Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ballooning in Canyonlands National Park

This sounded like a lot of fun.  Even though I have vertigo, I thought I'd try it and if I spent the whole trip on the floor of the balloon, so be it.  But the ride was so beautifully gentle and like floating on a cloud - literally - that I didn't have any problems at all.

At the crack of dawn the balloonists pick us up and take us to the launch site and once they have inflated the balloon, we get on and take off.

Take off is very gentle and poof we're in the air and up floating around.  There is a sail of sorts on one side of the balloon which can help guide the balloon a little, but we're really at the mercy of the wind at different altitudes.  The balloon also has a parachute type thing on top that allows the air at the top of the balloon (the hottest air rises to the top) to escape and therefore this way they can adjust the altitude of the balloon beautifully.

When asked where we would land, they jokingly said somewhere down there, but the chatter between the pilot and ground crew was that they were going to land on a road, and they surely did.

We took few pictures and instead a great video from the two of us.  Here's that video:
And here's a few pics during and after the flight.

Canyonlands is most magnificent during golden hours (these are the hours that filmmakers, artists and photographers love - just before sunset and just after dawn).  This is just after dawn and the golden sun is shining on those beautiful sandstone cliffs of the canyons in Canyonland.  

Here's part of the White Rim area which is so aptly named for the white rim of the upper layer of the canyon.  

And this is our balloon basket. It's very sturdy and I never felt a bump or shake or anything abrupt at all.  It was truly like floating on the wind, which is what we were doing.  And I've got a problem with heights and usually shy away from something like this.  
I can't say enough great things about this company.  The pilots were extremely knowledgeable about the area and pointed out everything from Canyonlands to Arches to the San Rafeal Swell as well as landing as soft as I ever have from a flight in air.  Canyonlands Ballooning is a not-to-be-missed activity when you're in the area!

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