Albuquerque's autumn horizon is typically dotted with hot air balloons, and for the eight special days of the International Balloon Fiesta, it looks like an oversized gumball machine busted open in the sky. It's worth attending at least one Mass Ascension in your lifetime. Watching a field of deflated orbs slowly come to life and launch into the sunrise is an experience like nothing else on Earth.
Still, there are undeniable drawbacks to the pre-dawn ritual. There's simply no way to beat the equally spectacular Balloon Fiesta traffic no matter how early you get up. You also have to pay $10 to park a significant distance from the field, before shelling over more money for admission and getting swallowed by a sea of humanity... Full Story (Sarah Bonneau)