He explained the mystery of Utah’s disappearing monolith

SALT CITY – A Colorado photographer said he watched a famous monolith in southeastern Utah fall to the ground and that he knows exactly how and why he disappeared last weekend.

The mysterious monolith sparked worldwide attention and intrigue after it was discovered southwest of Moab in a remote area on a 4×4 road near the Canyonlands Needles.

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How he got to a secret location half a mile down the road is still a mystery, but photographer Ross Bernards sheds light on how he disappeared – and what the group that took him when he was taken away in pieces told him. .

Ross Bernards is on an adventure throughout his career.

“I’m an adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer, I do this for a living,” he said. “So my job depends on finding unique and good places.

The Colorado-based photographer explained that he is also a certified canoeing guide. Bernards said he has worked with outdoor brands such as Kelty, Sierra Designs and Utah-based Ogden Made.

He often finds himself in one of Utah’s most remote places and said Eastern Utah is his “happy place”.

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When the point in the middle of nowhere in his happy place found himself in the middle of an international monolithic mystery last week, Bernards decided to check it in person.

He said he wanted to go out to the monolith before it disappeared or before the crowd found out.

“I wanted to go out and try light painting with my drone,” Bernards said.

Just a few days after reading the article on metalworking, Bernards realized that the coordinates had been posted on the Internet. Recognizing the time was the point, he and three of his friends would take the multi-hour tour on Friday.

They arrived after dark, and Bernards explained that they had reached the monolith for themselves.

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Four photographed the monolith in the moonlight. About an hour later, Bernards described what he saw after saying that four other visitors had gone up.

“Two stand back, two go forward, go up to the monolith, and start pushing on it a little bit,” he said. “And then one of them turns to my friends, who are a little higher up in the canyon next to him – where I was a little further back – and said, ‘I hope you have a photo.’

Bernards then said the two pairs gave the monolith a big boost and began to lean over it.

“Then the others came up and all four of them pushed him to one side and then pushed him back to the other side,” he recalled. – And he just fell straight to the ground.

Just like Bernards, he looked through the monolith that had overthrown people all over the world.

“Immediately after he failed and made a loud‘ thud, ’one of them said,‘ That’s why you don’t leave trash in the desert, ’” Bernards said.

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He said the group began to break the monolith into pieces to throw in a wheelbarrow.

“As they packed up and left, they just said,‘ Don’t leave a trace, ’and they’re gone,” he said.

Bernards explained that he camped with his friends overnight and also cleaned some of the rivets left behind by the fall of the monolith.

Fast forward to the next morning — the message of the monolithic demolitioners in his head — Bernards would realize that he was hardly the only person who set out to see the strange metal statue in person.

He took pictures of several vehicles lined up and parked on the roadway and moving on toward the area.

“He could see the way out of the dust just coming in and just see car-after-car come-and-go,” Bernards said. “I mean, we probably saw 70 or 80 different cars there.”

He said there were more people in each car, some were mistaken on a leash with dogs.

Bernards talked about how he saw people walking everywhere on earth, some also hiking up the bad canyon in search of the monolith.

Not to mention that people rushed the area miles away on a long-distance 4×4 road. Bernards described minibuses and sedans trying to navigate the road.

He expressed concern that this would lead to search and rescue calls and place an undue burden on local authorities as well as the Office of Land Management.

“He understood with me exactly why these people did it,” he said. “One of the reasons we didn’t stop them is we all agreed with them.”

Bernards said people called him out, saying he was part of the problem and said he fully understood.

Bernards said he exercises to “leave a mark” on the director and said it is his job to visit the beaten paths responsibly.

He also said he has a lot of experience in desert navigation and four-wheel driving.

Yet he said he later felt guilty about the trip.

After seeing the number of people who appeared, Bernards said the monolith didn’t have to be out there.

“Leave art to places where art should be and let mother nature have a place for art,” he said.

And for anyone who gets into conspiracy theories about how and why the mysterious metal monument and its sudden disappearance, Bernards can at least fix the record.

“The aliens were not involved in this form in any form, shape or form. They had nothing to do with it. There was no secret government project. None of this had anything to do with it,” Bernards said with a smile. giggle. – It was clearly someone’s work of art.

A work of art with a wild, swirling week, and now part of the desert’s past.