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Up, up, and away

Up, up, and away

Maria Armstrong knows a thing or two about travel. Originally from Wisconsin, Maria has lived in North Carolina, California, and Honduras. She lived in Michigan where she earned a Masters degree before moving to Colorado. She now lives at Five Star Senior Residences of Dayton Place in Denver.

Having traveled so much on land, Maria set her sights on the air. She took a class on hot air balloons 25 years ago, but her maiden flight was canceled. Never giving up hope, Maria, 77, submitted a request to go up in a hot air balloon as part of a Lifestyle 360 program her community was running in October. Several months later in May, Maria’s dream came true and she was able to soar the skies in a hot air balloon for over an hour. An avid photographer, Maria was able to get some shots of her adventure.

We interviewed Maria to ask about her flight and what’s next on her adventure list.

How do you like living at Dayton Place?

At Five Star It’s fine. I have a two-bedroom apartment. The good thing is I can have my dog, Ogie, and cat, Molly, here. That’s very important to me. They have a lot of activities going on. Some of which I don’t go to, but at least they’re available.

How was the flight?

It was so much fun, I had a great time, took some pictures, and the day was cloudy which was okay because it wasn’t really hot. We went north and then kind of circled around and came back.

How long were you in the air?

About an hour. It was a good ride. I’d taken a hot air balloon course years ago, but wasn’t able to go up to fly. This was my second chance to do so.

What interested you in going up in the hot air balloon?

I think it was just on my bucket list so I did it. I had the opportunity to do it so I did.

Did you celebrate after?

We had champagne after the ride. That’s sort of the normal thing to do.

Are there any other things on your bucket list?

I used to own horses, but I never got up to Rocky Mountain Park. I’d like to go up there and do a trail ride. That would be super fun although I’m sure I’d be sore for a week after. When I lived in Honduras I had my own horse and the people thought it was so funny to see an American girl riding a horse through the capital city. I was too young to drive so to go anywhere I had to ride a horse.

Are you scared of heights at all?


Any advice to someone thinking about going up in a hot air balloon?

Don’t be afraid of heights. You have to stand up the whole time.


Maria’s aerial adventure is a testament to never giving up on her dream. Do you have your own bucket list? Maybe you want to make a Baked Alaska, write a short story, or see the Grand Canyon. No matter what your dreams are, it’s never too late to pursue them.

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