I’ve always pictured the desert as flat and lifeless. I imagined sand stretching into the distance, with just a few cacti to break the monotony.

I definitely didn’t expect mountains.

I was in California for a high altitude balloon launch with Back to Space, and I’ve never lived a weekend as packed full of adventure. That weekend brought me through flights and road trips, last-minute design fixes and builds, the elation of a beautiful launch, and the struggle and awe and wonder of a hike through the Mojave Desert. 

We’ve been planning to launch a high altitude balloon since March. The helium-filled balloon carries a payload up to the edge of space— GoPros, GPS and altitude trackers, and whatever other equipment needed for that mission. We added a camera and antennae to live-stream the video down to us on the ground and a digital drive with photos, songs, and notes that people submitted to us to send to near-space. We had to push the launch from March in Texas to August in California. So needless to say, I was pumped that it was happening. I hopped on a plane to California a week and a half after returning to America from a mission trip to Thailand and landed in stunning Ontario. An enormous mountain in the distance greeted us outside the airport; the sunlight was bright and unfiltered, the sky cloudless and infinite, palm trees stretching up to brush it with their spiky green leaves. I was speechless.

Written by Ambassador Katie Mulry

Originally Posted: https://backtospaceambassadors.wordpress.com/2019/08/14/up-and-away/

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