Panguitch Valley balloon rally

Panguitch, UT
Panguitch balloon festival
Winds didn’t look good at the start of the rally. The wind gusts during the pilot welcome dinner were extremely fast but things did seem to calm down during the evening. Panguitch sits in a valley just north and west of Bryce canyon and east of Saint George. There are no local weather stations, you have to get what surrounds the area and extrapolate from there. A quick check of weatherunderground, said the winds were calm, gusting to 3 mph on Friday morning. We knew that was wrong as soon as we stepped out of the Blue Pine Hotel. By the time we arrived at the launch site it was perfectly clear that no one would be flying so off to tailgate.
After tailgating and a quick nap we headed to Red Canyon State park just outside Bryce Canyon to go for a hike. It ended up being a little much for tender-foot K’Ehleyr who may have spent too long on the asphalt at a rest stop the day before and developed blisters on her pads. But she forged on with few complaints
Saturday was a bit more promising when we left the hotel. At pilots briefing the competition was cancelled but the field was open at pilots discretion. A few balloons inflated but all pulled out as the grass started blowing. So it was off to breakfast and a leisurely day in the room since K’Ehleyr needed to stay off her feet. Saturday night is the big night for Panguitch, the balloon glow down Main Street. The center of town is blocked off and there are bands playing and vendors selling all kinds of things. No one expected it to calm down enough to inflate so we set up to candlestick but it did calm down and at least 4 balloons were able to inflate along Main St.. We had the smallest spot at the intersection so Ernie didn’t inflate but instead let kids come up and hit the burner.
The calm winds held till the morning, at least till 9 AM after everyone had landed. It was a little switchy at first but everyone who flew seemed to have a good flight. When I went to talk with the land owner about landing out behind the parked cars he seemed confused. “Cars? Oh, you mean the wreaks”. I need to work on my local terminology.
From Panguitch we made the short drive over to Red Canyon to camp. We thought we would stay one night but it will end up being four nights. It’s a nice spot with lots of things to see close by and we have free wifi to get a little work done.
One rally done, six to go, next stop Salina, UT.

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