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Happy 1st day of February 2019!

Most of the country has been experiencing the ‘polar vortex’ with extreme cold temperatures and lots of snow.  The same is true here in northeast Florida – nothing like the Midwest, but boy, I’m not use to having to put on warm clothes – socks, long pants & long-sleeved shirts! 

Being so close to the ocean, the wind here chills you right to the bone.  So to walk our dog I had to have our son ship down my ‘somewhat’ warmer jacket with a hood, knit gloves & hat, I left in New Hampshire when I was there last March!

So this week’s blog post should ‘warm you up’ just by looking at the pictures!

I remember my first ever hot air balloon ride, in of all places – Africa!

You’d think I’d have at least tried hot air ballooning while states-side, however, the opportunity never really presented itself.  Besides, I wasn’t worried about the dangers (so many of my friend’s asked, ‘wasn’t I concerned about safety’?) as Micato Safaris has been offering this experience now for over 50 years!  Plus…life is supposed to be an adventure, if not while in Africa, then when?

On the day of our ride, I remember thinking to myself, why in the world do we have to be up so darn early – 4:00am!  Well, aside from the one and a-half hour ride to the pick-up point, on roads that would give the fittest person a bad back, turns out that hot air balloons don’t do well in thermal currents!  Early mornings are nice and cool and allow for the balloons to easily heat the air within it and slowly rise.

As the day progresses, the sun heats-up the ground which in turn heats up the air. The heated air rises in pockets causing thermal updrafts.  As you can see from the diagram below (sorry it’s fuzzy and small – best I could do – but it gives you the idea), there would be an uncomfortable up & sudden down – which we’ve all experienced in an airplane, however, experiencing it while in a hot air balloon would be detrimental.

The advantage of going so early in the morning is that you’ll get to see a lot of wildlife – before it gets too hot and they seek shade under trees, etc; AND upon landing you’ll enjoy a wonderful champagne breakfast in the bush!  Here are a few of my pictures.  (Of note, you’ll notice the landscape in my pics is brown with little vegetation – that’s because I was there in March, the end of the dry season.

May you all keep warm and safe through this polar vortex…chat with you next week.

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