194 Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival

The last day of the Festival

was a blast! It seemed to take forever for the balloons to get off and I waited an additional ten minutes for the Eveready Bunny who should have been named the “never ready bunny”, but eventually it lifted off and Marv. (the safety officer) gave me the thumbs up. The wind was south west so I set up into the wind, pointing to the tree line. The plan worked…I inflated the wing and turned south to line up with the runway. As soon as I was in line, the wing looked good, I hammered the throttle and made a nice clean take off. When I got to the park entrance road I was about 100ft AGL…not great but enough to initiate a hard turn to the right. I did a climbing spiral for several hundred feet and took off to chase the balloons. I crossed Wadsworth and caught up with the pack by the two holding ponds at the south of Chatfield. Everyone except for one lone wolf was skimming the earth, probably trying to collect tags to win the competition. The lone wolf was hanging at about 2000 ft AGL. It was the event organizer and I saw him 45 minutes later heading back toward the port. I was amazed how he was able to come back when everyone else was miles downwind.

I took a few pictures and flew by the CSYC gang who had rafted up to watch the ascension. After 35 or so minutes I returned to the port and tried to land. I was told not to overfly the road so I had to come in from the north east and make a hard turn to final. The way that it slopes down was causing me to come in too high and so rather than land beyond the barrier I choose to set down north of the festival.

I rolled the buggy back to the festival and chatted with Matt and Jerry about meeting some morning to fly at Red Rocks. We said our goodbyes and then Kevin and his family met me at the Marina for a light wind sail.

Author: JoeO

Powered Paraglider pilot since 2005

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