Sunday, September 27, 2009

Beautiful Balloons


Dawn on Friday morning seen through rose colored clouds. Despite the red-sky-in-the-morning beginning, after work a friend and I drove 100 or so miles through the late afternoon sunlight to the Warren County Airport in Glens Falls, NY where the Adirondack Balloon Festival was in full swing.


We inched our way along the airport access road, one of hundreds of cars streaming onto the airport grounds. The balloons were already inflating and drifting upwards in the late afternoon sky. Wandering the grounds among the colorful envelopes spread out on the grass, we were captivated by the whirring generators, the whoosh of air from the big fans, the blast of fire from the burners. One by one the baskets lifted up as people cheered and waved.


The winds bore the balloons aloft and away until they looked like ornaments hung in the clear blue.


The next morning we rose at 5 a.m., hurried into our coats and hats and mittens and went out into the chilly dark. We should have risen at 4 a.m.! The line of traffic wending along the airport road was an immense snake of headlights stretching as far as we could see in either direction. Fortunately for us (but not for the balloonists), a dense fog settled into the valley, delaying the lift-off. Though we spent over an hour in the car, inching along just 3 miles in all that time, we were in time to see the majority of balloons inflate and rise through the sunlit mist.


Though the airfield is vast, the balloonists often set up side by side. The result is "kissing balloons" as the inflating envelopes jostle one another.

I've never taken a flight in a hot air balloon though I've climbed into a tethered basket and felt the quick thrill one gets as it ascends as far as the ground ropes allow. There's always one balloonist that stays behind to offer a taste of what ballooning feels like. Someday, perhaps. Someday.

13 comments:

steven said...

hello pauline - i love watching hot-air ballons float by overhead. these are lovely lovely pictures, especially the fourth one down. i've never seen an entire flotilla of balloons like this in real life - only in pictures and on television. i imagine the whooshing of the jot air and the chitter chatter back and forth between the pilots and passenegers - especially early in the morning - must be quite something. have a lovely day. steven

Boodoggy said...

I had the great pleasure of going to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque last year and even got to ride in a balloon and help the chase crew pack the balloon after the ride. It was all I hoped for. I didn't expect so much barking from the ground. Apparently there is a high sound when the gas valve is opened that is beyond human hearing, but the dogs on the ground marked our progress with every burn. Go if you get the chance!

Sky said...

such fun! i have watched and chased these balloon parades many times and once helped out in the field where they landed. great shots.

Pauline said...

Steven, Boo, Sky - the evening flights are wonderful but the early morning is my favorite. There's classical music floating from the loudspeakers, the crowd is still sleepy and hushed, the heat from the burners is welcome to cold hands and faces. The balloons inflate, one, three, five at a time, and as the sun breaks through the mist they lift free from their earthly bonds. The crowds, awake now, cheer.

Molly said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a w.e...... But I prefer doing to seeing, so I know i'd want really badly to be in one of those baskets!
Great photos.....

Jean said...

La beauté est partout , qu'elle soit l'oeuvre de la main de l'homme ou que ce soit celle de Dame Nature .

Barbara said...

I still have a gift certificate for a hot air balloon ride for 2 given to me when I retired. I think it's time to dust it off and use it. I've always wanted to know what it felt like to be a bird. I think this might just tell me.

If I do go up, I will take pictures from the air!

Paul said...

Hi Pauline, sorry to use your thread for "email" but I don't have your email address. Wanted to be sure you checked back at http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/. After my reply to your comment on her post yesterday, everyone will think it was rigged!

Pauline said...

Paul, they should say it was divine intervention ;). I got an email from Mary Jo and replied to her with my email. Just you wait - as soon as I read the book the questions will really start flying!

Pauline said...

Molly - if I had the $ I'd be doing too ;)

jean, mais oui!

Barbara - do it!

focusfinder said...

Well illustated.

focusfinder said...

or even illustrated.

Meggie said...

Not for me, those daring young men, in their flying machines...
Yet I love to fly in Aeroplanes, to be 'on the wing' in small metal cylinders... How odd.