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TextHey Skadi, I dont know when you were there but it sounds like it was pre 9/11. Since 9/12 the base has been locked down like it never has been in its entire 100+ year history. All the public roads that crossed through the base are now completley shut down and gated. Everyone has to go around the base now adding greatly to the allready terrible traffic around there. When were you there? It sounds like you saw alot of the base but not all of it and yes its very upscale. Some of the houses look like mini mansions. Oh well more to come! [/align]
TextNow, Rt.1 passes directly through Ft.Belvoir. If you can find a really detailed map the enlisted mans housing is at the southern end of the base. Now remember that Rt.1 passes almost through the center of the base going north to south. Keep yourself on the west side of Rt.1 at the south end of the base and as close to Rt.1 as possible. This is my starting point.
TextKeep in mind to stay on the western side of Rt.1 as for during all this I never crossed the highway. Okay I can actually give you pretty specific directions up to the point I got lost. The best way to do this is to get/find a map of Northern Virginia. If you can do this through satellite photos then man, are you good. Now on you map you see Ft.Belvoir right? Now mark it and look for Huntley Meadows State Park. On a recent map it should be all of the wooded area around the base. Huntley Meadows was my exit point. Now try to bear with me.
TextThe back of my house faced the very last stretches of woods that now should be listed as part of Huntley meadows. May not be listed at all cause it was only 30-50 yards through the woods to the military housing. Paths ran all throughout the woods close to any houses and I knew and still know them pretty well. I started all this with just walking into the woods behind my house. Now starting at the closest point to Rt.1 at thesouthern end of the base on the west side of the highway specifically draw a line going west in a straight line for just under a half a mile. At this point most of the paths are gone and you will be coming upon some dirt utility roads. These utility roads which the local pwer companies use to acces their lines which run through the woods going in a north south direction on huge towering metal frame towers are actually old military roads. The dirt road will be horizontal to you. Once you cross this road still going westward in a straightline this is Ft.Belvoir property and there are government property/US Army signs psted on trees. Once youve crossed this dirt road go about an eighth of a mile further westward still in a straight line. Now stop turn north. I believe I travelled in a very wide arc going north. At the apex or center of the arc line is where I believe I saw it. The distance travelled to the center of the arc is 2 to 5 miles. I know thats a good difference but like I said in my post despite my compass I got terribly lost and it was getting dark.
TextI do know this. I was travelling in a northwest direction slogging through swamps up to my waist at times when I came upon some solid land. I thought this would be my way out but i was quite wrong. This is where I sat and rested looking across this enormous swamp at this thing. I had no idea where I was. I had never seen or even heard about anything like this before but I knew I was still on Ft.Belvoir somewhere. I sat there for at least an hour as the sun set completely and it became pitch dark. Im still not to sure whichside I was looking at. To the left of the smokestack looking forward was a large domed building just like in the photo.
TextLooking across the swamp which was a westerly direction I could see from one end of the facility to the other of the side I was looking at. The facilty was well lit and I could make out men in camouflage around the outside and some rectangular windows just like in the photo. And this thing was running! There was a tall fence on the other side of the swamp up on dry land. There was that low pulsing hum the whole time that sounded like something was making an incredible amount of electricity. The facility was pretty well lit. Red lights going verticaly up the sides of the smokestack spaced wide and evenly apart. The domed building to the left of the smokestack had fewer lights but they were red and yellow and there were not in any order that I could see like on the smokestack. The ground around the outside of the facility was very well lit with large conventional lamps on the ground.
TextThats another thing I thought was odd. There were no lightpoles. All the outside lighting was on the ground pointing up at the builiding. There were about a half a dozen men in camouflage that I could see and they were moving very fast. Like they were in a big hurry. The outside of the building in the photo looks like it had some yellow paint. What I was seeing was flat gray unpainted concrete and lots of it. I got a very good look at this place and remember it pretty well. From there I travelled the last half of the arc going northeast from the apex. Luckily the moon was out and I could see my compass. Other than that it was total darkness and pretty damned frightening. Now I came upon the part of Huntley Meadows closest to Rt.1. There are several entrances but the main entrance where the visitors center is. Im glad no one was there to see me stumble out of the woods looking like I had nearly drowned. Okay so your arc goes northwest to the center and northeast to Huntley meadows. Use Rt.1 as a reference point. I came out in the parking lot of the visitors center. I was very happy to see something familiar again and to know where I was. There were a couple times I didnt think I was going to make it out. And from the parking lot there is a long acces road that winds through the woods from Lockheed Blvd entrance to the parking lot. I walked alongside the road still a bit in the woods just in case one of the park rangers or Fairfax County cops came along. They liked to "hangout" in the parking lot. Its just a couple hundered yards from the park entrance to Rt.1
TextI was to tired to take the backstreets home. I think it was another four mile walk south down the side of the highway back to my house. Rt.1 is also Richmond Highway if that helps. I was only fourteen but still remains one of my most vivid memories. Hope this helps. If its still there and it probably is Im pretty confident you could follow my directions and get there. Start early in the day, its quite a journey. Dont advise trying it though. Aside from trespassing on federal land youve got more poisonous snakes than youve ever seen in one place your whole life. If I had made it across that giant swamp without drowning or getting bitten by hundreds of snakes the guards would have most definitly shot me and this was well before 9/11. Cant even imagine what its like now.