It did not disappoint us! We arrived at Enchanted Trails RV Resort on Thursday so we could hopefully attend the mass ascension Friday morning. We were also going to be there Saturday in case the weather was not good on Friday. Friday morning, we arrived at the Park and Ride at 4:30, yes, that is a.m. not p.m. We were on the first bus (they use school buses to take you over to the balloon park) and arrived at the park at about 5. We had brought our folding chairs with us and found a place to sit. I then bundled up with my gloves, scarf, cap, and coat. I even had brought some hand warmers that came in very handy. It was cold sitting out there on the field.
About 6:15, the Dawn Patrol went up. These balloons go up at dawn to give the other balloonists an idea of the wind speeds and directions at the different altitudes.
The balloons would glow whenever the burner was ignited.
Then, the national anthem was sung as the "color guard" balloons floated into the air.
Now, it was time for the mass ascension to begin. Yesterday, all activities had been cancelled because of high winds, but today was perfect. All of the balloons would be ascending and that would include the special shape ones too.
The balloons do not take off all at once, they go up in sections. It's hard to see in a picture just how big these balloons are, but if you look at the bottom of each balloon you can see the basket dangling from the bottom.
As one section would go up, the next section would be blowing their balloons up in preparation to ascend next.
The balloons rose in the air and then just seemed to be in suspension in the air. It was an amazing sight.
They reminded me of Christmas ornaments suspended in the air.
The colors were magnificent against the blue background of the sky.
Albuquerque is known for its Albuquerque Box. It is a weather phenomenon that allows the balloonists to fly out and back and land in almost the same spot at which they began.
We got back to the rv and took naps since we were planning on going back out in the evening for the balloon glow.
We were meeting Jim's cousins out there so we took the car to the parking lot. We arrived about 4:30 and had an easy time parking.
There was also a chainsaw carving contest taking place so we went over to watch and see some of the carvings. They were pretty neat.
We went to the booths and then sat in our chairs waiting for the glow to begin. Once it started, it was a real challenge to get pictures. The glow begins and only lasts a few moments. We did manage to get some shots of some of the special shapes.
As it got darker, it seemed the crowds got larger. We heard later there were probably close to 100,000 people that night.
The Creamland Cow Balloon is massive. We sat in front of it as they were inflating it and it is amazing to watch the crew work together to get it inflated.
Jim's two cousins, Angela and Amanda and Amanda's family met us out on the field. We watched the fireworks show, then made plans to meet for dinner. We didn't get out of the parking lot as fast as we got in. We finally made it to the restaurant and had a wonderful time reconnecting with Jim's cousins.
The Balloon Festival was everything we hoped it would be. Yes, there are crowds, you have to get up really early and sit in cold weather, but the experience is something you will never forget. I know we never will.