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.