Northern Arizona is a wonderful place to escape the chill of the northern climes. Among the many interesting and fun activities in the area is hot air ballooning. Outside of Phoenix you can take a sunrise you (or sunset) flight, soaring over the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert, watching the sun rise over the towering mountain ranges. A photographer will be in heaven with an unobstructed view from the balloon’s hand-crafted wicker basket. “Captain” Mike piloted our balloon, smoothly gliding over the desert scenery below, finally coming to a perfect three-point (I guess in a balloon it’s a one-point) landing. Back on earth, we were treated to the over 100-year-old ritual of flutes of champagne. It seems that when ballooning first started in France, the balloonists would carry along bottles of champagne so that when they landed in farmer’s fields, the drink would be quickly offered, proving that the strange fliers were not from another planet. Read more and view slideshow at Examiner.