One highlight of my trip to the Hocking Hills last weekend was getting to take a 15-minute hot-air balloon ride over southeastern Ohio's rolling farms and foothills. If you're looking to try it out, Hocking Hills Hot Air Ballooning runs a tight ship out of Logan.
Hocking Hills Hot Air Ballooning 800-606-1840 Homepage
Here's a slideshow of my trip...
View larger image Weather must be perfect for a hot-air balloon ride, so most take off at sunrise and sunset. Hocking Hills Hot Air Ballooning prepares for launch on the misty shores of Lake Logan.
View larger image The balloon is first stretched out along a hillside, and a large gas-powered fan is used to fill it. It takes about 15 minutes before the balloon rises and the rope anchors are released.
View larger image Hot air rises, and Captain John Kennard uses two burners each capable of producing 24 million BTUs. By comparison, a quality propane grill puts out about 40,000 BTUs.
View larger image Balloon travel feels almost effortless, and youíre hundreds of feet off the ground before you realize youíre even moving. The only thing you feel is the burner heat on the top of your head.
View larger image Early morning sunlight casts long, beautiful shadows over some Hocking Hills farmland, and a silhouette of the balloon drifts gently along a line of trees.
View larger image Pilots can change altitude to catch different winds, but you canít really steer a balloon. In the air, youíre always at the mercy of the breeze.
View larger image Is it me, or do all hot-air balloon shots seem perfect? Here Kennardís balloon stands out against a clear blue sky as it takes off from a parking lot near U.S. 33.
View larger image As a balloon flies, itís followed by a chase van. Once van and balloon reunite at a landing site, new riders hurry to replace others in the basket before the next takeoff.
View larger image After touching down in a farmerís pasture, other riders and I help stuff the balloon into a giant duffel bag. Everything is piled into the chase van and brought back to the launch site.