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.