Side Canyon. Around the river campfire, no story is told the
same twice. Courtesy of the photographer, David Edwards.
example is the fireside tale of Glen and Bessie Hyde, a young
couple from Idaho who vanished on their honeymoon voyage down
the Colorado. The Hydes were last seen piloting their cumbersome
scow through the heart of a gorge on November 18, 1928. Their
boat was found a month later near the end of Grand Canyon, fully
loaded but with no clue about the coupleís fate.
the late 1940s, Grand Canyon locals portrayed Glen as a headstrong
brute who had forced his reluctant bride into a fatal voyageóa
version of the tale that became popular along the river.
Glen and Bessie Hydeís scow on the river. Mile
165, Grand Canyon. Probably taken November 27, 1928. It was
the final photograph taken by the Hydes and was found in the
camera recovered in their boat.
humans first saw the Colorado River, they have told tales about
it ó from the Hopi legend of Tiyo, who floated through Grand Canyon
in a cottonwood log in search of rain, to modern day tales of whitewater
adventure. Like the river itself, stories change through time.
"We of the night will
know many things of which you sleepers will never dream."
writings of Bessie Hyde
and Bessie Hyde about to begin their Colorado River boat trip, November
17, 1928. Photograph by Emery Kolb. Courtesy of Cline Library Special
Collection and Archives, Northern Arizona University.
in 1971, an elderly woman on a commercial river trip claimed to be
Bessie Hyde, saying she killed her fiendish husband and threw him
in the river. Five years later a skeleton rumored to be Glen Hyde
was found near the rim of the Grand Canyon, causing further speculation.
In 1985 a
woman told of her father, Glen Hyde, who had barely survived a 1928
Colorado River trip.
famous river runner Georgie White died, articles in her home suggested
she might well have been Bessie.
truth end and fantasy begin? A mysterious haze still surrounds the
tale as it meanders through the folklore of the Colorado.
fire story version by Brad Dimock, river boatman and author of Sunk
Without a Sound: The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and
Bessie Hyde, Flagstaff: Fretwater Press, 2001.
"But even if the
story is not true,
it ought to be."
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, 1953