The enigmatic monolith found in the Utah desert last week has just disappeared—but it has not been taken over by aliens or government conspiracies. Another phenomenon has moved it: TikTokers.
Colorado adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer Ross Bernards told CNN that last Friday night, he saw the monolith being dismantled by a group of four.
Last Friday, after deciding its location earlier in the week, Bernards, who has about a decade of experience in hiking and desert navigation, set out to take images of the world-famous monolith with a group of friends.
They heard the voices of a new party turning the corner towards the place after he and his friends had reached the location of the monolith and had been taking photos for over an hour. Bernards supposed that the party of four was just there to take images, but that was not the case.
It dropped straight to the ground and made a loud boom as soon as they were able to pry the whole monolith free. It sounded as if someone was tossing as hard as they could their largest stew pot off a ladder, Bernards said.
"Once that happened, one of them said this is why you don't leave trash in the desert," said Bernards.
"The group of four took the large pieces of the monolith and put them in a wheelbarrow and said as they rolled it forward, "leave no trace," Bernards said.
The term "Leave No Trace," according to Bernards, is a recognized concept in the outdoor community that encourages individuals who visit the outdoors to protect the environment by minimizing their effects.
He said that Bernards and his friends did not stop the community from removing the monolith because they accepted that it had to be removed because the area was not set up for the type of publicity it received and could cause harm that would adversely affect the ground.
One of the people who helped remove the monolith revealed in a social media post on Tuesday that he and a team were responsible for removing the monolith at about 8:30 p.m. on the night of November 27.
Sylvan Christensen, who has nearly 30,000 followers on TikTok, posted a monolith video strapped to a wheelbarrow and carried away with the faces of the people who removed the blurred structure.
Since then the post has been viewed on TikTok almost 200 thousand times.
"Don't abandon your personal property on public land if you don't want it to be taken out," Christensen wrote in a caption along with a #LeaveNoTrace hashtag.
Christensen, according to his social media, describes himself as a guide for Moab Adventure Tours.
"We removed the Utah Monolith because there are clear precedents for how we share and standardize the use of our public lands, natural wildlife, native plants, fresh water sources, and human impacts upon them the organization said in an emailed statement to CNN. "The mystery was the infatuation, and we want to use this time to unite people behind the real issues here — we are losing our public lands — things like this don't help."