Heaven Lake Excursion - My Family Travels

The jeep barreled through the winding mountain path on its way to the top of the mountain. To those of us inside, which included my great aunt, mother, brother, and me, it felt as though we were riding on a roller coaster. As we swayed from side to side, my mother worried that we would be thrown off the side of the mountain, but of course that didn’t happen. We reached the top of the mountain safely within ten minutes.

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Once on the mountaintop, we climbed the rest of the way to the edges of the crater so that we could see the beautiful 天池, Heaven Lake, set on the border between North Korea and China. When we reached the top, I sighed in disappointment. The only thing that I could see was a blanket of white; the clouds were blocking the view of the lake.

We walked around the crater in hopes that the clouds would move away and we could get a clear view of the elusive lake. As we trekked across the rim, the clouds would move slightly out of the way and then come back to cover the lake again. We caught glimpses of the lake, but I knew that it could be much more beautiful without the clouds constantly hovering over it. Even though we still had a while to look around, I felt dejected that the lake would not present itself to us.

My searching eyes then landed on an elderly group that was in our tour group. They didn’t seem to be bothered that they couldn’t see the lake. In fact, they still seemed to be enjoying themselves to the fullest. I thought it strange since I knew that they had been very eager to come and see the lake with their own eyes.

But then, I thought back to what happened throughout the trip. During the long rides in the tour bus, they would loudly sing old songs, tell jokes, make fun of the tour guide and the movies that the bus driver put on, and talk about the younger generations. They would also have talk to my brother and me about various topics and have fun with us; one man taught us some kung fu moves. No matter what it was, they were always having fun, even though they might be having some personal troubles. I learned that one of the old women had cancer, but I hadn’t even noticed because she was so happy all of the time.

I grew to deeply respect these elderly people for being able to live their lives so positively. I regretted that at the beginning of the trip I felt disappointed because none of them were even close to around my age. I felt so foolish that I had been worried that the trip would be boring. I had gained something much more than wonderful memories on this trip; I had learned an important lesson about life. No matter what kinds of difficulties come to pass me in life, such as the disease that had befallen my brother, I need to face it with a smiling face and try my best to still be happy because the key to a long life is enjoying it.

As I was thinking about all of this, I looked up and saw that the clouds were parting and the sun was shining through. I looked down and saw the lake sparkling in the sunlight for a split second, and then it was gone. It was truly beautiful.

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