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Last weekend was the Hot Air Balloon Roundup in Winthrop – always one of my favorite festivals in this area. The weather did not cooperate so the balloons didn’t have as many opportunities to fly. I got to see them on Friday and I heard that the ‘balloon glow’ in town Saturday night was glorious. I always enjoy being around the staging area, watching the balloons slowly inflate, tipping the baskets upright and getting ready to fly. It really is a lot of fun. Bring your kids and your mom and everyone else but it’s probably best to leave your dog at home.

From black and white to so much color it could make your head spin!

Ken and I received a gift of a hot air balloon ride for a wedding present. Three years ago. We tried to schedule it but the weather would not cooperate or Ken’s job didn’t cooperate or something or other. This year, it all fell into place. On the day following our third anniversary, Kurt and Melinda of Morning Glory Balloon Tours took us on a beautiful airborne tour of the Methow Valley; this place we call home. It was peaceful and stunning. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, green hills, snow-capped mountains. Exactly what we had hoped for.

Many thanks to our dear friends and this wonderful gift!

During the first full weekend in March, Winthrop’s Morning Glory Balloon Tours hosts a Balloon Roundup and hot air balloons from all over the Pacific Northwest show up and launch (weather permitting) next to the river three mornings in a row. It’s a fun event and certainly one that all photographers love. Colorful balloons, blue skies, snow-covered mountains – what else could you want?

Every year at this time, Morning Glory Balloon Tours hosts the Winthrop Balloon Roundup. Often, the weather is stellar with blue skies over snow capped mountains and sometimes it is bitterly cold, but calm. Some years I’ll go see them three days in a row! Last weekend’s roundup didn’t fare so well with the weather. Skies were gray and on Sunday it was windy and the balloons didn’t fly at all. I was glad to see them on Saturday.

Last year, after three days of balloons, I had three posts about this event. You can see them starting here. The couple that were married in a balloon were back this past weekend to celebrate their anniversary with Captain Crystal and her balloon.

 

Today was picture perfect weather for the last day of the hot air balloon get-together in the Methow Valley. Clear cold skies got the balloonists up early and fanning air into their enormous nylon envelopes. Parking lots were full and balloons popped up all over the outskirts of Winthrop. The air conditions must have been perfect as most of the balloons stayed up for a long time and passengers seemed to be enjoying themselves. Everywhere people were photographing the sights with all manner of cameras. The colorful balloons are a wonderful foil to the snow-covered landscapes we’ve had for months now. I think that’s why I enjoy this event so much.

Last night there was a ‘balloon glow’ in downtown Winthrop. The striped balloon is from our local balloon company, Morning Glory Balloon Tours.

Nice moon too.

Balloons in the morning mist

Filling a balloon is a time consuming practice

This balloon had a new pilot and they were trying to land the basket in the river and let the current take them downstream. It’s a delicate balance to keep the balloon inflated and upright and let the water move them along.

That just didn’t look good

Someone else got their balloon in the main channel of the river and set down easily

They had to lift the balloon over the log and still figure out how to get to the other side of the channel

Cameras everywhere

Nope, still not moving downstream

Hmmm, what are they looking at?

Well now they are moving again.

They got down the little riffle

What’s the next obstacle?

More trees to clear

Up, up and away they go!

 

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