Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta day 2

Trip Start May 06, 2010
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Trip End Oct 14, 2010


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Where I stayed

Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Sunday, October 3, 2010

We got up REALLY early and drove to the venue.  It costs $10 to park but, as long as we get there early enough to beat the peak crowds, it's much more convenient for us so it's worth it.  We got in, found a place to sit and watched as they set up 10 balloons.  When they were all inflated and nearly ready for lift-off they would fire all of the burners in unison so the 10 balloons glowed against the pre-dawn sky.  They soon started to lift off into the darkness to check the winds.

Other balloons quickly started setting up and taking off.  They flew until a couple hours after dawn.  The sky fills up with a few hundred balloons in a dazzling array of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes.  It's really an impressive sight.  Most of the balloons were able to navigate back to the field and land close to their chase crews.  After most of the balloons had landed we left.

We spent much of the afternoon at Petroglyph National Monument, a 7,000 acre park to the west from Albuquerque.  The main focus of the park is an estimated 25,000 carvings by Ancestral Pueblo peoples and early Spanish settlers although it also protects some volcanic cones and hundreds of archaeological sites.  We toured the three trails in the Boca Negra Canyon area.

We left the park and headed back to the Balloon Fiesta for another Glow.  The weather was OK but it looked like that could change.  Quite a few balloons inflated and were firing their burners while tethered to the ground.  Then shortly before sunset lightning struck near the park.  The pilots and chase crews all raced to get their balloons deflated and packed up.

They were going to have a fireworks show about 30 minutes after the lightning.  We decided not to wait and headed back to the hotel.
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