Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day 4
Tuesday October 8, 2002
Page 2

Looking down on Gloria Looking down, that's Gloria Caeli (the tie dye balloon) owned and piloted by Jonathan Wolfe, a good friend of ours.
Looking over the middle of the balloons waiting to launch, can you believe that's only a small fraction of the balloons participating in the fiesta? The sheer number of balloons present on the field was completely mind blowing!!


Click on the pictures for balloon names.

Over the middles
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A small portion of the launch field.
And, yes, I can name the majority of the balloons!
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10-8-02_2-09 Looking towards the South. On the ground you can see a small portion of the huge fleet of RV's that were parked in various areas close to the launch field. Click on the picture for balloon names.
The Balloon Fiesta Park is actually a golf academy during the "regular" days of the year. In this picture you can really see where they train for water hazards and sand traps, and where they work on their putting. 10-8-02_2-20
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You can see how low the river was in these shots. New Mexico, like a large portion of the nation, was in a pretty severe drought in October. Thankfully that's changed now they're no longer considered "severely dry". Regardless of the low water level the pictures still turned out pretty!
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Looking south towards the city. In the smaller picture above and the larger picture to the right you get a small idea of just how many balloons were in the air today! It was absolutely breathtaking to see hundreds of different colored balloons just drifting along next to, underneath and above us. I actually stopped taking pictures long enough to really enjoy the view!
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10-8-02_3-10 As we caught the "box" we started drifting north and were soon over one of the alternate launch fields (same one that we were at yesterday I believe).

I don't think I've explained the phenomenon of the "Albuquerque Box" yet have I? The wind patterns over Albuquerque, due in part to the presence of the mountains to the east of the city, create an unusual occurrence called a "box". This is where the winds are blowing different directions at different altitudes. Now this in itself isn't that unusual, but the level of the different winds over Albuquerque is rather unique. When the balloons first lift off they're blown to the south, as they gain altitude the winds change and they get blown to the north, if they plan it correctly they can form a box effect and stay in one area for as long as their fuel holds out. That's what we did today. Besides the fact that Rick is an outstanding pilot, the winds really favored us today!
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A little closer to the ground...

Click the pictures for the balloon names.
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I love that I got both Humpty Balloons in the air together. Pretty cool shot! Click the picture for the rest of the balloon names.
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So now when someone says to you "when pigs fly" you can actually tell them that you've already seen a pig fly and they should get on with it!
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I think this is one of the prettiest pictures of the day. At first I thought it was a bit overexposed but then I looked at it a bit longer and decided that I really loved the effect from the sun's rays. Nice grouping too.

Click on the picture for names.
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This shot almost looks like a painting doesn't it? I didn't do a diagram of the names for this picture, too many small balloons to try and positively identify.
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If you look close you'll see that the balloon with the cross on it also has a large tarp spread out that also has a cross on it. I thought this made a nice shot. You should be interested to know that this balloon was sponsored by Citibank. Something to keep in mind when shopping for a bank/credit card (especially if you aren't Christian)!

Click on the picture for the rest of the balloon names.
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The very last balloon to lift off today, Blaze of Glory. Ironically appropriate name don't you think?
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Pretty shot with Sandia Peak in the background.
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So many balloons in the sky!!
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Heading back south, towards the main launch field. On the next page are a lot of pictures showing how some of the competitions are played out.
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