[Geysers] annual visit

Lotus Baker lotusb3 at earthlink.net
Fri Sep 23 21:45:31 PDT 2005

Once again Yellowstone proved to be as beautiful as ever, and the two weeks passed
way too fast.  After having finally unpacked all our stuff, I have discovered that I lost
my notebook.  So I'll be reduced to making just some general comments.  That is OK
since we didn't see anything totally amazing.  My observations occurred between 30
August and 12 September.

In contrast with most years, Norris was our first stop this time.  We had Lotus' nephew
with us for the first four days and that sort of changed things.  Noteworthy there was
Congress Pool;  as was reported elsewhere, it was full and overflowing with the most
beautiful pearlesenent blue color.  We're looking for colors to paint some rooms, that
would be one.  The water in Porkchop is a similar kind of blue.  We spent some time
looking at the area in the back basin that used to be trail (between Yellow Funnel 
Spring and Pearl Geyser), and had fun watching a couple of geysers and several
spouters.  Yellow Funnel, by the way was dry.  We got to see a very nice series of
eruptions from Veteran.  Our luck with Veteran has been good the last few years,
with only relatively short waits for a major eruptions.  Corporal erupted several times
for us, with some nice audible thumps.  

The lower basin gave us two new geysers (Lynn suggested that Gazers could have
"Life Lists" for geysers just like bird watchers have for birds :)).  We caught a series
of 4 eruptions of Gemini, each eruption about 11 minutes apart.  Very interesting
activity to watch, and probably very confusing to most tourists as we face away from
White Dome!  Up White Creek we saw Tuft geyser for the first time, it gave a very
nice performance.  And Pat Snyder, who was with us on White Creek, told us that Spindle
geysers had thumps one could feel, if you sat in just exactly the right spot.  She was right.

We try to see at least one new area each year; this time Fairy meadows was the place.  We
could see that in early season, Fairy Meadows could be quite a muddy slog to walk through.  As it was, we had
to roll up the pants and barefoot it across the stream in order to make it out to Locomotive Spring.
We ate lunch there and had Locomotive under observation for 30 minutes or so, and it never quite
stopped its activity.  We ran into the back country ranger for that area and he was the spitting image
of Kit Carson!  He told us he had come to Yellowstone in 1980 and it took all the ambition he ever had
out of him! :)   Ummm, I guess he meant he likes the place.

At Midway, the empty Opal Pool was, was, well I guess it was amazing.  Water from Grand Prismatic was flowing
into it and disappearing.  There were some new mountain lion prints in the bacterial mats, in about the same 
place as last year.  I can't under stand why that might be a good way for an animal travel, especially a cat.  I
was very sad to see that some subadult humans had found it necessary to doodle in the mats.  Where are the
protectives when you need them?  

In Rabbit Creek, we were able to find Tuba, a geyser we had heard about but could not place.  Clark helped us
narrow down the location.  Together with Steve Bezori we saw several nice boiling eruptions to a few inches every
8-10 minutes or so.

In the Upper Basin, we walked out towards mallard Lake and looked at the springs about a half a mile out
(the Pipeline Creek Group).  UNNG-PIP-1 was boiling up to a foot or so pretty regularly.  In Pipeline Meadows we
were going to sit on UNNG-PMG-4 and see an eruption (runoff channels were wet), but a good sounding Giant
hot period caught our attention, at least as far as Dilapidated when feather quit.  There was vigorous boiling in
Dilapidated, but the platform was dry.  

And I can say that I saw a Giant hot period that ranks up in the top 3 or 4 best I've ever seen.  With a 5 minute
feather restart, and big gushes of water coming out of Giant, it made the heart go pitter-patter.  Please note that
once again, Giant erupted *after* we left the park.  Does anybody know if Bronco was still on his hike on the 16th?
A hiking Bronco is said to be an excellent Giant Indicator.  He even mentioned selling his services to GOSA.

If I can characterize the trip this year, it was the year of thumps  starting with Corporal, then Mound, Spindle,
Artemisa, Oblong, Rabbit Creek, and Tuba.  At Rabbit Creek, there were 14 of us that managed to find the "sweet
spot" where maximum thump feel occurred!

Keith Baker

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