Albuquerque’s “box,” a pattern of wind currents, is what makes ballooning so special in the area. The wind comes off the mountains and then combines with air currents from the river. These create a pattern that allows pilots to lift off, float over the land and then return to the same spot, without really needing a chaser car.
Something has to be really good to get us out of bed at 4:30 a.m., pick up time. The thermals, wind currents, are calmest in the morning. After the balloons are inflated with fans, we climb into the basket. One of the pilots turns on the propane burners, blasting hot air into the envelope — the actual balloon — and we lift off, gently, floating up and over the city. The city has many balloon companies.
Every October, the area welcomes a hot air balloon festival where families can witness hundreds of colorful balloons ascending, floating and descending over the dramatic desert landscape. With the milder fall temperatures, October makes a fantastic time to visit Albuquerque.