Chatfield State Park
Littleton, Colorado
August 26, 2003

 

Chatfield State Park is located in the suburbs just south of Denver. Passing through while on vacation, I had the opportunity to fly there with Russ Buesing, a local cloudhopper pilot.

 

Russ is used to setting up by himself, so he helps me inflate first, and I stand around while he gets ready to go.

 

His solo inflation technique is very interesting to watch. He has a tiny fan for use with his hopper, and uses a little plastic box to help aim his burner frame. He had some extra nomex added at the throat of his envelope, somthing I've sometimes wished for on windy days.

 

 

 

We lift off and drift slowly to the west, where the foothills of the Front Range start.

 

 

 

Higher up, the wind takes us back to the east, back into the park and over the reservoir.

 

 

 

Russ does a quick descent down to the water....

 

 

 

And the lower wind takes him back up on shore again, to near where we launched.

 

 

We spend an hour making several more circuits like that -- go up, go over the reservoir, come down, come back to shore. Russ tells me it's often possible to stay inside the park this way, and preferable to do so, in terms of finding a place to land.

 

You surmise from my comments and the camera angles that I was also flying a cloudhopper -- here's a picture of my balloon, in the foreground. Russ had a camera, but the batteries were dead. Oh well.