Virginia Beach City Highpoint Trip Report

one area (100+ ft)

Date: July 27, 2006
Author: Fred Lobdell

This area lies on Fort Story. This used to be a completely open post but in our post-9/11 world, there is now security at all entrances. All doors of the vehicle must be opened, along with trunks, hoods, glove compartments, and any other storage containers. I was not strip-searched.

Following Don Derosiers's example, I said I was visiting the old Cape Henry lighthouse. So I did. The entrance fee is now $4. On the way out, I took some wrong turns and found myself passing by an elongated sandy hill on my left. It looked interesting, and besides, I needed some exercise, so I parked and climbed the steep side of the hill. Under the hill, there were several bunker-like entrances with metal doors, bearing "Restricted Area" signs. These areas are still being used; there were a half dozen vehicles parked at one of them. The area on top rises and falls but I believe I found the 100-foot hump. There are sizable trees on top and a sandy road that parallels the ridge a short distance east of the crest.

Andy Martin's book refers to an incorrectly drawn index contour around this area but as we all know, in areas where the terrain gets "cliffy", contour lines are frequently omitted because there simply isn't enough space to show them accurately. I believe that to be the case here. The east and west sides of these two ridges, especially, are quite steep, especially near their bases. Thus, some contour lines have been omitted. I think the index contours are correct. Also, someone who visited in the winter when most of the leaves were gone reports that, as viewed from the lighthouse, this area with the 100-foot index contour is clearly higher than the other area with the 85-foot contours.

The real question is, are these areas natural or manmade? Did the Army take advantage of previously existing sand dunes by burrowing into them and using the interiors for their own purposes? Or, as with the Great Dune at Cape Henlopen, DE, did they take an existing dune and artificially enhance it? Or were they created from scratch? The irregular surface along the ridge crest and the size of the trees argue for a natural feature but of course WW II was more than 60 years ago and pine trees grow quickly in this area. It would be instructive to see a pre-WW II topographic map of this area.