Today was one of the days I was looking forward to the most during Fiesta, Flight of the Nations. I knew today was going to be a big day for the Fiesta because it is the only “mid-week mass ascension” for the entire week. Since we weren’t going to be here for either weekend of the fiesta this was going to be my only chance to see a mass ascension.
Once again the morning started far to early and it seems like everyday the mornings were starting earlier and earlier for us. Though it didn’t reflect it on the clock it sure felt like it! Waking up we made our way to the sweet aroma of coffee downstairs to see that it was going to be a little brisker this morning than it had been for most of the week, we had to go back upstairs to grab another long sleeve layer before heading out the door all before the sweet sweet time of 6:10am.
Driving to the field was a little longer than the day before only because of? You guessed it! Traffic! Another wonderful dynamic you don’t miss about cities is the lovely traffic that comes with living a larger city. It has been nice to let our locals drive because then I can just watch the sights in the morning, which included being able to see beautiful lights of the dawn patrol in the sky before the sun even began to rise. One thing I was thankful for with the cooler weather was that the weather deterred people from wanting to come out and there was a chance the balloons weren’t even going to take off so the field was more or less empty.
As the sun began to rise over the mountain range the international pilots were getting ready for take off. The field had set the green flag for flights to go and the dawn patrol had demonstrated that the famous Albuquerque air box was in effect and it was strongly in effect too!
Time and time again I thought to myself, “and I didn’t want to wake up this morning”. When the balloons began their ascension it was absolutely amazing to see the box effect for myself. Standing there, taking it all in, I made the comment that no matter how many times I heard about this phenomenon or how many photos I saw on our Fiesta calendars year after year, nothing, and I mean NOTHING could have prepared me for this sight! It was a moment of a lifetime and I was lucky enough to see it and who could have asked for a more perfect day?
It was like watching a tide come in on the beach, wave after wave took off till there must have been 300+ balloons in the sky. Some, we watched go round and round in loops, going back and forth across the sky.
For this awe inspiring moment there were not enough photos in the world I could have taken to truly capture the grandeur!
Traveling Photographer Out!