Sunday, August 30, 2015 : Hot air balloon flight, Great Sand Dunes

 

This morning, we have an appointment at 5:45 with Ken and his team for our hot air balloon flight. The time to get the balloon ready to launch, the sun is up, and the temperature immediately climbs by a few degrees.

 

Hot air balloon ready to launch !

Hot air balloon ready to launch !

 

We are now ready to take off.

 

The flight lasts about one hour and takes us above the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge. The game consists in descending into the gorge, of course staying clear of the cliffs, and gently kissing the water with the balloon's basket. After a slightly complicated approach, Ken does a superb job.

 

We then gain some altitude, to pick an opposite wind and land at the planned place. The excursion completes with a brunch on the rest area close to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, a spectacular place.


Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

 

We then hit the road and make it to Great Sand Dunes National Park early in the afternoon, which leaves us ample time to visit the park.

 

Dunes in the middle of the Rockies ? Well, yes. They were made of material worn off the mountains by the rivers, eroded into sand, and maintained in place by conflicting, rotating winds.

 

Later in the afternoon, we attempt to climb one of the highest dunes in the park, but we give up a little below the summit. It's is not easy to walk in deep, very soft sand, especially in the heat of a hot summer afternoon !