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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

I studied about the history of the magnificent Great Wall of China during my elementary school year, but never dreamed that one day I would step onto this ancient path. What a surreal experience for me to finally walk on this wonder of the world!

The most visited Wall is the popular Badaling Great Wall. It is an hour away from the city, so it easily attracts lots of locals and tourists.

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Badaling Wall is divided into two sections from the entrance: the northern side and the eastern side. The northern side is always congested with people due to access of cable cars and trolleys from the bottom of the hill to the steepest top. We opted for the eastern side which is the road less traveled.

People told us that the gorgeous time to visit is around mid-Oct where the vast surrounding ridges is decorated in vibrant red.

The time we went, most of the leaves were withered and the landscape were left with naked and bare bushes; nonetheless, it has its own charm of beauty.

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The day was filled with delightfully warm sunlight with gentle crisp wind under a clear blue sky, which is rare in this cold autumn season.

The pavement is easy to walk on with gentle winding slopes here and there, and we hiked to the very end where the trail is blocked off even though the wall continues to stretch for miles and miles.

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As I strolled along the wall, I couldn’t help but appreciate the hard labor the workers of long ago put into building this architectural masterpiece originally designed for military defense.

Along the way, we encountered more than a hundred energetic and fun-loving elementary students chasing each other and having their first experience on the wall as well.

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They appeared to be on a field trip with an assignment to ask passers-by about their experience on the Great Wall. The sights and sounds of the giggling children made this leisure walk an enjoyable one.

After we arrived back at the entrance, we decided to explore the northern side; Indeed, there were a lot of people, young and old, buzzing with excitement.

After much searching, we finally spot the monument that everyone longs to take a picture with to prove that they indeed have reached the Great Wall!

The monument is a stone engraved with this famous Chinese writing: “If you have never been to the Great Wall, you are no hero”.

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The idiom basically means that courageous people can overcome adversity… the background of this saying is that a long time ago, it was impossible to access to the Great Wall, so whoever tackled this difficult task and arrived was a true hero/heroine.

After we had accomplished our mission to climb the Great Wall and proved to be “heroes”, we are ready for a feast!

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For our late afternoon snack, we enjoyed mouth-watering food on skewers.


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A Peking duck delicacy, which one should not miss when coming to Beijing, was our evening meal.

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For a midnight snack, we went to explore this famous street that never sleeps, called Gui Jie. There we tried spicy Szechuan seafood which included crayfish (aka mini-lobsters), escargot, crab and frog dishes to our heart’s content. The food was numblingly spicy and deliciously satisfactory.



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Where She Goes, I Go…

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Hello, my name is “Uke Blue”.

I was amazed to get Janiecross into ukulele playing. She had never learned how to play a musical instrument before, but it was love at first strung!

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She would bring me to the beach– to practice her melodic pieces.

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I think I must have brought her so much excitement that she even took me on vacation half way across the globe.

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We serenaded to each other by the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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We jammed with King David on his harp in Israel.

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We worshiped God early in the morning as the radiant sunrise smoldered across the golden city.

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I am not sure if she is lucky to find me or was I lucky to have found her…

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these days, where she goes, I go… on outdoor adventures from the mountains high to the valleys low, and through crystal clear waters;

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Regardless of the different adventures, we are always enjoying, seeing, and experiencing God’s big beautiful world!

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Looking up, I imagined the gentle playful white clouds twirling like ballerinas in the pretty blue sky!

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While marveling at the sight, I remembered a friend who studied abroad told me that the place where she lived was so polluted that there was rarely a day where she could see a clear blue sky.

At first, I couldn’t comprehend how that could be! But recently I experienced the muggy, scorching weather myself.

Due to the severe forest fires in the neighboring cities, the weather has been so hazy and smoky that it has been days since we last saw a clear blue sky. Now, I finally understand what she means.

This experience has helped me to appreciate a lovely blue sky, which I have so often taken for granted.

Taking a moment to remember the spectacular blue skies I encountered in the past month.

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Peeping through the tall grasses and looking into the blue sky is most delightful.

I love the sky!

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The sun is shining, the tide is receding, and I am enjoying a sabbath by the sea.

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The gentle whisper of the wind and the rhythmic sound of the waves, echo the soothing voice of the Creator of the Universe.

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The glistening light illuminates on the surface of the sea, looks like millions of sparkly stars dancing on water.

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Sabbath-ing by this splendid scenery, my soul recounts the oceans of blessings that this Lord of the Sabbath has bestowed upon me…

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indeed they are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore!

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The incoming tides splash over my feet; and I frolic joy-freely with the swirling waves…

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on this day of relaxation by the serene seascape in front of me.

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I am most alive when I am outdoors; I feel more happy… more free… and more me!

A group suggested to go hiking at Mount Baker National Forest; my heart… uttered with unspeakable joy!

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On the day we headed to Mount Baker, the weather was exceptionally cooperative – not too hot and not too cold – a perfect day for a hike with a bit of autumnal breeze in the air to cool us along the way.

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The amazing view up here was phenomenal — Everywhere we turned our eyes feasted on a bonanza of snow-capped mountains, vast valleys and glacier lakes.

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The delightful folk song “Happy Wanderer” always rings in my ears whenever I hike:

“I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track,
and as I go I love to sing with my knapsack on my back…”

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At times, these beautifully breathtaking views made me felt like I was in the movie scene from “The Sound of Music” where Julie Andrew roamed the open space on the mountain high and burst into: “The hills are alive with the sound of music…”.

The splendid scenery we pleasantly experienced under the clear blue sky was indeed lively!

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The mesmerizing looming snow-covered Mount Baker and the towering jagged Mount Shuksan;

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the blossoming alpine flowers that grow wild and free on the meadow that we stumbled across;

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and the glistening emerald glacier lakes; — all proclaiming the splendor of their majestic Creator.

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Their delightful echo, from the mountains to the valleys, must have caused many happy wanderers to slow down, admire the breathtaking nature, and be in wonder of who this great Creator might be.

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“…Oh, may I go a-wandering until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing, beneath God’s clear blue sky!”

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The Best Buddy

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Our amigoes from South America came to town so our fabulous guide ‘Buddy’ suggested that we all go paddling. Splash!

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Before we headed out to the water, ‘Buddy’ made sure that we learnt the proper canoeing tips from our one and only Mr. Bear who sponsored the boats for us to use!

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Paddling along this fabulous tidal creek is very surreal;

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It’s like entering into a whole new enchanting and mystical world!

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After an hour of paddling on this serene slough, we got off to the shore.

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Then ‘Buddy’ led us down to a narrow hiking trail filled with shrubs and berries hovering over us.

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‘Buddy’ was a great tour guide who constantly looked back and watched out for our safety; and keeping an eye out for some of our team members who trailed behind.

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We had one of the most joyous and serendipitous outing that day; we’re not sure who had the most wondrous time, us or ‘Buddy’?

Here is our/the best ‘Buddy’ basking in his glory!

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Here’s Buddy playing “Follow the Leader” with us.

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Here’s Buddy waiting patiently for the people trailing behind.

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Here’s Buddy splashing into the alluring water to cool himself off as we watched with envy under the scorching hot sun!

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Here’s Buddy again waiting for us to enjoy the thunderous sound of fast flowing waterfall under the vast blue sky.

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Oh, did I mentioned already that we encountered a big black bear on our way back!!

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Thank goodness the bear just walked by and ignored us as he was more interested in browsing through the bushes for more juicy salmon berries.

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I have been on this scenic country road many times.

With speedy traffic coming towards us or passing us by during the peak season when we traveled, it was impossible to fully enjoy the beautiful scenery in such a rushed pace.

Today I decided to head up to the road early, hoping for minimal traffic so that I could take in the majestic view along this road; and my wish came true.

With little to no traffic I was able to roll down my car window, turn off the stereo, and simply cruise slowly as the endless road led me to the horizon.

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To my delight, I could even park the car by the roadside and hop out to revel in the breathtaking landscape before me.

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 In the moment of sacredness on this crisp morning air, I embraced the calmness of the crystal clear water,  the blue ridge mountain ranges, the gentle swaying soft glasses,  and the  melodious  tune of the early songbirds chirping out from the nearby serene slough.

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In my quest for beauty and quietness, the Maker of heaven and earth drew me to humility, as I traveled on this road less traveled.

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