They say the trip was not without challenges. It involved driving in the dark on rocky terrain and checking GPS coordinates. At first, at least one researcher got lost. But the trip was worth it, they said, even if the monolith wasn̵
He was one of the first to find him
David Serbber may have been among the first to examine the monolith in person. The coordinates of the monolith circulated on Reddit, but none of the users could confirm that they were correct. Serbber agreed to find out.
“At the end of the day, alien or made through artistic expression; the monolith allowed thousands of people to come together behind something positive again,” he told CNN by email. “It was a good escape from all the negativity we experienced in 2020.”
He got there before sunrise
With some idea of where the monolith was, McBride and a friend left while it was still dark at their rough 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 in place, so he and his friend found the monolith before the sun rose. But several other researchers seem to have had the same idea that McBride did, as the handprints were glued all over his metal face.
“This thing was dirty from the people who touched it,” he said. “I tried to erase it, but it was as if the handprints were frozen from it and from donut glaze or something.”
The monolith appears to be nailed to a metal frame, probably drilled into the Utah rock, something McBride has mixed feelings about. On the one hand, whoever installed the monolith there has desecrated public land (which is illegal, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety, whose staff found it on November 18 in the helicopter overpass).
On the other hand, it is a work of art that fascinated the Internet and inspired dozens of adventurers to discover it.
The journey of this YouTuber was more dangerous
Seitzinger, known as Talon Sei on YouTube, found the coordinates of the monolith on Reddit and headed for the desert. He said the drive was about two hours from Moab.
His navigation led him to the edges of steep canyons that blocked his path, and at one point he almost gave up. But after he turned his direction and returned to another path, he also found the monolith.
“There are countless shows and movies made in this area, so unfortunately it’s not alien,” he told CNN. “They raised everyone’s hopes.”
Their advice for future researchers
In his video, Seitzinger told his more than 480,000 YouTube subscribers not to follow in his footsteps and travel because of the dangers he encountered. However, if they feel audacious, he said he would recommend taking towing boards in case their car crashes.
The trek to the monolith was not difficult, but the exit was rocky, McBride said. He recommends driving only with four-wheel drive vehicles, such as his Jeep.
But even though the hike is relatively short, if you park near the monolith, it’s easy to get lost in the canyons, where the terrain begins to look identical, Serbber said. Be aware of your surroundings and do not turn on the GPS in case you turn around, he said.
Serbber advised not to walk at night, as you and McBride did, if you were traveling through the desert for the first time. There are frequent and steep drops in the rock, he said.
The three fearless researchers advise fellow fans of “2001: A Space Odyssey” to be careful with the monolith if they find it. As it is illegal to install works of art on public land without permission, the mystifying quadrangle may soon be removed. The Land Management Bureau decided whether to investigate further, and CNN turned to the bureau and awaited comment.