While in Albuquerque in July we had the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride. This was such a great experience.
Starting at sunup, when the winds were the calmest, we took off and spent over an hour up in the sky, floating over the northern suburbs of Albuquerque. We flew as high as 3,000 feet above the ground, making us about 8,000 feet above sea level. Floating would be my best description of the ride. It was smooth, whether you were moving forward at the same altitude or ascending or descending. Very peaceful. And the views are spectacular. Not only could you see far in the distance without obstructions, you had a very unique view of objects right below you. I find it interesting you can hear something, such as a dog barking, a couple thousand feet directly below you since there is nothing to muffle the sound. However, being so early in the morning it was pretty quiet.
Landing was easy as there is a lot of open space north of Albuquerque (i.e., desert). We landed on a dirt road outside of town. The chase car was there within a minute. Smooth landing, coming to a complete stop within a minute. Afterwards we had our celebration where we all drank a glass of champagne.
For those who have not flown in a hot air balloon, you should try it. Even if you are afraid of heights. (Mary Ann is afraid of heights, but this she loved and would do again.) The basket was chest-high so you don’t have to worry about falling out. The winds were calm so you didn’t have to worry about moving too fast. And they tracked the winds on the ground and followed the balloon so that the landing was smooth and controlled.