- from The Southwest
This is your second day at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque (AL-buh-KER-kee), New Mexico, the biggest hot-air balloon festival in the world.
You’ve seen hundreds of colorful balloons, and yesterday you even got to go up in one! High in the air, you saw the Southwest spread out – the Sandia Mountains to the east, the Chihuahuan (chee-WAH-wahn) Desert to the south, and the Rio Grande to the west.
This morning, you’re staying on the ground, watching balloons take off and land in almost the same spots. How do they do that? You know pilots can make their balloons go higher or lower, but they can’t really steer them. “It’s because of the Albuquerque box,” your mom explains. When the weather is just right, winds close to the ground blow one way, while winds higher up blow the other way. Pilots fly into the “box” as these winds form and ride them around. So you sit there, eat lunch, and watch the balloons.