Up, up and away… in Sedona AZ

Up, up and away… in Sedona AZ

When we travel, I am all about experiences. Not just seeing things (which I also love), but doing things. Preferably things that we would not even think about doing at home.

So, while in Arizona, of course we went for a hot air balloon ride!  As with the London Eye, I was a little nervous because I do have a fear of heights, and this would be wide open. But I’m happy to say that it was slow and steady, and didn’t make me nervous at all once our flight was underway.

in flight 1

We flew with Northern Lights Balloon Expeditions in Sedona, AZ. Our pilot was very friendly and knowledgeable and has been flying hot air balloons for a long time. (This went a long way toward calming my nerves, too.) There were five balloons going up together that morning, and each balloon held about six people.

We were picked up at our hotel very early (it was still dark) and rode to the launch place. Then there was a good deal of waiting as the balloons were unfolded, hooked up, and inflated. Then we climbed into the basket and took off.

Flight is controlled by a propane tank that is also in the basket. If we wanted the balloon to go higher, the pilot would fire up the burner. To go lower, he would turn it off.

Once we were up and the landscape became miniaturized, he told us about the area – local animals (some of which we saw while in flight), notable buildings, and the history of the area. While I am not a big fan of the landscape in Arizona, the view was pretty amazing.

view from above 10

After we had been up in the air a while and seen many sights, our pilot began looking for a place to land. He communicated our position to his on-the-ground partner, who began the drive to meet us. We started to descend, slowly. Here’s a shot of another balloon in our party making its landing.

view from above 2

Once we had all landed, we enjoyed a traditional champagne toast. Legend has it that early French balloonists carried champagne to appease angry or frightened spectators at the landing site. The toast goes like this:

The winds have welcomed you with softness

The sun has blessed you with its warm hands

You have flown so high and so well

That God has joined you in your laughter

and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother earth.

Northern Lights Balloon Expeditions operates out of Sedona, Arizona.  Reservations are recommended.  Telephone 1-800 230-6222.

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