Tianchi, or the Heavenly Lake, lies on the Changbai Mountain, a volcano which straddles the Chinese/North Korean border, in this photo taken on Friday, September 9, 2011. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com / Zhang Jin]
I went hunting lake monsters in a volcano which straddles the Chinese/North Korean border today. I bet not many people can say that.
My face was so frozen I could barely mutter words about the fabled Tianchi monster into the recorder. You'd think a volcano's caldera would be warmer than that, but I suppose that when you're standing atop a mountain that's just under a third of the height of Everest, some chilly winds can be expected.
The Chinese name for the mountain is Changbai mountain, or 'long white' mountain. There's a lake on the summit, some of which rests inside North Korean territory. There have been tales of a mysterious creature emerging from the lake and I was determined to uncover information about it.
Let's face it ?C if you were a monster choosing a lair, a lake on top of a volcano straddling the Chinese-North Korean border sounds like a pretty prime piece of real estate.
We had taken a bus halfway up the mountain and climbed the last 1200-or-so steps ourselves. The air was thin and cool, a stark contrast to what I've been facing in Beijing for the last few months.
It was the final destination on our tour of Jilin. From the vast crowds at the Northeast Asia Expo, to the bucolic Ginseng and Songhua Stone museums of Baishan, the trip had been quite an experience, but standing at the top of a volcano was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.
Even if my lips were too frozen at the time to say so.