Balloon Photo Essay by Jeff Marzec
Most nice mornings in Pagosa Springs one finds balloons in the air. It is pure pleasure and a different perspective to see the area from the sky. Here Jeff Marzec, long time contributor to The Journal, sends his kids up and follows the experience via photos and a few observations. Thanks, Norm.
By Jeff Marzec
We had a different type of vacation this year. Our friends, the McGarry’s, sponsored us in a Wyndham property for the week, so we chose to do some of the activities through the resort. They had all kinds of facilities for us to use on the property.
We decided to let the kids take a hot air balloon ride arranged through the resort activity planner. We had to be at the tennis courts at seven in the morning and the kids helped pull out the gondola and start inflating the balloon.
Soon the balloon was ready and the first group took off. We followed the balloon for a while till they landed near the Pagosa Brewery and switched out passengers. So it was up and away for our pair.
As our teenagers quietly floated away the thought momentarily crossed our minds….what if they are blown far far away. Well back to reality. They fortunately floated towards one of the resort’s lakes and did a greatly anticipated “touch and go” on the lake. Not every group gets this pleasure, since you are at the mercy of the winds.
Soon after the balloon came to rest in a cul-de-sac near by, with all the neighbors coming out to take pictures of the time a hot air balloon landed in their front drive.
After packing up the balloon and gondola, we returned to the Activity center for a history lesson on the history of ballooning and a toast of Champagne with our pilot Mike of Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures. Of course my teenagers had to have juice instead. They remarked about the quiet serenity of Pagosa Counrty from 1500 feet. One more great memory made in Pagosa.
The hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. It is part of a class of aircraft known as “balloon aircraft”. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes in a hot air balloon created on December 14, 1782, by the Montgolfier brothers. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than just being pushed along by the wind are known as airships or, more specifically, thermal airships.
A hot air balloon consists of a bag called the envelope that is capable of containing heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or wicker basket (in some long-distance or high-altitude balloons, a capsule), which carries passengers and (usually) a source of heat, in most cases an open flame. The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant since it has a lower density than the relatively cold air outside the envelope.