‘Sunk Without a
Domick speaks at Community Library about the curious case of Glen and
Express Arts Editor
last photo taken of the Hydes, at Hermit Camp in Grand Canyon, Nov. 18,
1928. Photo by Adolph G.
Sutro. Used by special arrangement with Fretwater Press and the
Who were Glen and
Bessie Hyde? On the surface they were a young Idaho couple who, on their
1928 honeymoon, ventured down the Colorado River and vanished. But as
author and former Grand Canyon boatman Brad Dimock learned, their story
seems to be much more involved.
Dimock has written
a book about the Hydes entitled, Sunk Without a Sound: The Tragic
Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Dimock will
present a slide show and talk about the disappearance of the newlyweds,
Thursday, 7 p.m., at the Community Library in Ketchum.
Having worked as a
boatman in Grand Canyon for 28 years, Dimock heard and told his share of
river tales. Still, the Hyde story stands out in the canyon lore as one
of the more intriguing tales.
From his home in
Flagstaff, Ariz., Dimock relayed to me an abbreviated version of the
story in a telephone interview.
Glen Hyde was a
farmer living in the Twin Falls area who took an interest in river
running for enjoyment—one of the few people at the time who did. In
1926, Hyde made a trip up to Salmon, Idaho, where he met a legendary
river man, Cap Guleke. Guleke taught Hyde how to construct a wooden
sweep scow. They, with Hyde’s sister Jeanne, took the scow down the
Salmon and Snake rivers to Lewiston, Idaho.
It was a trip that
inspired Hyde to build a boat of his own.
In 1928, Hyde
built a 20-foot scow with his new wife, Bessie. The couple then set off
down the Colorado River and negotiated over 160 miles, including the
rapids of Cataract Canyon. At what is commonly referred to as Phantom
Ranch, the Hyde’s hiked out to the south rim of the canyon, where they
met Emory Cole, a famous boatman of the time.
"Cole told [the Hydes] ‘you oughta have life jackets,’ but they
were Idaho boaters, and Idaho boaters didn’t wear lifejackets."
The Hydes also met a sightseer, who went back down to the river with
them, took some photos of the couple and even rode down river to Hermit
Creek on the scow.
He was the last
person to see the Hydes.
organized an extensive search of the canyon. The search party discovered
the 20-foot scow upright in the river—the bow line was caught on a
rock—and fully loaded with the couple’s gear. When asked if the
bodies ever turned up, Domick said, "Well, not yet."
In the third part
of his book, Domick discusses some of the mythology that developed
around this mystery.
An example Domick
offered over the phone concerned a woman on a 1971 commercial river trip
in Grand Canyon. The "guides told the Hyde story around the fire
like we always do—it’s a very popular story down here—and a woman
said, ‘I know what happened. I’m Bessie Hyde. I killed him. He was
beating me. I stabbed him, threw him in the river and hiked out, went
back East and started life over.’"
The story was
further complicated, Domick explained, when in 1992 Georgie White—a
famed Grand Canyon boatwoman—died. It was discovered that White had
completely fabricated her life and past. It turns out her "name
wasn’t Georgie, it was Bessie," Domick said. Further, when people
went through White’s effects, they found in her lingerie drawer a
pistol and a wedding certificate of Glen and Bessie Hyde.
Brad Dimock with a possible Glen Hyde skeleton. Photo by David Edwards
And there are
other curious events that Domick relays in his book and will, no doubt,
discuss Thursday evening.
Domick is a
historian of the Colorado River and co-author, with Vince Welch and Cort
Conley, of The Doing of the Thing: The Brief, Brilliant Whitewater
Career of Buzz Holmstrom. It won the National Outdoor Book Award in
The slide show and
talk Thursday at the library is free of charge.