Monday, March 31, 2014

Flower for the Day 3-31-14 Daffodil

Who can imagine the wonder of going in one night from no flowers to flowers. The
miracle happened after a day in the 70's.

These daffodils have been here for over 40 years.


When they are all in bloom they are quite a sight.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bluebird Lake Backpack 1950

Here I am after finishing 8th grade at the Oak Street School in La Grange Park, Illinois. We are on a trip to Bluebird Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I am sitting with my gear. The backpack to my left is a light metal frame with an Army rucksack attached. My brother Bob and I purchased frames from Gerry (?Cunningham) out of his garage in Ward, Colorado before his company went national. It includes some soft sponge rubber shoulder pads that have been inserted onto the straps to save my shoulders.
To my left is a parka made of heavy white cotton which I had dyed blue because I thought it would look 'cool' and then sprayed with waterproofing. It worked most of the time.
To my right is an extra pair of Levis,  a white undershirt, and an Army Surplus down sleeping bag with a heavy cover. It kept me plenty warm. 
At the end of the sleeping bag are my calf high black leather hiking boots on which a local shoemaker has attached "new" Vibram soles. With these soles I can walk up almost any surface.
Oh to be wiry and quick again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Flower for the Day 3-26-2014 Still only Crocuses

Crocuses are still the only flowers showing up although now in different colors.
They have withstood the latest snowfall. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Minnesota Canoe Association Far North Symposium

I just returned from a week-end arctic canoe symposium. Here is what
I got:
           THEY ARE RIVERS
We are time. We are the much renowned 
saying of Heraclitus the  Obscure.
We are water, not diamonds that endure;
what ebbs and passes, not what holds its ground.
We are that greek who sees himself in the stream;
we are the stream. His brief reflection shimmers
in water which is made of shimmering mirrors,
in the dark glass that shimmers like a flame.
We are the stream, predestinate and vain,
heading down to the sea pursued by shadows.
Everything said goodbye, everything goes.
Memory no longer mints its coin.
An nevertheless there is something that remains,
and nevertheless there is something that complains.

     Jorge Luis Borges
translated byRobert Mezey and Richard Barnes

Monday, March 17, 2014

Flower for the Day 3-17-14 Crocus

The Flower for the Day program is starting for the year. These tiny crocuses showed up last Friday in time for
this week-ends snow fall. Crocuses are flowering plants that grow from tubular structures called corms. 
Corms are sometimes confused with bulbs. Corms are made up of solid structural tissue while bulbs are 
mostly made up of layers of fleshy scale that are modified leaves


The Flower for the Day program will continue as in previous years. As flowers of note
bloom in our garden I will send images and copy about them. I am responsible for 
any errors that appear. Please feel free to comment.  As before you can forward 
these to friends or use them as you wish.  If you wish to be removed from the Flower List
please let me know.
Don Sessions - AKA The Flower Guy

Friday, March 14, 2014

Bonus: The Backpack

This winter I have been scanning some older slide to digital. This
image shows a younger Flower Guy and sons Lee and Gordon on top of South Arapahoe Peak (elevation 13,400 feet) in the Indian Peaks Area southof Rocky Mountain National Park. For a complete view of the trip go to my Blog:

Franke 18

The Backpack 1 Re-living a Classic Trip from August 1979

FOREWORD: In 1951 as a 15 year old at Cheley Camp I was able to go on a backpacking trip in the Indian Peaks area south of Rocky Mountain National Park which was a life changing experience for me. It was the end of a three year immersion into the peaks and back country of this part of the Rockies and I never got over it. Twenty-eight years later I decided that I should do it again with my sons Lee(age 15) and Gordon(age 13). We were joined by my friend Bob Franke and his son Keith (age13).
We started the trip at the Buckingham Campground out of Nederland on the way over Arapahoe Pass on an old CCC trail. That day we would run out of breath, break some eggs, and find a six pack of Coors in a stream. 
It was a memorable start for an extraordinary trip.

The Backpack 2 On the trail

Going up the Arapahoe Pass trail slowly. We were not acclimated to the altitude and we paid the price.

The Backpack 3 Fourth of July Mine

About 2 miles up the trail we came to the Fourth of July Mine site and stopped for lunch. It was strenuous for us flatlanders.

Who doesn't love old rusty boilers and machinery?  

The Fourth of July Mine was a silver mine was
an active silver mine which was discovered in 1872.
It was closed in 1880 when it became too costly to
mine the silver.


The Backpack 4 Arapahoe Pass

We are still struggling uphill.

Toward the pass.

It was clear and warm with a cool breeze.

Here is Lee resting near the top of the pass. It was here that Gordon noticed something oozing out the bottom of his backpack. Unfortunately it was the eggs
which had not been packed correctly (mea culpa). There were only two eggs still intact. Gordon pitched those and we helped him clean out his pack. What a mess.

The Backpack 5 Caribou Lake

From the north side of the pass we could see down to Caribou Lake, 750 feet below.Following the narrow switchback trail we arrived at the lake and set up camp.
We have come 4.65 exhausting miles with an elevation gain of 1786 feet since this morning.

A few minutes later Keith came into camp with a treat in hand. Someone had left a six pack of Coors in the nearby stream cooling to just the right temperature. Bob had a high altitude headache but I enjoyed a cool one.
I remember that there was a full moon that night.

The Backpack 6 Climbing South Arapahoe Peak

The next day we hiked back up to the pass and followed the trail to South Arapahoe Peak (elevation 13,400 feet).

The trail is long but gradual with spectacular views and meadows of wildflowers on the tundra.

The Sessions boys on the summit.

The Backpack 7 Down the stream and up the trail

The next day we hiked down Arapahoe Creek from Caribou Lake toward Monarch Lake for about 10 miles.  

There were some bridges and some challenging stream crossings. 

When we stopped to cool off, Gordon, our fisherman, always had a line in the water. 

Just this side of Monarch Lake we reached a junction with the trail to Crater Lake. We turned right and hiked uphill for several miles and camped by the trail near some massive boulders. We were fortunate then because these days camping is no longer allowed at this spot. 
It was a 13 mile day.

The Backpack 8 To Crater Lake

The next day we hiked up about 3.5 miles from our campsite to Crater Lake.

Initially the trail goes by  Buchanan Creek and then alongside Cascade Creek and over several bridges.

Cascade Falls includes four sets of falls. We arrived at Mirror Lake and then Crater Lake (elevation 11,920 feet) in mid afternoon. We have become better acclimated and stronger as the days advance

Lone Eagle Peak towers above Crater Lake. A stunning tour de force of granite, it was formerly called Lindburgh Peak after aviator and adventurer Charles Lindburgh. It is a sublime place to camp.

It is one of the most peaceful and inspiring places on the planet.

The Backpack 9 Thoughts on climbing Pawnee Pass

Bob has obviously asked us to point in the direction of Pawnee Pass.

The Backpack 10 Ascending Pawnee Pass

Leaving Crater Lake we are to go through these impressive spires on the trail to Pawnee Pass.

The trail is an extraordinary construction of switchbacks. As we took a break before the steep climb there was a small puddle in the middle of the trail. Gordon threw a fishing line in and to our collective amazement he caught a 6 inch fish.

The Backpack 11 Pawnee Pass

On Pawnee Pass, elevation 12,542 feet.

The clouds rolled in to cool us off - back to long sleeves.

To the north over my shoulder is the western slope with Granby Reservoir (now Granby Lake), Shadow Mountain Lake and Grand Lake. Its time to start down hill.

The End of the Backpack 12

It is 4.5 miles from Pawnee Pass  to our pickup point at Brainard Lake on another great CCC trail (from the times of FDR).

We hiked down past Lake Isabelle (shown) and then along the one mile length of Long Lake arriving at Brainard Lake where our ride was awaiting us. It was on this trail that Bob picked up the piece of granite that he dedicated for us for us.
It was the time of our young lives.

Below Lake Isabelle.

Re: The End of the Backpack

MORE...MORE....MORE !!!!!!!

Nice Job, Dr. Don. When can we expect the next series?

Some notes from the past:
Dome tents were relatively new thirty-five years ago. Surprised Don w/o telling him that I had purchased one for our expedition. Don's response after seeing it for the first time ever ..."What the hell is that - The Franke Hilton?"
Prior to our trip I called Don at work to discuss some details. When his receptionist asked,"Whom may I say is calling?". I said Dr. Franke, being cute. Her response was, "Hold on Dr. Franke and I'll put you through to the OR". Hence for a while I was known as Dr. Franke.
The mosquitoes at our overnight camping spot in Kansas were as big as half dollars.Got eaten alive trying to put the tent up that night.   

Nice trip down memory lane, Don

Dr. Bob, AKA AB-Bob, MU-Bob, IBK-Bob, Sponge Pants- Bob, ... :-)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Getting ready for summer 3-10-14

Today was warm and clear at Lake Aspen. 
I sealed the dock seats and the  picnic table 
with TWP.

Lunch on the sunporch

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Necessary Room 3-2-14

         The art in this Necessary Room is 
      the beautiful surrounding Colorado