Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

Child-like enthusiasm and wonder filled me as I had to urge them to stop right there by the side of the highway…

Driving behind our buddy Stephen, we had to signal to him that we were pulling over.

Back in ’96 I visited my friend Tony in Colorado Springs for the very first time. It was a year after he had moved out of Alabama and started to set his roots in this beautiful new city. I remember that first trip to the Springs vividly. I remember seeing the mountains clearly for the first time the day after my arrival early in the morning. That view after breakfast was very unexpected. I could end this post just here for this week’s photo challenge. But it was the trip towards the mountains that really surprised me.

1996_ColoradoSprings_Balloons04Days later we called up our friend Stephen and decided to take a hiking trip into the mountains. On our way there, we saw something very out of the ordinary fill the skies above Colorado Springs.

1996_ColoradoSprings_Balloons02Hot air balloons of various, shapes, sizes and colors filled our view. I saw balloons in the shape of sneakers, hot dogs, trucks, soda cans and even a champaign bottle. Driving down the highway it was really an unexpected sight! I had never seen a single hot air balloon up close before then, let alone dozens filling the daytime sky.

1996_ColoradoSprings_Balloons06Child-like enthusiasm and wonder filled me as I had to urge them to stop right there by the side of the highway so that I could take it all in. I quickly took out my cheap point-and-shoot little Kodak film camera and fired away.

Stephen took it all in stride as he indulged this wide-eyed city-slicker.


I’ve visited Colorado Springs many times since then but never got to see these hot air balloons fill the skies again. I don’t know if this was a one-time thing or yearly event that I just keep missing during my visits. Either way I’m glad that I was able to see the balloons shortly after their launch and get a few pics in the process.

*** Update ***

After this post, my friend’s wife commented on how the balloons event happens every year, during the end of August through the 1st part of September for 3 or 4 days. They also have a “balloon glow” at night and according to her, it’s simply beautiful.

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