08 April 2013

Snowflake Monday

Shooting me shooting you, uh huh, there is nothing we can't do!

At the turn of the 18th century, Prussian scientific explorer Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was among the first to suggest the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean may once have been joined. Although he was groomed for a political career, his habit of collecting plants, shells and insects earned him the title of "little apothecary."

Humboldt began his long-awaited travels the summer of 1799, and that November witnessed a spectacular display of the Leonid Meteor Shower in Venezuela. A few months later, he and fellow explorer Aimé Bonpland discovered and captured electric eels. The electrical shocks the two men received during their studies were deemed potentially dangerous.

In 1802, Humboldt, who climbed mountains in his spare time, and his party attempted to summit on Chimborazo in Ecuador, the highest peak close to the equator (one degree north of the mountain), and reached an altitude of 19,286 feet, a world record at the time.

Humboldt's South American expedition laid the foundation for the science of physical geography and meteorology. His name rests upon several species he catalogued during his studies, including penguin, squid, lily, orchid, skunk, dolphin and willow. Schools, colleges, cities and counties bear his name. Edgar Allan Poe dedicated his final major work to Humboldt. Fitting, then, that Prussian immigrants in Colorado designated state's 37th highest peak Humboldt in his honor.

14,064-foot Humboldt Peak is the least challenging of the Sangre de Cristo 14ers to climb, and I walked up it in 2008, a year before the 14-mile route was extended to 18 miles to protect the beautiful South Colony drainage the trail follows. Humboldt is the last new 14er I successfully climbed; downclimbing is very difficult on my back. I can get up mountains, but I need a helicopter or an elevator to take me back down! (I've been to the top of Mount Evans on my bike and the top of Uncompahgre Peak on my feet since then, but I've been to the top of both of those also special peaks many times.)

I hope one day to be able to climb (and descend) mountains again, especially now that physical therapy has been successful in helping me better manage chronic pain. Until then, Humboldt and its extraordinary views of the dramatic Crestones hold a very special notch in my peak bagging list. I'll share the trip report (and a couple of surprise elements) in tomorrow's post.

Sunrise from High in on the South Colony Lakes Trail

Cutthroat in Upper South Colony Lake

Humboldt Peak

Humboldt Peak

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Humboldt Peak Snowflake

Finished Size: 6.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Humboldt Peak Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in ring, * ch 7, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 1, 3 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times; ch 1, 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form last ch 2 sp of round, ch 3, 1 tr over post (body) of hdc just made to form last ch 6 loop of round. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: 1 sc in loop just made, * ch 8, 1 sc in next ch 6 loop; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 4, 1 dtr in starting sc to form last ch 8 sp of round.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc) 2 dc over post (body) of dtr just made, * ch 12, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 6, 3 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 2, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 2 and 3 dc of final repeat; ch 1, 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form last ch 2 sp of round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post (body) of hdc just made, * sk next 3 dc, 1 dc in next ch 6 sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, 7 dc in next ch 6 loop, ch 3, sl st in top of dc just made, 7 dc in same loop, 1 dc in next ch 6 sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch (picot made), 3 dc in same ch 2 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Humboldt Peak Snowflake Rocks

1-round Humboldt Peak Snowflake Rock

3-round Humboldt Snowflake Rock

Humboldt Snowflake Rocks

open, open, open

Glorious day!


  1. Surely some great shots and snowflake too, chronic pain sucks a ton, hopefully you can climb away one day soon under your sun.

  2. Love the snowflake! I will continue praying for your continued healing.

  3. The terrain is so beautiful I don't know how you manage to ever stay at home. :)) Sorry you suffer chronic back pain. For me going down a mountain kills my knees!

    1. Used to be just my bad knee that bothered me, CameraGirl, and I could walk down the steep parts backwards to avoid some of the pain. The back... don't really have any alternatives. So I just have to keep working on all the PT stretches and workouts...

  4. Sorry you have chronic pain. it is my Jackster's and I's companion as well and it stinks! I miss long walks but I am happy! The pictures and the snowflake are lovely!

    1. I'm sorry you and Jackster both have to deal with chronic pain. I wish no one did. I've put up with it for nine years now, but the PT has truly been helping. It is more manageable now.

  5. Oh my goodness in a location like that where do you stop taking pictures? All of your photos are masterpieces again!

    1. That's why I hope to get back out there again one day, Karen. Too many more pictures I long to take!

  6. What an accomplishment! Congratulations :)
    Your fish photos are simply amazing and the other shots are also great!

    1. Thanks, Cat! That was the year I got my Nikon D300, and I was still learning to work it, so I am amazed any of the fish shots turned out.

  7. Thanks for all the lovely photos and the fascinating historical background ... I never knew who Humboldt was. Can you imagine climbing that high back when there was no help from oxygen, and no high-tech climbing gear? What a dauntless explorer.

    That fish is gorgeous ... must have been some very clear water! And the snowflake is also gorgeous. I love the different versions for the different sized rocks.

    1. Thank you, Sue. No, I cannot imagine reaching that altitude, with or without modern technology. 14,000 is hard... I think most average people would need oxygen to go much above that, and these folks did it totally without!!!

      I love the snowflake rock variations, too. I may have to start doing that with every pattern. Have lots of new space to fill up in my yard! Well, when the snow melts...

  8. Lovely, lovely views...

  9. Imaging what his adventures must have been like. Truly brave to venture away from home back in the day

    1. Yes, in some ways, I wish I could have been there. But the camera equipment then wasn't as good. ;)


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