Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta



I fulfilled another one of my fall bucket list goals a couple weekends ago when Dan and I spontaneously decided to head to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! Now, my dad is FROM Albuquerque and both sides of my extended family LIVE in Albuquerque, so needless to say, it's been a second home to me my ENTIRE life! Yet, even being a native New Mexican with so much family in Albuquerque, I had yet to attend a Fiesta in my 26 years on this earth!


This year, I decided I wanted that to change. It was something I've always wanted to do, but just figured I would eventually go. Well, inspiration hit last year when my very talented and creative uncle made his yearly self-made photographic calendar with the Balloon Fiesta as its theme! The beauty and colors of all the hundreds of balloons really reminded me that I needed to follow through with that goal. So, I added it to my fall wish list this year and we decided to act quickly upon it!


We drove down on Friday morning and stayed with family that evening. Then the next morning we got up at 3 AM to drive to the Fiesta Park where we were going to witness Dawn Patrol - a group of balloons who ascend before dawn to determine weather patterns and whether it's safe for the rest of the balloons to ascend. It was mesmerizing to have the only light coming from a handful of balloons who all rose together {along with everyone's cameras trying to capture the moment!}.



As the sun rose, so did the rest of the balloons. It was unbelievable to watch and I just stood there looking up in awe as 500+ balloons slowly inflated, did their tests and then ascended during Mass Ascension.



I kept trying to pick a favorite, but each time I thought I had it, another ascended and caught my attention! {A couple of the contenders, Darth and Yoda, are below}



This trio was just so adorable (image on right, above). They were all fun, unique balloons that almost made you forget that people were riding in baskets below them! You can also see Pigasus above their heads to the right! {one of three flying pigs that I saw - there could have been more, though!}



This was pretty much my view since the first launch. And of course we had to capture Spider Pig and another flying pig. {Not pictured: Pigasus - seen in a previous picture}



Right afterward, we drove back up to Denver making for a whirlwind of a short trip!!


It was an unforgettable experience, and although exhausting, I think we will be going back again. The New Mexico skies are the perfect backdrop to showcase the sheer awe-inspiring wonder that is manned hot air balloon flights.


Now, when can I go in one of these?!