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I had thought of riding up to Ruidoso this past weekend for the 42nd annual Golden Aspen Rally but had commitments Saturday and Sunday that would make me have to ride up, turn around and ride back. I didn't want to spend 5-6 hours in the saddle without doing anything so when I saw in Friday's paper that the annual White Sands Hot Air Balloon Rally was this weekend I decided that's where I would ride. Since it's on the way to Ruidoso from here but only half the distance, I could get there and back early enough. I left home Saturday before daybreak and just before I crested the Organ Mountains, the sky was lighting up behind the mountains. By the time I got over into the Tularosa Basin, it was nice and sunny but the temp was hovering around 48º. I got to White Sands National Monument and into the park just as some of the balloons were filling. I took my camera and tripod, thermos of coffee and hiked up to the top of a hill for a good prespective. The balloonist love flying there because it is totally restricted air space, thus no traffic, no power lines and no trees for 275 square miles of pure white gypsum, 2000 feet thick. The balloonist get special access permits from the government for the rally. White Sands National Monument borders White Sands Missile Range which is majorly restricted land and air space from earth to infinity.

I've posted a link to some of the photos. There are many more if anyone is interested. You can also check out White Sands at White Sands National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) It's a pretty surreal place.

I hope you enjoy the pics.
Ron (NM Shadowman)
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