Hot Air Balloon Series: Sun Rise Over Napa Valley

 

Several years ago, my wife and I planned a trip to Napa Valley for a week of California sunshine and wine tasting.  About mid-week, I surprised her with an early morning hot air balloon ride to watch the sunrise.  We were picked up from our hotel and rode to the launch site in Yountville, anticipating our views over the Silverado Trail, but it was too foggy to launch.  The pilot announced that we would drive 45 minutes further into the Napa Valley farm country and launch to clear skys.

We climbed back into the 15 passenger van and sitting shoulder to shoulder, rode the winding mountain roads to the Valley part of Napa Valley.  I felt a bit green during the ride.  I don't know if was the driving, the weather or the hangover from indulgence of wine the day before, but I was glad when we finally arrived and I could walk on the ground again.

The land was huge with acres and acres of vineyards in a valley surrounded by mountains and hills as far as you could see.  Conditions were perfect for my first hot air balloon ride.  The ride lasted about 60 minutes and I took about 400 photos.  This is one of my favorite experiences and photos as it captures the tranquillity of that morning.  If you've never taken a hot air balloon ride, you should as the experience is one that you will remember forever.

This weekend is the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Statesville, NC.  I look forward to adding more photos of hot air balloons to my collection.