The Gunnison July 4th guide said that there was going to be a balloon festival on each of the next three morning. Early mornings! The schedule called for it to start at 5:30 am. Balloon always go up in the morning when the winds are the most calm and predictable.
We have wanted to see balloons up close for a long time so we decided to go today. Since we are about 1/2 hour from Gunnison I set the alarm for 4:30. We dragged ourselves out of bed, crept out of the campground and headed down the highway.
We arrived at the park around 5:25. There were a few other people there but it looked pretty deserted. We wondered if it had been cancelled. There was a bit of wind but we have no idea how much is too much.
We haven’t seen a sunrise in a very long time.
More and more people started showing up.
Finally, at around 6, a couple of trucks with balloons on the back showed up. The rest trickled in soon after for a total of 13 teams.
At 6:30 the team leaders huddled around to discuss what to do. I think they were worried about the strength and direction of the wind.
They let off a test helium balloon.
At 7 I guess they decided it was a go because the teams started unfolding the balloons and testing their burners.
They first use a gasoline powered fan to inflate the balloon.
Then they start the burner and it pops upright.
Another big blast of the burner and away they went. There was a slight westerly breeze so they gently drifted off.
This is going to be a long post because these things are just to colourful not to take a bunch of pictures.
Here is another one being inflated.
The crew have the tough job of trying to keep it on the ground and under control.
When the first few took off there was a bit of wind but then it died completely. The next few that went up just sort of floated up and down around the area.
The remainder stayed on the ground trying to decide what to do. Without any wind it is not much fun. I think about 7 actually lifted off.
At about 8:45 the rest gave up and started deflating their balloons. They just open a huge vent at the top.
This guy landed just across the street,
It was a not so great day for the balloonists but it was a great one for the viewers.
Here are some more random group shots because I can’t resist.
What a great morning.
At about 9 we headed home and crashed into bed until noon.
There wasn’t much happening during the day so we just went back to town for the fireworks tonight.
There were a lot of people there but the viewing area was the same field used for the balloons so there was lots of room to spread out.
A thunderstorm had gone through in the afternoon. It was just south of us now and we could still see the occasional bit of lightning. The rain had damaged some of the fireworks.
It was a really good display. It started at 9:15 and lasted for 45 minutes with very few breaks. I took a lot of pictures but I will just include a few.
We joined the long line of cars heading out of town to the various campgrounds.