Ever since I moved to New Mexico in February of this year, I had been hearing about the Balloon Fiesta, seeing signs about it, seeing images from it. It is the biggest event of the year for Albuquerque and for once I was very excited to wake up at 3:45am to make it to Balloon Fiesta Park in time to beat the traffic (mostly) and see the Dawn Patrol take off.
Most of the balloons ascended and went toward the west and north. The Sandia Mountains are to the east of the park and I really wanted to have some mountain backdrop. It just happened to turn out that the New Mexico True balloon no less was the one I was able to capture best with just a peak of the ridge of the mountains in the background.
Imagine a lot of hot air balloons in your mind. Then multiply that by 10 and you can start to get an idea of the number of balloons that ascend between 6am and 9am at Balloon Fiesta Park just north of Albuquerque proper. It is a real spectacle to behold.
Of course the coldest weather of the year, by far, was the exact morning of the Balloon Fiesta! 47F may not sound that cold, but when you are used to 60s for lows and 80s for highs, it was a bit of a shock to the system to be standing in a field at 5am waiting for the first balloons, the Dawn Patrol, to fill up with hot air. People huddled around the balloons to get a closer look, but mostly to warm up from the heat of the flames!
It never occurred to me that the hot air balloons do not return right back to the park where they took off from! They have no real control and just land wherever they land. This still sounds wild to me. Apparently pick-up trucks with trailers are called in to collect the gondola and balloon upon landing. This kind of randomness of balloon flight fascinates me!
More balloon fiesta posts to come! Click the Balloon Fiesta tag link below to see more.