Chasing the Blue Moon in White Sands, New Mexico


It’s been four years since I last rode in the Blue Moon hot air balloon. She has a new pilot now, Dan Ewer, carrying on the tradition of former pilot, Roy Walz, flying over White Sands.


We could photograph the sky from the ground, but not photograph the ground from the sky. White Sands is a protected area.


There’s a song for the above picture. But first we must get there.




And, the chase is on.



Touch down.white_sands_hot_air_balloons_i_cheyenne_macmasters-600x800




Pretty good run for a windy day.


We’re a well tutored crew.


How the air gets out of a hot air balloon.

Appearing at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016: The Blue Moon.

All photos (c) Cheyenne MacMasters 2016

Orbs attend Hot Air Ballooning at White Sands, New Mexico


This is the scene a week ago today at 5:30 a.m. in White Sands, New Mexico. Most of us awoke to alarm clocks at 3:45 a.m. (that’s 2:45 a.m. if you’re still on Arizona time, but who’s counting?).


Families are already gathered to have some fun sliding down the gypsum dunes. The bright light in the upper left is the full moon.


Saluting the dawn.


Hot Air Balloon pilots and their crews gather to hear the latest weather reports and restrictions when flying over White Sands.


Three  biodegradable pie balls are released for the pilots’ reading of the wind.


And, the show  begins.



Too windy for the blue and white balloon.



We’ll be taking off now.


Time to get to work. My pilot has been watching the balloons on this windy day, not all were able to ascend. But he’s decided we can get ready for flight. In my next post I’ll be chasing the Blue Moon.

All photos (c) Cheyenne MacMasters 2016

Orbs Flock to Hot Air Balloon Glow


Orbs attend Hot Air Balloon Glow in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

If you’ve learned anything about orbs since following my blog, you know they love a party.


And, that’s what the 25th Annual White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational put on for the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico last Saturday night.





Clouds of orbs blocked the view of hot air balloons rising above the park.


See you at White Sands for the mass ascent of the hot air balloons in tomorrow’s post.

All photos (c) Cheyenne MacMasters 2016

Hot Air Balloonists Honor Roy Walz 1953-2012

Blue Moon hot air balloon pilot Roy Walz photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Hot air balloonists gathered in Marana, Arizona on February 17, 2013 to honor one of their own: pilot Roy Walz who passed away at the end of 2012. Roy was a man of good heart and loving generosity who would take you for a ride higher and longer than ever before. I had the privilege of crewing for him and his Blue Moon balloon. He gathered a wonderfully fun team to be a part of as we sent him soaring aloft at many a rally in Arizona and New Mexico.

Roy  Walz in photos

People brought their favorite photos of Roy. I’ll share some with you here.

Roy Walz and Richard Blue Moon hats photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Roy, with his partner and crew chief, Richard, at his last rally in White Sands, New Mexico, September 2012.

Roy Walz Blue Moon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

It was a lovely day for a balloon chase across the gypsum dunes of White Sands.

Roy Walz Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

We were blessed with another beautiful morning when Richard supervised the memorial flight of the Blue Moon.

Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Dan Ewer, of Foolish Pleasure Hot Air Balloon Rides, served as pilot for Roy’s balloon. Everyone gave a helping hand to send the Blue Moon into the air once again.

Blue Moon hot air balloon photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

A balloon for each of Roy’s 59 years on Earth escorted him on his last flight while his ashes were scattered.

Blue Moon hot air balloon farewell photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

Many a tear fell as we wished Roy farewell. Yet, he lives with us now and always in our hearts.

Roy Walz Blue Moon hot air balloon farewell photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

The Winds have welcomed you with softness, the Sun has blessed you with its warm hands, you have flown so high and so well God has joined you in your laughter and set you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth and the Crew.

Roy Walz Blue Moon Glow photo by Cheyenne MacMasters

You will always be loved

You will always be missed

You will never be forgotten

Hot Air Balloons are Orbs of a Different Kind

Today I was chasing orbs of a different kind: hot air balloons. First, by getting up at 3 a.m. to travel two and a half hours to the balloon field in Marana, outside Tucson, Arizona. Even when we’re in New Mexico for the White Sands hot air balloon rally and the alarm goes off in the hotel room at 4 a.m., we know it’s really 3 a.m. Arizona time.

After standing around in the dark, catching up with each other since the last rally a month or more ago, and listening to the pilots’ briefing it’s time to get to work.

The ground is dry enough and weed free enough that Dan Ewer, pilot of Foolish Pleasure Hot Air Balloon Rides, has decided we can lay out the balloon envelope without putting down a tarp.

Number one rule: never step on the envelope.

This is a job I usually do, holding open the throat of the balloon while the fan blows it full of air.

Propane fuel heats the air so that the balloon can rise.

We’re ready to tip back the wicker basket and begin the final heating of the air before lift off.

Now we’re just trying to keep the balloon from flying off before the pilot gives us the go ahead to set it free.

The lucky ones are airborne!

In tomorrow’s post I’ll give you the view from on high after I wandered over to another balloon to help crew and was asked if I’d like to go for a ride.


Balloons: Orbs of a different color

After night it is a relief to see day, and so for this post I thought I’d lighten it up a bit with those other orbs in my life: hot air balloons.

Sun washes over us after arriving at the field before dawn.

Hot air ballooning brings out the whole family to share the excitement of sending a balloon aloft.

The roar of fire adds to the intensity of the moment.

Everyone has a camera to record the novelty of balloons above White Sands.

Even with the occasional blast of flame, there is something very peaceful about ballooning.

Pilots don’t like to fly too high at White Sands just in case they land in a missile range.

So, you’ll see the balloons hugging the ground and skimming overhead.

Sometimes you’ll be flying above the crowd.

Or, you may be chasing your balloon hither and yon.

We are back to the night when orbs glow in the dark.  Orbs of a different color.