Turns out that leaving Sawmill Group last night was right decision, as Penta marker was still in place when came out before dawn. Once again, water levels there were high, but I didn't stick around. About half hour later heard to load thumps of a high pool Sawmill start.
After the morning Grand eruption, headed down to Fan & Mortar for a few hours of garbage mode, although i think I arrived at the end of a minor event. At least it never looked as good during my wait as it did when I arrived.
After breakfast, there was finally a report of an event at Fan & Mortar. This was Mortar dominated, with the activity of the Fan vents never looking good, but we did get one surge from Mortar that could've grown into a full eruption.
Following that, it was about time for Grand, but Rift had also just started. When II had returned as far as Castle, I had a decision. Based on past behavior, that meant about a three hour wait, but on the other hand, I had no reason to head any further in. So decided to head over to Grand.
That proved to be the right decision, as within minutes of arrival, the pool on Grand was full with waves. Unlike so many recent eruptions, Grand initiated this one, and we got a nice two burst eruption with Rift sputter away over on the side, on a less than 7 hour interval.
Following that, the Sawmill Group was high with Sawmill quiet. Some bubbling from Penta's lower vents was enough to get me to stick around. (That I'd been prepared to stay out a few hours was a factor, too.) All the pools continued to rise, and finally we got a good, doming surge over Penta's bottom vents, but no eruption. Expected that the next good surge should be the one which started the eruption, instead looked over and saw Sawmill boiling and doming up. Time to head in.
I was starting to get ready to go out to Grand when the next call for an event at Fan & Mortar came over the radio. It was good timing, as I figured that no matter what happened, I could then go directly to Grand. As it turned out that while the surging from Lower Mortar looked promising, when Fan came back on it never really looked all that good. So it was off to Grand.
Even heading out to Fan & Mortar the sky looked ugly. At Grand I got to experience possibly the worst conditions I've ever encountered that didn't involve precipitation. While there was no rain, it was dark and there was a strong wind from the north that had to have gusts at or above 40 mph. But it only lasted about 20 minutes, and by the time Grand erupted, it was relatively calm.
That eruption started with one of the most explosive Turban starts I've seen. It suddenly and without warning threw a plume of water sideways at least 15 feet high. It was getting dark, making the steamy pool hard to see, but just based on that I figured we were about to get Grand. And I was right. The second burst was also sort of a bonus, as the first burst was nearly 11 minutes long. But thanks to the wind, which had been picking up during the first burst, it wasn't all that impressive.
The wind was picking up because another storm was moving in, but fortunately, I was back in the cabin by the time it started to get wet.
I noticed when I was riding my bike on the service road behind the Inn in order to make the previous day's posting that there was a freshly flattened tree rat on the pavement. Coming back ten minutes later, the carcass was gone. Those ravens work fast.