For most people, taking a hot-air balloon ride is a beautiful and oftentimes romantic excursion. But for those doing the actual flying, it's a lot of hard work.

While reporting on Richard Branson's extreme adventures, I decided I had to try hot-air ballooning to see what he found so appealing about it. Turns out, flying through trees and skating by power lines are par for the course for hot-air balloonists.

Bill Hughes, a hot-air balloon pilot with 44 years of experience, guided me and my colleague, producer Will Wei, in a ballooning lesson in upstate New York that was both relaxing and intense. It all ended with us landing in a family's front yard. Their son was convinced that we'd stopped by to wish him a happy birthday. We didn't let him think otherwise.

Produced by Will Wei. Additional camera by Justin Gmoser. Special thanks to Blue Sky Balloons.

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