Want to Get Higher?

You never know what you might see in your own backyard, especially if you live in Colorado. While growing up in Wisconsin, I never once set eyes on a hot air balloon. The abundance of trees and lakes make cloud hopping too risky. My only experience with them was in the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

They are a common sight in the wide open vistas of Boulder. This photo was taken as a balloon sailed over our yard on Saturday.

I always imagined I would float up to the sky if I held enough helium-filled balloons. Did you?

Many thought the same thing in 2009 when the Heene’s of Fort Collins claimed their balloon craft flew into the sky with their son stowed away inside. After they revealed that it was a publicity stunt, they allowed him to come out of his hiding place - the attic of their home. It became known as the Balloon Boy Hoax.

Hey. I wasn’t the only one fooled by the Heene’s. Do you see the caption under this photo? 

When I read that a pair of adventurers attempted to fly from Oregon to Montana while seated in lawn chairs suspended by helium balloons, I thought, “I won’t be fooled twice.” Then I learned that each balloon was 5 feet in diameter! Unfortunately, within two hours of the flight, the men landed hard when they were hit with a hailstorm. The balloons soared back up into the sky. They had hoped to fly across Iraq later this year.

Instead of hot air to control the upward and downward motion, they had been using a BB gun to shoot enough balloons to lower them to the ground!

Hot air ballooning takes place in the early morning when the air is cool. It rises into the sky when air is heated and captured in its “envelope.” Fire restrictions (now lifted -pun intended), in Boulder prevented the use of hot air balloons since they use an open flame.  That is what makes the distinctive sound.

When I first moved here, I looked all around trying to figure out where that peculiar breathing noise was coming from. It took me a while before I looked up!

I captured the sound when videoing a couple of hot air balloons in my backyard this weekend. The balloon is much closer than it looks. It occurred to me after they shouted hello from their wicker basket perch, that I may end up in their YouTube video. I better not run out scantily clad in my pajamas next time!

Would you like to take a hot air balloon ride?

Balloon boy photo courtesy of 9News

I took my photos and video with a Droid Phone

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Filed under Humor, Inspiration, Life

100 responses to “Want to Get Higher?

  1. I love balloon riding here…..an event I love to photograph. I recommend going early on Saturday and bring chairs and a umbrella and day camp as this day is filled with music, fun and an evening balloon glow that is pretty spectacular.

  2. As our house faces the front range, we have the lovely view of hot air balloons too. They even land in the open field behind our neighbors’ side of the street, so we see them really close. It’s always a harbinger of spring or fall too (as the air temp is right for the flights).

    • Do you ever think the temps will lower? I think it will be 102 today.
      Aren’t they fantastic? I feel so lucky to see them out the window.
      We will have to meet up one of these fine days!

  3. I’ve always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon, but the cost has held me back. Someday. Isn’t there a big hot air balloon festival in New Mexico? Have you been?

    • Same for me.
      Yes there is one in New Mexico. :) I haven’t been, but I bet it is amazing. I have been seeing them almost every morning this week. It is a very peaceful and beautiful sight!

  4. Susie you live in one of the best places in the world , you sure make it look like that…with your lovely write ups..i would love to take a balloon ride but what i would like more is to be your neighbour ..
    hey I saw a you tube video of a woman taking a video of a balloon…is that you ;)
    you are an amazing sense of humour..love n hugs

    ( running real late on comments will be on time from the next post i promise )

    • No worries my friend! I am reeeeeeally behind this week and in two weeks I’ll be on vacation where I don’t get reliable internet…
      I do live in a beautiful place and would LOVE to have a fabulous neighbor like you!

  5. I’d be too terrified that it would go on fire or I’d float into space to ever embark on a hot air balloon ride :)

  6. I’ve always wanted to [and still intend to] get married in a hot air balloon! : )

  7. EllieAnn

    I would love to take a balloon ride, it seems so peaceful and the feeling of flying would be fantastic. However, I’d want it to be short. There is NOT much room in most of those baskets. =)

  8. So much fun! I did go skydiving once…which was a buzz, but I always thought ballooning would be better, because it is slower and lasts longer…:)

  9. I have always wanted to go to the balloon fest in Albuquerque in the fall.

  10. Great Story and pics here in Illinois we’re lucky if there are Blimps flying around. Though we did get a lot of those big fancy military helicopters flying about when Chicago hosted that Nato conference.

  11. Balloons are frequent here in the central pa area, Hershey usually has at least one big show, in the fall I believe. Great magical things hot air balloons. Love your pictures!

  12. I saw a documentary last year about a man who attached helium balloons to his house and floated away to some South America country. Maybe it was Central America. I think it was called “Up!”

  13. I’d love to ride in a hot air balloon! That’s so cool that it flew over your house.

  14. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and the balloons would land in our back yard and as a “thank-you” the people inside would share their breakfast (and champagne for the grown-ups) with us!

  15. Great pix and cool post! I have never been anywhere near a hot air balloon, but I’d love to see one, and I’d love to fly in one even more! I’d love to fly in just about anything that doesn’t have a near 100% certain probability of crashing, because I just love to fly! (except for commercial jet flights, because of all the post 9/11 marathon hassles.)

    I’ve had several flights in small single engine planes, that looked about the size of a VW with wings and a tail – and I just loved the experience every time! I also was in a glider flight and that was very cool too.

    Hmm… maybe I’ll look into getting one of those ultra light airplane kits, and build my own, and then learn to fly it. I don’t think you even need a pilots license to fly an ultra light… Life has been getting just a little too safe and predictable for my liking these days, and this could be just the thing to really shake things up again! Yeah… thanks for the inspiration here, Susie! My wife won’t thank you, but don’t worry cause I won’t tell her that it was you who got me going on this one! Lol :-)

    • I am not sure about the pilot’s license for the ultra-light, but you don’t need one for a Lawn Chair Balloon craft! And that thing really flies! Hahaha! I think I know where you can buy one really cheap if you can bring it back down to Earth…
      Thanks Chris!

  16. I enjoyed your pix and video immensely, but I have never seen a hot air balloon float over the Big Apple. I have seen many MetLife blimps and last year, an orange one advertising Conan’s TBS broadcast that I initially misread as Conair and I assumed it was shilling the hair dryer. In this day and age I imagine a hot air balloon wafting over the Big Apple would be some kind of air space security breach. Our skies are full of news and police choppers out here. They were another loud everyday annoyance when Operation Wall Street was thriving. Would this city slicker ever ride in a hot air balloon? I think I’d sooner hang glide over an active volcano naked.

    • I think there are too many obstacles, buildings and water. And some idiot could use it for target practice! I will take that as a “no” to the question of a hot air balloon ride. Hahaha!
      Thanks V!

  17. Hot air balloons are big in my area as well. I’ve been inside one, before it lifted off. Being claustrophobic and scared of heights is the kind of daily double that cancels me out.

  18. Afraid of Heights…can’t do the balloon thing!
    Will stick to airplanes…large ones.

  19. you should start a Susie’s news segment. This is good

  20. Great video clip. It made me laugh thinking of you running back into the house in your pjs!

  21. NOMINATION!!! Please copy and paste award from my site here and follow the rules to accept (it’s OK if you choose not to):

  22. lynnkelleyauthor

    You got some great shots, Susie. That video is pretty cool, and that sure is a loud sound. Glad you captured it on video. Those two dingleberries with their balloon ride are darn lucky they weren’t killed. Used their BB gun to shoot the balloons and lower themselves, OMG! I saw a movie about a guy in his lawn chair who got carried off by balloons. Can’t remember the name of it. It was pretty funny. I remember that hoax. More idiots! I don’t think I trust hot air balloons enough to ride in one. Bawk! Bawk! Bawk!

    • Hahaha! Still laughing. You are so funny. Dingleberries is right!

      I guess the lawn chair balloonists were so freaked out after their maiden voyage a while ago, it took them until now to get their courage up again. They whip through the clouds at 35 MPH and have no control other than their gun! Hahaha! I wonder if they latch the gun onto their wrist somehow….

      Insanity abounds….
      Thanks Lynn!

  23. Hot air balloons are super cool, but I’ll stay on the ground, thankyouverymuch. As you can imagine, they are very popular around here and we often see up to a dozen in the air at one time. Over in Temecula hot air balloon wine tasting seems to be all the rage. I just hope the person manning the controls stays away from the vino. I went up in the hot air balloon at the Wild Animal Park, but it was tethered to the ground. We went up 500 feet and that was plenty high for me. I don’t have a fear of heights, just a fear of falling from heights.

    • A dozen! Wow! That is great and sounds like fun!
      One landed in our old neighborhood and they gave rides to the kids while it was tethered! I wonder if they remember….
      Thanks Tameri!

  24. Your camera took such a clear video! That’s awesome. And I suspect you DID wind up on their video, too, LOL I bet they weren’t complaining either ;)

    That balloon looks just like the one Peppermeister and I took in May, and you really can hear everything on the ground perfectly! We actually went in the evening for ours. Soooo much fun!

    • I hope I didn’t end up in a video… ;)
      How fun was that?!
      I never see them in the evening here. I would think it would be a blast flying stealth over everyone’s backyards. Nelle mentioned she can sometimes see them through her skylight! Whoa!

  25. I love looking at all those colorful balloons, but have never considered one for myself. What do you do when you need a bathroom? I don’t want to know the answer. LOL. I used to think I would get seriously bored in a hot air balloon. I am now willing to try it once for the experience should I ever want to pull from the experience from a writer’s point of view.

    I would be running out to take pictures as well. I group of them sometimes lands over here in Camarillo. Not close enough for me to grab a shot without jumping in the car and driving that way.

    • It never occurred to me to use the telephoto, then we could really see them in the basket. The video always makes it look so much farther away than they are! You can hear them yell, “Hello” in the video!
      Bathroom? Oh that would be a bummer…You should try it! I hope to some day!
      Thanks Debra!

  26. This is cool! I was visiting my grandparents during the summer last year, which is when an annual festival of hot air balloning takes place… whilst in the back garden we were amazed to see many air ballons drifting above us in all shapes and sizes… :)

  27. More interested in the scanty pajamas than the hot air balloons. Let me know when they put you on YouTube.

  28. Neat birds! What kind of feed do you put out to lure them to your backyard? Saw a couple last summer. They’re rare in Connecticut.

  29. When I was a kid, two of my brothers and I took a ride in one during the fourth of July. We sailed over the town, could see everyone’s backyards…their swimming pools. It was pretty cool. Course now I’d be too petrified to go in one.

    We have a huge balloon festival right in our backyard. They come sailing over our trees just like in your video. They are super loud when they are fired up! Here’s a pic of my kids looking at one last year. (hope I can link it properly…)

  30. Between the screams and vomit, it just wouldn’t be fun. FYI: That would be happening on the drive over to the ballon. They are beautiful and I would definately enjoy seeing them from the safe ground. I can only hope they caught you on tape in your PJ’s….lol

  31. I wouldn’t ride on a hot air ballon but I love watching them when they do races around here!

  32. I’d love to sail up in a hot air balloon. My cousins grew up in New Mexico, and I’ve always envied the annual air balloon fest there.

    On a separate note, I wonder if you and I ever crossed paths in MN/WI. Midwest births some pretty awesome writers, right? LOL Fun post, Susie!

    • They do have an amazing festival!

      Go Midwest writers! I’ve been out here since ’87 and you probably weren’t even born yet! What is your Wisconsin connection? We may know the same people!

  33. My hubby is always wanting to go up in a hot air balloon, and I’m too terrified. Speaking of the Wizard of Oz, did you know the black carriage Dorothy rides around in at Emerald City was actually one of three made personally for Abraham Lincoln. That was discovered after a collecter bought it several decades ago and started restoration. It’s at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids:)

  34. I would and did!! It was the highlight of my current “Bucket List”! My friend sprung it on us as a surprise or I might have talked myself out of it. I’m so glad I went. xo

  35. Go for it! Post the pics and a video…..waiting ;)
    I ordered a champagne hot air balloon ride for my husband’s bday one year as a surprise and the guy called and said, “too windy.” Never got the $ or nerve to do it again, ha ha. They sail in our skies here right over our houses as my city is pretty windy. I’ve seen the ones in Albuquerque! I’d probably do it, but you wouldn’t get me jumping out of a plane, no way. I have my limits ;)!

    • I will do it sometime and definitely report back!
      Albuquerque is supposed to be amazing… :)

      Sky diving is tempting, especially if I could be impulsive and just do it a few hours after I decide. I think you have to take a class, so there would be plenty of time for butterflies.

      Hot air ballooning seems so tame in comparison!

  36. There is nothing so cheerful as the sight of a hot air balloon! One regret in my life is that I wasn’t able to take a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti while on safari. That would have been once in a life time!

  37. the thought entered has entered my mind, but I sit down and move on to other things so it goes away…. I have a fear of heights and even a high dive gives me the willies! But, maybe once, who knows.

    • A high dive would be a little different since it requires you to jump and you wouldn’t do that…I hope! :)

      Hot air balloons can attain some elevation so remember to look straight ahead and sip (or gulp) some champagne to relax you! Let me know if you ever go!

  38. Coleen Patrick

    Balloons, bb guns and lawn chairs….hmmm..sounds like the next reality tv show!! :) I have never considered getting in a helium balloon, not surprising considering my plane anxiety. Do they have first class on a hot air balloon?

  39. I most definitely would take in a hot air balloon ride. I wonder if some of our politicians rise faster than the rest of us :-)

  40. I have seen many balloons around here over the years, but don’t think I could hop in the basket. No worries on a Boeing 717, but no balloons!

  41. Much nicer to look out your window and see those instead of jets!
    Hot air balloon ride has been on my list of things to do for a while now…

  42. ONLY if I got to wear a pair of ruby slippers. :)

  43. Much as I’d like to like your post, I’m having issues with WP recognising me beyond my own site, and it won’t let me. So consider this a like.

    I love seeing hot air balloons. I recall waking one morning to the telltale sound of the burner for one, and sure enough… right above our bedroom skylight was a hot air balloon not 200 feet up. Love ‘em, but aside from one what stays tied to the ground, not sure I could ride in one!

  44. I am not sure if I would take a hot air balloon ride. You would have to accompany me, Susie!

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