Arizona

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#27

Page, AZ

November 4, 2006

 

 

Page, Arizona is a town of 8,000 people located in the northern part of the state, near the Utah border. The town in located near Glen Canyon Dam, which was built on the Colorado River in the early 1960's, creating Lake Powell. Page owes its existence to Lake Powell -- both economically, in terms of the active tourist trade, and historically, since the town was first built to house the construction workers who built the dam.

 

 

Page is named for John C. Page, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation under FDR, who advocated the building of the dam, but died before work began. Lake Powell is named for Major John Wesley Powell, an early explorer of the Colorado River. He was the first white man to map the Glen Canyon area, now submerged beneath the lake that bears his name.

 

 

 

 

Page hosts the Page Lake Powell Balloon Regatta each November. Some years ago, the event used to involve flights at the lake itself, with possible boat rescues. However, the National Park Service has since forbidden ballooning at the lake, so the Regatta takes place a short distance away in Page.

In 2006, I was invited by the Balloon Regatta committee to fly a cluster balloon at the Balloon Regatta. Gary Yantis of the Lake Powell Yacht Club helped with all the arrangements for my flight. Bob Dunnington drove up from Albuquerque to help out as my crew chief.

We arrived at the old golf course at 4:15 AM to begin the inflation. The Regatta was too short on volunteers to commit to providing my normal inflation crew of 15. Luckily, Bob's wife Edie, my girlfriend Marj, Marj's daughter Kelley, and Kelley's daughters Sarah and Chelsea to were able to come up from Albuquerque to help us. Famous international balloonist Graham Luckett, his charming wife Alicia and their stalwart crew also showed up to help. Along with the local volunteers that Gary had located and a few additional helpers who showed up unannounced, we ended up finishing the inflation in good time.

 

 

I got strapped in to the cluster. The desert sun rose over the ridge to the east, making my balloons glow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I waited until some of the hot-air balloons had started to launch, then told the crew to release me.

And up I went.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continued....