We later headed to rural Baoding, Hebei province, to spelunk through the 1.8-kilometer-long Yugudong, or Fish Bone Cave. The karst cavern bored into the juncture of the Taihang and Yanshan mountain ranges in Laishui county hosts incredible formations sired throughout the eons following the Cambrian period.
The cave contains "moon milk" pools, "rock waterfalls", "stone curtains", "rock flowers" and "goose tubes" in addition to stalactites that dribble from the ceiling and stalagmites that jut from the ground.
These formations crowd chambers with such names as A Superb Collection of Beautiful Things Hall, Dragon's Den and Five Sons Offering Birthday Felicitations.
We exited the cave halfway up the mountain and shot down the steep slope on toboggans.
"I wanted to scream but was too scared," my daughter told me at the bottom.
She wanted to do it again.
We instead boarded a speedboat on the lake at the foot of the peak. The vessel tilted and sprayed rooster tails of water as we did doughnuts around an islet.
We'd tried to visit Yishui Lake along the way but had to leave because the place was packed to capacity and had stopped selling tickets.
So, we instead explored a wild river along a road through a nearby forest.
We enjoyed a picnic and staged an Easter Egg hunt for our kids.
Our son caught tadpoles and bugs, and tossed stones in the water, while we watched waterfowl torpedo beneath the ripples and re-emerge clutching fish in their beaks. Singing birds and chirping frogs were accompanied by the sounds of leaves applauding in the breeze.