Have you ever been up in a hot air balloon? If not, do yourself a favor and put it on your bucket list…it’s an extraordinary experience. While I was in Palm Springs I got an opportunity to take flight above the Coachella Valley from the folks at Balloons Above. As luck would have it, our pilot for our sunrise adventure was the owner himself, Wil LaPointe, who happens to be a highly ranked competitive balloonist.
We started our adventure by meeting Wil at a centrally located hotel, there we took care of paperwork and signed our lives away. We then piled into a van and traveled a short distance to our launch site. As soon as we arrived, Wil’s team had the balloon nearly inflated and prepared. We climbed into the balloon basket and within a matter of minutes…liftoff—just in time to see the sun rise over the mountains.
As we floated through the brisk morning air, we were treated to some spectacular views as the rising sun cast an amber glow on the scenery. We traveled for approximately 30 minutes and covered about eight miles. We came in for a soft landing in an open field next to a small regional airport where Wil has a hanger that he stores some of his 20+ balloons. It’s customary to enjoy a champagne (sparkling wine) toast after a safe flight, however it was a bit nippy out, so after a quick vote, we all decided to partake in the ceremonial toast back at the hotel lobby where we all met.
Hot air ballooning dates all the way back to 1783 when the first flight carrying a human occurred in Paris, France. The balloon was made of paper and silk and carried two men. The men stood on a circular platform attached to the bottom of the balloon. The “hot air” was produced by fire and was hand-fed through openings on either side of the balloon’s skirt. The balloon reached an altitude of at least 500 feet and traveled over five miles before landing safely 25 minutes later. If you’re interested in reading more about the origins of hot air ballooning, click here to see what Wikipedia has listed.
Click the following link to see more of my hot air balloon pictures high above Palm Springs, California. If you’ve ever been on a hot air balloon ride, let my readers and me know how you liked it.
If you find yourself in the Palm Springs area, be sure to contact:
Phone: (760) 347-0410