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Old Giant Geyser Photos

Here are a few old pictures of Giant Geyser. The first is of an eruption in 1912, taken, it appears, from across the river near Beauty and Chromatic Pools. It came from a series of photos taken in and around the old Army post at Old Faithful. Needless to say, the other ones I would have liked to have went for much more than I could afford.

The second is actually a photograph, probably from the 1930s. The third is also probably from the 1930s (does the "36" indicate the year?). It appears that some sort of activity might have just finished with Mastiff and Catfish, or it was just steamy.

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Observations for 06 August

I learned today that if you are going to do something really, really stupid, it's best to do it on the last day of the trip when it'll just be an inconvenience instead of a catastrophe

The day started out with a damp wait at Grand. Some of the thickest geyser fog I've seen this trip, which occasionally got swept away by a strong breeze. Grand itself was steamy, hard to see.

After that I rode down to find that Fan & Mortar did erupt overnight as expected. Based on the amount of activity from the vents, I wouldn't be surprised that it happened right after I left Grand the night before. (Not that I wanted to be in that weather.

Following that did get to see a nice Beehive eruption from the overlook. An eruption whose significance became apparent later in the day.

The afternoon Grand took place just as a small but windy storm was clearing out. One Turban eruption later and we'd have had sunshine and much less wind. And we didn't even get the compensation of a second burst.

I used the lull before an Old Faithful eruption to go to the Lodge Cafeteria to get some food. I was just finishing up when the call that Beehive's Indicator had started. This was a bit of a surprise, as it was only 10 hours since the morning eruption. So I finished my meal, went back to the cabin to get a raincoat and umbrella, and sauntered over to Geyser Hill.

Where I got to see the first false Indicator in quite a while. 65 minutes of it. Beehive stopped splashing and trying at about the 35 minute mark. So now the question becomes, will Beehive have an eruption with the next Indicator eruption, making this an interesting and annoying exception, or does this mean that this morning I saw the last Beehive eruption of the summer?

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Observations for 05 August

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.

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Observations for 04 August

Like the night before, the possibility of an eruption of Grand just as it was getting dark turned into an after-midnight eruption. I arrived just as West Triplet started, and Rift joined right in a half hour later. Unlike the night before, this time it was mostly clear (just the usual clouds far to the north and south) and calm.

The predicted aurora never materialized. As the sky darkened, the area to the north seemed to remain bright, but as midnight approached, it too finally became dark, and then the eastern sky began to lighten slightly as the moon rose. There was a little light on the top of Grand's steam column during the eruption, but it really didn't help make anything more visible.

In the morning, we had yet another long interval at Grand. At least we were rewarded with the second three burst eruption in two days. Was a long pause between the second and third, so it didn't surprise me when Vent and Turban quit after.

With the next Fan & Mortar window approaching, I spent an hour down there, watching garbage, although there was some Upper Mortar rumbling with water visible down in the vent, and steaming from the Frying Pan. (It's amazing how large that vent has become. No way that water would have been visible even ten years ago.)

Grand was set up for a sunset eruption, but when West Triplet's eruption led into the start of Rift, I figured I'd be seeing it in the dark. So it was a pleasant surprise to have it start on the last possible Turban eruption, just as Rift was ending. The only drawback was that there wasn't a second burst, but the lighting during the eruption, along with a breeze out of the north, gave us full arc rainbows which ended in Sawmill on the right end.

Beehive's Indicator was announced just before the Grand eruption, and thanks to the long Indicators we've had lately, I was able to seen the entire Grand eruption, and leisurely walk all the way to the overlook at Crested Pool. Too bad the sun had already set by then.

Along the ways I noticed that the Sawmill Group was again full, and in Tardy Mode. It had been that way when I came out to Grand, but after about 20 minutes, Spasmodic shut off and the system drained. I probably should have stuck around, but getting some sleep seemed a higher priority.

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Observations for 03 August

The nighttime Grand eruption wait started with overcast skies and a Rift eruption. By the time Rift had quit the clouds had turned to a strong wind and some showers. But it only took a half hour for things to clear back up. When Grand did start, the moon, while dimmed by some thin clouds, was enough to illuminate a nice three burst eruption.

The Castle eruption during the wait had to be one of the more powerful it's had in a while. Or else the wind conditions really amplified the noise of the steam-phase. It was still an impressive rumble an hour after the start of the eruption.

The afternoon Grand eruption was another one of its cases of having a delay at a reasonable time, thus making sure there's another long interval.

Here's what an eruption of Old Faithful looks like when viewed from the Snowlodge. Another lost opportunity we've gotta live with for the next few decades.

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Observations for 02 August

The previous day's late evening Grand turned into the after-midnight Grand. It turned out to be quite nice.There was a bit of a breeze from the south, which was pushing the steam to the north. The moon had just risen, so even though only about half, it was illuminating the pool of Grand and its runoff nicely. I was able to see the waves build on the pool and clearly see the start of the eruption. A second burst would have been really pretty, but that didn't happen.

I also got to hear Beehive just before Grand. It was perfect timing, as al the noise of Rift and Percolator erupting had finally subsided, making it obvious that something was happening over on Geyser Hill.

The morning eruption turned into the noon-time eruption, thanks to a Vent delay just as West Triplet had it's early window eruption. Again the lighting was nice. As Grand's surges climbed, each one broke out of the shadow of the previous one's steam cloud, a nice effect. And again, we got a one burst so there wasn't a chance to see that happen again.

During that wait, saw one of the tallest Oblong Geyser eruptions I've ever seen. A massive surge was not just as high as the dead tree by Chromatic Pool, but appeared as high as the trees behind Oblong on Wylie Camp hill.

After Grand it appeared that Penta might try to erupt from a normal Tardy Mode, but for half an hour everything in the Sawmill Group just sitting there. When Oval Spring's pulsations didn't seem to change things, I decided it was time to leave. Penta didn't erupt, as shortly afterwards Spasmodic stopped overflowing and all the water levels dropped. Later that afternoon, Sawmill erupted.

This afternoon's Beehive eruption was a warning. After several weeks of Indicator durations around 20 minutes, this one was barely over 6, just enough time to get from the store parking lot to the Firehole river overlook. (This was my first daytime Beehive this trip from that vantage point.)

The evening was clear and pleasant, and I didn't need to bring out the nighttime gear. Grand took advantage of the early West Triplet eruption to erupt as soon as the next window became available. While waiting, I saw another Oblong eruption, this one not impressive at all.

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Observations for 01 August

After learning that I had made the bad choice the night before, the day settled into the fairly typical and mildly boring three Grand eruptions and one Beehive eruption. A good day to catch up on sleep and other tasks I'd been neglecting over the previous few days.

Overnight Beehive got lost, but based on the early afternoon eruption I'd guess it went during the Grand or Fan & Mortar eruptions when people were out but preoccupied.

One good thing about the day was that the Grand intervals were a little shorter. Of course that wasn't going to last.

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Observations for 31 July

In the middle of the night I thought 7 hours would be enough to get out to Grand but it wasn't. Once again I got to see Vent and Turban and an empty crater. As a bonus, I did get to see Rift start.

The next time I got up, it was overcast with a thunderstorm moving in. Eating breakfast during that time seemed a good idea, then it was time for a Grand wait.

I really wasn't expecting a third short interval and I was right. But we did get to see a different Penta eruption than the norm. Usually a Penta eruption starts after there's been heavy overflow from Spasmodic and a slow, steadily more vigorous eruption of Tardy. This eruption was about an hour after Sawmill and Spasmodic was just at the point of overflow, and dropping. Otherwise it was a normal eruption that lasted about an hour. During the eruption itself(another two burst) Sput A and Sputnik started blipping.

At that point it was time to head in, as the sky was getting black and the rains were coming. But as we approached Sawmill, it started erupting, lasted about 30 seconds and then quit. I've seen that before, during deep drains,but this must've been more of a post-Penta effect as the water levels weren't low enough for that.

That afternoon, after a quick but intense thundershower, saw a disinterested event at Fan & Mortar;. Heading out for the evening Grand eruption, it looked like I was going to get wet, but the heavy clouds passed both to the north and south. The southern one was close enough that we got a rainbow, but no droplets.

Once again Grand demonstrated its bimodal behavior, passing up early opportunities for an eruption to only wait until it reached the 10 hour mark. I did get to see another Penta steam-phase eruption during the wait, though. It was while I was coming in that I heard that another event was starting at Fan & Mortar. The idea of riding down all that way, then coming back disappointed an hour later didn't appeal to me, so I turned off the radio and headed in instead. That proved to be a mistake, as the event quickly built into an eruption that took place well before midnight.