Friday, August 19, 2011

up, up & away!

My parents surprised me with a hot air balloon ride for my birthday! I had mentioned to my Mom a little while back that I wanted to ride in a hot air balloon, go para-sailing and zip-lining. Well, now I can cross one off my list! How they told me about my ride deserves it's own post so that will come soon.

We had to meet the balloon team at 6:30 am, and by 7 they had the balloon and basket out and started getting everything set up. They used a giant fan to start the inflation of the balloon.

It's so big! They don't seem quite as big when you see them in the air. I kinda wanted to go inside the balloon and walk around. I don't think they would have liked that though...

They let me hold the balloon open while they started adding the heat to get it to start standing upright.

Oh! There it goes! It's off the ground.

And now the basket is resting on the ground. They called us over and we quickly hopped into the basket and took off right away! You didn't have time to think about being nervous - which I wasn't at all.

Steven had previously given in to my Mom and agreed to ride with me... then he found out he had to work at 7:30 that morning. :( I was bummed, but I'm sure he was relieved! I tried to get my Dad to go with me, but he insisted that my sister, Katie, get to go. So it was a sister's excursion!

Bye Mom & Dad! See you in 45 minutes! We took off from Smithton Middle School behind the mall.

We could see all of Columbia! It was really beautiful and calm that early in the morning. I love this picture of the balloon's shadow on the road. You can see Schnuck's on Forum Blvd. at the top of the picture.

The pilot lowered the balloon and we skimmed the tops of the trees! That was the scariest part of the whole thing - worrying that we were going to get stuck! This was over the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial at Battle Garden off of Stadium.

We flew right over the A.L. Gustin golf course. I love how many tree tops there are. Prettier than seeing a bunch of building tops!

Our shadow on some tree tops. You can see the corner of Providence and Green Meadows at the top of the picture.

It was hard to get good pictures of us in the balloon... the sun was either behind your head or in your face and we were standing like 5 inches apart! I was leaning back over the side of the basket a little bit.

The last couple views before we descended. We landed somewhere between Perry Philips Park and Gans Creek Recreation Area off of Gans Road.

The crew packed up the balloon and then the pilot had us sit on top of the rolled-up balloon. One of the crew members threw grass on us while the pilot opened a bottle of champagne and then poured some on each of our heads! Then he recited the Balloonist's Prayer.

The Balloonist's Prayer
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 joined you in laughter
and set you gently back into
the loving arms of Mother Earth. 
He told us that the prayer was from way back when and is usually heard after a flight. And then we toasted with our champagne and went about our day with sticky hair. :)

Sorry for the picture overload... but these were narrowed down from 200 pictures! Hard to choose which ones to share.

It was quite the adventure, and surprise! A birthday I won't forget.

xoxo, christa


  1. Oh my gosh I am SO jealous! Looks like so much fun!

  2. I love this post! and am extremely jealous ;) I've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon. One of my favorite things my family did growing up was going to the Balloon Classic in Colorado Springs every labor day weekend. We'd be surrounded by balloons being blown up and then they'd all take off. So exciting! Awesome photos too :)

  3. Love this post! So excited for you.

  4. how fun was this!? seriously. looks like you had an absolute blast crossing this major event off the bucket list. :)

    smiling so wide at these pictures, too!

  5. That looks like so much fun! Of all the things that I've done, hot air ballooning isn't one of them, and that's a shame!


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