I promised to tell you all about my hot air balloon trip, and this is where it happens. This post is going to be long and full of pictures. You have been warned!
My first flight plan was cancelled due to bad weather. You don't fly if it's raining, or if the ground is wet. It'd be possible, but it takes more heat to rise, since water makes the balloon heavier. Plus, the view from the sky isn't as clear, and it's nowhere near as cool. So, we waited for the sun and a call from our trusted pilot.
The sun, it seems, decided to come one Saturday morning... at 5:30 am. Which means I was up at 4 am, a feat in and of itself! Honestly, though, I'd been semi-awake since 2 am, alternating between proper sleep and eyes-wide-open-with-excitement. Balloon Ride, my kid mind said. Proper research! my writer mind added. Happy times were to be had today.
So we got up, went there, and then moved with the four other passengers, the pilot and the rest of the crew to our take-off site. They took out the basket there, tied the enveloppe to it and only then did they begin to remove the enveloppe from its bag.
|IT IS FREAKIN' HUGE!!|
When you read that something is X feet tall and X feet wide, you think "Wow, that's big." But "big" isn't a concrete measure, and in my mind at least, it doesn't really click until I've seen it. Just like it's one thing to know the Eiffel Tower is tall, another to stand underneath it and look up. Or one thing to be told that northern lights are pretty, and another to see them. Some concepts are too abstracts to grasp with a solid exemple. Hot air balloon bigginess is one.
So we weren't in the sky yet and I already had one small plot problem to solve. But I took heart: that's why I'd come (in addition to the 'having fun' part).
Besides, I wasn't going to dwell on it. Not when they asked for volunteers to hold the enveloppe's mouth open!
|Me with a crazy face, holding the enveloppe|
Unlike the enveloppe, the basket was a bit smaller than expected. We weren't squeezed inside, but any tighter and it would no longer have been comfortable. But it was comfy. Also, you don't feel a thing when you take off. You're talking and enjoying yourself, and suddenly the world lowers and you wonder why. Then you look down and see this:
|That's the third balloon. It was quite smaller|
Once I shut up, though... complete quiet. Nothing but the soft whistling of gas heading to the burner, and the occasional WHOOOSH when he pushed the buttons. No cars, no birds, no people. Only you, the sky and the world, 6000 feet below.
Now, enough talking and more showing. This is what it looked like from above:
|That's Quebec City on the other side of the St-Lawrence River|
|I call it the Brocoli Forest|
|We're at 3000 ft now. Nope, they did not crash in the river|
The landing was super smooth too, and we shared champagne with the crew and the farmer whose field we'd used as a landing ground.
|That's my pilot, in his super cool hat. He's awesome, funny and talkative.|
Oh, and just in case you'd consider flying around Quebec City or Montreal, my pilot is Jacques Brouard. He has his own little enterprise called Québec Montgolfière and has been flying for more than 20 years now. I recommend him. Seriously.
That's the little story of my brief time in a balloon. You can ask all the questions you want in the comments if there's something you wanted to know, and that I forgot to say. :)
*The last one is super important, considering propane is a rarity in my world.