weak Feather-only Hot Period. Then it was back in to get some sleep.

Woke up to the sound of rain. Looked at a weather map and it showed that the main band was an hour away. This was all well before I had planned to be out again for the next hot period, one I expected to be really good. So waited where it was dry before heading out. The weather map said that there was another band coming in the next hour, but it never materialized.

Up at Norris, New Crater/Steamboat was starting to look good, so most of the basin was deserted.

At Giant Bijou had a fairly long pause of about 3 minutes just before Grotto started. During that eruption, there were frequent short pauses and slowdowns. After the hour and a half Grotto, which ended with a Rocket eruption, the slowdowns continued for the next hour, until 10:19, when we finally got a true pause. Water appeared in Mastiff within a couple of minutes, but it wasn't until five minutes into the pause before Feather started. The hot period then progressed fairly rapidly, with all the platform vents in action at some point. (At least it seemed that way.) Feather never quit, but did drop as Bijou restarted.

At that point, Giant started surging and Feather rose back to full height. There were several heavy surges in Giant, at least one that looked like it should have been the start of the eruption. But after a couple of minutes, the activity died down. By that time the Bijou cage was full of everyone who hadn't (or couldn't) go to Norris, there was a lot of disappointment. It was the best hot period up to that point, though. So good that Norris gained more gazers willing to make the drive there.

The past few days we have been having alternating hot periods. A good one, like the one we had just witnessed. Then about 6 to 8 hours later there would be a short eruption of just Feather, with none of the other vents in action. The major hot periods were coming about 16 to 22 hours apart. (I'd noticed this sort of pattern during the previous leadup to the 05 July eruption). So my plan was to return to the cage in about 5 hours and wait for the next weak one, then come out in the early morning hours the next day for the hot period that could result in an eruption.

I returned to the cage around 14:00. At 15:38 Grotto erupted. About 20 minutes in, Bijou had a long pause (5m52) where water was visible in Mastiff, but nothing much else happened. Grotto lasted a little over an hour, ending with Rocket. There were no more pauses until almost an hour after Grotto ended, when a similar 6 minute pause happened.

By then, had experienced a short rain shower, for which I wasn't totally prepared. So far, these long pauses were followed by at least an hour of Bijou splashing, so I decided to take advantage and go back to the cabin and be prepared for the next shower.

I arrived back to alternating short pauses and slowdowns until a third long pause two hours after the previous. By now I realized I needed to change plans. It had been nine hours since the hot period, and no minor. No idea how long it might be, or if it would even happen. So I returned one more time to change into my nighttime cold clothes.

About an hour after the previous long pause, Bijou had a sort of intermediate one, lasting 3m40s. With the Southwest Vents active, this was the first activity of the afternoon meriting a radio call. Shortly afterward, Grotto started again.

Then nothing. The first slowdown may have happened about 2-1/2 hours later, but it was hard to tell in the dark. Grotto was still active. At this point I was not about to leave. In years past, this sort of behavior-- Bijou continuously erupting for hours -- was a really good sign of an imminent eruption. (Or at least a major hot period). Grotto not wanting to stop (or be stopped by Rocket) also seemed good.

Suzanne had been at Norris all day, and arrived back at the cabin just as I made the radio call for the pause. Because she had gotten ready for going out in the dark, she decided to continue on to Grand on the chance that I would have gone there for a few Turbans. But I wasn't there, so eventually she bailed out on a long interval and joined me in the Cage. Upon hearing about the Bijou/Grotto behavior, despite the coldness, she didn't want to leave either.

Five minutes before midnight, Bijou finally paused. Grotto was still active. Even with the bright flashlight, we couldn't determine if Mastiff was showing water. After a couple of minutes, the Southwest Vents finally started erupting, and that was good enough to start sending out another radio call. By then it looked like Mastiff was near overflow.

Things started getting a little hectic when Feather started at midnight. Almost immediately its satellite began. Then several of the other platform vents. We could tell that Mastiff was pouring off water, even though we couldn't see what it was doing through the fog. Feather never really tried to stop. Finally, only 6 minutes into the hot period, Giant had a huge surge. Moments later, it had another one, this one up to the top of the cone. The third surge was higher, and didn't stop. Suddenly Giant began to climb, and the eruption started. And the wind direction was toward the cage.

And that's when the real fun began. Because I was trying to take notes and talk into the radio, I was juggling too many different things (radio, phone, notebook, pen, red flashlight). I shoved things into pockets without thinking, then tried to move to a location where I might see something illuminated by the super-powerful flashlight. That's when I remember that we still had our packs and blankets and other stuff still on the benches in the cage. Too late, they were soaked. We moved them well back on the boardwalk, getting drenched in the process, and that when the real horror hit. I couldn't find my phone.

It's hard to enjoy a nighttime eruption when you can only hear it and when you think you have done something incredibly stupid. Instead of trying to watch the eruption, we repeatedly scanned the area looking for the phone without success for far too long. Finally I realized that my watch, tied to the phone, was still working, no matter where I was. That mean I had to be carrying it. I finally realized that it was in a pocket that I have never, ever used for any geyser gazing instrument (just my wallet). My relief finally allowed me to enjoy what was left of the eruption.

The radio call, at least, wasn't a waste of time. Several people heard it and got out to see the start, or got there early in the eruption. Maybe ten or a dozen in all.

The eruption was noisy and wet. The boardwalk as far as Grotto was soaked, as were our bikes tied up on the recently appearing bike rack. The bright flashlight, thanks to an extra battery pack, was the one thing that worked right, as it never dimmed. We were able to see the ending of the eruption pretty well because of it. The Giant sign had rolled well down the runoff, on the far side near to Turtle. The highly reflective "Keep Off" also rolled down several terraces. There was also a bit of the "catfish" or "low tide" smell as more plantlife got cooked.

Grotto quit sometime during the eruption.

For most of the eruption, we didn't feel the cold (and wet). The excitement, despite my problems, took care of that. But we still had to bike back to the cabin. I found that my bike light needed a recharge, so I had to rely on Suzanne's on the way back. In the cabin, we spent the better part of an hour taking apart our packs to dry things out.

That's when the horrible night hit Suzanne. She discovered that her needlepoint instructions (something she hadn't worked on since the previous Giant activity in 2007) had become wet. And so did her phone. It would no longer charge up. (That problem is going to last for a while, as so far all our attempts to fix it haven't worked.)

So while we did see another eruption of Giant, our first in 11 years, it is a bit hard to be happy about the experience. I think it's going to take a daylight eruption, with lots of gazers present, to make this one a bit more bearable, and turn it into something to laugh about.

July 17, 2018

Observations for 16 July 2018

Another day of getting up early in order to spend the day in the Bijou Cage. It was an overcast day, with lightning in the clouds to the north. Turns out not quite early enough, as the call that a hot period was starting was made as I passed the Inn. It ended up being another of those short, weak ones with only Feather active. So after a while, I headed back in to get a bite to eat and prepare for a long wait.

Which it was. I did manage to fit in a Grand eruption, but otherwise is was a long day of long pauses and Bijou slowdowns. Finally, a bit over twelve hours after the previous hot period, there was another long, vigorous one. It seemed like Giant never really tried hard to erupt, unfortunately, as there were only a few surges that looked like they could sustain and build.

That activity did come at the right time, as a band of thunderstorms was building to the west. Headed back in expecting rain, but we never got any. Just lots of lightning and thunder.

July 16, 2018

Observations for 15 July 2018

Got out to Giant at 03:15. Grotto was in eruption, and there had been some long Bijou pauses, but no Feather activity. The weak hot period the previous evening may have had an effect, in that the interval here between Giant eruption attempts was almost 22 hours, putting it after dawn. This hot period was even stronger that the one the previous day. This time feature never quit, so there wasn't a really a restart. Cave Vent and a lot of the other sputs were stronger than before, too. But once again, while the surging in Giant was nice, it didn't result in an eruption.

The hot period came at the right time, too. Had come out dressed for the cold and dark, but by then it was clear and rapidly getting warmer. Stripped down as much as possible, but still a bit overdressed for the occasion. The back going back to the cabin was stuffed full of all the nighttime gear, including flashlights. Also, hadn't brought any food, so was really getting hungry.

After another one burst Grand eruption, and lunch, went back to the Bijou Cage. Was thinking that there might be an interesting followup to the hot period. And there was. Wanted to get there for the start of Grotto, but it was already in eruption. But about an hour and a half after I arrived, there was a weak, Feather-only hot period that lasted 1m22s. By that time Grotto had been in eruption about 1h40m, so I went over to see if I could catch the end.

While sitting there, suddenly there was a puff of steam from behind the trees to the north. Not Riverside, but it was Spa. Got down there in time to see that the water was just starting to head down the runoff channel, so what we saw was probably the first burst. Watched the activity there for about an hour. Finally there was a Rocket major eruption, and Grotto shut down. The duration was nearly three hours.

The last activity of the day was supposed to be Grand. It had a short 7m20s first burst, but of course followed that up with a long second burst. Of interest was that Vent and Turban didn't even quit after that. So time to get some sleep.

Wanted to get out in the dark well before dawn to try and catch the next hot period. Didn't work out that way. Instead had just fallen asleep when hear the call that Feather had just started. There wasn't any call about Mastiff being full, so that meant little time to get down basin. I had arranged my gear just in case there was such a call, so was able to quickly get ready and head out. Hearing that Feather was restarted as I passed by the Inn got me moving just a little faster. Got down to the curve by Oblong when I heard that Feather had quit again. So I didn't see anything, but was able to learn that it was possible for me to get from the cabin to a point where I could see the start. (And I learned that I was really overdressed for such concentrated exertion.

July 15, 2018

Observations for 14 July 2018

Out at dawn to wait for the next Giant Hot Period. I expected it to be late in the morning, but wasn't about to take chances when there was no good reason to not be there. As it turned out, I was pretty much right, as we got the expected hot period at 11:55. As far as I could tell, the only difference from last night was it started a little slower, with Mastiff taking its usual two minutes to rise.

I also skipped the Grand eruption at 10:15. Turns out it had two bursts, which was a bit annoying. I played the odds and lost. But still the right decision, as there no point in seeing yet another one burst Grand in the middle of the day in the middle of a crowd.

Later in the day did go to the Grand eruption. It didn't have an official delay, but the one burst eruption was preceeded by a good 15 to 20 seconds of booping. I really thought that it would fail to erupt, and we'd have to wait several more Turban intervals.

While having dinner, there was a short, weak hot period that wasn't quite expected. Not sure what to make of it, other than a guess that it might delay the next, strong one.

That was about it for the day. Did go to Grotto a little later, trying to see Rocket, but it turned into a long eruption instead, and finally gave up to prepare for tomorrow's Giant wait.

July 14, 2018

Observations for 13 July 2018

Having Fan & Mortar erupt during the night was disappointing. But the intervals have shortened nicely, and that means several more opportuities this month.

But the day was spent waiting at Giant. There was a weak hot period in the middle of the day, and then a strong one in the early evening. That one was a classic Feather Restart, with lots of nice surging from Giant at that point, some filling the cone. But nothing came of it.

At sunset, Grand had an extremely long Turban interval. It was at least 25 minutes from the time we arrived. During that time Grand booped, and the duration for the Turban eruption was well over 7 minutes. That was right at sunset, and it would have been an eruption with nice rainbows. But Grand managed to delay only one interval, while it was still light.

And then we returned to the cabin just in time for a radio announcement that Beehive's Indicator was in eruption. Turns out no one was out on Geyser Hill, so it was up to the webcam viewers and operators to let people know to get out there. We headed right out, but Beehive was already erupting as we crossed the bridge

July 13, 2018

Observations for 12 July 2018

Today Grand decided that it needed to put in some longer intervals. Had no intention of going out in the middle of the night, so relieved to discover that would have had to wait a couple of extra hours, until dawn. In the middle of the day the interval was almost as long, which allowed a huge accumulation of people.

Again, another day of waiting for Giant. At least there was a hot period during the night, and then another one near sunset. I didn't see that one, but nice to know that they can happen more than once a day. In this case, appeared to be about 16 to 18 hours between them, which seems to fit the pattern established during the buildup to the last eruption.

July 12, 2018

Observations for 11 July 2018

Got to see a complete Bulger's Hole eruption and record the whole thing. I'd like to upload the video, but I don't want to use of all my allocation, and the service here is so slow it might take way too long. It'll just have to wait until I get home.

Otherwise, it was another day waiting down by Giant. No hot periods or even bathtubs, just a 6 minute long pause about an hour after the start of Grotto.

July 11, 2018

Observations for 10 July 2018

The morning had several bits of weirdness while waiting for the dawn Grand eruption. First there was the coyote that wandered past west of the boardwalk at Grand heading for Churn. Then a bit later it was a woman and two young boys visible from Grand on the other bank of the Firehole River. They were investigating one of the warm seeps next to the river, before they headed back to the trail. Mama and her cubs.

Almost immediately there were tourists reporting a real grizzly bear and cub next to the trail just north of Lion. Fortunately, they were not seen again. Do wish they would go elsewhere.

Spent more time down at Giant during the morning, and was rewarded with a long series of Bijou slowdowns every 15 minutes. In the afternoon, it was a long Grotto eruption with more slowdowns

Today had the potential for being a Five Grand Day. It started out nicely with a two burst eruption only 23 minutes after midnight. But the chance slipped away when the second eruption of the day had a two-Turban delay. The third had the type of interval needed. Despite a long delay, Grand erupted on the next Turban for an interval just under six hours.

So we didn't get 5 Grand eruptions, but the eruptions we did get were a nice representation of the good conditions for viewing Grand. The dark nighttime eruption, the dawn eruption, the warm middle of the day eruption, and finally the sunset eruption.

July 10, 2018

Observations for 09 Jul 2018

Time to get reacquainted with Giant. Spent a few hours in the Monkey Cage. After a few quick, short pauses, there was 5-1/2 minute bathtub as Grotto started. Then after that, nothing. I was expecting the pause to resume after Grotto ended less than an hour later, but all I got for the next hour were Bijou slowdowns.

July 09, 2018

Observations for 08 Jul 2018

First up was Bulger's Hole. It was observed to fill and bubble a bit well into a major eruption of Bulger. After the morning Grand eruption, about 40 minutes later, I saw Bulger erupting again. I got down there and saw that it looked like another major. As we were standing there, the Hole filled with water to about 1 foot below the rim, then started splashing well above the rim. The duration was only a few seconds, and then the hole drained. But Suzanne, Ben Hoppe and I got to see the first activity there since 2011.

I liked to think that this activity is related to the deeper fluctuations in Sawmill Group. A little bit later I noticed that the water level had dropped such that a bank about 10cm wide of the orange slime lining the vent was exposed. This is much more fluctuation than last year, based on how that orange band wouldn't be exposed otherwise. I would hope that this, along with Bulger's Hole, are signs that changes in the Group, and reactivation, are possible this summer.

Then it was the Suicide Bride's turn. Down by South Scalloped a woman in a wedding dress decided to get up close to that spring. I yelled down, and she did get back on the trail. An Asian couple (of course). Turns out I wasn't there first encounter with getting caught. During the wait for Beehive I was told that they'd also been seen wandering loose between Morning and Fountain, and off trail at Midway. If I'd have known, I would've tried to get Law Enforcement involved.

I also need to remember that I do have a camera, and to record stupid incidents like this.

The evening Grand could've gone while it was still light, but it had to have a two Turban delay, resulting in the longest interval in about 10 days. At least there were two bursts, breaking a long string on one burst eruptions.

July 08, 2018

Observations for 07 July 2018

Arrived for an extended stay during the afternoon after an uneventful drive. It's so much nicer to be able to avoid evening traffic leaving Denver and not having to drive from Moran Jct in the dark. This time that part of the drive was in the early afternoon, and at both checkpoints into Grand Teton and Yellowstone, I managed to get into the fasted moving lanes.

After decompressing the contents of the truck, went out to see Fan & Mortar let us know that it was ready to erupt in the dark, and then a one-burst Grand. Actually kind of nice knowing that nothing much happening for a few days. One thing I found in years past was that for longer stays, there's not the pressure to see everything. There's going to be lots of down time and periods of boredom.

So while here, I will try to post observations and info as I did in years past. May not be everyday, but should be enough items of interest-- New Crater/Steamboat, Giant, Fan & Mortar, and now Sawmill Group?-- to keep from being too repetitious.

May 29, 2018

Observations for New Crater/Steamboat Geyser 27 May 2018

Update: 2018 May 30 11:00 Added some more observations on the eruption. Will probably add more later, along with fixes for typos and bad grammar.


As we rounded the curve beyond the interchange at about 21:35, Suzanne and I could see Grand erupting. It was almost dark. That would be the last Upper Basin activity we would see until Monday, when we would also finally see the Old Faithful area in daylight.

Over the past few weeks I've been running my AppleTV GeyserLog app in a simulator on my computer's second screen. Mostly as inspiration for the upcoming Yellowstone visits, but also to see how the app is behaving. Got to see the start of a Giant eruption that way earlier this month, and since then all the reports of Giant bathtub events.

So wasn't too surprised to see the YVO report of something happening at Norris a week ago on Friday night. The last few intervals had been around a week, which fit perfectly. Sure there wasn't much data to go on, but this activity, at this distance, reminded us of the activity of 1982-- a sudden winter start, quickly becoming regular about one a week or so.

The problem with that was in 1982 the regularity stopped just as suddenly when there were disturbances in June. The later eruptions in early August and early September required more than looking at the calendar. So as the confirmations came in, it became apparent to Suzanne and I that we were going to be spending a lot of time at Norris during our annual Memorial Day visit. Seize the opportunity to see Steamboat while it was still sorta predictable and regular, as it might not be that way when we will be back in July.

We left Satuirday morning while still dark and arrived at Norris so early that the front rank of the parking lot was completely empty. Arrived at the lower platform at 05:30 and began my first Steamboat wait since 1982. That was over 4 continuous days of waiting for nothing to happen. I finally gave up two days before my vacation ended and headed back to the Upper Basin so I could see something erupt. Steamboat erupted two days after I left for home.

According to my notebook, I left the platform twice over the next 15-1/2 hours. Since Steamboat has no known precursors or indicators, it's hard to leave, especially if seeing the start from the parking lot isn't good enough. The weather forecast said cloudy and cool, but it turned out to be mostly sunny. There was one minor rain-shower scare in the evening, but we didn't encounter any real rain until the drive south of Madison Jct.

I tried setting up an old phone as a camera on a tripod and just letting it run, but after 40 minutes, I'd exhausted half the battery. That wasn't going to work, so I just left the camera pointed at the feature and tried to quickly start it when something interesting happened. That had mixed results, because between the reaction time and the number of button presses need to start recording, I often missed the best part.

As evening approached, we had to start making decisions. We almost left before sunset because of a rain shower. By then the activity had been pretty calm for hours, and based on what we'd seen in previous 1980s sits, we weren't encouraged. An hour after a small surge we decided that we'd had enough and needed to risk heading back to Old Faithful for a few hours of sleep.

Fortunately, we avoided all the traffic problems. During the day a herd of bison were migrating up along the Madison and that was causing mile long backups. As it was, when we arrived at Madison Jct. around 2130, the backup to make the left turn from Old Faithful to West Yellowstone was to the big curve above Firehole Canyon Drive entrance.

The next morning it was a relief to look at GeyserTimes and see no reports, and then to not see a huge steam-cloud as we exited the Gibbon Canyon. We arrived back at Norris at about the same time as the previous day, to the same conditions. The minor play from Steamboat seemed more vigorous, but also knew by then that that was subjective.

The day pretty much proceeded like the previous one. It was actually much nicer than we'd expected, as the weather forecast was calling for showers in the morning, which never occurred. The wind was blowing the steam and spray right toward our platform most of the day. But in the afternoon, the clouds built up, and by 18:00 it was starting to rain. I was in the parking lot at the time, and had to quickly get back to the platform where my rain-gear was still in the pack.

That's when the fun began. Around 19:00 we had another nice, large surge. I'd been noting these on Saturday, but not on Sunday. I wanted to read instead. When the next surge came quickly, I was at least able to record it. As the video shows, these subsequent ones came at around 19:06, 19:08, and 19:12 according to my phone's clock. This was the first time they'd come that close together, and so many of them, too.

But not only that, the activity between the surges seemed stronger. A totally subjective observation, but it really did seem like the geyser had tired of jerking us around and was now going to reward us.

After the third surge, I realized that it might be useful to alert those in the parking lot that something different was happening. My radio was buried, but Linda Strasser was able to make a quick report that enabled a few people to at least be headed back when the eruption began. In future waits, I think it important to announce these surges. It may be Guru Geyser Gazing to think they matter, but we haven't much else to go on. If nothing else, it will give people a heads up and that it's time to at least pay attention to that direction and maybe start getting ready to run.

As the video shows, the fifth surge got big fast, and stayed that way. Unlike the previous ones, I didn't catch the dying moments, but instead it was continuing to build. It seemed obvious that this was different, and the video shows that. With 15 or 20 seconds, there was no doubt that we were at least going to see one of the USGS's "minor major" eruptions. (More on that later.)

The first minute or so the water columns for both vents were white, but then the North Vent turned a rusty brown and started throwing rocks. I'm assuming that's how long it takes for the runoff on the slope to turn into a flood and start getting kicked back up. I think the buzzword is "sustainable." It took about a minute for the dry runoff channel in front of the platform to fill with water the color of glacial runoff.

The water phase lasted much longer than I expected, and was much louder, too. On the platform shouting was required if you wanted to say anything. When the steam phase transition began, it got even louder. I could feel the platform vibrating through my feet. The North Vent water steam column was white again.

Around this time, the wind finally shifted so that the platforms were getting doused by the condensation from the stem plumes. This rainfall was gritty and milky. It would be interesting to find out if that is because of the chemistry of the water, or because of fine particles being washed into the vent and ejected up with the steam cloud.

The colors and heights of the water column also kept changing. In the early part of the water phase it seemed that the South Vent was the one more likely to be brown, while later it was the North Vent that was a rich brown. Approaching the time of the transition to steam, it also seemed like the North Vent was no longer a continuous jetting to great height, but was bursting as if the water was trying to force its way through a pool of water. (To use the obvious cliché, think Grand.)

I suspect all this is not due to any deep activity, but because of water washing back into the vents. Behavior which is dependent on the amount of water and the wind direction, As the transition begins, the water supply decreases and stops blocking the vents. The same for the start, at first there's little to no water washing downhill from the north and east, so both columns are tall, continuous and clean.

What I wonder about is the source of all the grit we experienced during the steam phase. Is it from down deep, or more of the stuff washing in? I want to suspect it's the latter. Note that the mound between the vents and the platform is eroding away, exposing small bounders cemented in place by white material. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that this cement is the grit. (Suzanne has some thoughts about the changes in the formations since the 1980s that she plans to publish soon.)

The eruption came at a perfect time, considering the other possibilities. Because it was shortly after a rain, most people were fairly well waterproofed, more than if it had erupted a few hours earlier. Once the eruption started, I would not have wanted to be digging around in my pack for what I needed. (Or frantically shoving things into the pack to keep them dry.) It wasn't that cold or damp either, so most of the time the eruption wasn't obscured behind fog and mist. It was long enough before sunset so that the entire water phase and the first hour of steam were easily visible. We left as it started getting dark, and didn't feel like we were being cheated.

After we returned to the Old Faithful area, it was time for a celebration and to view our videos. The Bear Pit was an ideal location, as our noisy videos wouldn't disturb our cabin neighbors. As we returned from there, just after midnight, Old Faithful erupted. We gave it the attention we normally do, and kept on walking, despite it being the only other geyser we'd seen since we woke up.

The next day I did a quick run down the basin to take a look at the Giant platform. I got a three minute Bijou pause for my efforts. Grand did not erupt before the time we'd decided to leave, but it did manage to erupt as we were about to leave the parking lot.


There were some differences between the activity during the wait and what I saw 36 years ago. Most notable was the amount of water being put out. Back then, the only time we saw any discharge down the runoff channel was after a superburst or similar large surges. This time the flow down was continuous, with frequent surges from even minor South Vent activity.

There never really was any progression of function as we saw back then. In the half hour leading up to the eruption, I was watching the activity, which as almost entirely South Vent surging. Even between the big surges, which were the only Combined function I remember seeing. (And the first surge may even been a South function.)

Even so, there were times when it could be felt that the activity was higher or lower than normal. We managed to escape several times for food and pit breaks and only once did we miss any sort of surge event.


When does an eruption of Steamboat start? As the video shows, there's not a point where it suddenly bursts up and you can say, "this is it". It just keeps climbing. Suzanne and I agreed that it's the start of the surging. Use the same procedure as used for timing Old Faithful. If the surging doesn't turn into an eruption, you just click the stopwatch. If it does, then you have your start time. The video clip of the eruption starts at 19:15:57, after the surging had started.


One thing that really bothered me is hearing about the attitude of the YVO professionals concerning Steamboat. It appears that they are either not doing a good job of explaining what is going on, or they are passing around bad information. They are also basing way to much of what they say on instrument readings. Readings they have never seen before, and therefor have no idea what they actually mean, other than, "something different" happened. The proper interpretation would be "we don't know, yet,", instead we were getting talk like "minor major event" and water phases that only lated a minute or two.

I pointed out on several occasions that there was no way that statement could be made. Until the start of an eruption, and the subsequent start of water phase were witnessed, they just didn't know what happened. You can't interpret the size of the activity based on erosion or runoff because that is weather and wind dependent. (For example, the parking lot didn't get drenched.)

I also see that they put out info that the eruption started at 19:33. From direct observation we know that's when the transition to steam started. Now that they have some information they can use to interpret their seismograph traces they need to correct that start time, and add disclaimers to the other start times. (Like adding "ie" to them.) I will be pleasantly surprised if they do that any time soon.


Update: 2018 Jun 01 I noticed that the video has been linked by at least one non-gazer site. Those people seem put off by the screaming, and have the need to display their feeble wit in action. So on the hosting site I added, for me, a polite response:

I've noticed that some people linking to this feel a need to comment on the screaming. Let me put it mildly-- Those weren't tourists screaming. You commenters are the tourists. I didn't post this video for you. I posted it for those people who did the screaming (and there were quite a few) and for those people who wanted to be there adding to the screaming. If you don't understand why those people couldn't contain their enthusiasm, then please, stay away and leave the place for people who do.