Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde

Hyde

The Disappearance of Glen and Bessie Hyde was a strange disappearance that allegedly happened to newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde, who disappeared while attempting to run the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, Arizona in 1928.

Description

Glen Hyde had some experience with river running, having traveled the Salmon and Snake Rivers in Idaho with “Cap” Guleke, an experienced river runner, in 1926. Bessie was more of a novice. In October 1928, the Hydes went to Green River, Utah, where Hyde built his own boat, a twenty foot wooden sweep scow, the type used by river runners of that time in Idaho. The couple set off down the canyons of the Green and Colorado Rivers on October 20, 1928, as a honeymoon adventure trip. Glen wanted to set a new speed record for traveling through the Grand Canyon, while also putting Bessie in the record books as first documented woman to run the canyon.

They were last seen Sunday, November 18, 1928, when they boated away downriver below Hermit Rapid. The couple had hiked Bright Angel Trail out of the canyon to resupply a few days earlier. At the South Rim they approached photographer Emery Kolb at his studio and home on the canyon rim, where they were photographed before returning down into the canyon. Some Colorado River historians, such as Otis R. Marston note that Adolph G. Sutro rode from Phantom Ranch to Hermit Rapid with them in the scow.

A search was launched by Glen’s father Rollin even before the couple were to be considered overdue at Needles, California on December 6, 1928. On December 19, a search plane spotted their scow adrift around river mile 237; it was upright and fully intact, with the supplies still strapped in. A camera recovered from the boat by Emery and Ellsworth Kolb revealed the final photo to have been taken near river mile 165, probably on or about November 27. The search uncovered evidence to indicate the couple made it as far as river mile 226, Diamond Creek, where it is believed they made camp. Bessie noted in her journal that they had cleared 231 Mile Rapid. Historian Otis R. Marston made a compelling case that the couple were most likely swept out of the boat when their scow hit submerged rocks in the heavy rapids near river mile 232. In describing the rapid, Marston noted “…pieces of granite wall lie submerged where they have damaged, snared, or capsized more boats than any other location in the canyon.” No trace of the Hydes has ever been found.

Theories

  • A faked death
  • A crash
  • Murder

Trivia

  • Had the two succeeded, Bessie Hyde would have been the first woman known to run the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
  • Otis “Dock” Marston devoted an entire chapter to the couple, titled “Hyde and Go Seek” in his exhaustive recounting of the first 100 river runners through the Grand Canyon. His book, From Powell to Power, was published posthumously in 2014.

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