RUBY MOUNTAIN BALLOON FESTIVAL Elko, Nevada                                                                                                                                    Spring Creek, Nevada
Copyright © Ruby Mountain Hot Air, Inc. 2010-2017.
Photo by Brandi DeMars 2013
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My experience at Junior Balloonist Camp    by Dapne May   The High Sierra BFA (Balloon Federation of America) Hot Air Balloon Camp was definitely an experience I am never going to forget.  Most kids there had already been working with balloons their whole lives and some even had their own balloon! But me, I never touched a hot air balloon in my life… until now. When I arrived, I had no clue what to expect. I didn’t know if I would make any friends, or if I would not like any of the food, I was worried if I would even like ballooning, over all I just was nervous. When I came into a room to check in everyone was giving me hugs and welcoming me! I felt like I belonged! So I felt very safe. All balloonists I met were very bubbly and upbeat people which made my stay even better.  I also made friends from all the way across the country! I met a girl from Illinois, Washington, Arizona, and California. So yes, I made friends too.  And the food was fantastic! Every morning we get up at 4:00 a.m. which was difficult for me, because I love to sleep in. Waking up was worth every minute! We would drive about half hour or so and launch the balloons. Every kid knew how to set up a balloon, so the first day was very difficult for me. Surprisingly, I was able to get in the swing of things very fast. The mornings to come got easier as I practiced setting up the balloon and taking it down. The propane was also a smell I had to embrace through all of this! I have discovered through this process that ballooning is not easy, but it is all but the greatest at the end. I liked learning to crew because it taught me great teamwork and strength.  Flying in a balloon is so unreal. You feel like you are floating in mid-air (which you are). Hovering in the clouds and to stare down at the ground you see the tiny cars and little people. It is an amazing perspective to look at the world we live in, is right below. I am telling you, if you ever get the chance to ride in a hot air balloon, do not hesitate for a second to say yes.   I know so much after going to this camp. I have learned things I have never heard of in my life. I also knew some things about a balloon, so I wasn’t completely clueless I suppose. I used my first fire extinguisher, learned about Propane safety, what a Pibal is used for, most parts of a hot air balloon, terms/sayings ballooners refer to, did weather briefings, and most of all had tons of fun while doing it. We also went to Virginia City. While we were there we took old timer photos and everyone looked so funny. Our bunch of people got along even when we weren’t doing anything balloon related, which was cool to see everyone laughing and having fun. There is not a word to describe this camp. It is so full of life, knowledge, kindness, and fun. I advise you if you get the chance, balloon experience or not, GO TO THE HIGH SIERRA BFA HOT AIR BALLOON CAMP! I guarantee you will love it, just like I did.    Daphne May  
Daphne’s article was also published in the  September 2015 issue of Everything Elko page 89. Pick up a copy!!!