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Observations for 2021 May 30

Was a productive day. Got up early to go out on Geyser Hill. Wanted to catch a Lion initial eruption and did. Also did a video walking around the entire boardwalk loop. Bonus was catching a pretty poor eruption of Depression.

From there it was time to go to Grand. On the way out, stopped at Churn only to have it start to erupt. This is the first time in years where I saw Churn from there, and not from Bulger or Crested Pool or Grand. Have included a photo of the post-eruption pool level in order to compare it to the drop we witnessed a few weeks ago.

Churn Geyser pool after an eruption

Grand itself only made us wait a single Turban eruption interval. It was calm and warming, so the eruption was nicely backlit. And it ended at just over 7-1/2 minutes. A quick pause, and a second burst brought the eruption duration to 9m01s. And the pool never filled, as far as we could tell.

Stopped at Daisy to catch another short eruption, then off to Artemisia again. Caught a nice eruption with the wind mostly cooperating, and got an Atomizer minor eruption shortly after Artemisia ended.

Mid afternoon was time for another One Burst Grand eruption, where despite a duration of 10-1/2 minutes, Vent & Turban didn't quit.

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Observations for 2021 May 29

Didn't have to wait for the morning Grand eruption. Cold and steamy, but calm. The first burst lasted 9m11s, which is often enought for a One Burst eruption, but not this time. Instead we got a short pause and a short second burst before Vent & Turban reluctantly quit.

After that, I was able to go to Geyser Hill. There was another eruption of Little Squirt, and I wanted to see how the frying pans next to the boardwalk reacted. I didn't get over there until after Little Squirt had been finished, and it was mostly dry. But the frying pans were sizzling a bit, which is the activity I would have expected.

Visited Artemisia for the first time this year. Got to see an Atomizer minor eruption and a jerk on a bicycle. Went over to catch Daisy and got the call for the start of Beehive's Indicator. Made it as far as the trail junction in front of the Inn.

Midday, Grand had a series non-Delay Turban intervals that caused a long interval. This is the first wait of this time this visit. The eruption itself went into Big Sawmill mode fairly early around the 8-1/2 minute mark with a false pause. From there, it slopped around for over five minutes. There was another significant false pause just before 13 minute mark, and the total eruption duration was 13m07s. Vent & Turban quickly died down.

Since the Lower Basin opened up yesterday, decided it was a good time to see the obligatory, annual Great Fountain eruption. Arrived after overflow had started, so at least didn't have long to wait. The eruption itself was described as being "Great Flounder", and it was all my fault for my being there. I also had to wipe down the windows of my truck to get rid of another set of stains.

Stopped in at Fountain Paint Pots, where Fountain started right as we stopped. The wind was strong, so the steam and spray was being carried horizontally across the walkway and across Jet Geyser. Had to walk through it to get a view of the eruption, and it was very warm and humid, but no spray for my passage through.

Finally went out for a post-sunset Grand eruption. Instead got a Turban Interval Delay of over 33 minutes when Grand suddenly erupted. The pool didn't look great, but it was hard to tell with the lighting and steaminess. This was another long One Burst Eruption, with a false pause at around 11 minutes into an eruption that lasted 12-1/2 minutes. Vent & Turban were off within seconds of the end of the eruption.

The Sawmill Group showed no signs of any changes today. Sawmill was always well below overflow whenever I passed by.

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Observations for 2021 May 28

Another three hours at Norris to confirm that things really haven't changed, that any reports of improvements were temporary. The winds picked up as we left, and were excessive the rest of the day.

Back in the Upper Basin, on the way out to Grand, I noticed that Churn was just below overflow, like it appears after an eruption. The rest of the group was dropping. Several hours later, at a time when Spasmodic was below overflow, Churn was only overflowing out the left/west part of the rim, and just wet to the north. The One Burst Grand was chopped off by the wind.

Quick checks at Fan & Mortar, and hanging around Sawmill Group, along with Castle and Beehive eruptions filled in the rest of the day. Missed the Indicator radio call, so didn't get to Geyser Hill in time to see Beehive up close.

Went out for the evening Grand, and got a 35m two Turban eruption interval delay. The sun had set by eruption time, but the lighting was still good and the wind had died down to only be "breezy".

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Observations for 2021 May 27

In the middle of the night got a notification of Beehive's Indicator erupting. Got out too late to see it, but did confirm that the bubblers near Little Squirt were quiet (but the boardwalk was frost free) and did see Old Faithful on the way back.

Not much reason to go to Norris, so decided to skip the day and see geysers. The morning's One Burst Grand was nicely back lit, very steamy but the wind was from the north. Afterwards, went down to see Fan & Mortar in Angle/Garbage mode.

I thought I'd seen Daisy heading out to Grand, but was mistaken as I arrived at what I thought was well before the two hour mark, and Daisy was nowhere near ready. The eruption itself lasted on 3m09s, which seems to not be unusual this year.

The crowd at the early afternoon Grand looked like one that is waiting for an eruption in July. As it was, they got to see a three Turban Interval Delay. The Delay interval was short, only 25-1/2 minutes, but sufficient. The next two Turban intervals were short and had little to no overflow.

West Triplet continues to overflow fairly steadily, with no signs of erupting. It has also taken on a brownish color. The flow picks up during and after Grand, and can be little more than a trickle otherwise.

Afterwards, came across Crystal Spring having one of its major slopping episodes, where water floods out over the rim in all directions. Waited about 20 minutes for a repeat, but all I got were some brief slaps against the shelf every three minutes or so.

Went out early for the late evening Grand. Saw Turban erupting as I tied up my bike. The next Turban eruption was 35 minutes later. Since it was less than 5-1/2 hours since the earlier Grand eruption, I wasn't surprised there wasn't an eruption. Fortunately, the Delay was only for two Turban intervals, and it was still pretty light when Grand started. The first burst lasted under eight minutes, so we expected and were rewarded with a second burst that lasted just over a minute. Long enough that we didn't get the third burst, and Vent & Turban didn't quit.

After leaving Grand, noticed that Sawmill was higher than I've seen it in years. And it was still rising. It was getting dark, but the reflection of the sky in the pool seen from over by Tardy showed the level pretty clearly. It appears that it got to the point where overflow was starting, and then the pool dropped. There might have been some water flowing under the gravel in the runoff, as there were several areas that looked wet when we left.

Sawmill Geyser at overflow

As we left, I also noticed that Churn was down slightly, stopping most of its overflow. The level was similar to that following an eruption of Churn.

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Observations for 2021 May 26

At Norris, the situation was even worse that yesterday. It really does appear that New Crater/Steamboat is stuck in a mode where which hasn't been seen these past few years-- one where there is no progression, or "looking good", or with activity that can get the crowd (such as it has been) excited.

Got back in time for the mid-day One Burst Grand eruption. The start was simultaneous and explosive from both. It had been showery up to the eruption, but afterwards, the rain started hard. Always nice to bicycle back in rain.

Didn't find out until mid-afternoon that Little Squirt had been active earlier in the day. So went out and confirmed that the little bubbling gravel areas near Little Squirt were noisily active.

The rains stopped for the evening, although the wind was cold and damp, and from the north. Grand waited until the sunset Turban interval, and that made for a wonderfully lighted eruption, nicely visible thanks to the wind. It started with a big blue bubble. The second burst started as the sun was already dropping below the ridgeline. After about 30 seconds into the second burst, Grand went into Big Sawmill mode for another 30 seconds. Then Vent & Turban got our attention as about a minute after the end, they increased in power much more than normal. Looked for an afterburst attempt, but nothing out of Grand's vent.

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Observations for 2021 May 25

About midway through five hours at Norris New Crater/Steamboat finally did something that looked like it might want to try to erupt. For about 1/2 hour starting at 11:00, we got some strong activity with a flood of water coming down from the South Vent. Then a reversion to the activity we've been seeing all along for the next 1-1/2 hours. Then it was time to leave.

Did catch the evening One Burst Grand eruption. Nothing much of interest in it or any other activity. West Triplet continued to be inoverflow every time I look at it.

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Observations for 2021 May 24

A trip to Norris after missing a day seemed in order. It wasn't until we passed the Gibbon Picnic area that the road became slushy. At Norris there were several inches of snow, and several trees across the boardwalk just beyond Emerald. Spent an hour and a half there, but while some were seeing some flashes of life, we saw more of the same.

Rest of the day was pretty ordinary when it wasn't wet. Saw a couple of One Burst Grand eruptions, walked down after one of them to check Fan & Mortar and confirm that they have not erupted. Going out for the second Grand, we got the call for Beehive's Indicator just as we were leaving. Beehive itself had a full double rainbow as seen from the north.

The area of bubbling ground along the boardwalk is now completely dead. It's just a series of discolored patches of gravel, although the strongest one has a silted basin.

The NPS entertainment of the day was a long power failure. Must've started just before we left for Norris, and power came back about four hours later. Shortly after, there was a fire alarm at the Visitor Center. Seems that the noisy generator was overheating, and there wasn't a real fire. Oh, well, better luck next time.

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Observations for 2021 May 23

Woke up at just around the time to head out to Grand at dawn, so I did.

As I approached Castle, it started erupting. About three minutes later, it starting having pauses, and after about 10-1/2 minutes, it didn't recover from a pause.

I saw Turban erupting while I was at Castle, so no need to hurry over. As it turned out I only had to wait 10 minutes for the steamy, fog-shrouded eruption. During the eruption, West Triplet's overflow strenghtened to the point where it started erupting, ending right after Grand did.

Considered going to Norris, but the conditions didn't look great, and the forecast didn't look there would be much improvement, and yesterday was enough of that type of driving for now, so decided against it. Turns out it was the right decision, as we would have encounter the rockfalls at Gibbon Falls. They eventually closed the road to traffic, at about the same time that the other two roads out of Norris got closed due to weather/road conditions. The roads did eventually open by the afternoon.

During a gap in the weather, went down to confirm that it appeared that Fan & Mortar didn't erupt overnight. Didn't stay long, as the gaps in the weather aren't very long.

Decided to go out to Grand by way of Geyser Hill, as the walk isn't much longer than that from the Lower Ham's parking lot. Little Squirt was active, and right next to the boardwalk we noticed a patch of ground that was steaming and bubbling. I've never noticed warm ground in this area before, it was all new to me.

Bubbling ground on Geyser Hill near Little Squirt Geyser

Once again, Grand cooperated and we only had to wait a single Turban eruption interval. The pool wasn't visible, but moments before Grand started, we could hear the boils and boops. I wasn't able to see any other details of the start because of all the steam. There was an attempt to stop at around eight minutes, then several more minutes of activity that at least wasn't Big Sawmill mode, but obvious there wasn't going to be a second burst. This time West Triplet didn't try to erupt.

On the walk back, the area of bubbling ground seemed a bit more active. One area, about 10cm across, had gravel being churned up and it even appeared like a vent was forming, or at least a rim in the ground.

When headed out for the next Grand, Little Squirt was no longer erupting, and the bubbling ground area was dry. It was possible to hear some sort of sizzling from some of the area.

The Sawmill Group had Spasmodic overflowing heavily although mostly quiet. Sawmill itself looked like it might actually be putting water into one of the shallow catch basins. After a Turban eruption, I came back that way and found Sawmill down to the high level I've seend the last few days.

The Grand eruption was steamy, but the weather broke just in time for the start of the second burst. West Triplet, once again, was in overflow while we were out there.

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Observations for 2021 May 22

A couple of inches of snow starting last night, so the roads were slick where all that got packed down. But mostly sloppy, and no problem getting to Norris. Little to no traffic, and besides, I haven't driven much in winter conditions the last few years, so the practice was good to have.

Not much different there from last visit. In the two hours there, it did seem like there was noticeably more water coming down from South Vent (and not just from snowmelt), but North still seemed to be dominating the play. Emerald finally looks more green than blue, too.

On the way back, heard over the NPS radio that there had just been a non-fatal encounter between a vehicle and an elk. Both the elk and the car were still mobile, but then a wolf appeared, interested in an easy dinner. Fortunately, there had been a ranger at Fountain Paint Pots dealing with a drone pilot, so by the time we got there traffic was being moved along. But after we got back to our cabin, things there got worse. Seems a grizzly decided to join in on the fun, so traffic was (and for good reason) not wanting to move. It wasn't until early evening before Bear Management was on scene and did something to move the elk away from the road (at one point "about 10 feet from fog line"). I would expect it will be eaten tonight when no one is around to disturb the preditors.

Update: Here's a link to a video of the incident. I hadn't heard on the radio that the elk was being chased, which explains what happened.

(I will eventually do a posting with a summary of some of the more interesting radio traffic during this trip.)

Mid afternoon was when I finally got over to check out the Sawmill Group. All the features were up high, but no bubbling visible in Tardy, and Spasmodic was mostly quiet while overflowing.

Down at Fan & Mortar, watched over an hour of Garbage Mode-- Fan vents turning on and off, with no activity from Main or Mortar.

By then it was time for Grand. A walk through the Sawmill Group showed everything well below the highwater or overflow levels.

A Turban eruption interval after arriving got us a Delay. At around the 22 minute mark, Grand looked good with small waves. It mostly stayed that way for the next 14 minutes, when it finally dropped and we got Turban erupting for an interval of 36m48s.

But for the next interval, Grand rose quickly, and started overflowing around the 16 minute mark. A couple of minutes later, with water pouring out of the vent, Turban started abruptly, and 40 seconds later Grand joined in. The burst lasted 9m10s, and despite the steamy conditions, it was easy to see the pool still had water and was filling.

The second burst went into Big Sawmill mode fairly quickly, so it was no surpise when it just kept on erupting. There was even a false pause lasting a second or two. Two and a half minutes later, I had to wait a few seconds to confirm that the eruption was actually over.

Also of note is that earlier this week the NPS removed all the old benches near the trees at Castle. There are new benches, but they are still in a pile near the old road alternate trail junction, with their packing material in place. I guess they'll stay that way for a couple more days.

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Observations for 2021 May 21

Went out at dawn to check the Sawmill Group. Appeared to be unchanged from the evening before. The only changes that have persisted, observed over 45 minutes, were an occasional collapsing bubble in Tardy's vent, and Slurp was quiet. Sawmill was just below overflow, but there was no change in water level. Rift also erupted overnight.

Four hours later, headed to Grand, things still didn't look much different. Slurp was noisy, but Crystal and Belgian were way down (3cm or so). During the One Burst Grand eruption, Sawmill did briefly rise up enough to wet some of the catch basins around the vent, but no overflow.

The One Burst Grand eruption was another one of those that lasted a long time (11m30s here) because the last two or three minutes or so are in Big Sawmill mode, where there are frequent periods of low jetting, and quick pauses followed a sudden rocket to resume the eruption.

After that, the weather got wetter as the day progressed. When it was time to head out to Grand again, it was a steady rain. Based on what Turban did while I was waiting, I would say that I arrived on the first eruption after a Delay interval, and Grand finally erupted on the fourth. It was another One Burst Grand Eruption, one that lasted just under 10 minutes. During the eruption, the rain got heavier, and then turned to snow as I left the area.

During that wait, I checked the Sawmill Group between Turban eruptions and observed the rise in Sawmill's water level and Spasmodic starting to overflow. The group really didn't look much different than from the morning observation. Again, nothing happened in Tardy, although the rain made it harder to tell if there might have been a bubble or two. I didn't wait around after Grand, which I would have done if I hadn't been getting wet for over an hour.