Hot air ballooning is a bucket list activity for many of you, and if you are lucky enough to live in or visit Colorado, it’s relatively easy to book a ride in a hot air balloon. In fact, you’ll find commercial hot air balloon outfitters in many beautiful destinations from Steamboat Springs to Pagosa Springs.
Earlier this month, Ryan and I attended Winterfest in Pagosa Springs. For years, a hot air balloon ascension has been part of this event, and I managed to hitch a balloon ride with the Dickey brothers from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It turns out, I couldn’t have been in better hands. These brothers, Frank and Bill Dickey, have decades of hot air balloon piloting experience. And in fact, the Dickey brothers have come in first and second at the piloting championships held at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest hot air balloon festival.
For the participants, a hot air balloon event is a lot of work, a little flying and lot of tailgating. It’s a family and friends affair due to the fact that a balloon needs at least four people to help get it unpacked, up in the air, back down on the ground and packed away. Continue reading
I’m not one for resolutions. I have too much guilt when I stray, but I do like lists”¦ to-do lists, packing lists, and even grocery lists. Here’s a list of the things I think should be on your 2012 Colorado To-Do List. Do one or do a few, or make it your New Years Resolution to do them all! And if you do, do them all, I’ll come up with some sort of prize or make you the HeidiTown citizen of the year. Seriously, I will!
1) Train. I know, I know. I write a lot about trains, but they are just so neat! I’ve mentioned them before and probably will again, but here’s the list of rides I love: Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, and Georgetown Loop Railroad. If I’m missing any great Colorado train rides, please let me know! I also enjoy taking the Amtrak from Denver to Glenwood Springs. This train ride is scenic at any time of year. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Ski Train!
2) Hot Air Balloon. I see hot air balloons all over Colorado, and one of these days I’m going to get a lift! I’d like to give a shout out to a Facebook buddy, Grand Adventure Balloon Tours based in Winter Park, Colorado.
3) Hot Springs. When I moved to Colorado about 12 years ago, I had no idea that the state was brimming with hot springs. My new favorite is Mt. Princeton Hot Spring Resort, and I recommend booking a room at the resort so that you can use the VIP pools. We always have fun at Glenwood Hot Springs, and lastly, I think Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs is one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially during winter.
4) Snowshoe. My favorite Colorado winter activity, second only to my newest love of cross-country skiing. It’s a great way to see the beautiful backcountry during the snowy months and it’s an awesomely fun way to burn calories.
5) Festival. As you know, there are many great festivals happening year-round in Colorado. Pick a new one and give it a try. We visited the Estes Park Winter Festival for the first time last year and if you are a fan of chili, this one is not to be missed. The annual chili cook off at this festival is a sight to behold – I think we tried over 40 chilis last year.