Up, Up, and Away

A couple of weeks ago, I went home for the Wellsville Balloon Rally. Mom arranged for she, sister, and I to go on a hot air balloon ride while we were there. What an amazing experience! Of course, I got sick (I’ve gotten sick paddling my own sea kayak)–not like really sick, just a little woosy. But, it was worth it for the amazing views of the valley.

Balloons filling up and taking off. Yup, that's the BP balloon up there in the sky. I was afraid we'd have to ride in it (I wouldn't have gone).

As we floated up, up, and away, we had great views back along the river. Balloon pilots really watch each other to help judge winds at different altitudes. Pilots can only control altitude, the rest is up to the wind.

I think I took this while we were still on the ground, waiting for our ride to inflate. As you can see, it was a perfectly clear, calm morning--great for flying! We felt like we really lucked out.

We floated over town, waving and shouting to people on the ground. Although we were high up, because the ride is nearly silent, we could hear people on the ground and in other balloons and they could hear us.

I liked looking at people's gardens. This one was neat because you could see where, year after year, they had rotated plots throughout the yard.

We floated west over Niles Hill. I watched a great blue heron fly along the ridge of the hill to its rookery in the trees, Mom exclaimed at pigeons circling below us, we watched a line of geese trailing through the river.

Sisters. One brave and fearless. The other a wimp and a little queezy. Both smiling.

We floated over the Wellsville Country Club.

We made a clean landing on the 18th hole. The basket didn't even tip over! What an amazing pilot!

Upon landing, the chase crew descended on us, manuvered us to a safe spot, helped us extract ourselves from the tiny basket, and industriously deflated and packed up our ride.

We celebrated a safe flight and landing with local wine (I pretended--still woozy from the flight and 8:00 a.m.? No thanks.) and this traditional toast: The Winds have Welcomed you with softness. The Sun has blessed you with his warm hands. You have flown so high and so well that God has joined you in your laughter and set you gently back again into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

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35 thoughts on “Up, Up, and Away

  1. Nice post. I just saw hot air balloons in the sky over the past weekend. I wasn’t able to get a great shot but I did post one on my site. It was nice to experience how it is to be in one through your photos. I can’t imagine being in one though.

  2. Wow, what a experience. I love anything that’s even distantly related to flying. I became a airplane mechanic, to be close to flying just because couldnt afford to fly one. πŸ™‚ Amazing. I’ve had a twenty minute flight in a small light aircraft, it was up you go, turn around, and land kind of thing but I had amazing views of the terrain from up above.

  3. Lovely! There was a balloon rally just down the road from my house a few weekends back and I’d wanted to go, but nooooo. So thanks for the pics and commentary. It’s like I was there — minus the heat and mosquitos. πŸ™‚

  4. Good for you brave girl! I think I would love to do this, but when I got there would I chicken out? I love your pictures, it looks so marvelous. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Love the traditional toast.

    evelyngarone.com

  5. I love the photos you took. I felt like I was on that balloon ride with you. The funny thing is, I just posted a blog, “My Bucket List”, (http://bit.ly/aLMjZF) and one of the things on the list is to go on a hot air balloon ride. After seeing your photos, I want to do it much sooner than later.

    Thank you for sharing your fun experience.

  6. I took my first flight in 1974, got my pilots license 3 days before my driver’s license. As I turn 50 in 2 months I just logged my 2300 hour as PIC (pilot in command) in my balloon an Aerostar AX8. If you ever get a chance go to St. Louis the 3rd weekend in September and enjoy the Great Forest Park Balloon Race. It draws about 100,000 people each year

  7. Pingback: An Excuse to Eat Cake « the short stack

  8. I always want to do this!!
    Having seen your photos taken from above, I felt like seeing google earth πŸ˜€
    Amazing!

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  10. Nice shots, nice blog. We have a hot air balloon fest here in the Philippines (at the Clark Air Base), but the ride is much too dear. But if even if the price is affordable, my fear of flying won’t let me SOAR! You people are enviable. Congrats!

  11. Great pics. I have always wanted to ride a hot air balloon and now I know what it looks like from above. We have a site near our home and I think will make plans soon. Very cool!

  12. So great! I’ve always wanted to do this and looked into when we were in Albuquerque a few years ago. Maybe this is something we could plan for celebrating two graduations and our 25th anniversary in May 2011! I’ll keep it in mind… want it to be in a special location… THANKS for sharing!

    Hope you’re enjoying your company!

    • My mom’s got the right idea. How did she know I was planning a mega trip for Luke’s and my graduation!? Didn’t realize it was a big anniversary year, too!

  13. Wow, you really did an amazing job of capturing the adventure of a balloon ride. I was putting a post together and looking for the author of the balloonists toast, and google led me here. I was drawn to this because the title was the same as I was planning, but my effort pales in comparison.

    Fine work ‘Short Stack’…lol

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