We take care of the land...it takes care of us.

We're just a couple of country dwellers......

that love nature, hunting, fishing, gardening, campfires, crafting, cooking, canning, laughter and living!!

Ya just never know what I'll blog about next...

So visit us often!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Up, Up, and Away

We loaded up the wagon
and headed west!

Well, NOT really!
We took the truck, but,
We did have to stop for donuts at Wall Drug
and while we were there
get our picture taken on the 
old covered wagon!

Monday morning Sall had some 
business to do in Custer, so I called up our 
friend, Steve Bauer with Black Hills Balloons,
to see if his balloon was
going up today...

Sure enough, the weather was perfect
and I even got to fill an empty spot
in the basket in exchange for
a little free advertising!

"If  you  are not doing anything
come along 
on a hot air balloon adventure!"


after this post,
I promise, you will
be clicking over to our 
sponsor's website (Black Hills Balloons)
to make a reservation
for the REAL ride of your life!!!!!!!!

They took us to a beautiful meadow
where they could spread out 
this magnificent balloon.

It started to erupt like a huge 
monster at first....

Then one by one,
the beautiful colors...

The crew holds 
on to the ropes
and keeps the fabric
from falling inward...

Two huge fans start inflating....

Then 195 MILLION BTU's of
heat start to warm it up...

Our Pilot and 7 passengers
jumped aboard the 8 passenger basket...
(yep, that's me looking at the camera
smiling like an excited little kid)

More fire... 
(which I thought was
 going to burn the curls right off my head)
I definitely recommend
wearing a hat on your ride!

and suddenly our feet were 
rising off the ground!

good bye land...

good bye chase crew...
see you soon, hopefully!

Higher and Higher...
we bopped up and down
anywhere between 60 to 1500 feet
It was so quiet you could 
hear a pine needle drop!

Our shadow followed us
over the beautiful Black Hills forest...

The wildlife would see us 
and scurry to shelter...

(Lower left - Notice our shadow and how small it's getting?)
1500 feet high plus the altitude at 
Custer, South Dakota is 5,300 feet
That puts me at 6,800 feet
with nothing but hot air
and wicker!
No wonder I was speechless!

Stunning vistas of the Black Hills of South Dakota,
we could see for miles!

We saw unbelievable 
rock formations!
You can't see this from your car!

Can you see Crazy Horse Mountain?
that's 15 miles away

Our pilot took us way up high (a little breezy up there)
then we would just drift and come down to forest level again
and literally grab a pine cone off the top of a 60 foot pine tree!
"Be quick here comes one now!"

We covered 5 miles in the fastest
hour of my life.
The whole time I was in awe of 
the whole adventure,
and did not want it to ever end.

I had to snap myself out of it,
(as we descended from the sky)
and met up with our land crew once again.
Suddenly the whole safety issue was
far from my mind and all I was thinking 
about was the peaceful moments
spent up high looking down on the forest.

I braced myself for whatever kind of
bumpy landing we will have...

and even that was perfect!

Walter, our pilot, set us back
on the earth so gently it made 
me want to give him a hug...
Because that was the flight of a lifetime,
one of those experiences that 
makes you feel great to be alive!

Our shadow landed with us...
in the middle of somebody's tractor cemetery.

Seriously, I thought I died and woke up
in tractor Heaven!
(but, that's another post)

Our crew grabbed the basket and the lines
and we got to deplane (as the flight attendant would say)
and watch our
aerostatic (that's a fancy name for hot air balloon) vessel

It was memorable!!

95 foot tall 77 feet across!

Walter pulls the Red line and down she goes!

I hate folding laundry - how'd you like to fold this baby up?

To celebrate our great adventure
Walter serves us champagne...

turns out, it's a 200 year old French tradition!

(I always did like the French)

Walter told the intriguing story of 
how ballooning all began in France and 
how they celebrated surviving the 
first balloon flight some 200 years ago!

Just hearing about the whole
legend from Walter was like 
listening to Will Rogers tell a story!

What a glorious adventure and fun morning
this has been!

Seriously, this was right up there with 
climbing Mt. Everest!
(I have yet to do that, but I would compare the two, I'm sure)

a truly magical experience 
everyone should do once in their lifetime!

I highly recommend Black Hills Balloons ~
their pilots are some of the best in the world
and flying over the Black Hills in South Dakota
is an experience like none other in the world!

A HUGE Thank you to Steve Bauer...
I hope this post brings him 
some future adventurists!

Have a beautiful day, my blogging friends!

Linking this post to a fun new
linky party...


Skywatch Friday

click on over and enjoy!


barb said...

Wow! I'm putting that on my basket list! b

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What an amazing journey! If I ever head up there again I'll have to make sure to do that!

Country Gal said...

What a great adventure ! Awesome photos ! Have a good day !

That corgi :) said...

I was wondering if your adventure would end with champagne :)

it looked beautiful up there! I bet this experience is something you will remember for a very long time!!

all great pictures!!


~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Its been about 15 years since we've been to Wall Drug and that part of the country--What an amazing and once in a lifetime experience to be able to do that!!!! WOW!!!!!

texwisgirl said...

that is SO cool! something i wanted to do years ago...

you should submit that one balloon shadow photo against the trees to Guest Heart Thursday at
www.clytie-randomhearts.blogspot.com because it forms a unique heart! :)

med109 said...

WOW, that looked amazing! Thanks for posting Aunt Lisa, it is something I would NEVER do, cause I am so afraid of heights, but I felt like I was in the balloon with you.

Sharon said...

How wonderful, I am green with envy! I always wanted to go up in a balloon. Mid-August they have a balloon show in Corinth, MS. We would go and watch them every year when our son was younger. I guess there is a huge one in Albuquerque, NM but not sure when it is.

Yep, anybody gets a chance to take a ride, should! Spectacular!

Clytie said...

Wow, what a wonderful trip you took me on! I've never been up in a hot air balloon ... but they float overhead all summer long here. Sometimes they land in the parking lot across the street too!

I'm so glad Texwisgirl noticed the heart of the balloon against the trees - she's right - it's perfect for Guest Heart Thursday!

Tina said...

What a wonderful journey! WOW! I think you will never forget that.
Thanks for joining this with us on *PicStory*! See you next tuesday for *All lilac*
LG Tina :)

SquirrelQueen said...

That looks like so much fun, I would love to ride in a hot air balloon. I'm glad Clytie linked you up so I could share your adventure.

LauraX said...

Thank you so much for taking us on your adventure with you through your exquisite images and wonderful descriptions!

Carol at Serendipity said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure. I had a chance a few years back but was just too chicken.

Enjoyed the pictures.


lisa said...

What an amazing experience Lisa!
Your photographs of it are wonderful.
Thank you so much for sharing them here!

eileeninmd said...

Wow, what a great experience for you, I enjoyed all the photos. It really does look like fun! Happy skywatching!

Suzy said...

Even thought I'm afraid of heights, I would definately do this if I had the chance!!

forgetmenot said...

What fun and what wonderful photos you were able to take. Great shots. Mickie :)

Carmen said...

This looks incredible! Im going on a Hot Air Balloon Flight in a couple of weeks and this has made me even more excited! Amazing pictures!

Sall's Country Life said...

Thanks all for the great comments and all I can say is "just go for it!"

Fjällripan said...

It must have been amazing to go with the ballon, what a great view!

Kel said...

ballooning adventures offer such great skywatch opportunities

Autumn Belle said...

Wow, you must be feeling on top of the world in this adventure of a lifetime!

Tanya Highet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dani said...

wow, what a great experience. Thank you for sharing. I love that huge heart too.