They say the trip was not without challenges, however. It involved driving in the dark over rocky terrain and checking the GPS coordinates. At least one explorer got lost early on. But the trip was worth it, they said, even though the monolith was not the work of aliens.
He was one of the first to find it
David Surber may have been among the very first to see the monolith in person. The coordinates of the monolith were circulating on Reddit, but none of the users could confirm that they were correct. Surber volunteered to find out.
“Ultimately, alien or achieved through artistic expression; the monolith has made thousands of people come together again for something positive,” he told CNN in an email. . “It was a good escape from all of the negativity we went through in 2020.”
It happened before sunrise
With an idea of where the monolith was, McBride and a friend left while it was still dark to its difficult location. They slept there and woke up at sunrise to be among the first to reach it.
There was no trail, but McBride’s navigation was perfect, so he and his friend found the monolith before sunrise. But it seemed like a few other explorers had the same idea as McBride, as handprints were encrusted all over his metallic face.
“The thing was dirty from the people touching it,” he said. “I tried to wipe it off, but it’s like the handprints are frozen on it and donut frosting or something.”
The monolith appears to be riveted to a metal frame probably drilled into Utah rock – something about McBride has mixed feelings. On the one hand, whoever installed the monolith there degraded public lands (which is illegal, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety, whose employees found it on Nov. 18 while flying over the helicopter).
On the other hand, it’s a work of art that has fascinated the Internet and inspired dozens of adventurers to find it.
This YouTuber’s journey was more dangerous
Seitzinger, known as Talon Sei on YouTube, found the coordinates of the monolith on Reddit and set off into the wilderness. He said the ride was about two hours from Moab.
His navigation led him to the edges of steep canyons that blocked his way, and at one point he almost gave up. But once he straightened his direction and came back on another path, he too found the monolith.
“There have been countless shows and movies shot in this region, so sadly it’s not alien,” he told CNN. “They gave everyone hope.”
Their advice to future explorers
In his video, Seitzinger told his more than 480,000 YouTube subscribers not to retrace his steps and make the trip due to the dangers he faced. If they’re feeling daring, however, he said he would recommend bringing traction boards in case their car gets stuck.
The hike to the monolith wasn’t difficult, but the exit was rocky, McBride said. He recommends using only high clearance four-wheel drive vehicles, like his Jeep.
But even though the hike is relatively short if you park near the monolith, it’s easy to get lost in canyons where the terrain starts to look the same, Surber said. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your GPS out of range in case you turn around, he says.
Surber advised against going at night, like he and McBride did, if you are crossing the desert for the first time. There are frequent and steep falls into the rock, he said.
The Three Intrepid Explorers advise fans of “2001: A Space Odyssey” to treat the monolith with care if they find it. Because it is illegal to install works of art on public land without a permit, the mystifying quadrangle may soon be removed. The Bureau of Land Management decides to investigate further, and CNN has contacted the office and is awaiting its comments.