The Monolith in Utah

Did you hear about the Monolith that they discovered in Utah? Matt and I found it! 

It was the day before Thanksgiving (my birthday) when Matt squealed and announced that a couple of Park Rangers had found an object in a remote part of Utah. The Rangers had been counting wild sheep when they came upon a sleek, 3-sided piece of polished metal; they called it a monolith. They didn’t know what it was, how long it had been there, or how it got there! Matt said with the excitement of a schoolboy, “let’s go see it!” When I replied, “Yeah, Let’s do it,” I think he was stunned. He sat there with a big smile, rewatching the newsreel. “If we cook the turkey today, then we can bring sandwiches for the journey tomorrow,” he said. “Sounds like a plan and a fun way to spend my birthday,” I said. So, we had Thanksgiving a day early and got ready for the upcoming adventure. 

 Matt and I packed the jeep at the crack of dawn, and off we went. He had spent hours on google the day before, searching for the obelisk, and when he found it (or so he thought), he wrote down the coordinates. He printed pictures of landmarks we would need and put them in the road atlas of Utah.

 Watching the sunrise over the New Mexican mountains was a perfect way to start my 61st year. 

Our adventure took us to Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. The last couple of hours would be off-road driving, narrow one-lane roads, and riverbeds before an hour’s walk to the obelisk. I have driven through Utah several times, but not through the National Parks. The beauty of the early morning was stunning.  

When we reached the end of the road, Matt looked at his GPS coordinates and said that we needed to turn right, which was not quite a dirt road, it looked more like a gully, but you could tell that others had been on it because of the well-worn tire tracks, so we made the turn. We were both grateful that we had the jeep; a regular car would not have been able to make it through such rough terrain. Halfway down the road, we saw a young couple driving toward us. Matt rolled down the window and asked, “how was it?” They were both excited by what they found and told us to follow the foot tracks once we got to the wash. 

We followed the foot tracks as the young couple suggested. We got to the riverbed’s end and were unsure where to go next; everything looked the same. Before I got into my “Nancy Drew mode,” we saw a couple of guys dressed as Star Fleet Officers walk out of a hidden entrance to the canyon just to the left of us. Matt and I looked at each other astonished; the timing could not have been better. We chuckled as Captain Picard’s search party passed us and started for the hidden passage, not knowing what we would find nor how long it would take us to get to the prize. The hike in itself was worth the trip. The sun had begun to warm the canyon, and I could take off the first layer of clothing I had on as we took in the colors of the high sandstone fortress. 

I was surprised how many people had found their way into the small canyon; the only way out was the way we came in or straight up. Halfway down the wall was a ledge where people were resting and taking pictures. Royal, our bichon made her way into the monolith first; a few photographers swooped in to take her picture against the metal structure. As I approached the monolith, I was excited to get an up-close look. The color was silver-gray. I could see scratches and fingerprints smudged against the smooth metal. I examined the three-sided structure, felt the texture of the smooth surface, and noticed that there were rivets about every three feet holding the sheet metal together. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed that the monolith looked manmade instead of from ET. Even though an artist made the beacon, the fact that we were struck with curiosity and needed to see it for ourselves, I hope, was the intention of its creator. The structure was still very cool, and I loved seeing fellow adventure seekers; we all had the same reaction when we laid eyes on the structure. Over the weekend, we heard that the monolith disappeared the day after Thanksgiving. It must have been dismantled during the night. That made the experience even more meaningful.

2020 was an incredibly tough year to get through; I am so glad we made the trip; it was a well-needed break from reality. Taking in the beauty of Utah, the weather was perfect, and I needed the reset. What a wonderful way to spend my birthday.


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