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Observations for 20 May 2013

The rain stopped overnight, but everything was still damp in the morning. Th sky looked like it might try clearing, but by the time it was time to head out to Grand, it was sprinkling again.

So it looks like Penta did have an eruption overnight, and based on what I saw when I left, it might have been before dark. At Grand, the pool still had about an hour to go before first overflow, so there was another fairly long overnight interval.

Walking back from checking out Penta, as I was walking up from the bridge,I noticed a coyote coming down the Castle runoff channel to the west. It never really seemed to pay attention to me, but kept on going, using the bridge to get across the river.

At that point I went down basin to just take a look at things without it raining. About 45 minutes later, as I approached Castle on my bike, there was another coyote crossing the trail. Or the same coyote. It took almost exactly the same path as in the previous encounter, disappearing in the trees to the east of Tardy. It'll be interesting to see how bold this critter gets as the season progresses.

One thing I noticed down basin is that they've put the bike rack at Grotto in the wrong place. It should be south of the boardwalk, not north of it, blocking the view of Grotto. It's just one of those little things that reinforces my belief that the NPS is "esthetically impared". It would be nice if someone who works here would realize the problem and fix it, but odds it's gonna be squirrels in the middle of the night that have to put it were it belongs.

By then it was time to head out into the basin for another Grand eruption. While it had been dry when I'd been out before,now we were starting to get intermittent showers. All during the several hour wait at Grand the rain would come and go. One moment nothing, then the next almost a downpour. Around 11:15 several groups from Montana schools appeared. Of course they were unprepared and underequiped for the conditions, and everyone was trying to outdo everyone else in the amount of noise produced. Fortunately, they had a deadline of noon for leaving, and did.

When they left, Grand was approaching the second Turban after what appeared to be a weak two-Turban delay. The pool had filled earlier than usual, and looked good for a while. Then, when Turban erupted, it was noticeably more "vigorous" and the eruption duration was short. Since Grand doesn't like going on the next Turban after one of those short duration eruptions, I knew we had at least two more to go.

The pool filled early again, and for quite a while it was hard to tell if there really were waves. Finally, around the time Turban started it became obvious even in the steamy conditions. Then the real fun began. At the 8m14s mark, Grand just quit. With all the steam, it was hard to tell if it was refilling, but as time passed, no water was visible, while at the same time Turban and Vent became stronger, with Vent blasting away. About then it was obvious that Grand was not even trying. I stuck around a bit in the hopes of some quick, early afterplay, but even after eight minutes, I saw nothing.

So, based on the duration and the conditions, this may not have been the Worst Grand Ever, but comes close.

So after the eruption, that's when the rains finally stopped.The sky even cleared enough for there to be occasional sunshine, the first I think I've seen this trip.

Yesterday I noticed that there was a bit under eight hours between two Aurum eruptions. So when Aurum erupted in the morning, I thought that this afternoon might be a good time to try and see an eruption up close with out a six hour wait. With no rain, there was no excuse to not make the attempt. I got to Aurum at about the 7.5 hour mark, and saw that all the side sputs were active. So I wandered down to Doublet, which while it was palpitating, wasn't having any thumps that I could feel. As I turned back to Aurum, that's when the eruption started. Not counting the walking around geyser hill I think I spent less than five minutes waiting for this eruption.

After that, it was almost time for Grand. Since the window could be closing after sunset, I prepared for the wait accordingly. I saw Penta erupting as I biked past the Inn parking lot, but it ended by the time I got to the bike rack.

Over at the Grand Group, I arrived just in time for West Triplet, and what appeared to be a nice heavy overflow from Grand, but not enough to be considered a delay. That early in the interval, I figured it might be a good sign. The next Turban eruption was unremarkable, but by then the wait had been interrupted by the call for Beehive's Indicator. And it was a short Indicator this time. No way would I have gotten over on the Hill in time if I'd started from the cabin area.

West Triplet continued on well past the half-hour mark, and was approaching 40 minutes as the next Turban eruption approached. It was then that I noticed that I was alone. Really alone. I didn't see anyone anywhere down the walkway to Oblong, nor was there anyone I could see in the Sawmill Group or on the walk down from Castle. So there was no one to share the nice steady progression of Grand's pool as the waves finally began. This interval was going to be just over 6-1/2 hours.

Turban went first, and it was between then and the start of Grand that West Triplet ended. I was surprised that Rift hadn't started yet. So once Grand was well underway, I looked again, and Rift was sputting away. Great timing,as Rift could now be safely ignored. The conditions were the best of the trip. The sun was hidden behind a cloud, but there was plenty of blue sky to provide lighting.

Quitting at just over nine minutes, I was hoping not to get a repeat of this morning. And fortunately, me and the few people who finally wandered up got a nice second. It was also during that second burst that Rift quit, giving it a duration of about 8 to 9 minutes. Strange that twice this trip I've seen Rift end during Grand, both times with what seemed like short eruptions, at least for it. I think it was the only Grand eruption this trip that I saw not wearing rain-gear.

And at that point, this trip was effectively over. Although I did see Old Faithful start as rode the bike past the Inn.

One good thing about these wet, early season days is that I haven't had to deal with bug goo or sunscreen.

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Observations for 19 May 2013

Maybe I should have gone out the night before. I woke up at dawn and headed out. The rains had stopped recently, and considering what it could have been like, it was kinda nice. I was pleased to see that there wasn't much steam at Grand, so at least I hadn't just missed an eruption.

As I got closer,I found that the reason there was no steam was because the crater was totally empty. Vent and Turban had quite a while earlier, and the eruption was from one to two hours ago. That meant that overnight, there was either a long interval, or a couple of eruptions in less than 12 hours. Would have to factor that into the plans for the rest of the trip.

The Sawmill Group had also just ended a deep draining eruption by Sawmill. Uncertain was gurgling a bit, but not enough to make it with sticking around. But Castle did start up, and despite the gray sky background, the rumbling and column of the steam phase were nice. By that time, it was starting to drizzle again.

Headed in to take a nap, and when it was time to go out to Grand again, the rain was coming down as wet white flakes.

At least those turned into a sort of drizzle that persisted the rest of the morning. Didn't really need the umbrella, as it wasn't really getting much wetter, but the umbrella did function as a sort of wind-break. The wind was strong enough to have appeared to have delayed Daisy during that time.

Grand was not showing any sort of inclination to erupt when West Triplet started. Grand still didn't look any more promising when Beehive's Indicator was announced. That cleared the benches, so there were only a few to see Rift start. So I was pleasantly surprised when about 1/2 after Rift started, Grand definitely had waves and then erupted. Was a nice two burst with enough contrast between the steam and the clouds, and enough wind to see the jets separate from the steam.

During the eruption, Rift also quit, with a duration of somewhere between 30 and 40 minutes. A bit short, but the first one I've seen this year.

Since Grand had had several short intervals lately, decided that I should be there at around the six hour mark. The weather was acceptable, with only a drizzle, not enough to require use of the umbrella. But as the wait progressed, the drizzle turned into sprinkles and by the time Grand erupted, it was raining. Grand seemed to ignore the West Triplet eruption, and we didn't get another short interval, unfortunately. At least it was a long one burst eruption.

Afterwards, I noticed that Penta was looking really good. The bottom vents pool was full, and might even have been overflowing. WIth the rain it was hard to tell that, or if there was any upwelling over the vents. Spasmodic was full, as was Sawmill, which might even have also been in overflow. But it was so wet it was hard to tell, and I was so wet myself I decided to let the marker catch the eruption, and came on in.

But at least the cafeteria has Bison Meatloaf back on the menu

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Observations for 18 May 2013

Coming in from the West Entrance, and knowing that Grand probably wouldn't erupt for several hours, I had no excuse not to stop at the Fountain Paint Pots and take a look around. Got to see an empty craters for both Fountain and Morning. Even with the overnight rain, it was pretty obvious that it was a lot wetter around Fountain that back around Morning. Jet huffed and puffed, but didn't erupt while I was there. I did get to see several boils in the 3/4 meter range on Celestine.

By the time I got to the Upper Basin, the rains were starting to pick up again, just enough to be constantly annoying. Which seemed like it would be the theme of the weekend. Sawmill was pounding away, and it seemed obvious that the group was going into a drain mode. This was confirmed when Penta had a weak steam phase eruption. shortly before Sawmill quit.

Grand had a couple of desultory Turban eruptions, which were followed by a Vent overflow. The pool never looked good through the fog. A couple of quick 16 minute Turban intervals we got a nice, but short one burst eruption.

By then the rains had stopped, so I decided to take the opportunity to run down basin. It might the only dry opportunity. That it was also about time for Daisy was another good reason. The Daisy eruption was typical for the last decade in my experience-- a duration of 3m24s. Splendid shows no signs of any overflow to the north, not even from Daisy eruption water.

Fan & Mortar showed that they can still look really good for a few minutes when the Fan vents start up. But about three minutes later, that activity had died down and the Angle Vent had started.

Geyser Hill from the parking lot can be really boring without Plume, and during the long pause between Lion series. I saw nothing over several hours of killing time but an Aurum eruption.

I finally got checked into my cabin and things unloaded, and was about to change into warmer clothing when I heard the call that Grand was erupting. An interval well under 6-1/2 hours was not what I was expecting. I decided that I should at least make an attempt to see something, so biked down and was walking down from Crested when the long one-burst eruption finally ended.

A bit later in the evening I did get to see an eruption of Beehive as the rains started to return. I considered going out to Grand, if the intervals were going to be short, then maybe there wouldn't be a wait, but it was still sprinkling, and decided I wasn't up for a cold wet wait in the dark.