Dick Mercer | Utah Parks Company (1946-51)

“One thing we should relate that should be in the Guinness Book of World Records is that most of us were in pretty good shape because we were bell boys. There were probably eight of us; a group that left the North Rim one morning at about 4:00. Now mind you, this was in the days before walking shoes. We had tennis shoes, or whatever you had. We left the North Rim, we hiked through the canyon and by nightfall we were on the South Rim, 27 miles as I remember. We encountered a horrible rainstorm on the way down by Roaring Springs, had to disrobe and dry our clothes over a big fire that we started. We stopped at Phantom Ranch where they were expecting us, and they fed us. Going up the other side, the only one I remember by name was Bill Bowering, who was working on the desk and of course wasn’t in as good as shape as the rest of us as far as his legs were concerned.

Dick Howe and Bill Bowering were the two that had the hardest time getting up because going up that south side is just horrible. Now that we look back, in fact, the older we get the sillier it sounds to me. We could’ve easily perished because it’s so hot in that Grand Canyon it burned through your tennis shoes. We were so ill prepared.

We finally got up from the canyon and some of the hardy ones had gone up ahead so they’d have some water and beverages when we got on top, but we ended up going to dinner at a place called Rall Wells, at least that’s how the cowboy’s pronounced it. We go in there and it’s a cowboy hangout. We’re all college kids, and the waiter comes over and wants to know if we want anything to drink. Well, sure, we managed to order a bourbon and water and a beer and whatever people are going to have, and they get around to Lamont Bay, God rest his soul, and so help me the waiter said, “And you sir?” and Lamont said, “I’ll have a pink lady.” In this cowboy bar, we were of course in the clothes we hiked in all day, looking like a wreck and he orders a pink lady.”