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…

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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.

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

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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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