Travel, Utah

A Bucket List Adventure Among the Clouds

There’s something whimsical about going on a hot air balloon ride — the massive colorful balloon, the small wicker basket, and that weightless feeling as you soar high above the ground — it all feels so playful and dreamy, and ever since I attended my first festival as a young girl I’ve been fascinated with the idea of floating among the clouds.

The Autumn Aloft Hot-Air Balloon Festival is held each fall at one of my favorite mountain locations in Utah and when I first learned about the event my excitement could barely be contained. I immediately added the festival to my calendar and I couldn’t wait to spend my Sunday morning watching those giant, colorful, hot-air balloons launch high into the September sky.

What I didn’t expect was that we’d have the opportunity to fulfill that childhood dream from so long ago.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Frost covered the ground and I shivered as we walked around the park — next year I need to remember to bring more than just a light hoodie for this early morning mountain activity — and whenever a giant flame was released into one of the hot-air balloons nearby I slowed my pace in order to warm my face and hands with the residual heat emanating from the balloon.

It wasn’t long into our walk that I discovered an incredible opportunity which made me forget all about the way my hands hurt from the cold and the way my face stung from the frigid wind.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

As a line began to form near one of the hot-air balloons, I wandered over to learn what all the excitement was about, and that’s when I discovered an opportunity that had this adrenaline junkie grinning from ear to ear: this hot-air balloon was offering rides for FREE! Without hesitation I scribbled our names onto the ride list — Wait… uhhh, I mean, I first read the entire liability waiver and then added our names to the list. 😉 (Safety first!)

I never imagined that I would cross off a bucket list item that day, and before we knew it the time had come: it was our turn to climb into the wicker basket and prepare for lift off. The sun had risen high into the sky and as they fired up the flame located just above our heads any remaining icicles from our face and hands were instantly dissolved.

Hot Air Balloon
Our first hot-air balloon ride!

While our time in the air wasn’t nearly as long as your typical hot-air balloon ride, it did give us our first experience of weightlessness as we floated higher into the bright blue sky, and I’m already looking forward to another opportunity to climb back into that tiny wicker basket to see where the wind blows.

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Would you go on a hot air balloon ride?

12 thoughts on “A Bucket List Adventure Among the Clouds”

  1. We did a hot air balloon safari in South Africa several years ago, it was our first and only balloon ride, a marvelous experience. Yours is beautiful as well. You just want to say “What a wonderful feeling!”

    1. Wanda,
      That sounds perfect. If I ever get a chance to visit South Africa, I’ll have to take the opportunity to see it from above in a hot air balloon. 🙂 It is an incredible feeling… I loved feeling like I was floating.

    1. Aloha Wayne!
      Thanks for letting me know about your post. You captured some amazing photos of your experience. I hope to go again sometime soon and spend the money to go for a longer period of time. 🙂
      Hope you are doing well.
      A Hui Hou

    1. Hi there,
      Yes, we were very lucky for that opportunity. It wasn’t nearly as long as a normal hot air balloon ride, but I’d spend the money to be able to go again for the afternoon. 🙂 It was so fun!
      Have a great day,

  2. Hot-air ballooning is something I’ve always wanted to do to. Now I doubt that I ever will. Anyway, happy sailing among the clouds and Aloha – pjs/

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