Saturday, July 12, 2008
Way Up High
We dragged ass out of bed this morning at 4:30 am to go hook up with a balloon ride over the Oregon countryside. it was a perfectly clear morning and just gorgeous for such an experience. Our dear friends Jenpaul and Peter treated us to the ride as a wedding present and we were just waiting for good weather to do it up. The balloon operators were a British couple who were tremendously even keeled and experienced. We clipped the top of some douglas firs at one point when we were about 300 ft in the air. "Mind your hands," said the stolid englishman as we rammed into the tree top, filing the basket with pine cones. But way up high, we could see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker and Mt. Adams. We saw a bald eagle, deer, and various other birds. The high frequency of the burner got every dog in the county barking at us. We eventually came to rest on some farm land near a hazelnut orchard. The landowner buzzed over on his ATV and flipped out about trespassing and tried to make the balloon operator pay him money. So we fired up the burner and took off for another open field. Afterwards, there was a champagne brunch back at the airfield where we started off and the operators told us stories of the first balloon rides in France in the 1780's.