This should be a whole new subject to begin with
It seems we've started a whole new topic here.
I think there are a few view points on this. Let's discuss the "gear stash" first of all. Leaving tarps and such at your favorite campsites is in my opinion, questionable backcountry ethics, although, it may be true that no one will ever see them except for other boaters. Still, not sure if I would feel good leaving tarps and such at a campsite for future visits. It still might take away from the wilderness experience for others though and that is something to consider.
What about a gear stash such as leaving a paddle somewhere for future visits? Is that a different story or more of the same?
As for leaving a boat to hike out, I don't think it's fair to judge all cases as the same on this one. It's easy to say "dude got in there, didn't like what he saw and bailed like a little bitch....." each situation is different. Regardless of the reason for hiking out, the question is still the backcountry ethics of leaving a boat. One has to consider someone hiking out of the Middle Kings or San Joaquin. If it's a two day hike out without a boat, and the person is already nearly exhausted from paddling anyway, I think that he/she needs to consider their own safety as the number one factor. Carrying the extra weight of their boat may indeed lead them to dehidration or further exhaustion. So, I think it's a judgement call on the part of the induvidual whether or not to take a their boat with them or not.
I WILL SAY THIS: I think that it is the boaters responsibliity to go back for their boat at some point rather than leave it there forever. I know of a few situations where boats have been left permanently that are understandable, but in most cases, I think the trip to get the boat out is feasable and should be done. Regardless, if you are on a wilderness trip and DO leave your boat to hike out, the responsible thing to do is to leave a note in your boat that says something along the lines of "Please do not call search and rescue, I'm okay...." That way, if someone finds your boat, they don't assume you're dead somewhere and get a bunch of people involved in a wilderness rescue that does not need to take place.
All and all, I do not think it's okay to critisize someone for hiking out of a gorge. I think that it is that person's judgment call and theirs alone. It's easy to say that "If you're hiking out, you shouldn't be there in the first place." but I think that if you're saying that, you're either a total ass-hole like that "Randolph" guy, or you've never really been on a wilderness trip yourself and don't know what you're talking about. I know some VERY good boaters, much better than myself who have had to hike out of canyons for whatever reason and if you try to tell them they shouldn't have been there, you're only making yourself look ignorant.
Sorry to get so preachy, just some food for thought. Speicher, as far as my boat, I've got two attempts down and am going back in on Friday. Damn "property owners," poison oak, and rattlesnakes....
\"If God didn\'t want us to eat in church, he would have made gluttony a sin.\" -Homer Simpson