Fiesta!

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is probably my favorite event here in New Mexico. For two weeks each October, hot air balloons fill the sky with amazing color. Each morning they have a laser light show and balloon glow, followed by the mass ascension. In the evening, there are laser light shows and other fun events, like the Special Shapes Glowdeo. We have not attended an evening event, mostly because the morning mass ascension is so spectacular.

This year we were invited to be a part of the Chase Crew for Smokey the Bear! Monday morning we got up at o-dark-thirty and made our way to Albuquerque. The weather was not as cooperative as we would have liked it to be, so the balloons did not get going as early as they did last year when we attended. There are so many balloons that each one has a window for inflating and launch. If you cannot make your window, you make way for the next balloon. Well, as it turned out, it was too windy for Smokey, so we did not get to help set him up or chase him, but we had a really good time anyway.

Once the sun began to come up, there were balloons inflating every where we looked. After a cold morning, it warmed up nicely and balloons began to fill the sky. Any disappointment about not being able to help with Smokey quickly disappeared. I took about a million pictures as we ooh-ed and aah-ed our way around the balloon field. I am not normally a morning person, but this event is definitely worth getting up at 2am for!

Waiting for the winds to calm so we could help inflate Smokey the Bear. Dawn Patrol is getting ready in the background.

Cats!

Another kitty!

The twins sharing a moment

The kiddos

Chase vehicles for Smokey the Bear. The firetruck was really fun (and super cold!) to ride in!

It wasn’t quite the hot air balloon, but they were able to inflate a smaller Smokey out by the Balloon Museum.

Fort Union National Monument

We stopped at Fort Union on our way home from Oklahoma. It was an abbreviated visit since we still had to make our way home, but it was a great stop. Fort Union served as a frontier outpost. The history of the fort, which was built three different times, is quite interesting, even though it was only in operation for a short time. We had not really planned it that way, but our trip to Oklahoma turned out to be a lesson in the Santa Fe Trail!

The hospital

The jail

Mother’s Day Hike

According to Nathan, ‘normal’ moms want to go to a movie on Mother’s Day, not hike 13.5 miles, climbing into and out of a 500-foot canyon twice. Who wants to sit in a theater when I can be out on the trail with these crazies? Besides, ‘normal’ is not a word that has been used in our house in a looooong time.

Hope all the moms out there had a wonderful day!!

Ready to head out

Just keep walking…

500 foot Alamo Canyon. We went down and up, twice.

Yup, we’re going down there!

Beautiful Alamo Canyon

Company on the trail

Potsherds out at Yapashi Pueblo

With 350 rooms, 6 kivas, and a reservoir, Yapashi was the largest settlement in Bandelier.

Stone Lions

Flowers were blooming everywhere!

Tsankawi Prehistoric Sites

The Tsankawi Prehistoric Sites are absolutely amazing. Besides the trail and scenery being incredibly beautiful, the history is fascinating.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Tsankawi is that you are walking in ancient footpaths that were worn into the soft tuff. In some places you can even see the foot and handholds that were used to climb up the side of the hill.

Up on top of the mesa are the ruins, and in among them are countless potsherds. People have a tendency to pick them up to look at them, then they will place them all together on rocks for others to see. As you are walking along, there will be random rocks covered with pieces of pottery. We have noticed this trend at other sites as well.

There are also numerous petroglyphs along the trail. Some of them were hard to see, but others looked like they could have been done just last week…

It is not a long hike at all, perhaps a mile and a half, but being there makes you feel like you are in another world. I can imagine how beautiful the village of Tsankawi must have been back in its day…