One winter I went on a hot air balloon excursion during a skiing vacation at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My father and two of my siblings and I drove from our condo one morning to the launching site for the balloon, where we noticed some men putting air inside the balloon, which was lying on its side. As soon as the balloon was completely filled with air, it became erect , and we were asked to climb into the basket. Before long, our balloon began to rise and we floated through the air.
I thought that I would be very nervous, but our expedition turned out to be both exciting yet peaceful at the same time. As we ascended into the air, we had a great view of the snow-topped Rocky Mountains which created in my mind the image of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt dotted with sprinkles of chocolate (the snow was the ice cream, and the trees were the sprinkles of chocolate) or chocolate syrup. It was just so peaceful floating through the air with the only noise being that of the ignition of the flames to power the balloon.
The sensation of the balloon’s movement was so smooth and tranquil, that I was as relaxed in the air, as if I were at home sitting in a recliner seat. I felt as if I were a bird flying over the land with nothing to hold onto, except for the edge of the basket. I loved to float in the air, as we passed through clouds and observed the different types of birds that were flying around us. My logic told me that I should have been afraid as I looked down from our grand height, but I wasn’t.
The flight was only forty-five minutes long and eventually the operator began to gradually lower the balloon. As we descended, we looked as though we were going to touch the snow-topped roof of a cabin slightly before touching the ground, and I think we just lightly grazed it as we went by.
Once we reached the landing site and climbed out of the basket, we were offered glasses of champagne to celebrate our safe return and our enjoyable journey. Photos were taken of us by our balloon, while we held our champagne glasses as if we were having a toast. After we were finished with our champagne and our picture-taking, we climbed into a white van that took us back to where we had parked.
While hot air ballooning is not cheap, it is worth the expense to actually ride in one. One gets to see great views from the sky and to appreciate nature more, while at the same time having a great adventure. One also gets to enjoy quality time with family or friends. Riding in a hot air balloon is an experience that should not be missed.