For as long as I can remember, I've had a hard time sleeping the night before anything important and setting my alarm clock is the best way to guarantee a sleepless night. After hours of tossing and turning, I got out of bed at four.
At 4:50, we left the hotel and drove to South Sedar Park. Not long after we arrived at the field, Ray and his team started unloading the balloon.
It wasn't long before Cameron arrived and they started filling the balloons with hot air.
Everything went much faster than I thought it would.
Cameron and his passengers were launching with us with hopes of seeing our exit. Just before 6 AM, the balloons launched.
At first, I was very nervous. It felt so unsafe! There wasn't much we'd be able to do to save ourselves if we fell out early.
When we weren't very far off the ground, Cameron's balloon caught a wind shear and started to drift away from us, but we continued to go straight up.
It didn't take long for us to get to five thousand feet, but our balloon wasn't going anywhere. We just seemed to hover over the city.
Ray continued to climb. Unfortunately, the winds were not cooperating and we started drifting north/east. We weren't going to be landing in the fields.
Ray pointed out some places that would be okay for landing. He said it would be best if we landed on the south side of I-25 but we continued to drift toward the North.
We needed to leave the balloon ASAP. Ray radioed the tower to let them know we'd be exiting soon.
This was it! State 50! My 1,000th jump! Matt's 1,300 jump. I climbed up on the edge of the balloon and looked down.
Ray contacted the tower again to let them know we were exiting the balloon. In unison, we gave the count, "Ready, Set, GO!"
I left on my back so I could look up at the balloon.
I wasn't in freefall long because I saw that we were on the wrong side of the highway. If I deployed high, I could fly over to the field Ray suggested and I could have a cool shot of the balloon above my canopy!
Under canopy, I looked for Matt. He had taken a longer delay. I watched him to see where he was landing. He picked an open field in between I-25 and Hwy 26. Of course, I followed him.
As I was coming in to land, Matt kept signalling me. I wasn't really sure what he was doing. He was using his arm in a sweeping motion. It looked like he was pointing to my left.
Instead of landing next to him, I made a turn to land to the left. My landing was super fast! As I was flaring, I realized that the grass was nearly 3 feet tall! I slid in my landing. As I was gathering up my gear, I was wondering why Matt had me land so far away from him. I wondered if there was an obstacle nearby.
Apparently, Matt was trying to tell me to slide in. There was no wind and we were at an elevation of 5,150 feet. After a good laugh about it, we deided that Matt should not try to communicate with me when I'm on my final approach.
WOW! We got WYOMING on our very first try! We've done a skydive in every state! AMAZING! After kisses and hugs, we called Ray to let him know where we were and started walking toward the road.
One of Ray's friends, Jane, came to pick us up and we went to meet Ray and the others. What a morning! It wasn't even 6:30 and we'd completed our goals for the day! Sweet!