Bob called me and said his wife, Shelly, had lost some rings two months ago while kayaking in the Stoneycreek River in Johnstown. She lost her wedding rings and her rings from renewing their vows for a total of four rings. Julie and I met Bob and Shelly at the site and Shelly had a pretty good idea of where the rings had come off her finger. There are large concrete flood control channels built in the 1940’s on either side of the river, but thankfully there were a set of stairs pretty close to where we needed to get in the river. The water was about knee high and much lower than when they were kayaking so I thought it would be a pretty quick hunt. When Julie and I climbed down and turned on the machine, there were a few more signals than I had expected. I wonder if the reason for all the signals was because of the floods in the past? Johnstown has had a history of floods, including the worst flood of the 19th century in 1889, and other floods in 1936 and 1977. I pulled out a golf club, rusted shovel, various pull tabs, and unrecognizable bits of metal but no rings.
After three hours of searching and finding nothing, I got to thinking that if the river was higher and Shelly was close to the sloped concrete channel wall, the rings could have been carried down along the wall by the current a little farther than where they came off her fingers. Sure enough, I found three of the rings just past where we had been looking most of the day. When I looked at the top of the wall to Shelly and Bob who were watching us hunt, I could hear Shelly starting to cry at the news we found three of her rings. I knew then Julie and I weren’t leaving the river until I found the last ring but we needed to break for lunch. Upon returning, two more hours of searching and countless bits of metal in the gold range later, I found the last ring. Bob and Shelly are really nice people and I appreciate their patience (and Julie’s) on what was a very long, difficult hunt.