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One last posting

This is probably the last posting here. Since I'm no longer in the park, I don't have access to any of the information necessary to make them. I attempted to see if I could interest anyone else in helping to continue it after I left, but found no takers. I am getting some information on Grand, Giant and Beehive and such, but in the "Current Activity" panel, I've disabled several other geysers on which I won't be getting any up-to-date information. The postings will stay here for the foreseeable future.

If I have accomplished anything, it was to show that doing these things, right from Yellowstone, is not only possible, but fairly easy. (I've learned that one can also buy web modem-like access through some cellphone providers, too.) With cellphones and text messaging, it should be possible to set up a server on which people can report geyser times and info, which doesn't require them yelling into a radio and the Visitor Center starting yet another Abbot and Costello "Who's On First" routine. Which then raises the question, why doesn't an entity like GOSA do it? A cynical guess would be because most groupies are happy with the current chaos, both within the park and from home. More likely, it's just because it's not occurred to anyone to try this, and leadership has always been lacking among gazers (not an opinion here, but fact based on a couple decades of experience). I'm open to some consulting and when it comes to commercial programming, my rates are reasonable and competitive.

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Grand Observations

Mary Beth Schwarz reports that since I've left, the mode shift at Grand continues. There have been several more false Vent overflow delays, and then yesterday (04 July) Grand had it's first known "boop" delay in several years. (A "boop" is when, during a Turban heavy overflow delay, Grand has boiling to up to several feet over its vent which does not result in an eruption. )Like the false Vent overflows, this usually results in several Turban interval delays.In this case, six. Fortunately, the delay took place early in the Grand interval, which kept that interval from being excessively long.

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The migration home (every migration is a round trip) was boring and almost uneventful. As always, I packed up the night before and then left before dawn at 04:45. Took me 13 hours and 22 minutes to travel 752.9 miles. Not too bad considering there were stops along the way, a few passes to climb, 30 miles in the park, and the last thirteen miles taking 40 minutes along the beautiful West Lake Sammammish Parkway into beautiful downtown Redmond.

One small incident at the very beginning. On the way out, encountered the first oncoming vehicle north of Nez Perce Creek. Was still getting used to not having driven for 6 weeks, and the lighting was such that it was still hard to see details despite moonlight and dawn. Came around a curve and wondered what was it about the road that didn't look right. It was a large elk standing in the other lane, just sort of staring stupidly at me (about as stupidly as I was staring at him as I approached). I swerved around, and that was it. Like I said, other than the radio stopping working when I left the last rest stop (Elk Heights, hmmm...) it was perhaps one of the most boring trips I've had on that route.

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Observations for 01 July

Grand decided that it needs to not only have more long intervals, but to resurrect a pattern I've not seen this trip: the one where every Turban interval is about 30 seconds shorter than the previous,and Grand won't even try to erupt until there's an interval of about 17 minutes or so. And even then, there's no guarantee that you won't just get some sort of Turban delay. But this time everything cooperated and we got a less than ten minute long two burst eruption.

Then while starting to pack up the truck for the trip back, I got a bonus. Haven't really seen Beehive all trip, because so many of the eruptions have been without the Indicator. The previous eruption someone announced that water was rising in the Indicator, and within a minute, Beehive was in eruption. I was in my cabin, and barely got out the door from one radio call to the next. Weeks ago I'd resigned myself to seeing Beehive no closer than from the river overlook, if I was lucky.

Today we got another such call, but this time the Indicator cooperated. I was able to walk fast and get to about Anemone when Beehive took off. With the prevailing winds, that meant I was on the wrong side, and took the cold drenching to get to the other side. There were full 360° rainbows in there somewhere, but I didn't stick around for them. That water was cold. I wish I'd brought the camera, because not only was that the first time I've seen the Second Indicator, for much of the eruption it appeared taller than the Indicator itself. And I still don't know who exactly it was who gave out the call.

For the second afternoon in a row, Grand had a false Vent overflow. Today at least Grand finally did erupt during West Triplet, but I don't like this sort of behavior, and almost thankful that I won't be around to have it frustrate me. While waiting, we did have a herd of elk and their calves appear below Castle and head off across the walkway and north.

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Observations for 30 June

Lately Grand has been having a long interval followed by a couple of shorts, or some sort of variation on the theme (like two longs in a row, or three shorts, etc.) Today it tried something different. The early morning interval was a long, so I expected a short. Instead we got one of the longest intervals of my stay. It seemed to break all the rules. We had a false Vent overflow, West Triplet erupted a second time without Grand following along, and had several short (under 17 minute) Turban intervals, and Grand finally initiated the eruption for The Burst and Quit. It was a hot day and fun was had all around.

At least it kept to form for the nighttime eruption, with a little over seven hour interval putting the start in the second minute of July. But what I don't understand is why tourists come out on a moonlit night and then proceed to wave weak flashlights at the eruption. Fortunately the moon was so bright that they didn't matter.

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Some Advice for Geyser Groupies...

... who want to progress to the next level.

In no particular order, here are some words of advice for those new to Yellowstone's geyser activity:

  • "When did Grand erupt?" is not an acceptable greeting.
  • Carrying around Scott Bryan's Geysers of Yellowstone does not make you an expert.
  • Reading Scott Bryan's Geysers of Yellowstone does not make you an expert.
  • Finding a mistake in Scott Bryan's Geysers of Yellowstone does not make you an expert. (Although this might change with the next edition...)
  • Just because we both like geysers does not automatically make you my friend.
  • The socializing benches are over there. Use them.
  • Someone else saw that particular activity before you. Someone else saw that feature erupt before you. And it almost certainly has a name.
  • Enthusiasm is not a substitute for accuracy.
  • Accept the fact that there's a long list of people who'd like special privileges (like housing or access to restricted areas) and that you are on the bottom of the list. The only way to move up is to keep at it for years, and pay your own way in the process.
  • If you make a wrong decision, or other obligations get in the way, deal with it. No one wants to hear you whine about how you were at Grand when Beehive erupted. No one forced you to be at Grand.
  • If you aren't prepared for the nighttime conditions (and you won't be), know when to give up. Your constant twitching futilely trying to keep warm gets annoying Try a moonlight Grand or Castle first so you know what you are getting into.
  • Bright lights won't help you see large areas or generalities, only specifics.
  • Turn off the light and let your eyes adapt to the dark.
  • Radios — Don't get me started, but this also applies in person: Try shutting up and listening.
  • Words mean things, and geyser terms have specific meanings. If you are unable or unwilling to learn to use them properly, then please don't spread your ignorance around.
  • Don't bother trying to impress tourons, because you will never see them again. People who are interested in geysers won't need to be sold on seeing Grand.