On June 9, 2007 I led a small group of Area 51 researchers to the top of Tikaboo Peak, the closest publicly accessible view spot for Area 51. Dan, CJ and I were planning to hike up in the afternoon and spend the night at the peak, in order to take advantage of the best viewing conditions early in the morning.
Around 1pm, we took the dirt road off Hwy 93 south of Alamo. From here it is a 20-mile drive on dirt roads to the trail head, and then another 2-3 hour hike to the top of Tikaboo Peak. About halfway up the road to the trailhead, we came across our first surprise. Just north of the cattle water area at the intersection with the road from Medsger Pass, we found two newly fenced-off areas about 20 yards apart. They each contained a brand new solar panel, electronics module and several antennas. This setup seemed very out of place in this remote location "in the middle of nowhere".
Upon closer examination, we determined that one of the fenced-off sites included some sort of underground sensor, a solar panel and a UHF transmitter, pointed at the other new setup. That second setup had a much larger solar panel, a receiver antenna that matched the transmitter of the first setup, and a satellite dish. Later, after discussing our find in the Dreamland Resort Discussion Forum, we determined that the first unit is a seismic sensor, part of a network that is being set up around at least the northern boundary of the Test Site. The second unit is a data uplink for the seismic data via a commercial satellite internet connection. So, while we are not sure about the purpose of the project, it seems unlikely that these two devices have a connection to Area 51 or Black Projects.
We continued to the trail head, and up the trail to Tikaboo Peak. The last part of the road, past the left turn at 22.0 miles in our Tikaboo Peak Map, is in very rough shape. We made it to the upper parking area (0.2mi. in our map) in a 4WD Jeep Wrangler. Anything larger than that is likely to get some serious battle scars... The hike was uneventful, and we saw no activity in the evening and during the night. Which was not surprising since it was a weekend.
In the early morning hours of June 10, when the view of Area 51 is best due to the sun angle, I set up my Celestron C-5 spotting scope to take a closer look at Area 51. At 26 miles distance the amount of detail visible is limited, even with good optics. But the larger buildings of the base are clearly visible, as are some of the runways and taxiways.
The first thing I noticed was a large mound of dirt in the southern part of the base. When I looked closer, I discovered a huge new hangar behind the mound of dirt. Although the view of the hangar was partially blocked by the dirt, it was obvious that it was still under construction. The metal skeleton of the hangar looked complete, but it was not yet covered by sheet metal. Still, I was able to make out a large opening for a hangar door. The new hangar was obviously much larger than Hangar 18, which until now was the largest hangar at Area 51. Later analysis of my photos made on that day, as well as new satellite imagery, showed that the hangar has a size of about 345x185ft.
Further discoveries we made that morning included an extension of the P.E. Building and a new building in the Explosives Storage Area at the very south end of the base. The P.E. Building ("Personal Equipment") is used by flight crews to store their flight gear, and to "suit up" before a mission. An extension of this building could indicate that at least some of the projects for which the South Ramp area has been modernized and expanded, are manned aircraft.
Our group was the first to discover the construction activity, and to document it with photos. The photo included in this article was taken that morning. It was the first photo of the new hangar ever published. After our return, we were also the first to report the news on this web site on June 11, 2007. Click here for more photos and information.
While this was a very successful trip with many surprising discoveries, I have to say that we found the top of Tikaboo littered with trash. Including larger items, like the torn remains of a sleeping bag and a tent. So, before we hiked back down we picked up as much as we could and filled a large trash bag. We continued to pick up trash along the way down, but there is still plenty left. If you do the hike, PLEASE, pick up all your trash and, if you can, try to clean up some of the trash other, less considerate, hikers have left behind.
Joerg H Arnu, Dreamland Resort Founder