Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 4 with Audrey

Before I tell you about our day, I have to comment on the beautiful weather we've been having. Because Urumqi is so far north, the temps are very mild in the summer (but gets VERY cold, as cold as -4 degrees F, in the winter). They can get into the 90's, but we've had 70's and 80's while we've been here. It was so cool the other day, we left our window open all day and night! This cool weather will NOT be the case once we get to Guangzhou, which is in southern China. There it is very hot and humid, almost we are soaking up the cool weather while we can.

We arranged to have our guide take us to Heavenly Lake today. It is a natural lake up high in the Tian Shan mountain range that border Urumqi. I'd heard wonderful things about this lake and the thought of getting out into nature and having a relaxing day strolling along a lake seemed like a great way to spend the day.

So our guide picked us up after breakfast where LiLi finally had a full meal. She was happy and smiling (we are always trying to keep that line between happy and manic/crazy :-) While Audrey is more attached to me at this point, she does love her Baba (Mandarin for Daddy) and when he leaves to go to the buffet line, she starts looking for him and saying his name. She yell out very loudly, "Baba!" and he'll reply (softly) "LiLi!". It's their cute little game :-)

We climbed into a nice roomy Audi with a driver who took us about an hour outside the city to the Heavenly Lake entrance building. There we bought tickets and smashed in with the hoards of people waiting to get on a bus that would take us to the Heavenly Lake. This was our first sign that this trip may not be as relaxing a day as we thought...

We drove about 30 minutes on the bus where we had to get off and change to another bus. The reason for this change is the opportunity to buy a souvenir at the government run gift shop :-) We got back in the next bus and drove another 15-20 minutes up very curvy, winding mountainous roads. About 5 minutes before we stopped, Audrey threw up. All. Over. Everything.

Luckily, I had brought another outfit along. When we stopped at the top, we got out, wiped her off and promptly threw her clothes in the nearest trash can. Then, we continued the steep road up to Heavenly Lake.

This gives you a bit of an idea of how many people were going to visit the lake today. It was a steady stream of people going up, up, up.

It was a beautiful lake. This gives you another idea of how crowded it was here that day. The mountains in the background eventually connect to the mountain range where Mt Everest is. Our guide also runs a sort of travel agency and was telling us how she's escorting a group who is going to climb K2 when they are here as they are going to enter the mountain range through Urumqi.

Here is another shot without so many people in view.

The air was so crisp and cool, the sun warm, and the clear blue skies made for a spectacular day to see the lake. And that's about all that you do at the lake. You view it. And admire its beauty. There is no skiing on the lake, no swimming, no fishing, and because of the mountainous region, no beaches to even lounge near the lake.

We took the obligatory family picture in front of the lake.

We then boarded a boat that I thought would take us to another side of the lake but we just drove around the lake then got off. :-). But I did get some great pictures.

This was another area you could go too and walk all those many stairs to probably a gift shop or something. However, with a darter that has difficulty walking we decided to forego that area.

Those white structures are yurts up on the mountainside. There is actually a bed & breakfast up there too you can stay at. Would be a fun experience sometime...

So we walked around the lake for awhile again, then walked back down the mountain, boarded a bus and drove another 40 minutes back down the mountain, got in our car and drove back to the city where we had a late lunch/early dinner.

Overall, we are glad we went although it was a long day. But it helped fill the day and made for a good memory.


  1. Love you, friends! Great photos. Wonderful thoughts.

  2. Thanks for the detailed descriptions -- we're praying for you.
    N & L

  3. Beautiful, beautiful story AND pictures! It looks like Audrey will be your little firecracker! ; )

  4. Absolutely breath taking! Who could look at this and not know that our Lord created this?! You see His glory and majesty in it all. What a special treat.
    Lisa Friesen


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