Category Archives: International Travel

Balloon Magic in Colorado

For Labour Day weekend (last weekend) I went to visit my friend Keenan in Colorado. For years I’ve read his blog and loved watching all his posts of him exploring and enjoying the mountains in Colorado.  It’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit…so decided that Labour Day weekend was the perfect time to go and explore Colorado for myself. (Fair warning: this post is going to have a PILE of PHOTOS!)

My flights were uneventful… I actually lucked out with a really awesome seat, I could stick my feet into business class but the real perk of this was I had extra leg room! It was one of those flights that I fell asleep before we took off, and woke up about 45mins before we landed! (Nice to get a cat nap in… travelling always makes me feel so tired, especially jumping back in time 2 hours with the time zone difference!)  balloon-magic_0001

Keenan picked me up…and after heading back to his place and a quick walk for Ro…we headed out for dinner and ice cream! Ended up having the most fantastic burrito…and even had left overs for the next day.

So Friday night I was told, “So we are going to have to wake up at 5:30am tomorrow…BUT it’s because we are going HOT AIR BALLOONING!!!” Huge-amazing-awesome-surprise…


Anyone who know me knows I don’t like early mornings… but hello!? Maybe I should reassess that stance…and be getting up earlier to catch the sunrise…because there is some magic light and so gorgeous and worth getting up way early in the morning.

balloon-magic_0005No words of complaint about the hour…when you get to see the sun rise on the horizon!

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh


There was huge excitement as everyone was put into their groups… there were like 4-5 Balloons that took up between 6-8 people  (plus driver) in the basket. We went with Fair Winds– Hot Air Balloon Flights.  They launch them about a 30min drive from Keenan’s house…often he has seen them taking off during his early morning runs!

But first thing first… huge fans were used cool air to inflate the balloons (that had been laid out on huge tarps)…the baskets were all on their sides.

After they were filled with cool air, then it is switched the ‘hot’ air…and slowly the balloons came up off of the ground! (The two people below joined our balloon ride… they were enjoying some early morning fresh air…)

All the balloons were so colourful and gorgeous.  We ended up going on the more green one.

I did find out some information I didn’t know about…”Most hot air balloon launches are made during the cooler hours of the day, at dawn or two to three hours before sunset. At these times of day, the winds are typically light making for easier launch and landing of the balloon. Flying at these times also avoids thermals, which are vertical air currents caused by ground heating that make it more difficult to control the balloon. In the extreme, the downdrafts associated with strong thermals can exceed the ability of a balloon to climb and can thus force a balloon into the ground.” Source


This wasn’t my first balloon ride… when I was younger I won a hot-air balloon trip for two through a grocery store competition.  So I took my gramma… (She was the one that always told me to sign up for the in-store competitions.) We went at sunset…so the sunrise was a bit different! balloon-magic_0012

Our balloon is getting filled with hot air…balloon-magic_0026

As the balloons inflate, there is someone holding onto the top with a long rope… (not sure why… and I didn’t ask…) But it was cool to flip around to the other side to quickly get this photo before we had to jump in our basket. balloon-magic_0013

So exciting…as we started to take off.  Now in our basket…we had 6 other people.  A couple that was celebrating their 44th Wedding Anniversary; a lady who didn’t like heights (but was going to have the experience with her husband)…and another couple that had perfectly timed iPod play list… that they shared earphones to listen to the whole trip!

The other balloon waiting to take off… until we got into the air! (Every balloon had a walkie talkie so the balloons can communicate with each other.)balloon-magic_0015

WOW!!! the mountains + balloons… honestly, there are no words… I couldn’t stop smiling, staring and taking photos! balloon-magic_0016

…such amazing gorgeous views.  balloon-magic_0017

…I loved flying over the neighbourhoods, everything looked so tiny—and almost like a model village! I remember thinking this as a child on my first trip too! (sometimes things don’t change). balloon-magic_0018

…those smiles didn’t stop the WHOLE time!

…even our balloon pilot was all smiles as he talked and told us random things about what we were seeing! He also would turn the balloon so we could get a view over our side of the basket! balloon-magic_0020

We ended up going in a pretty straight line… and went up to 7500 feet! balloon-magic_0021

As all good things, come to an end… soon our trip ended!… I was expecting a bumpy landing (my first trip we bumped and were dragged sideways in a farmer’s field)….but that was so not what happened this time.  We had one BUMP and then hovered over to a better grassy area to put out the balloon.  balloon-magic_0022

…We stayed in the basket until the balloon was unflattened and laid out onto the grass.  (they opened up the top…. (which was closed before we took off!) balloon-magic_0023

After we got back to were we took off from we were surprised with ‘goodie’ bags! A t-shirt, framed photo of the two of us in the basket taken before we took off, a pin, and a mini-bottle of champagne.  (This is a tradition in ballooning…rumours had it the first French balloonists would take champagne to give to spectators to ease their nerves when they landed!)
balloon-magic_0029 balloon-magic_0024

…then we got to wait around while all the balloons and baskets were packed up! Keenan and I took the time with a few selfies! (some on our iPhones and others on my SLR…)

…after we headed into Louisville for brunch, at this really neat family run 50s style diner.  balloon-magic_0030

So that was the start of my action-packed-weekend-of-fun in Colorado…Keenan you sure know how to start a weekend off with a BANG and surprise a person…Thank you so much for this amazing surprise!

But don’t worry dear readers, there’s more adventures and stories from Colorado to be told…but they are going to have to wait until the next post!

EDITED:  to add Keenan’s AWESOME video from the adventure! Thanks for putting this together Keenan… 🙂

Wordless Wednesday LVIII: Fraser Island, Australia (2004)

Fraser Island, Australia

One of my favourite shots from exploring Fraser Island, Australia in 2004.  It’s getting close to the time I’m coming home…I really hope my vacation went as planned and I was able to have a bit of beach and sun adventures!

Wordless Wednesday LVI: 12 Apostles at Sunset

This shot was a film shot I took in December of 2003, 11 years ago.  I’m hoping on my trip this month I might get to go back to visit this awesome coastline.  The great ocean road is gorgeous, so many amazing beaches and sites! 12 apostles- Great Ocean Road

I took the opportunity 11 years ago to go up in a helicopter it didn’t disappoint, and I had so many amazing shots from the air…this is one of my favourite ones!

great ocean road

Most of my photos from my year in Australia in 2003-2004…are not scanned.  I was a film SLR shooter then, I think maybe a project in 2015 might be to scan my negatives…and share some more shots from my epic year long trip living overseas.

Live*Love*Hockey (#TBT)

Since it’s Thursday I thought it would be a good time to have a look back on a past adventure…so here’s my Throw-Back-Thrusday (#TBT) post for the day!


While I was on holidays in February my mum and I ended up having a few adventures we went to El Salvador saw a coffee plantation together…then I went to Copan, Honduras on a road trip and the next day went to walk on the side of a volcano!

But let me tell you the adventure for that holiday wasn’t over!  I have never been to see my cousin Cody play in an NHL game before.  I had only been to one pre-season Leafs game with my cousins Kerry and Jamie and my little brother! It was an awesome experience…but I really wanted to see Cody play in the NHL.

While I was looking at the hockey schedule for the Buffalo Sabres I saw that they had two back-to-back games they played the Carolina Hurricanes on February 25th and the Boston Bruins on February 26th. I spoke to my mum and told her we were road trippin’ down to Buffalo for the games!  It was the best chance for me to get to see Cody play…that’s one of the downsides of living just south of the Arctic Circle commutes to see a hockey game are a bit long and ridiculously expensive!  Now don’t get me wrong I have seen Cody play many times when he was playing for the Brampton Battalion and then when I lived in Winnipeg I went see him play with the Manitoba Moose.  But this was the chance for me to see him play in the NHL with the Sabres.  After talking with Cody about how to get tickets…he arranged tickets for my mum and I for the two games and next thing we know it was ROAD TRIP time for my mum and I!

We drove down to Buffalo, NY got settled into our hotel and then took the street car to the First Niagara Centre to watch the game!  I was able to head down to the ice level to watch the teams warm up.  That was pretty exciting…then mum and I headed to our seats.  (After getting directions from a few different ushers and a walk through the box seats we found our awesome table and settled into watch the game.)

Sabres Hockey Game

We were sitting behind the away goal…for the first and third periods, right were all the action was going to happen!  The game was great…I was so excited and glad to finally be able to watch my cousin play.  Living up in the Arctic is great, but sometimes you miss out on events…and this was my moment to see Cody play!

On Tuesday night the Sabres played the Carolina Hurricanes and they won! The final score was 3-2… the last goal to win the game happened in the last 43.2 seconds of the third period.  Mum and I made our way back to the hotel…(she was worried about not catching the street car and getting stuck at the arena so we didn’t go see Cody after this game!)

Hockey Game

Wednesday my mum and I got up…and had a fabulous breakfast at our hotel…then packed our overnight bags and headed shopping.  We had a great day…shopping ’til we dropped! Don’t worry we were back at the First Niagara Centre in time for the game…we might have been there really early, but that’s another story for another time!

The game with the Boston Bruins was awesome!  The teams have a long history of being huge rivals…so that brought a lot to the atmosphere.  The game was very close…in the last 52.3 seconds of the third the Sabres tied the game and took it to over time!  Then they scored in the first 22 seconds of the OT! SABRES for the WIN!!!!

Hockey Game_02

After the game we went downstairs to see Cody!  We had a really quick but awesome visit.  It was so great to be able to visit…since often our paths don’t cross because of our work and life schedules not matching up!  After our chat it was pretty late at night at this point…mum and I had to drive back to Lindsay…so we had a few hours in the car ahead of us after we got across the boarder. It was totally worth it!

Thanks again for arranging the tickets to see you play…they were such great games and it really did make a dream come true Cody to see you play in the NHL live!

I think I’m going to claim the title for your most NORTHERN fan…only 58 days until the pre-season games begin!


Wordless* Wednesday LIV: Sunset Selfies

One of my favourite things to do when I was in El Salvador was to head to the beach around 5:30 pm to find a spot to watch the sun drift down into the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador0245

Often there were a group of guys playing a little bit of sunset soccer on the beach!  (I think it’s because finally the sand wasn’t so über hot.)El Salvador0249

Watching the sun set is so amazing…every night the same magic show happened!
El Salvador0253

One night mum went back to the room early to get ready for dinner…while I headed down to the beach to watch the sunset.  I had the awesome idea that I should try to do some sunset selfies… so I set up my camera and turned on the timer and the following shots were the result. (…there were many, many, many more…but I will spare you all those awesome shots!) El Salvador0277 El Salvador0281

You had to guess the time I got the timing perfectly…when the shutter would go off and jumping to be in the air…this awesome random lady walked by and ended up in the shot! El Salvador0278 Here’s one last snap of the sun going down…remember sometimes you just need to stop to watch the sunset and maybe even JUMP for joy!

El Salvador0284


*well not really wordless today!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...