I adore this dress from ModCloth:
Hot Air Ballooning Dress, ModCloth, $47.99
I love the shape, the print, the yellow detailing, the neckline- everything about it is so romantic and light, perfect for a beautiful spring day, and according to the name of the dress, for a hot air balloon ride as well. I've heard that hot air balloon rides in the spring and summer are easy on the take-off and landing. I have been on 2 hot air balloon rides, both in mid-fall and I'll be honest: I could never have worn this dress on either of those rides. (That won't stop me from buying it, though!)
The first ride, I went with my mom. It was an incredibly windy day and as the balloon inflated, it blew more violently across the field. Once it was nearly full, our pilot instructed us to jump in the basket. The ground crew made sure we were in and then they finished filling up the balloon, firing the gas, all while the balloon dragged our tiny basket across the field- it was exhilarating, and some might have considered it terrifying. As soon as the ties were cut and we lifted off the ground, the balloon ride was instantly serene. Since a hot air balloon moves with the wind, there is no feeling of wind or breeze once the balloon is in flight.
Our pilot (right in red), ground crew (center in white) and my mom (left in blue) while our balloon is inflated
The view from the basket
The landing of my first hot air balloon ride was equally exciting (or terrifying, depending on your perspective and sense of adventure). We landed in a cornfield that had been cleared and I remember seeing the ground zoom by as we approached. It's hard to realize how fast you're going until the ground is right underneath you. Anyway, we had what I'll call a "crash" landing, meaning no one was hurt, but we bumped up off the ground a few times before the basket skidded to a halt and then tipped over. It was as fun as a ride at an amusement park. The point is, this dress would NOT have been appropriate for the experience.
My second hot air balloon was this past October with my friend Brance. We were in a basket with about 6 other people, not counting our pilot. It was a similar experience in terms of bumpy take off and landing, the main difference being they had us all get into the basket while the balloon was inflated. Other than that, it was a very similar experience to the first ride. If you've never done it, I strongly recommend you add it to your "bucket list." It's worth it. Here are some more photos from my second trip:
Brance in the basket while the balloon is inflated
Inside the balloon while it's being fired
Me with Brance (and a Mexican tourist apparently taking a photo of our pilot taking a picture of us- she was actually quite a sweetheart)
Proof we went over a mile up
Both trips were with the US Hot Air Balloon Team. They're an incredibly professional group of people who make the experience unforgettable. If you haven't tried this before, do it! But wear pants.
From my flight certificate:
The wind has welcomed you with softness,
The sun has kissed you with her warm lips,
You've flown so high and so well,
That God joins you in laughter and
Has set you gently back again
Into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
- Soft Landings -