Mackenzie Yelvington: An inspirational view from a hot air balloon
July 10, 2014
I’ve been living in and loving Steamboat Springs for a year now, and it’s been amazing. I’ve met some of the best people, done things I’ve never tried and gotten better at things I’ve done minimally prior to moving here (because Steamboat encourages that “get out and do it” mentality).
Besides all of the amazing people I’ve met, one of my favorite things about this place is the beauty that is in every direction. You don’t have to go far to find it, but if you’re willing to make some treks, you can see some incredible things.
Buffalo Pass is one of my favorite places so far, but the list of spectacular experiences within close proximity is too long for this column. One view that I will never forget is one I had the pleasure of experiencing quite recently.
The recent experience and view to which I’m referring is that of Steamboat from a hot air balloon, floating above town.
I had the pleasure of getting this view thanks to one of those great people I’ve met since being here: pilot Bud Whitehead. I’m sure quite a few of you know him since he’s lived here awhile now, is quite handy around town and has been piloting for more than five years.
Bud, myself and a couple on vacation from Iowa embarked on our journey to the skies early one spring morning and I had no clue what I was in store for. I’m not really one to get nervous about trying new things, but I had butterflies in preparation for this journey.
It was neat to see Steamboat while nestled in a little basket where, even though it should have been freezing, the fire from the burner kept us warm and aloft. I was in awe of the way that Walton Creek and the Yampa came together with clarity and muddiness to form a swirling masterpiece of snowmelt wonder.
Sleeping Giant and Hahn’s Peak appeared as if I was seeing them for the first time, and Mount Werner, with its waning snow and the sun just above it, was a great reminder of all the fun I experienced this past winter. I’ve never grown so much and enjoyed so thoroughly the place in which I’ve lived.
Downhill mountain biking, the hot springs, league ball, all four seasons and the most amazing people on Earth are only a few of the many things that make Steamboat a living dream.
Seeing it from that high above was a perfect reminder of why it’s so special, and Bud taught us about and showed us a few more reasons as we floated above safely.
Thank you for the great experiences, and I encourage all to get out and do more together — it is, in fact, the Steamboat way.
Mackenzie Yelvington is a copy editor and page designer for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.