Thursday, August 9, 2012

Up Up and Away!

While working outside yesterday I heard the familiar “whoosh” and “whir” that can only mean one thing:  hot air balloons!  I ran for my camera to try and capture a couple of the high-flying, multi-colored aerostats as they passed over the pond.  One went down up at Pine Point Park so I grabbed my  keys,  jumped in the car  and headed west. 

I am always amazed at the speed in which ballooning professionals can disassemble these aircraft.  By the time I reached the landing spot, the pros from Aamodt's Hot Air Balloon Rides Inc. had the passengers loaded into the waiting van and had removed the basket and the burner and were wrapping up the envelope.  

Years back, particularly on clear fall days, the skies around the St. Croix River Valley were filled with majestic hot air balloons.  What an incredible way to see the area in all its autumnal  beauty!  

In the past ten years or so their numbers have dramatically dwindled.  I’ve heard it’s on account of the “man-made” global warming hysteria.  ???  If accurate, this is truly sad as this technology has been around since 1783.  On September 19th of that year scientist Pilatre De Rozier launched the first hot air balloon called Aerostat Reveillon. The passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster and the balloon stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to the ground.

The first manned attempt came two months later with a balloon made by two French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. The balloon was launched from the center of Paris and flew for  20 minutes. The birth of hot air ballooning!!!

Count me a fan!  They are beautiful and quiet and a perfect way to appreciate the beauty of nature.  Here's hoping hot air balloons, in all their glory, are around for the next 229 years!

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