“I never regret the things I do; I often regret the things I do not do.” So I’ve said to myself many times.
Friday evening relaxing after dinner, it struck me that Saturday would likely be a great day for the Quechee Balloon Festival—cool, clear, light breeze. I’ve lived in the Upper Valley for over 40 years, but for various reasons have never made it to this event. Should I set my alarm and head there early tomorrow? Well, I wasn’t going to let this be another “not done” thing I would regret. I’m very glad I went.
The balloons were “scheduled” to lift off at 6 AM, but nothing was happening. Too little wind? I heard from others there was none the evening before. While waiting for the balloons it was great meeting friends I had not seen for years—not surprisingly most of them photographers.
I was getting impatient—I had expectantly arrived at the parking lot before 5 AM. Finally at 6:17 AM the first balloon was stretched out on the wet grass. Soon it was filled with air. But it wasn’t until 5:32 AM that it lifted off.
Suddenly there was way too much action everywhere. Balloons being filled, baskets being loaded, and crews launching these beautiful and quiet craft one after another much faster than I could take photos. I tried valiantly to get as much of the action as I could, handicapped by never “scouting” the event, but perhaps benefiting from the lack of preconceived shots. By 7:15 AM it was all over except for the chasing—all the balloons were up and drifting northeast.
I present below two slide shows. The first is of the general action at the festival. The second focuses on a single balloon. In the second show I hope I present a cohesive story from inflation to landing and deflation. Unfortunately I cannot show photos from riding in the basket. The balloon is appropriately local to Quechee, the “Bella Junior”.