Tikaboo Peak 2007, July 3, 2007
by Paul Wilson

I went to the top of Tikaboo Peak on July 3, 2007. I left on the morning of July 4. This was a solo trip.

I live in Heyburn, Idaho and left for Tikaboo Peak on the morning of July 3. I arrived near the base of the peak (Badger Springs area) around 3PM. The 22 miles of dirt road leading to Badger Springs seemed easier to drive than when I did it last in November 2005. It was hot out and I had to carry a lot of weight (tent, sleeping bag and pad, telescope, two tripods, several cameras, lots of water, etc.). It was slow going but I reached the top soon enough. Fortunately, the trail was easy enough to follow. Back in November of 2005 I didn't use the trail for much of the hike since I couldn't find the trailhead. I went cross-country for most of that trip and only hit the trail at the top as it traversed toward the peak. Fortunately, this time I had no problems at all. I brought along my GPS for just in case I might need it though. I didn't. Once on top I dumped about a pint of water over my head which felt pretty good. I then started hunting out Area 51. In late afternoon Area 51 doesn't look like much because of the backlighting from the sun and haze. I knew that I would have to wait for morning before seeing the base in all its glory. I set up my tent about 100 feet walking distance from the top in a little clearing barely big enough for it and then took a short nap.

Between 11 PM and 1 AM I took night photographs at the top. I did a panorama of the base at night but it didn't turn out well. I'll have to do another night panorama the next time I go up. The temperature that night was very nice and the night sky was very dark until the moon started coming up around 11:30 PM. The Milky Way was very visible and Las Vegas could be seen glowing to the south. The base was well lit up but there was no activity that I could see. Shortly past 1 AM I went to sleep.

I was up at 5:30 AM and ate a small breakfast before walking back to the top. At the top I started setting up my Digital Rebel XT with 100-400mm L lens and Kenko 2x tele-extender to take my first panorama images. About a half hour after sunrise the base illuminated with light from the sun and I started shooting. After I finished taking those images I hooked the camera body up to my 130mm Mak Celestron telescope (2000mm focal length) to start shooting a new panorama. Getting good photos wasn't easy. My telescope is mis-aligned a little and it causes images to be in focus on the right side but not on the left. I also had difficulty with the wind. Because of the exposure at the top of the peak a steady strong wind kept the image in the telescope bobbing around like crazy. This wind caused my images to vary in quality from OK to less than OK.

At around 8:30 AM I had everything packed and ready to go. My trip down was quick and it took less than 1 hour to reach the car at Badger Springs. With gravity on my side I was able to boogy on down without having to stop. Eight hours later I was back home in Idaho.

While I am happy with the panoramas that I took I believe I can do much better. I will make another trip to the top later this year (probably in the fall). Heck, I may even make two more trips this year. The fall will be a nice time to go since the large hangar that is being built there may be finished by that time.

My previous trip images can be found at:


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