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Atascadero monolith builders say they hope visitors feel inspired to get outside

atascadero monolith reappears saturday 1
Patricia Martellotti / NC12

ATASCADERO, Calif. - The monolith of Atascadero showed up without warning Wednesday, Dec. 2, and, after it was brutally torn down, made a similarly surprising appearance Saturday morning.

The monolith garnered international attention, and it wasn't long before people around the country began theorizing how and why it was built.

This weekend, the master craftsmen behind the local mystery, a team of four men from Atascadero, decided that it was time to share the true meaning behind their mysterious masterpiece.

Wade McKenzie and Travis Kenney worked on both the first and second monoliths alongside their friend Jared Riddle and Travis' father Randall Kenney.

Travis explained that he and his friends were inspired by the other two monoliths that popped up in Utah and Romania and knew a third one was bound to pop up somewhere, so why not in California?

The team of builders quickly got to work obtaining supplies and building the first 10-foot, 300 pound pillar. They said they chose Pine Mountain Loop in Stadium Park as its resting place because it was one of their favorite hiking trails.

Travis said when they initially put the monolith up, they only planned to leave it there for a few days and expected to find it stolen or take it down themselves once they had their fun.

However, things took a turn for the worst after a group of young men from Orange County decided to livestream themselves driving up to Atascadero the night after the monolith was erected and brutally knocking it down - replacing it with a makeshift wooden cross instead.

"Wade was pissed, I was pissed ... our feelings were hurt," Travis said.

The first day the monolith was standing, the team decided to bike up and down the hill multiple times and said they were amazed to find how much joy it brought to passersby.

"So we thought, let's not let those little punks beat us up, let's put another one up there but make this one a lot harder to steal or vandalize," Randall said.

The team got together once again and welded for six hours, creating a stronger version of their first monolith that weighed about 100 pounds more.

"It represents our town being resilient and coming together, and basically being outdoors," Travis said.

It's not about politics or illness, Wade said. "I hope people just get out and hike!"

"Do I think, if it stays there, that we're going to do more stuff with it, yes!" Travis said. "I definitely think we're going to do more stuff with it."

The team hopes that the monolith will be left at peace on top of Pine Mountain Loop for years to come, and if it does, they have some plans for using it as fuel to get people outdoors and exercising more.

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Jessica Brest

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