This is a true story that I wrote up for our club newsletter....but without the referenced photo.
THE NIGHT CVA SAW TWO BARES ON HALF DOME
By Fred Lusk
KIDS, COVER YOUR EYES :-)
First the moral to the story:
If you plan to get naked to celebrate your accomplishment of hiking to the top of Half Dome, please don't do it on a Friday or Saturday evening. That's when the Glacier Point Star Party series occurs (has been every summer weekend since 1973). Before it gets dark the amateur astronomers use their telescopes to show the tourists the sights, and that includes the top of Half Dome. Also, if you're built like Barney Fife, don't do body builder poses.
One final point. You may be 2.5 miles from Glacier Point and think nobody can see you. However, at 75x it's as if you're 176 feet away, and at 200x it's more like 66 feet. Our eyepieces easily give us these magnifications.
Here's what happened:
We started setting up telescopes at the Glacier Point Amphitheater around 6:15 p.m., which was more than 2 hours before sunset. There was a wedding just getting started at the bottom of the amphitheater. Actually, by the looks of the couple's little girl, the wedding should have happened about 3 years ago, but I digress.
After I set up my telescope, I showed various tourists such things as the top of Nevada Fall, some climbers on the face of Half Dome, hikers on top of Half Dome, hikers on North Dome, Cathedral Peaks, Mount Hoffman, etc. Other CVA members were doing the same thing. During breaks in the tourist traffic, I attached my Olympus E-1 DSLR and took photos of many of the same things.
Right after I took the last photo, I removed the camera and reinstalled my 27 mm Panoptic eyepiece. The camera gives me 81x and this eyepiece gives me 75x, so the views are almost identical except that the image is much clearer through the eyepiece than through the camera's focusing screen.
You will notice in the photo two people, a gal near the edge (left) and a guy further inland (right). I estimate these two hiking partners are in their early to mid 20s.
Just as I put my eye to the eyepiece I saw the girl pull off her shirt and drop her shorts. Her male hiking partner was just a moment behind. I couldn't believe it, so I called Dale over. His reaction was “Oh my God, there are nudists on top of Half Dome.” A couple of the other scopes were already on the same scene, but Dale and I were first to react. Now, of course, the rest of the scopes focused away from the climbers and on to the exhibitionists. The tourists got a big kick out this, and we all kept their kids away from the scopes. This will certainly be their most memorable star party ever.
One of my fellow CVA'ers jokingly suggested I get a photo, but I declined. Even though it might have made a striking cover for our annual wall calendar, that's not the look I was after.