Hot Air Balloon Adventure – Sedona
Out of all the experiences I had during my 6 weeks in Arizona, one soared above the rest, literally and figuratively. On the last morning of our mother-daughter weekend in Scottsdale and Sedona, we did something that I hadn’t even realized should be on my bucket list – a hot air balloon ride!
At 6 a.m., the three of us jumped in a Red Rock Balloon Adventures van and headed out to the launch site. As a bonus, this early wake-up call meant that we got to see a spectacular sunrise.
It was a chilly morning, but the anticipation of our ride kept me distracted from the nippy air. Plus, it was really interesting to watch the crew set up the balloons.
The balloons themselves were even bigger than I’d expected.
And the flames used to inflate the balloons? Yikes.
Once the balloons were ready to go, our group split among the two balloons and 16 of us piled into each basket. I was worried that we’d be cramped with that many people squeezed in, but the basket was deceptively spacious. It was divided into 4 sections of 4 people each with the balloon pilot and equipment in the middle.
I had a few last-minute butterflies before we lifted off, but once we started our ascent the whole thing just felt peaceful and surreal. Before this experience, I would have thought it’d be windy in the balloons, but because you are actually floating with the wind, it is perfectly calm and peaceful up in the air.
And the early morning light on Sedona’s red rocks was just spectacular.
The wind conditions were ideal that morning, and we were able to fly all over, checking out every site that our pilots wanted to show us.
In all, we were able to stay in the air for more than an hour.
Even in the tight confines of the basket, we were able to score some mother-daughter pics in between gawking at our surroundings.
Sedona is a popular ballooning spot, and I thought it was really cool to see a handful of other balloons floating through the air at the same time as us.
And the views!
At one point we floated by a butte and could see our shadow silhouetted against the rocks.
Then, we lifted up and soared over the top of the rock formation. The highest we flew was about 2,000 feet, and even though looking straight down was a tiny bit unsettling, the height didn’t freak me out the way I’d thought it might.
The other balloon that we launched with flew nearby throughout our ride and the two pilots communicated with each other by radio, as well as the crew on the ground that would meet us at landing time. It was easy to tell that these guys enjoyed working together and they had a pretty hilarious schtick going back and forth. The little comedy routine added an extra dimension of fun to the spectacular views.
After almost an hour and a half, it was time to land. A ground crew had driven over to a clearing to meet us, and our pilot started to set us down expertly, exactly where we needed to be. When we were about two feet off the ground, the basket hit a large rock on the ground and startled us all. I had to laugh that the tiny jolt was the biggest scare of our entire journey. The pilots at Red Rocks really know their stuff and we felt very safe in their hands.
Upon landing, we all carefully piled out of the baskets and made our way to an area where the guys set up a small picnic of muffins, fruit and mimosas to toast to a successful morning. After a snack and a little more comedy from the guides, they loaded us back into the vans and our balloon adventure was over.
If it’s not already, I highly recommend that you add a hot air balloon ride to your bucket list. And if you choose to try it in Sedona, I have only good things to say about Red Rocks Balloon Adventures. At about $200 per person, it’s not cheap, but it felt 100% worth it in my opinion. I absolutely loved everything about our morning in the balloons. Don’t believe me? Check out my goofy expression of joy when we touched down at the end of our flight.
So, what’s the next adventure that I should add to my bucket list?!