Flying with Black Hills Balloons — You Should See the Hills from Here | Black Hills Travel Blog

Flying with Black Hills Balloons — You Should See the Hills from Here

  • Flying with Black Hills Balloons — You Should See the Hills from Here
Friday, September 13, 2019
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“You Should See the Hills from Here!”

This travel-invoking slogan for Custer, SD couldn’t be more fitting. Custer is nestled among family attractions, museums, excellent shops and eateries, Crazy Horse Memorial, Jewel Cave National Monument and, of course, Custer State Park. It makes the perfect base for exploring all that the Southern Hills have to offer.

This summer, I had the opportunity to fully embrace this motto—I saw the Hills like I had never seen them before—from an exhilarating hot air balloon ride over Custer with Black Hills Balloons. In order to be at our meeting place in Custer on time, our group had to depart Rapid City at 4:15 a.m. The early morning pains were far overshadowed by what was to come.

When we arrived at Pageant Hill, the dewy blades of grass glistened in the sun as the first orange-hued rays made their debut on the horizon. Scattered clouds resembling small cotton balls added an enjoyable contrast to the stark blue sky. Nerves began to set in as an industrial-sized fan started to inflate our balloon.

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Soon, the envelope began to rise off the ground, eventually allowing the crew to tip the basket upright. It was at this point that Damien Mahony, our pilot and co-owner of Black Hills Balloons, instructed our group to “hop in!” Our fears of falling out quickly diminished once we were in the basket. The top of the durable vessel hit most of us mid-torso and offered a surprising amount of room to stand and take in the view. This particular basket was able to comfortably accommodate 10 passengers, not including the pilot. Following a few words from Damien, we began our ascent. The flying sensation was a shock to almost everyone in our group. The smooth, cloud-like, floating feeling seemed to eliminate any and all fears of height. Even as the balloon took us high above the treetops, there was an overwhelming comfort as we gently cruised across the sky. The only sounds were the intermittent blasts of hot air as our pilot navigated our flight.

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Words cannot begin to describe the scenery. My love for the Black Hills escalated greatly during this experience. Down below, we spotted several deer prancing through the forest. Groves of Ponderosa Pines spanned as far as we could see. Unique rock formations seemed to appear out of nowhere. Small ponds sparkled back at us. To say the flight was “magical” wouldn’t be too far off. I was absolutely stunned by the awe-inspiring beauty from the balloon.

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As our journey began to come to an end, another passenger made known his plan to capitalize on the magic as he knelt down beside his girlfriend. From his pocket he produced a small box, and instantly our group was tearing up with joy in the midst of his proposal. To everyone’s delight, she said yes! Soon thereafter, Damien demonstrated a textbook landing in the middle of a small clearing. Within minutes, the chase crew was on hand to manipulate the balloon as it deflated and fell limp beside the basket.

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Back on the ground, our adventure was sealed a First Flight Ceremony; a celebratory champagne toast, the Balloonist Prayer, and presentations of flight certificates. The entire event was one that I will never forget. As the kids say, Y.O.L.O.—You Only Live Once—so don’t let life pass you by without marking an experience such as this off your bucket list!

For more information and to make reservations, contact Black Hills Balloons online or give them a call at 605.673.2520. Save

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Black Hills Balloons
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