One of our activities for the weekend was to take a hot air balloon flight. When we visited Albuquerque for the first time in 2013, we booked a balloon flight, but it was canceled the morning of the flight due to bad weather. We had much better luck with the weather this time.
We checked into the Rainbow Ryders office at 5:30 AM on Saturday and got split into our flight groups. There were twelve people on our flight, plus Taylor, our pilot.
A short time later, we hopped into a passenger van and drove to our launch site. In addition to our pilot, our two member chase crew also joined us in the van.
Once we reached the launch site, the crew started setting up the balloon for our flight.
They gave passengers the opportunity to assist with blowing up the balloon as well, but we both stood back and watched.
Before too long, we hopped into the basket and were up in the air! Everything about the flight was so peaceful. I was expecting to be a little bit nervous but the flight was so smooth. All we needed to do was take in the views and the sunrise.
Taylor gave us a great experience. He took us about 8 feet above the Rio Grande River. I thought we might be able to reach down and touch the water. It seemed so close!
Then he took us up to 5,000 feet above ground level.
We, for sure, had the best pilot. He took us the highest up and the farthest out of any of the balloons up in the sky at that time. We had beautiful views of the river, the mountains and the city of Albuquerque.
At the end of the flight, we took the brace position and landed smoothly in a bank parking lot, where our chase crew was waiting for us.
They packed up the balloon and then we headed to a park to enjoy our morning refreshments.
I had a delicious mimosa to celebrate our successful flight. We wound up talking to some of our flight mates as well! Everyone was in a good mood after our fun morning adventure!
Our sunrise flight was $159 per person and included our flight, post-flight toast and refreshments and a flight certificate. Flights during the International Balloon Fiesta are much more expensive though, so be sure to check their website for the most recent information.