We meet at the flight office of Roher Field, The Yreka-Montague municipal airport. We encourage our passengers to involve themselves in helping to set up the balloon, learning a bit about how it operates. We take a few pictures and then launch from a grassy field into the dawn sky. The assent is so gentle that many people are unaware that we are no longer on the ground. Mt Shasta appears in the distance over the top of a hill as we rise into the blue. As the ground sinks gently away below, the valley opens around us with mountains on every side. The winding Shasta River forms a horseshoe bend to the southwest and toward Mt Shasta we see the hills formed from the debris field of an ancient eruption.
With our fill of the panoramic vista we descend and skim the grass or if we’re lucky cross low over the river and pick leaves from the trees as we rise above the bank. We ascend again and begin looking for a field to land. As we begin our approach our chase crew arrives and we settle to the ground.
Now the work begins! We deflate the balloon and learn about balloon hugs as we pack it away. While we have been flying our crew has been preparing a gourmet brunch, so it’s back to the airport for quiche and toasts.