While going over images I’d previously taken from the summit of Griffith Peak and refining the images using Photoshop, I noticed a curious formation on Sexton Ridge about a mile below Griffith Peak. Sexton Ridge is the ridge system that borders the West side of Lovell Canyon spanning the approximate 10-mile distance from the 11,060ft Griffith Peak to the Lovell Canyon Trailhead at about 5,500ft. The ridge is pretty barren of plant life as its beautiful ancient bristlecone pine forest was burned around 2013.
As you can see in the images on the slides above there is a formation on Sexton Ridge that appears from Griffith Peak summit to be a perfect meteor crater. From the image, the dimensions of the crater would be a near perfect circular shape, about 600ft in circumference, and about 75-150ft deep.
To get to the crater location requires either ascending about 5,000ft from the Lovell Canyon Trailhead or ascending the 11,060ft Griffith Peak from the Charleston South Climb Trailhead at Cathedral Rock in Kyle Canyon, descending 1,500ft to the crater location then reascending Griffith Peak to return to the Cathedral Rock Trailhead. Either approach requires an exertion of marathon proportions. In addition, there are no trails on Sexton Ridge, however, the ridge is pretty wide open and relatively easy to traverse.
I selected the approach from the South Climb Trailhead at Cathedral Rock.
As I descended Sexton Ridge from Griffith Peak and reached the 9,500ft point it sadly became apparent that what had looked like a cool meteor crater discovery turned out to be an optical illusion formed by the positioning of the ridges in that area!
Oh well, the only way discoveries are made is by having the imagination to see the unexpected, develop a theory and then go on to explore in order to verify or discount the theory. As I note in the video, if you do this 100 times, you might come up with one real discovery. This was time #1 for me…99 attempts to go!
One discovery that did pan out:
There is actually a National Natural Landmarks Program of the National Park Service. They have registered and documented over 600 National Natural Landmarks. When that golden discovery is made, these are the people to connect with to register your discovery!
National Park Service
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, CO 80228