I left Colorado last Thursday, a day sooner than I had planned. It just felt like the thing to do. I’d arranged for my land line to be disconnected on Friday, and my air card activated the same day. I spent the first night out in Abiquiu, NM at Abiquiu Lake, Corps of Engineers campground. As all the electric sites were taken or reserved I boondocked.
The next day I made it to the Sandia Casino in Albuquerque and learned that I had landed at the beginning of the annual Balloon Fiesta. And a couple of my friends had been there about a week already. When they got there they didn’t know the balloon festival was happening either. For all of us it was a “happy accident” that we got to be there and to see the balloons up close and personal, as well as from the parking lot.
I took close to 500 photos, so it’s impossible to share all the beautiful shots. But I’ve put a few here. The first morning we got up early and drove in the madhouse of traffic to watch the balloons fill up and take off. They have a small two to three-hour window to get up. At night they have what is called ‘evening glow’ where the balloons fill up both don’t take off. They continue to blow the hot air into the balloon to keep it inflated, and the glow from that at night is beautiful. The first night there was a lot of wind, so evening glow was cancelled.
The next morning we awoke to a ‘flotilla’ of balloons ascending over the valley and being moved by the air currents along the interstate highway. It’s a very surreal feeling to see so many – hundreds – balloons floating in the air. The variety of colors and shapes and characters is awesome and they just bring a smile to one’s face.
That night we once again went down to the field to witness the evening glow. While some balloons got inflated, others did not. A thunderstorm that was threatening required that the event be called off. But not before I got some good photos of some of the ‘glow’.
Each night there were also fireworks – some awesome displays of pyrotechnics. The first night I watched them from the parking lot at the casino. The second night was after the glow.
Also there was a chain saw carving contest, and I got some photos of some of the winners. Hard to believe these sculptures were created with a chain saw!
On Monday morning more balloons in the air at sunrise…Beautiful. I’m so glad I accidentally happened upon this event. It’s really a once in a lifetime thing. I know folks go every year, but the first experience has to be the best!