By David Lee
We had always said that we wanted to go on a hot air balloon adventure but at almost $400 for the two of us, it just seemed way too expensive for us. Even on my first trip to Sedona, a friend of ours went ballooning and while it was tempting, I still couldn't get myself to spend $190 a person for just a balloon trip.
He went and loved it and kept reminding me how I had missed my "once in a life time" opportunity. Little did he know, we were already planning our return trip to Sedona!
On my second trip, I was ready for the adventure. I asked several locals and they assured me it was a wonderful experience and I would not regret a penny. So the last full day of the trip, we booked a flight with Red Rock Balloons.
At 5:30 Am, we were picked up along with the other passengers from various resorts.
We drove quietly in the darkness to a canyon where, once we arrived, they began filling the balloon. A couple of coyotes scampered around as the morning was just beginning to open it's eyes to the new day. Several bunnies sat about a hundred
yards away watching us and this great, colorful balloon grew to it's huge size.
Our balloon was carrying seventeen passengers and our pilot! I bit much for my comfort level. But it ended up being OK. We were climbed into the basket after a brief explanation. Young and old, no one had a problem getting in.
As the sun peaked over the eastern peaks, we rose above the canyon floor and surrounding crimson rock walls and watched the animals below still playing and javelina's scrounging for food. They were not even interested in this huge balloon that was rising above their heads.
Below us, we could see fantastic rock formations rising from the golden valley floor, looking even more vibrant in color than usual from the glistening sunrise.
Above us was an azure blue sky on this cloudless morning. Then to my right, I could see a flock of birds flying by, not seeming to care that they were sharing their space with this colorful giant.
We sailed quietly since there is no engine but there was an occasional sounds of the firing the burner to keep our balloon filled up with hot air.
The only way I knew we were moving was by watching the passing scenery. But in the balloon you can't feel any movement as you drift silently.
The people hardly spoke, only the wind whispered to us. Everyone was somewhere else. We were each on our own adventure. The pilot might point out something now and then and we were lucky to not have the 1 who won't stop with the endless chattering and even the little kids that were on our flight quietly gazed out at the heavens.
We could see deer and javelina, coyotes, rabbits, and birds. You could see the traffic start to appear as the town began awaken. It was simply a magical time for all.
A couple of hours later our basket lightly touched the ground and we were all helped out of the basket. We were treated to yummy muffins, fruit juice, and/or champagne and each of us what given a "graduation" certificates.
It was the best money I have spent on an adventure and even now, years later I can still close my eyes and dream of floating with the birds and seeing the beautiful landscape in Sedona. They say that God created the earth in 6 days, I am sure he spent the last entire day creating just Sedona.