My husband, dog, and I spent the weekend in Yuma. We were tempted to bail out because of the rainy weather, but we soldiered on.
On Sunday we did have the breathtaking morning ascension that the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is known for, but we had a few unplanned escapades along the way.
· Our host had found a lovely spot for us to camp in the foothills, but he was concerned that we might not be able to cross the wash and thereby be trapped for the weekend, so we camped in their driveway. No sweat except that the crop dusters, catching up for the weather, flew late into the night Saturday. Did you know that they fly 20 feet off the ground?
· Saturday’s launch was a bust. The rain was about finished, but the wind and muddy launch field at West Wetlands Park discouraged the pilots from flying. A few aircraft did launch. Seeing life breathed into these 80-foot-tall constructions is a spectacular experience to be sure. As a photographer, though, I have to say that the light stunk. I knew the weather would be clearing overnight, so the camera stayed in the bag that morning. No photos. Yes, really.
· So, now we’re looking for things to do on Saturday. Our gracious hosts run a large farming operation in town. We’d been hearing from them that dates are being grown more and more in the Yuma area. I find the trees beautiful graphically, so we left the park and looked for photogenic date palm groves. I loved the repeating patterns and the way that overcast weather lends itself to black and white work.
· Saturday afternoon we set out in a borrowed jeep with our hosts (AKA adrenaline junkie 1; AJ1) and his brother, AJ2 in the Muggins Mountain Wilderness northeast of Yuma. I did a fair amount of four-wheeling in my twenties, but I have gotten more conservative in my old age and was so grateful for the short wheelbase and the experienced company (particularly AJ2). This was a tough road. We had four young kids with us, and I kept reassuring myself with the thought that the AJs would be motivated to bring them all back in one piece. In the end we had lots of fun and everybody came out in good shape.
· We all rushed directly from the mountains to the “Glow,” which is a nighttime display of tethered balloons, only to find that there were only a few burners going and no balloons. My husband and I stood around for a while with Mr. & Mrs. AJ1 and their kids until we all realized that this might not be the party we had anticipated. We left with high hopes for the launch in the morning.
There’s more Yuma imagery on the website. Thanks for stopping by.