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Old 01-15-2013   #11
Bamfsk's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 8
I have never run with Mertz but I have run and still run with his good friends Capt. Bill and Uncle Don and the rest of the crew here in steamboat and beyond and have heard many stories. I'm sure we will have a party in his honor on this years Ides of March westwater. Row On Mertz

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Old 01-16-2013   #12
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 5
I was with Bill on the same Grand trip as Ben and I can still picture his 18-foot raft getting surfed like a matchstick a giant hole in Lava, the broken oar that resulted from this little misadventure, the tweaked frame and Bill's HUGE smile for having spent "quality time" in that hole. He was quite a character with a deep love for the river and it is great to see many of us remember him fondly. Somehow, Uncle Bill is still with us!

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Old 02-03-2013   #13
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 48
Grand Canyon 2009

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Old 04-05-2013   #14
San Antonio, Texas
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
Uncle Bill

Hi, I'm new to this forum. I signed up after running across this page after trying to google my family name. I never met Bill, but from what I know, he's my dad Marks brother. It upset me to see him go and to find out while browsing the interneet but I'm glad to see so many people had good things to say about him. His dad, my grandfather, was actually the Fire chief of Washington, D.C. during Nixons presidency, and though I never met either of them, I'm glad I'm related to them. It seems here he was a good man. And although we never formally met, he really was and always will be Uncle Bill to me. If anybody knows his family out in Grand Junction, I'd really like to get in contact with them. If so just contact me! Thanks
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Old 04-05-2013   #15
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71
sent a pm to you

with hopefully local contact info for you.im in the process of retrofitting Bills monster 19' white (Moby Dick) Hyside bucket boat,to a self bailer,in his honor.if it doesnt reappear for a june ladore,due to crew change,you will definitely see it out on other rivers as a tribute!!!Bill was just the first generation owner on this river icon----its still got many stories to tell,and miles to float.......miss you ,Uncle Bill---all the rivers seem a little less funny,now.
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Old 04-05-2013   #16
San Antonio, Texas
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
I'd really like to see that someday! It's good to know Uncle Bill lived a full life of adventure on the waters!! I hope someday I can meet up with the rest of the family and go check out the waters up there. I always loved GJ, very cool place!
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Old 04-30-2013   #17
Cottonwood heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
Uncle Bill Mertz,

Uncle Bill Mertz; or "Ranger Danger!"
Who was sent here to weed out the WEAK!! you will be missed! You oozzed knowledge and lived life large!! I have sooo many fond memories and amazing quotes!! I feel so lucky to have known you, you "scally-wegin' skinny-rope throwin', egg-tossing, SOAP Sippin', whiskey gargling, condor pointing, Son of a bitch! I am happy to know that you "won't be far or sober." Thank you for making my (and anyone who EVER traveled with you) Grand Canyon trip memorable!!
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Old 05-01-2013   #18
Cottonwood heights, Utah
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 2
Uncle Bill; So many good stories...

Gotta say, I am sad to think that I will never again be woken up by Uncle Bill peeing on my life jacket or floating a sleeping meander down the eddy, or throwing a beer at my head yelling catch while still tucked tightly in my sleeping bag. You are are true river Rogue.

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Old 05-01-2013   #19
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
I only met Bill once, but I have a story about him! My buddy Ben (see above) had met him on his first Grand Canyon trip and invited him to run Westwater with our group in 2006. It was my first Westwater trip, and a memorable one for many reasons, including Bill (Westwater trips always seem to be memorable...). It was Bill's 60 somethingth trip down Westwater that season. We began to call our buddy Ben, Bill Jr. because he was clearly enamored with the rafting lifestyle and learning the tricks of the trade from Bill.

We had a solid party that night at camp and I woke up in the middle of the night with a screaming headache. At first I didn't know what to do, but then I had a vision of this giant med kit packed on Ben's raft and figured there'd surely be something in there to save me. So, I stumbled over to the rafts with my headlamp, walked by some guy puking under a log, and located the med kit and began pulling it out of Ben's raft.

Bill apparently always sleeps in his raft, which was tied up adjacent to Ben's. I might also add that Bill was a rather large, somewhat imposing man. Well, as I flicked open the med kit, Bill's entire massive figure bolted straight upright! He began shifting his head back and forth making loud grunting noises. I froze like a deer in the highlights and flicked off my headlamp. I don't really know this guy, but I worried I'd just triggered a Vietnam flashback or something. After a number of very long seconds, his grunting dissipated and he slowly settled back down on his pad and laid down. I very gingerly and quietly fished out some ibuprofen, replaced the med kit, and slinked away.

What a character. I'm sorry to hear about his passing. He certainly seemed to be a guy who lived life on his own terms. Here's a photo of him from that trip.

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Old 03-05-2014   #20
debeque, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 12
Uncle Bills last Grand Canyon trip pt1

this is a short intro video on Uncle Bills last grand trip.Friends drove part of his ashes back to the Navajo Bridge----sorry it took so long.

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