On Oct. 17, my friend and I decided to take another trip to Area 51 ( this was our third trip out ), so we packed up the truck and headed out early that morning. After the seven hour drive from Southern California, we decided to camp out that night at the staging area for the Tikaboo hike and start the hike first thing in the morning.
That night we got our camp set up and got everything ready for the hike the next morning ( water, camera, telescope, etc.). After the sun went down, the temperature dropped very quickly to about 42 degrees. Before we called it a night, we cooked up some dinner and enjoyed the crisp fresh air while eating under the stars. During our meal, we heard several jets flying over but could not make out what type they were. After the jets left the area, we saw a red flashing light which we thought was another jet, but it was not making any sound that we could hear. We tracked it in the sky for a few seconds and then the aircraft released four bright flares behind it. Once the flashing light was out of range, we saw another flashing light do the same thing. Unfortunately I had already packed away the picture camera and the video camera for the hike the next morning, so I was unable to get any pictures of the aircraft. I would really like to know what that could have been!
The next morning, Oct. 18, we woke up at about 5:30 to the air temperature of 38 degrees. We had a little breakfast and then started the long hike up to Tikaboo Peak. The first part of the hike is pretty easy, but don't let that fool you! After about 100 yards the trail starts to get steeper and steeper. The trail was very rocky which made it easy to loose your footing. The trail was marked with several yellow ribbons tied to trees, rocks, or brush to show the way. Once we reached the false summit, the hardest part of the hike was over. The second part of the hike, from the false summit to Tikaboo Peak, was not too bad. About two hours after we started the hike, we had finally made it to the peak! Even though it was a clear morning out, the view of the base was affected by the haze in the air.
After I had my telescope and tripod set up, I was looking at the base and noticed that one of the doors on either hangar four or hangar five was open. We had heard several jets flying that morning, but were unable to locate their exact location. I again looked though the telescope to see a jet of some kind taxi on the runway headed back to the hangar. As soon as the jet arrived at the hangar, the door immediately shut behind it. Because of the haze in the air, I could not get a good view of the plane. After we stayed on the peak for a couple of hours, we decided to head back down the mountain and head for the border on Groom Lake Road. I must say, the hike down the mountain is much easier than the hike up and it took about half the time!!!
On our way to GLR, we stopped in Alamo to top off the tank with gas and get some snacks. Once we arrived at the turnoff, we saw no signs of dust coming or going down the road. As we approached the signs at the border, we had noticed that there were no " Cammo Dudes " sitting on their normal lookout point. Not one minute after we arrived at the signs, here comes a dust cloud from inside the border and up pops a Chevy 4x4 truck sitting on the hill watching us! We sat at the turnoff at camp fire hill for about an hour, looking at the cammo dudes and enjoying the nice day until we saw and heard the white bus coming out of the base. Once the bus passed, we let it get a good head start before we took off to follow it back to Alamo. Once we got to Hwy 375, the bus had a good lead on us by then. We missed the bus drop off some of the workers at Ash Springs, but we caught them in time to see the remaining workers exit the bus at Alamo. All of the people that came off the bus were very casually dressed and looked like everyday people.
Overall, my friend and I had a great time and hope to make the trip again next Spring. I would be happy to share any information that I can about the trip if anybody would be interested.