Caledonia, Minnesota is known as the unofficial home of people ready to take to the sky.
“I’ve never been in a hot air balloon, I’ve kinda always wanted to,” Vanessa Alvarado, a balloon passenger said. “I’ve been wanting to go since probably last year.”
A sentiment fellow passengers Mary and Todd Roesler share, especially after watching the city’s Balloon Rallies.
“We’ve been watching it for the last for years, and just having the opportunity to experience for ourselves first hand,” Mary Roesler said.
Getting up in the sky though, can be a challenge. Weather conditions need to be just right for a safe ride, but when they are, it creates an experience unlike any other.
“Every flight is different, the weather is different, the landing location is different, the people that are on board. It just never gets old,” Ed Chapman, owner Balloon Ascensions Unlimited, said.
Chapman is an experienced hot air balloonist, with over 2,500 flights from around the world under his belt. Even though he’s flown high over places like the Swiss and Italian Alps, he says there is something about the Driftless Region that astounds all his passengers.
“Other balloonists in the United States would just be green with envy, to see the kind of area we have here,” Chapman added.
With just one trip up in the air, it is easy to see that the envy is warranted. There are 360 degree views of the landscapes inside the basket, creating a sense of peace as the balloon drifts with the wind. The views are so spectacular, that even those with a fear of heights, might not mind the look down.
“You’re not getting any of those sensations of height. It almost feels like you’re standing still, and the earth is passing underneath you.”
A breathtaking experience, that shouldn’t float away this summer.
For another adventure make sure to check back next Wednesday for a new episode of Hometown Tourist, and a chance to make the La Crosse area your own.