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While driving around on the back side of Aspen Mountain (so up around 10,000 feet altitude) we came upon these bags of ash. They look like they could be opened up on the bottom to let the contents out, our best guess is that they are ballast bags for a hot air balloon. You can see my brother's legs in the first picture for some kind of scale.

Were we right?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know how much ballast a hot air balloon might need, but those look like what are known here in Australia as "Bulka-Bags". They are used for a huge variety of granular products, from sand & fertiliser to grain, or any other usually dry powder product. They usually carry a cubic metre or so, and maybe a tonne of mass. Too big for a balloon, perhaps they were jettisoned by a helicopter carrying them underslung due to bad conditions? brisbanebags.com.au/… $\endgroup$ – Mackk Jul 24 '18 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Mackk I'm not sure that they are Bulka-Bags as they look like this $\endgroup$ – FallenUser Jul 24 '18 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ Also, by the looks of the pictures, the material does not seem like a Bulka-Bag material nor a Ballast Bag material $\endgroup$ – FallenUser Jul 24 '18 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ The contents felt like ash to me. $\endgroup$ – Betty Crokker Jul 24 '18 at 1:01
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    $\begingroup$ @FallenUser apart from the colour, to me they look like those, laid on the side $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 24 '18 at 7:37
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Almost definitely not.

Hot air balloons control their height by changing their temperature, they don't typically use ballast bags. It's possible that these were ballast bags on a gas balloon, but ash seems like a strange choice for weight considering how light it is.

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