(PICTURE: Paula in front of the first lake.)
Paula, my unofficial tour guide, recently took me on a famous hike in the second largest national park in Japan. Apparently Fukushimi is located right near Bondai Mountain, a volcano that erupted 121 years ago (killing 400+ people and destroying villages!).
The eruption formed a whole bunch of lakes and ponds which have different minerals in them causing each to be a slightly different color. The hike winds in and out of these colorful lakes and ponds and is fittingly called, "Five Colors Lakes."
The 8 KM hike was really nice, and despite the day's fog, we could see the various colors ranging from turquoise blue to mustard yellow. As we passed one of the sign markers, Paula pointed out that the Japanese translation signs said that the lakes were actually swamps. My mom’s voice immediately popped into my head: “You didn’t need to go to Japan to see swamps. You could have stayed in New Jersey.”