After 2 weather delays, the end-of-year geology club trip finally took place. We left at a grueling 2am in order to be east of Riverside by 5:30am for the hot air balloon expedition. The sky was dreary, and our hearts were sinking at the prospect of not being able to go up after all.
The crew sent up a couple of black "test" balloons to check the wind and the cloud height, and determined that even though we wouldn't likely be able to see much geology, we could still go up in a balloon.
We weren't expecting to be allowed to, but we actually got to take part in every aspect of the expedition, from unloading/loading equipment, to filling the balloons, to being part of the chase crew, to "milking" the balloons of their air and jamming them back in their sacks - it was awesome!
Then, just as I was saying how awesome the whole experience was "geology or no geology", we popped up through an air pocket in a cloud and the whole day jumped up a giant notch of awesomeness.
I'm still in recovery, 2 days later, of the no-sleep night, but the trip was definitely worth it, and now I really really really want a hot air balloon!