With the fall colors in full swing and the cooler air – you might find now to be an excellent time to experience St George from the air in a low-tech high thrill experience of a hot air balloon ride.
I was surprised for my birthday with a ride. I am not one who likes heights (the movie Cliff Hanger just about kills me to watch.)
I felt extremely secure and safe and didn’t experience that anxiety I normally do at the edge of an abyss.
We got to the launch site – the pilot called up the FAA control network for air/wind conditions while the crew rolled out the balloon. (The balloon is packed in a really small box – and becomes huge real quick. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.) Within minutes the burner was lit and heating up the air. It didn’t take much and up sprang the balloon. We climbed on board, got a few in-flight instructions from the pilot and then he signaled to the ground/chase crew to let go. Bam! We were airborne going straight up. Once we hit an air stream then we started moving.
The day we were out the wind was very mild. 5-7 MPH at most. It was so smooth. Some of the things I liked the most was gliding along like I was in a real ‘Google Map Experience’. It was so quiet and the perspective of seeing St George from above was amazing.
The Pilot was fun to be with – he was able to keep us informed of the workings of the Balloon and what to expect the whole way. He was able to point out lots of topographical stuff too like he pointed out Mt. Trumble, AZ (where early settlers secured lumber to build their homes/farms), where the old honeymoon trail was, we were able to see Zion National Park, Pine Valley Mountain.
I was amazed to see all the little water ways, ponds, washes that you don’t normally see from the ground level. We saw deer in and around the river below – I’ve walked the trails by the river and never see deer. From the balloon I was able to see them perfectly. Way awesome.
The landing couldn’t have been smoother – we drifted right over the roof of a building – glide perfect and touched down into the hands of the ground crew in the landing field. The pilot’s precision was impressive. Just as fast as the balloon went up – it came down – back into the little bag/box and we were off! My son and I talk about how fun this experience was together. It will be one of those cool memories I will share for a long time to come.
If you’re interested in booking a balloon ride during your next stay in the area – Call Bill Howes direct to schedule. 435-632-0222 He’s been piloting air ships most of his life and is very skilled at what he does.
As of the date of this posting Bill indicated that the cost for a one hour flight for two is $ 225.00 / person. For three $ 195.00 ea. & with four $ 175.00 ea. Bill can give you more specifics on their flight packages and will take really good care of you from start to finish.
Because it was my birthday and I live around the corner from him he took me to breakfast at Bishop’s Grill. I recommend going there too but I can’t guarantee that Bill will pick up the tab!