When the air around you is minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees F), what will it take to appreciate natural scenery? Most of the time, spirits remain understandably low in chilly winds, and appetite for visual treats is hard to find. Still, at least one icy resident manages to touch its viewers consistently even on the coldest mornings: hard rime.
Popularly known as ‘snow willow’ or ‘ice flower,’ rime is a common natural phenomenon during northern China’s brutally cold winters. It is white ice that forms when water droplets from fog freeze on the outer surface of objects, such as electrical wires and twigs. Jilin City of northeastern China’s Jilin Province is the most renowned rime-spotting place in the country. Considered one of the four natural wonders of China, Jilin rime attracts healthy numbers of tourists every year.
January and February are the most common months to look for rime. For those curious enough to brave subzero temperatures, a weekend in Jilin is a worthwhile trip because even if visitors are deprived of the rime, they can enjoy other fantastic white scenery. In the middle of the region’s Songhua River is a piece of land known as Wusong Island (literally Rime Island), in the suburbs of Jilin City. The islet is just downstream from a large reservoir. Since the Jilin stretch of the Songhua River never freezes, it produces substantial vapor, enabling prolific formations of rimes.......