I’m afraid of heights. Actually, that’s not exactly right. I don’t mind heights as long as I’m in an enclosed space.
A Fear of (Open) High Places
I don’t have acrophobia. I have aeroacrophobia. Aeroacrophobia is a fear of open high places, such as standing at the top of a mountain or taking a ride in a hot air balloon.
Oddly or perhaps appropriately, I’m fascinated by early flight – biplanes and hot air balloons. My husband has jumped out of airplanes, so a hot air balloon ride is not quite as intimidating for him.
Facing my fear, we decided to take a ride in a hot air balloon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After all, Albuquerque is famous for its annual balloon festival in October, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
There’s a lot of “balloon” in a hot air balloon – at least 150,000 cubic feet of ripstop nylon.
Keep in mind that you’ll be climbing in and out of a wicker basket in the early morning hours, so wear long casual pants, closed-toe shoes, and dress in layers. Bring a small bag (not a backpack) to carry your camera or phone.
The only occasional warmth comes from the hot flames that burst into the balloon envelope itself.
The balloon went as high as 1,500 feet in the air, floating above the cottonwood trees and the Rio Grande.
We saw the reflections and shadows of other hot air balloons in flight over the Rio Grande River.
The moment had come. It’s one thing to look at the scenery and take photos as if you’re not 1,500 feet off the ground. It’s another thing to look down. I needed to look down.
Peering over the edge of the basket, my breath caught. It was exciting. It was beautiful. In that moment, I wasn’t scared.
While a balloon ride – with a top speed of 6 miles per hour – is not like driving a car, our pilot did impress us with his ability to land the balloon gently within a parking space at an empty strip mall.
Since watching The Wizard of Oz at the age of 5, I imagined that riding in a hot air balloon would be fun. I was right.
I also read the book version of The Wizard of Oz. You may think you already know the story of The Wizard of Oz. Well, maybe. See The Wizard of Oz book review.
Rainbow Ryders offers balloon rides in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Also, you can choose a balloon operator from the Balloon Federation of America.
See more Places to Go:
Coit Tower Murals
East Coast Lighthouses
Where to Buy Authentic Native American Jewelry
Musée de l’Orangerie
Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival
Places unexpected. Bakes for home bakers. Books overlooked. Find your new favorite thing.