Ascent of Cockspur Island High Point on 2016-05-03

Climber: Fred Lobdell

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cockspur Island High Point
    Elevation:5 ft / 1 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trying to find a HP for this NM is a mess. I thank John Mitchler for sharing his unpublished trip report, which was quite helpful. But there is still no definitive location of the HP.

John approached from the south, but I came in from the west on I-16. Take the exit for US 80 east (I think that's exit 166) and follow that highway for "about 15 miles" to the NM entrance. Passing through Savannah was a truly ugly experience, and the return trip was worse. In his trip report for Williamsburg, Virginia, Don Desrosiers suggested that the traffic lights were "personally synchronized by Thomas Jefferson using a sundial and an hourglass". The synchronization of Savannah's traffic lights is not as good as that.

John explored the various areas that appeared to have 3 meter contours. (The topographic map for the area is unfortunately one of the U. S. Geological Survey's poorest productions.) He concluded that the four areas shown along the north shore of Cockspur Island north and west of the visitor parking area likely contained the highest natural ground, if indeed any of the present surface is natural. From the NM brochure: "Cockspur Island was originally a series of small hammocks surrounded by salt marsh. It is now mostly dry land because dredged materials have been deposited outside the dikes around the fort." A sign near the fort refers to "tons and tons" of dredged material.

On John's suggestion, I hiked the North Pier Trail due north for a quarter mile or so. The first trail junction on the left (west) was the gravel Picnic Area Trail, and further north were a pair of two-tracks. I took the northernmost of these and hiked west. About 400 feet or so west there was a mound to the left, about a couple of hundred feet south of the sandy road. The top of this mound, when I was standing next to it, was about even with the top of my head. (For those who haven't seen me, I stand about 1.8 meters high in my hiking shoes.) This is the highest spot I found on the island. Whether it is natural is another matter. Also, it would be helpful if the NM boundaries were marked on the ground in some way. Like John, I investigated several other areas, but found nothing that I felt was higher. I did the best I could.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6 ft / 1 m
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
Warm and humid
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6 ft / 1 m
    Start Trailhead:Visitor's Center  -1 ft / 0 m
    Time:30 Minutes
Descent Statistics

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