Cumberland County Highpoint Trip Report
area southwest of Coolyconch Mtn in Fort Bragg (486+ ft)
Date: September 16, 2005
Author: Peter Barr
This county is smack dab in the middle of one of America's largest miltary
bases, Fort Bragg. I initially was planning on just scouting this one; I didn't
think it was going to be as easy as it was. In the end, it wasn't that it was
easy, it was that I was very lucky. I was planning on playing the "student
card" to get access to the base to reach the high point. As it turns out,
anyone can go onto the base. You don't even need a reason. You simply have to
park your car, hand over your license and registration, and open all your car
doors, hood, trunk, glove box, and console. It takes about 5 minutes. In my
opinion, they didn't even search it that hard. They didn't question my laptop
computer sitting in the passenger seat and digital camera in the back. Nor did
they want to search my book bag which contained text books, nor did they sift
through my dirty clothes in a laundry basket in the trunk.
Back to specifics. I took NC24 south from Harnett County (in which I randomly
found a ascendable fire tower, not on the HP -- it had a view of the Harnett cohp,
as well as Pope Air Force Base on Fort Bragg -- off NC24 in Cameron Hill).
Once south on NC24 and passing into Cumberland County, you arrive in the
civilization of Spring Hill. You will see many Fort Bragg signs. Continue
south until Knox Street, where you will take a right and pull underneath the
hoods for the cars and have your vehicle searched. Do not turn right at the
first entrance on Grubar Street. This is for military personnel only.
I made this mistake.
Once inside the base, you'll notice it looks like a normal town with gas
stations, grocery stores, hospitals, just with a larger than normal quantity of
camouflaged vehicles driving around. Continue on Knox Street not quite a mile
and take a left on Grubar Street. Continue on this street about 5 miles until
the stoplight and intersection with Longstreet Road. Take a left. Continue 2
miles. You will come to another access checkpoint. Since you are driving "out"
of this checkpoint, you do not have to stop. You will have to stop and be
searched to come back through. Immediately after this checkpoint, take a right
on Lamont Road. Follow this uphill about 3/4 of a mile until you see an
entrance for a landfill on the right. Directly across the street on the left
will be a dirt (I think) road. Take a left on this and follow it uphill. You
will come to a fork, with a dirt road going left past a large tree. Straight
ahead is a building with multiple garbage trucks and dumpsters around it, with
several workers suspicious of me. Directly to the left of this building is a
large radio tower, resting on the high point. However, it is inside a 100
square-yard fenced and barb wired area. After exploring around the garbage
place (probably related to the nearby landfill) I determined I needed to get
inside the gate. Take a left on that fork and follow the dirt track about 50
yards (it curves right) to the gate of the fence.
The gate of the fence is locked with a padlock and strongly posted with military
base warning signs. There was a white sheet of paper laminated and EZ-tied to
the gate. It said, "This gate is property of Range Control. To gain access to
this compound contact: Ft. Bragg Range Control, Bldg. A-1308 Gruber and
Longstreet Rd., POC #432-1161".
I was very lucky though. There were three older men (not military-dressed) with
a pickup truck right by the gate, talking. I told them what I was up to
(throwing in the student thing) and asked for permission to the gate. They
granted it no problem, and were happy to help. They said that where we were
they knew as "Monroe Mountain", and not Coolyconch Mountain. They also said
that they never really go inside the gate. I'm surprised they had the key.
It was a close call in the end, as the key didn't turn and got stuck. More luck
came my way as they happened to have WD40 in the truck which they sprayed and
were able to open the lock. I did not catch their names.
I wondered around inside for about 10 minutes. There's a lot of old junk,
several small old and half fallen-down buildings/sheds. Some trees and brush
and then the tower. It's not extremely tall. I decided the HP was around the
tower but a lot of different places inside the gate were candidates, so I
basically gridded, even in the brush. A tree south of the tower could be it as well.
There were a few candidates to the west, outside the fence but it is impossible
to tell, as a building is in between the tower and the outside of the gate.
Much of this looks man-disturbed (small dirt mounds, and a camouflaged bulldozer
sitting nearby). I think the HP is right around the tower or tree and this
would make sense for them to build the tower there.
I searched for the BM 486 which, if I were to have found it, would not have been
on the HP, based on the topo. I did spend a good deal of time looking for it;
it should be somewhere around the garbage collection building, outside of the
fence, obviously below the HP. All of this area is a dirt parking area for
garbage trucks and 18 wheelers and I did not find it.
As I had to go through the aforementioned search checkpoint to return through
the base back to the Fayetteville area, I am not sure if you need to go through
any access checkpoints at all if you were to access this area from the west.
To do this HP, I think one needs to get inside the gate. Perhaps a visit to the
building at the intersection of Brubar & Longstreet would be necessary before
visiting the site. The building is only about 2 miles away.