It was a day to finally get out into the Upper Basin and see what was different from last October. It was also gray and breezy and not warm.
The bike rack placement is interesting. There's one as you approach Castle, down in the primary spray zone from the geyser and in prime selfie territory. It's also butted up against the curbing, so that one side is useless. It's about as far from the boardwalk as possible and still be "at Castle." There's a small one across from the southern Daisy trail. I guess it's purpose is to encourage people to not ride directly up to the benches at Daisy. There's a small one at Grotto, which will be inadequate should Giant reactivate. The final bikerack was dumped next to Backwater Spring, on the trail to the now closed Pit Of Eternal Stench.
The replacement Pit is interesting too. Gonna appear in more than a few Riverside eruption photos and videos, I would guess. (Which is somehow appropriate for Riverside.) Next to it is a big spoil pile of sinter dug out to make room for the vault below. That tends to offend me, as there is no reason for the NPS to be digging in thermal areas. Especially when that digging is done with active, flowing springs uphill from the hole. The overflow from Victory hasn't reached that far yet, but you can see the swath of dead trees from its previous activity pointed right at this new building.
Grotto was having a marathon eruption, but down by Oblong we saw Solstice in eruption. It's a feature I've never seen before, so I could be wrong, It's east of Oblong on the other side of the river, and the eruption looked a lot like Old Tardy or Terra Cotta A (the big one).
With nothing much else going on, and Fountain having long durations, we went out there for the early afternoon eruption. The weather forecast said that there could be showers in the early afternoon, and that's what we got. We waited an hour or so, and the rain finally came just when Morning's Thief had its first eruption. Previously I've seen that feature erupt to maybe 3 or 4 meters, but this was between 10 and 15, and quite impressive. There was a second one, just as large, before Fountain finally started.
We got one more Thief eruption, and that seemed even more massive and taller than the previous activity. Then it was wating out the Fountain eruption to get the duration. The wind and rain both picked up during this time, and unfortunately that was coming in the same direction as the view we needed. Fountain's steam made it impossible to see the eruption, and the boardwalk.
What got our attention, and the reason we were there was that Fountain durations were well over the magic 38m mark that said Morning might do something. This eruption lasted about 39m12, which made it shorter than the previous know durations for the week. With the weather the way it was, it was a relief to go back to a dry vehicle and head in.
One thing I noticed today, something which may have been there for years. It's that under the first 45mph sign as you head out of the Old Faithful area has a smaller sign posted below it. In tiny print, it says "Slower Traffic Use Turnouts". Over the next few weeks, will report any other, similar sightings.