This was spotted last Thursday (Jan. 21) at the summit of Mt. Garfield near Grand Junction, Colorado. What does it mean?

If you ever find yourself climbing to the top of Mt. Garfield, you'll encounter four things at the end of the hike. First, the American flag. Second, a summit marker. Third, an old iron pipe where a group of area residents called "The Filthy Few" would fire off mortars. Lastly, you'll spot a blank piece of stone, roughly the size of a typical household tile, inserted in the rock at the very edge of the summit.

Last Thursday, someone took the time to leave a quick message. Using small stones, someone wrote the number "51."

This is the part where I hope I don't embarrass myself. What is the significance of "51"? Hopefully, the number isn't associated with some subculture reference I'm not hip to.

Then again, the number's meaning could be as plain as the nose on my face. Is this a reference to School District 51? That would be unlikely. How about Area 51? Is someone looking to attract the attention of aliens? Perhaps someone just celebrated their 51st birthday.

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Here's a shortlist of popular meanings associated with the number 51:

  • The jersey number was worn by Randy Johnson, one of the top pitchers in baseball for the better part of two decades.
  • In numerology, the number 51 is a number of families and also of both responsibility and expression of personal freedom.
  • According to Wikipedia, 51 is a pentagonal number as well as a centered pentagonal number and an 18-gonal number and a Perrin number.
  • The jersey number was worn by football player Dick Butkus.
  • Fifty-one is the 6th Motzkin number, telling the number of ways to draw non-intersecting chords between any six points on a circle's boundary, no matter where the points may be located on the boundary (Did everyone get that? There will be a quiz later).

There is another meaning associated with 51, a very special meaning, which may very well be the intended message. According to

Angel number 51 is the symbol of spiritual growth, and it is a message from your guardian angels telling you to be prepared for and confident about the changes that are happening in your life. These changes may make way for some new beneficial opportunities, and your guardian angels want you to be ready to take these opportunities if they arise.

I'm going to go with this. The idea of 51 representing a positive message from guardian angels is far cooler than Dick Butkus' jersey number (no disrespect) or the "6th Motzkin number" or whatever that was.

Things look good from the top of Mt. Garfield. This simple secret message reinforces that. It's still snowing lightly this morning, so it's unlikely any of us will be hiking Mt. Garfield anytime soon. Until then, enjoy the positive vibes.

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