Catching Leaves

“How high will we be flying?”

Passengers frequently ask this question. I would want to know too, if I were a prospective flyer. It seems reasonable. After all, when we’re flying in a jet the captain often comes on the PA system and very authoritatively informs us that “We’ll be flying at 36,000 feet this morning, ladies and gentlemen…” and of course we look out the window…to see what?

The thing is, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between flying at 100 feet or 500 feet when you’re in a balloon basket. Although, honestly, you can certainly see a lot more from the balloon basket than you can from the window seat in a jet.

One way to gauge your distance from the ground (if you care to) is by noticing, if you’re drifting over trees, how far above the treetops you are-or if you’re in the treetops. Average trees are between 60-80 feet tall in these parts. Sometimes-and this is very cool-your pilot might use the treetops to slow the balloon down as he or she approaches the landing spot. If you think and act quickly, you might be able to grab some leaves as you glide through the treetops.

To answer the question proposed at the beginning of this essay, you’ll be flying, generally, between 500 and 2,000 feet in altitude. If winds allow, you might do some “contour flying”-right over or in the treetops. So, bring your sense of adventure and your inner child.

This might be your once in a lifetime opportunity for catching leaves.

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