The Story (sort of)
I heard there was something about this on here. Didn't know there was such a demand for the story. I will tell what I know: I was taking our bus drivers down Brown's on a fishing trip and Gringo was along for the ride. About 45 minutes before dark we were rafting through the staircase. Above stair # 5, I could see that something had changed. As we approached, we realized it was a 14 foot blue raft floor wrapped in dead center of the river on the main rock in the stair 5 drop. There was no crease and it was not at all vertical, but water was pouring in over the 3/4 of the upstream tube. The bow was facing river right and was still completely out of the water. It also became quickly apparent that the raft had been abandoned.
"Put on with one raft and took out with two." A full size raft with a nice aluminum frame with new combox, cooler, drop-nets, sand stake, backboard/table, paco pad, and more all by itself, stuck as fuck in the middle of the river. They had to swim the rest of the rapid and then to shore. I got my rope on the perimeter line near the bow, using our spare oar. We crossed above the rapid to river left to pull from there. Two of us all the way up on the tracks pulled about 25 times on a 3 count at the correct angle and the boat came off. I held it from the tracks, Gringo stumbled down to it and followed us to the take out in it. No name anywhere on the boat or on any equipment in it. Two shuttles later, both boats are back to Nathrop by 1am. Called AHRA but just rang and rang. Left the found boat on my truck and parked it in full view of the highway. The owner's friends saw it the next day, came and claimed it.
On the boat that previous tragic day, was a father, his son and daughter in their young 20's, and their uncle the owner, rowing. The father said that the uncle was trying to go left then changed his mind to right and ended up broad-siding the center rock. He probably meant was going right and changed mind to left but all I can confirm is that he definitely broadsided the main center rock. The line at that level is not simple and became dangerous with a raft across the river. We figured we were doing our part in removing a dangerous obstacle, plus the reward was better than just beer. Plus, with what Gringo was able to drink from their cooler from stair 5 to Hecla, it was worth it.